Indie Routes: Kya Tan Manjhta


The souls of emperors and cobblers are cast in the same mold...The same reason that makes us wrangle with a neighbor creates a war betwixt princes. ~Michel de Montaigne~

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There was a young cobbler in a small town who was very diligent, passionate and driven to mend shoes of his townsfolk so that every one would have a comfortable journey. He would put in his heart and soul to make every shoe that came to his shop as good as new.

Over time his fame spread far and wide, and people from nearby towns and cities would come to him with their woes, sorry shoes. He would give each customer a patient hearing and then get to work on their shoes. Work grew to such an extent, that there would be a queue of customers at his shop all day and he spent longer hours in his shop with barely enough time to eat or rest.

Unfortunately as his attention to the welfare of others shoes grew, his neglect of his own soles grew too. He had noticed a small hole in his own shoe which needed repair, but he kept putting it off as there was so much work pending always. There were many soles to save, and his own could wait.

As the point of contact between the road and the hole in his shoe, a blister started forming which was painful and needed attention which again our cobbler friend ignored.

Over time, the hole and the blister got so big that now it was quite painful for the cobbler to even move around. Yet so absorbed was he by his work, that he somehow found super-human strength to keep going inspite of the pain. He knew he needed to see a doctor, but his all consuming work gave him little time for personal care.

One day, his childhood friend and fellow cobbler from a neighboring city came to see him and was alarmed to see his friend limping around. He immediately took him to the best doctor in town who said that his foot was seriously wounded, and if he had come in just a few days later, the foot would have had to be amputated.

The cobbler went thru a small surgery on his foot, and more importantly spent a few weeks in the country side recuperating. Thanks to his childhood friend's advice, he started thinking of a work-life balance, or better still a "be selfish, be generous" mindset where in order to better care for others, he needed to care for his own body-mind-spirit instrument too.

This message also finds resonance in the safety manual on an airplane where the air-hostess instructs that in case of emergency, one must put on the oxygen mask on self before attempting to help others.

This story conveys a need for self-care if we wish to be in selfless service to others. In a world full of suffering, it is necessary to take care of the basic needs of our body, mind and spirit so that we are fully available energetically to serve. While we recognize that the body is impermanent, it is helpful to see it as a musical instrument that needs good care if it is to deliver good music.
 



Lyrics:

Kya tan manjhta re
Ik din maati mein mil jana

Why do you keep scrubbing your body, when it's going to return to dust someday

Pawan chale ud jana re pagle
Samay chook pachhtana

Be aware that the wind shall blow you away someday, and don't repent later about your mistakes

Chaar janaa mil gadhi banai 
Chadhaa kath ki doli 
Chaaron taraf se aag laga di
Phoonk dayi re jaise hori

When it's time to cremate you, they will put your body on a palanquin of firewood, and burn you up as if its a bonfire (of Holi)

Kya tan manjhta re
Ik din maati mein mil jana

Why do you keep scrubbing your body, when it's going to return to dust someday

Haad jale raise ban ki lakadiya
Kes jale jaise ghaansa
Kanchan jaisee kaya jal gayi
Koi na aaye Paasa

Your bones will burn like twigs, and your hair like grass, your skin too will burn away, and no one will even come close to you

Kya tan manjhta re
Ik din maati mein mil jana

Why do you keep scrubbing your body, when it's going to return to dust someday

Teen dina teri tiriya roye
Tera dina tera bhai
Janam janam teri mata roye
Karke aas parayi

For a few days your family will mourn you, but your mother will mourn you a long time due to her attachment

Kya tan manjhta re
Ik din maati mein mil jana

Why do you keep scrubbing your body, when it's going to return to dust someday

Maati odhna maati bichhona 
Maati ka sirhana 
Kahe Kabira sunle re bande
Ye jug aana jaana

Soil will eventually be your bed, your blanket and your pillow. Says Kabir, listen my friend, this world is only a place of transit.

Kya tan manjhta re
Ik din maati mein mil jana

Why do you keep scrubbing your body, when it's going to return to dust someday




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