Atul’s Song A Day- A choice collection of Hindi Film & Non-Film Songs

Kabeer Soya Kya Kare

Posted on: July 22, 2017

This article is written by Mahesh Mamadapur, a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movie music and a contributor to this blog. This article is meant to be posted in If this article appears in sites like and etc then it is piracy of the copyright content of and is a punishable offence under the existing laws.

chaman mein sab ne hi gaaya
tarana zindagani ka
magar sab se alag tha rang
meri hi kahani ka

zamanaa sun raha hai jis ko
wo meri kahani hai


The voice of Mukesh continues to enthral the world of music. Today (22 July) is his birth anniversary and I present here a short song from the film ‘Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai’ (1960). This film has already been Yippeee’d on the blog, but this particular rendition can as well be taken as an additional separate song.

The video shows Raj Kapoor on the screen, though he does not lip-sync the song. Mukesh in his usual trademark voice recites two dohas (couplets) of Sant Kabir Das. There are some comments on the internet that this short song and scene were missing in the film. I request readers to throw more light on this aspect.

Though there are many websites dedicated to the dohas of Kabir, I requested our Sudhir ji to not only write the lyrics for me but also translate the same. I thank him profusely for the help rendered.

I feel that the voice and the empathy expressed by Mukesh will be more pronounced and appreciated if one understands the meaning of the dohas first. Mukesh, who has recorded the original rendition of the popular ‘Ramcharit Maanas’ of Tulsidas (abridged version), also has a lot of bhajan’s in the film and non-film category. Quite a few of these bhajanas are yet to appear on the blog.

I have been away from the blog as far as song postings is concerned, due to some personal commitments, but will surely come back with more compilations of Mukesh with the artists in the two on-going series. There are a couple of newly discovered songs which will be introduced in the very near future.

With this short song wherein the clarity of the pronunciation of words and the heart-felt expression in the voice is very much perceptible, I once again join numerous Mukesh fans in remembering him on the anniversary of his birth.

Translation and Notes (Provided by Sudhir)

kabeer soya kya kare, uth na rovey dukh

Why continuing to sleep
Be awake, be alert
And stop crying for sorrows

jaaka vaasa gor mein, so kyon sovey sukh

For happiness is not the destiny
One who eternally lives in grave
Can he ever sleep in peace

Notes: In his couplets, Kabir Das has a specific addressal. When the message of the couplet is a teaching directed towards others, the form of addressal used is ‘sadho‘. When the message of the couplet is directed inwards, then the addressal used is ‘Kabir‘ or ‘Kabira‘. But as is seen in all cases, the message is meant for all. In this couplet, the poet is cautioning the human, not to continue sleeping. Now this sleeping is not simply the physical sleep that one resorts to when the body is tired. The poet is referring to the sleep of ignorance, that most human being undergo, as they spend their lives on this planet. The ignorance being referred to is the ignorance of the true nature of the self and of this material world. The human seeks happiness, but is almost always drowning in the tears of sorrow. So the poet says, wake up and realize the true nature, and don’t continue to cry for your sorrows. Because the life on this planet has only one destination, that is death. We are all residing in graves that have already been prepared for us. For a living person who is existing in a grave, can there be any happiness to be found (in the grave), can such a person ever have a peaceful sleep.
jaaka = variant of ‘jis ka’; for whom
vaasa = to reside; to live
gor = grave; कब्र

जीवन मरण विचार कर, कूड़े काम निवार

Contemplate the cycle of life and death
And dispose of the menial tasks of life
(do what needs to be done for life)

जिन पंथों तुझ चालना, सोई पंथ संवार

But realize the true paths
That have to be traveled
Strive to improve and enrich
The knowledge of that path

Notes: The poet is exhorting the learner, to contemplate the true nature of the cycle of life and death – that nothing in this world is permanent. The process of living entails certain tasks to sustain the life; these are low level tasks, that need to be dispositioned and done with. Do not lose yourself in this process of life, for there are other truer paths that one has to traverse. Make efforts to improve, enrich, clean up the awareness and the knowledge of these paths, so that the travel on these paths of truth is free of obstacles and pain.

