Saint Kabeer is taking a walk on the ghats of the river Ganga at Kashi. He sees some devotees in prayer, and yet others are stealing their belongings. Some have come to wash their sins with good acts, and others are asking for blessings for success of illegal ventures. The Great Soul ruminates:
Even on the banks of sacred rivers, the mind is not appeased.
People remain entangled in good and bad deeds.
We have divided our actions into neat compartments—good, and bad. We further think that we need to do good actions for two reasons—to please Him and gain admittance to a heaven after death, and to remove the effects of bad actions.
The shopkeeper cheats his unsuspecting customers through the day, and then prays at some place of worship on the way home at night, trying to square the equation of goodness and sin.
My teacher was quick to dismiss this notion. “What and how much did you pay Him to be placed in a womb, and be blessed with life?” he would ask. It is obvious we cannot “pay” Him with so-called good deeds, performed with a life and body that we have been given free in the first place. If “good” deeds are performed with attachment and ego, they cannot offer any moksh or liberations:
Rituals and religions are all just entanglements; bad and good are bound up with them.
Deeds done in ego and attachment, are just more bonds.
If there is untruth, its close attendants—greed, lust, jealousy—will be present, and all goodness is false, because the act is motivated. If truth is
the basic fount, then all acts are good. Saint Kabeer takes the truthful devotee beyond narrow
There is no good or bad—In the home of your own being, is the Philosopher’s Stone;
Renounce your search for any other virtue.