“Ignorantia juris non excusat” This is a very well known legal principle meaning ignorance of the law is no excuse. If we are unaware that there is a rule prohibiting us from being outside or being in groups to limit the spread of COVID-19, we will still be fined if we are caught during lockdown hours. In other words, we cannot pretend not to be aware. The onus is on us to be informed. Similarly, as a spiritual being, it is our responsibility to seek spiritual knowledge from the Guru to know what our purpose is, to know what we are called upon to do, and where we should make our way to. The cost of not seeking knowledge is higher than just a fine : it is bondage.

“Jo kacchu kiyo giaan agiaanaa, soyi samujh sayaanaa

Kahein Kabir taason ka kahiye, jo dekhat drishti bhulaanaa”

Oh Wise one! You will have to bear the consequences of all of your actions, whether you did them ignorantly or with full knowledge. Kabir says : What can I say to him who has eyes but still cannot see?

As spiritual beings we are fortunate to have discriminative power, which allows us to know what is good to do and what is not. We have more : we have our Guru. Our Guru guides us on the right path, imparts the right knowledge to us. But some people believe that they are smart and do not need a Master. Applying our Guru’s teachings and using our intellect serve the purpose of our spiritual course. It is very easy to claim ignorance. There is no excuse for being ignorant. Just as we cannot escape from the legal principle of the world, likewise we cannot pretend unawareness. The unfortunate part is when some people pretend to be already learned (sayaanaa). Satguru Kabir Saheb is specially addressing them to warn them of their misunderstanding. 

What is worse than not seeing although you have eyes? Satguru Kabir Saheb is not referring to our physical eyes; spiritual beings have spiritual eyes. To use them, to be able to see with them, we need our Guru. He is the one who enlightens us. Those people who allow themselves to be drawn by what their physical eyes show them are allowing themselves to be misled. And if they are bent on pursuing their senses, what can the Guru do? 

It is important for us to understand that in the same way that we can comply with the law, the rules, the regulations that Man enacts, we must also, as spiritual beings, submit ourselves to the Universal rule of our true existence. So-ham, or as postulated in ancient scriptures, Tat tvam asi or aham bramhasmi. Let us be who we truly are; let us use all our spiritual resources to attain our goal.

Mahant Jay Jaggessur, Kabir Association of Toronto.