Hindi Language Blog

Wisdom through Saint Kabir’s Couplets Posted by on Nov 21, 2017 in Hindi Language

Kabir Das was a poet-saint संत-कवी (sant-kavi) who lived in approximately 15th century १५वीं सदी  (pandhravi sadi) India. You can read more about him here.

His poetry/couplets are famously known as दोहे (dohe; singular: दोहा doha) , and were written to dispense simple wisdom in vernacular Hindi, which widely appealed to the local folk. In addition to using uncomplicated language सरल भाषा (saral bhasha), Sant Kabirdas’ दोहे were written in Hindi borrowed from several local dialects including Bhojpuri (in Uttar Pradesh state in India).

Sant Kabir’s दोहे are often taught in schools as a means of poetry appreciation. Here are three दोहे that have always resonated with me since I was first introduced to them in high school. They are simple and powerful truths सत्य (satya) that are timeless.

साधु ऐसा चाहिए, जैसा सूप सुभाय
सार-सार को गहि रहै, थोथा देई उड़ाय।

A saint should be like a winnow–he should have the dexterity of mind to retain what is meaningful and do away with or let go of what is unimportant.

धीरे धीरे रे मना, धीरे सब कुछ होय
माली सींचे सौ घड़ा, ऋतु आये फल होय

Slowly, slowly, my mind. Everything will happen in time. Even if the gardener waters the plants a hundred times, the fruit will only come in springtime.

बड़ा हुआ तो क्या हुआ, जैसा पेड़ खजूर
पंथी को छाया नहीं, फल लागे अति दूर

So what if you are tall and big like the date palm? It neither offers shade to the weary traveler nor are the fruits easy to pluck.


संत-कवी sant-kavi संत = saint; कवी = poet
१५वीं सदी pandhravi sadi 15th century
दोहा /दोहे doha/dohe couplet/couplets
सरल भाषा saral bhasha simple or uncomplicated language
सत्य satya truth
साधु sadhu saint
सूप soop winnow
सुभाय subhaay of the nature of/possessing the nature of/like
सार-सार saar-saar important/meaningful/essence
गहि रहै gahi rahe sieve
थोथा  thotha thotha = insignificant/unimportant
देई उड़ाय dei udaay
to let fly
धीरे dheere slowly
मना manaa mind
माली maali gardener
सींचे seenche waters (conjugation: third person singular)
घड़ा ghadaa pots
ऋतु ritu season
बड़ा badaa big/large/tall
पेड़ खजूर ped khajoor khajoor=date; ped=palm/tree
पंथी punthy traveler
छाया chhaya shade
फल लागे phal laage fruits are; fruits are positioned
अति ati extremely/very
दूर door (rhymes with lure) far
Tags: , , , , , , ,
Keep learning Hindi with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it

About the Author: Nitya

Namaste, friends. My name is Nitya. I was born and raised in Mumbai (formerly Bombay). I'm a native Hindi speaker. However, as life took me through school, college, work, and waves of friends from different parts of India, my repertoire of Hindi flavors and dialects grew and added dimension to my native fluency. Casual, formal, colloquial, and regional ... Hindi is a language with incredible variety and localization. Through this blog, I will help you learn Hindi through conversations, vocabulary, colloquialisms, and glimpses of Indian culture. आओ, मिलकर हिंदी सीखते हैं। (Aao, milkar Hindi seekhte hain!) Come, let's learn Hindi together.


  1. c.k.v.raman:

    Very good, enjoyed thoroughly. Is it possible to learn from you the word for word meaning of some of the hindi / avadhi poems / prayers and the total general meaning ?? Also appropriate unadulterated pure hindi word for certain english words ?? Thanks a lot and regards. – c.k.v.raman

  2. Sheela arora:

    You are doing a good service ,i am delighted to see all this .you said true words ‘hindi is a language with incredible variey n localizations’.Unfortunately implementation of hindi programme is mostly failure. I have worked in govt. offices for 37yrs n found hindi implementation programs are with half heartedly done.
    I am happy it is popular on social media n also films have great contribution (unknowingly ) in this field.
    But people like you doing free services are wonderful.
    Sheela arora
    M.A hindi from IP college
    Delhi univesity.