Almost all countries in the world have some kind of immunization programs to safeguard their public health against deadly viruses and other types of infections. Yet, new diseases emerge which take us all by surprise. In such situations, especially where there are no vaccines, the helplessness of the medical force compels them to rely on herd immunity. Herd immunity, in the medical jargon, is reached when a majority of the population develop immunity (by themselves, in the absence of a vaccine) against the virus. Satguru Kabir Saheb, in His teachings on how a crow (impure person) can be converted into a swan (pure soul), has shown us how immunity against vices can be attained.

“Keet na jaane bhring ko, Guru karle aap samaan”

The moth does not know the beetle, yet the latter converts the former into its form. Similarly, the Guru transforms the disciple into a being matching the traits of the Guru. It is a well-known story that there is a beetle which catches hold of an insect, brings it in its lair, and continuously hums a sound which kills the nature of the insect, reviving it into a beetle. The beetle here represents a noble being, whereas the insect a filthy creature. The insect is transformed from living a worthless life to becoming a useful goal-oriented being. The wildness in the creature is replaced by a cultured character. In the COVID-19 scenario, if the virus is contracted by someone and his antibodies conquer it by consistently domesticating it, the virus no longer has any virulent effect on him. The fight against the virus is more like taming it so that instead of attacking us, it becomes harmless.

The Guru has a similar role in transforming the disciple. We are all born with ‘ignorance’. This ignorance drags us into paths designed by those who have fallen into the traps of Maya. Our personality thus becomes soiled by actions which are inconsistent with our spiritual growth. In the Kabir Panth faith, the sooner the disciple is initiated to the path, the better. The sound current by way of the name (Naam) given to the disciple at the time of initiation represents the transformation process just like the beetle hums the sound to convert the insect.  The spiritual progress of the disciple is marked by his continued association with the Guru.

“Paaras mein aur Sant mein, baro antaro jaan
Voh lohaa kanchan kare, yeh karde aap samaan”

There is a big difference between the philosopher’s stone (paaras) and the Saint. The philosopher’s stone converts iron into gold, whereas the Saint (the Guru) transforms the disciple into sainthood. In other words, The Guru is more capable in his transformation process. The philosopher’s stone cannot convert iron into itself (the stone). The Guru is regarded as very powerful and proficient; he removes the impurities in the disciple and instils in him those qualities which elevate him into a saintly person. The association of the disciple with the Guru infuses the former with a new ‘birth’ - a hansaa is born.

Let us all submit ourselves completely to our Guru so that we become pure and ready for our home. Let us all become immune to the debased world of contaminants. Praised be the Guru who uplifts us!

Mahant Jay Jaggessur, Kabir Association of Toronto.