Ber Chalya Mera Bhai

O wise one, I was the first to be born
Then my elder brother
With great fanfare my father was born
In the end my mother

All things seem possible in the upside-down world of Kabir! I am born first and the mother is born last; an ant carries an elephant for her dowry; the baby in the womb speaks but not the child that is born. What does it all mean? We, who are ever seeking for meanings (and perhaps ever failing), are hopelessly baffled by the ‘ulatbaansi’ (upside-down verse) of Kabir. Perhaps it is we, not Kabir, who are looking at the world upside-down, the wrong way round. I heard this song from Mahesha Ram ji of Chhatangarh village in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan.

Ber chalya mera bhai
Magan hui, ber chalya mera bhai
Raam re naam ro gelo re pakdo
Chhodo ni moorkhaai
Raam re naam ro gelo re pakdo
Chhodo ni ghamandaai

Pehle toh guruji main janmya
Peechhe bada bhai
Dhoom dhaam sa pita re janmya
Sabse peechhe maai
Ber chalya mera bhai…

Pehle toh guruji doodh jamaayo
Peechhe gaay ne doi
Bachhda unra rame pet mein
Ghrit bechva gayi
Ber chalya mera bhai…

Keedi chali saasre
Nau man surmo saath
Haathi unra haath mein
Oont lapetya jaai
Ber chalya mera bhai…

Eenda hata bolta
Bachhiya bolya naai
Kahat Kabira suno bhai saadho
Moorakh samjhe naai
Ber chalya mera bhai…

Time is Slipping Away

Time is slipping away, my friend
Meditate – time is slipping away
Take the path of Raam’s name
Quit this silly pride

O wise one, I was the first to be born
Then my elder brother
With great fanfare my father was born
In the end my mother
Time is slipping away…

O wise one, first the yogurt was set
Then the cow got milked
While the cow was yet to deliver
The butter fetched a good price
Time is slipping away…

The ant goes to her husband’s home
Nine bags of kohl, her dowry
In one hand, she carries an elephant
Under the other arm, a camel
Time is slipping away…

The unborn child could speak
The newborn child says nothing
Says Kabir, listen seekers
Fools can go on guessing
Time is slipping away…

Translation: Vipul Rikhi

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About vipulrikhi

Vipul Rikhi writes, translates, sings, plays and performs. Find some of his songs, poetry, articles, stories and books at https://vipulrikhi.wordpress.com/.
This entry was posted in Music, Poetry, Translation and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Ber Chalya Mera Bhai

  1. Manoj Sharma says:

    Vipul Ji, Can you help with the meaning of this song.
    Regards
    Manoj

    Like

    • vipulrikhi says:

      Hi Manoj. Ulat baansi is meant to confuse and confound! 🙂 So it has no fixed meaning, or several meanings. Try to feel instead of trying to think and some meanings may open up to you. For instance, selling the ghee even before the calf is born (making elaborate future plans when we don’t even know if we will be alive the next moment!).

      Like

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