Within this earthen vessel

by Kabir

English version by Rabindranath Tagore
Original Language Hindi

Within this earthen vessel are bowers and groves, and within it is the Creator:
Within this vessel are the seven oceans and the unnumbered stars.
The touchstone and the jewel-appraiser are within;
And within this vessel the Eternal soundeth, and the spring wells up.
Kabir says: "Listen to me, my Friend! My beloved Lord is within."

-- from The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology), Edited by Ivan M. Granger

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

With this verse, Kabir is reminding us of the miracle that this "earthen vessel" -- the seemingly limited and problematic physical body -- can contain all the "bowers and groves" of creation. And at the center of that garden rests the Creator.

Within are the "seven oceans," the seven chakras that must be traversed by the rising Kundalini energy.

Within is found the "touchstone," that which proves the value of the earthen vessel. And within is found the "jewel-appraiser," the One Who Knows the value of the vessel. The body is a holy object, a priceless treasure, so long as it has been alchemically transmuted by the jewel-appraiser's touch.

Within is the eternal sound that hums in silence beneath the noise of the mind. Within is the life-giving spring.

It is a puzzle the logical mind cannot resolve: the Eternal One, who encompasses all things, is found within the limited compass of the body. Kabir is shouting in ecstasy, "Look within! Look within!"

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Within this earthen