Kabir-“The Time Before Death”-Poem and Music

Although my path is not the path of theism, I have greatest respect for those who follow this path with love, integrity, and compassion. My own teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, has always sought an ecumenical approach with various spiritual traditions:


Thich Nhat Hanh on Buddhism, Mindfulness, and the Holy Spirit

Buddha and Christ—Let the Child Be Born to Us

In this same spirit, I have at this blog, from time to time, offered inspiring poems and insights from other traditions, with poets like the Sufi poet Rumi and the Indian mystic Kabir:

This Being Human is a Guest House

Taking Care of Our Heart Donkey

Learn the Alchemy True Human Beings Know!

The Sufi Mystic and the Punjabi Rock Musician (audio)

Rumi Poem-Quietness and No Longer Mourn for Me (music)

In this post, I am sharing a beautiful poem from the Indian mystic and poet Kabir. May its message be an inspiration to your life and spiritual practice, whatever path you walk!

The Time Before Before Death

by Kabir (version by Robert Bly)

Friend, hope for the Guest while you are alive.
Jump into experience while you are alive!
Think . . . and think . . . while you are alive.
What you call “salvation” belongs to the time
before death.

If you don’t break your ropes while you’re alive,
do you think
ghosts will do it after?

The idea that the should will rejoin the ecstatic
just because the body is rotten—
that is all fantasy.
What is found now is found then.
If you find nothing now,
you will simply end up with an apartment in the
City of the Death.

If you make love with the divine now, in the next
life you will have the face of satisfied desire

So plunge into the truth, find out who the Teacher is,
Believe in the Great Sound!

Kabir says this: When the Guest is being searched for
it is the intensity of the longing for the Guest that
does all the work.
Look at me, and you will see a slave of that intensity.

This beautiful accompanying music (click above) is called “The Longing.” It’s from the album
Afterglow by Michael Hoppe, Martin Tillman, Tim Wheater

Highly recommended!




About Steven Goodheart

"I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to understand them." Spinoza

4 Responses to “Kabir-“The Time Before Death”-Poem and Music”

  1. Some beautiful lines. Your posts have a knack of reaching me at precisely the right time. And whether it’s the tradition we share (Buddhism) or its other ecumenical gems of wisdom, you’re always on point in your analysis and commentary. Many thanks for the valuable service you give to us.

    • Hey Tokenbearcub! Thanks for your remarks, and for “groking” what I am trying to do when I post “non-Buddhist” wisdom and insights. Not all Buddhist are so open to “what is” wherever it appears.

      I love sharing things that move my heart and that inspire my practice, and hearing from folks like you is always so gratifying. You send a post “out into the blue,” so to speak and hope the wide casting reaches those who will respond. So happy to have met you!

      With warm regards,

      • Thanks for the excerpts from Kabir. I was only really aware of Rumi as the ” Chief ” Sufi poet. Not to split hairs, but he is equally exceptional in supplying philosophical sustenance.

        Thanks again !



  1. Kabir-I Said To The Wanting-Creature Inside Me « Metta Refuge - 2010/09/15

    […] Kabir-The Time Before Death-Poem and Music […]

Please Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: