Saint Kabeer returns to Kashi after a long tour, and finds that people are talking with great reverence about Mata Loi, his wife. Upon inquiry, they tell him that in his absence, an ill person approached her and requested asked her to cure him of his deadly disease. She made him sit in meditation, and asking
him to be steadfast in his faith, made him repeat the Lord’s name thrice, and he was cured. Saint Kabeer goes home, and when Mata Loi opens the door he says:
Some apply ceremonial marks to their foreheads, hold malas in their hands, and wear religious robes.
Some people think that the Lord’s name is a play-thing.
Saint Kabeer enters the house, but refuses to speak with her. He takes off his head gear, hangs his umbrella, and turns his back to Mata Loi. The Hindi word “karvat” means to turn one’s back, but if the alphabet “t” is used softly, then “karvat” also means a cutting saw, and she uses this difference in a heart-wrenching poem.
Mata Loi was the Saint’s wife, and also a spiritual co-traveller. Guru Granth Sahib records her love for the Saint, as immortalised by Kabeer himself:
I would rather be cut by a saw, than have you turn your back on me.
Hug me close, and listen to my prayer.
Turn Your face to me, O Beloved,
Don’t turn your back.
If my body is cut apart, it shall still face you,
And even when my body falls, the bonds of my love will not.
The Saint asks her, “You used the Lord’s name thrice?”
“Yes,” she said. “Once, to cut away the chains of his past deeds, Two, to cure him and secure his present. And yet a third time, to make him steadfast and unwavering in his faith, such that his spiritual journey shall continue.”
Saint Kabeer smiled at Mata Loi, and all was well between the spiritual couple.