In the given scenario, Raju, the village bumpkin and singer, is torn between how to sort out the problem he is facing – neither the dacoits are willing to just meekly give up their profession and surrender, nor is the police showing any benevolence towards them, to try and bring them in alive. In the scene just before these couplets, Raju is at the residence of the police commissioner (role played by Raj Mehra), and is pleading for leniency in return for their surrender. While this conversation is in progress, one of the dacoits, on the instructions of Raaka (role played by Pran), who is now the new gang leader, throws a message tied to a stone, into the house, breaking a window pane. The message is a challenge to the police commissioner, to hand over Raju and Kammo (role played by Padmini) to the dacoits. (Padmini has left the dacoit’s hideout with Raju, much to the chagrin of Raaka). The police commissioner is infuriated, and in anger expresses his will to capture all dacoits and hang them. Raju is now in a fix; what to do. The police won’t listen to him, and for their own reasons. And Raaka, blinded by his obsession for Kammo, and his vexation at Raju, for being the preferred person in Kammo’s heart, isn’t going to oblige by listening to Raju.

In this quandary, Raju is not able to sleep. And then these two couplets play in his mind. He is not lip syncing, but his expressions are so impressive, as he listens to this voice from within. This voice sings two couplets to him, telling him that it is useless to seek happiness in this life and this world, which is only sorrows – the epithet used is “jaaka vaasa gor mein”; that all humans are living in graves already dug for them. The second couplet advises that one should only contemplate on the truth of life, and seek out the path that will take towards that truth. And once that path is evident in the mind, then the personal striving should be cleanse and enrich this path, leading one towards the truth.

When this second couplet plays, a smile descends on the lips of Raju, a light is seen and a determination is made. Raju leaves the police commissioners home immediately, leaving Kammo sleeping inside the room. One does not see him leave, but the next scene is Kammo waking up only to find Raju missing. On enquiry, she is told that he left during the night, but where he has gone, is not known to anyone. But Kammo knows, that Raju has returned to the gang’s hideout.


Song – Kabir Soya Kya Kare (Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai) (1960) Singer – Mukesh, Lyrics – Kabir Das, MD – Shankar Jaikishan


kabeer soya kya kare, uth na rovey dukh
jaaka vaasa gor mein, so kyon sovey sukh

jeevan maran vichaar kar, koode kaam nivaar
jin panthun tujh chaalna, soi panth sanwaar

jin panthun tujh chaalna, soi panth sanwaar

Hindi script lyrics (Provided by Sudhir)

कबीर सोया क्या करे, उठ ना रोवे दुख
जाका वासा गोर में, सो क्यों सोवे सुख

जीवन मरण विचार कर, कूड़े काम निवार
जिन पंथों तुझ चालना, सोई पंथ संवार

जिन पंथों तुझ चालना, सोई पंथ संवार


5 Responses to "Kabeer Soya Kya Kare"

Dear Mahesh ji,
Long time no see. But the long absence has been well compensated by a beautiful post! Thanks a lot.
The essence of Kabir’s unique style of combining profound philosophy and spirituality with brevity and succinctness of dohas using the simplest of words has been most effectively captured in the soulful voice of Mukesh. Watch the pathos come alive in Raj Kapoor’s expressions.
Yet again Sudhir ji has excelled in his translation truly conveying the allegory and metaphor of the poetry. Hats off to you, Sir.
Best regards,
Yours Sincerely,
Avadh Lal


Dear Avadh Lal ji,
Good to hear from you after a gap.

And thanks for your words of appreciation. 🙂



Avadh Lal ji,
Many Thanks.

Sudhir ji,

The translation and notes are much beyond anybody’s expectations.
I did the right thing in seeking your help.
Hugely indebted to you Sir.


Thanks for this, Maheshji. All the songs of the film are well noted (almost all of them were hits) – it is a pleasant surprise to discover these couplets now.


Many thanks for this post Mahesh ji. And many more thanks to Sudhir ji for the translation and notes.
Ham to dhanya ho gaye Sir ji !! Aise hi aap ke aashirwaad apne aalekh, anuwaad, tippani, ityaadi dwara ham tak pahuncha kar geeton mein likhe gaye jeewan darshan evam prernadaayak sandeshon ko ham’me baant’te rahiyega !!!


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