Bhagat Kabir depicts the union of the seeker with IkOankar (the Divine) through the symbolism of the wedding. He states that he has imbued his mind with the loving devotion of IkOankar and IkOankar has come into his heart-home as the Bridegroom.
tanu  rainī    manu  pun  rapi  karihaü    pācaü  tat  barātī.  
rām  rāi  siu  bhāvari  laihaü   ātam  tih  raṅgi  rātī.1.  
gāu  gāu    dulhanī  maṅgalcārā.  
mere  grih  āe    rājā  rām  bhatārā.1.  rahāu.  
nābhi  kamal  mahi  bedī  raci  le   braham  giān  ucārā.  
rām  rāi  so  dūlahu  pāio   as  baḍbhāg  hamārā.2.  
suri  nar  muni  jan  kaütak  āe   koṭi  tetīs  ujānāṁ.  
kahi  kabīr  mohi  biāhi  cale  hai   purakh  ek  bhagvānā.3.2.24.  
-Guru  Granth  Sahib  482  
Literal Translation
Interpretive Transcreation
Poetical Dimension
This composition is set in the rag or musical mode of Asa, a rag of hope and ambition that inspires its singers and listeners to cultivate the courage to do what must be done and determination to do things right. In this context, Bhagat Kabir is invoking a sentiment of ambition regarding who to marry that navigates and disrupts the prevailing culture of his time. Bhagat Kabir uses the imagery of the wedding procession to disrupt popular cultural paradigms and communicate a larger message about the relationship between the individual seeker as the human-bride and IkOankar (One Creative and Pervasive Force, 1Force, the One) as the Groom.

Bhagat Kabir says, Sing, O newly-married brides! Sing the joyful songs of IkOankar’s praises! King Ram, the Beautiful Sovereign, the dearest Bridegroom, has come into my heart-home. The Bhagat, the devoted being, is addressing those who are already wedded, who are already in union, and connection with the Spouse. These are the community of friends surrounding the human-bride who also seek to be wedded. In worldly weddings, we often have unmarried girls singing the songs of joy, but in this context, those happily married ones are being asked to sing in this union. Bhagat Kabir, as the human-bride says, King Ram, the Sovereign and the Beautiful, my dearest Husband, has come into my home, has come to dwell in my heart as my Bridegroom. This marriage is the marriage — it is not just ceremonial. The idea behind even worldly ceremonies is to invoke the best feelings and outcomes even when we know they do not always happen. In this union, the ones who are singing these praises and invoking these feelings are already experiencing union with the Beautiful and Sovereign IkOankar. 

Sing, O newly-married brides! Sing the joyful songs of IkOankar’s praises! King Ram, the Beautiful Sovereign, the dearest Bridegroom, has come into my heart-home. In wedding ceremonies, the groom usually goes to the bride-to-be’s house in particularly colorful clothing. The bride also tends to wear bright colors. The house is decorated in bright colors. We do this in many different contexts, on many different occasions: we prepare ourselves, beautify ourselves, clothe ourselves in vibrant colors, and adorn ourselves so that we can look our best and have a beautiful environment for the occasion. Bhagat Kabir expands this idea, saying, having made the body a vessel, I dye my mind again and again. For Bhagat Kabir, the color of the clothing is temporary, but the coloring of the body is not temporary. This is about a lasting and internal dyeing or imbuing that comes to be seen externally in our behavior. Instead of interests and desires, which are temporary and unstable and mixed in that vessel of worldly colors, in this vessel, some other color is being put in. That is the color Bhagat Kabir, as the human-bride says he is drowning in or being colored in. What is coloring us? This is where elements of the Wisdom are implicit. The Wisdom helps us to color ourselves from within — in love, in devotion, in the virtues of the Beloved. What is explicit is that this coloring of the mind and body is of love and devotion. That love’s color does not fade; it does not just last for the duration of the wedding ceremonies or the procession. Within the imagery of the wedding procession, Bhagat Kabir says that his wedding procession is of the five elements or the five virtues. These virtues are always present in the body, but they have to be cultivated and brought out. In this union, the internal virtuousness in the body is present as the wedding procession. Who is the groom? Bhagat Kabir says that his groom is the Beautiful and Sovereign IkOankar. Speaking as the human-bride or seeker, Bhagat Kabir says that he will make wedding circumambulations with That Beautiful Sovereign. This seeker is ready; as their innermost consciousness, their entire being has been imbued with the love of that Sovereign. Because they are drenched in that color of love, they are prepared to walk, to wed the Divine.

Sing, O newly-married brides! Sing the joyful songs of IkOankar’s praises! King Ram, the Beautiful Sovereign, the dearest Bridegroom, has come into my heart-home. Bhagat Kabir, as the human-bride says, I have created an altar in the lotus within my navel. I have uttered the wisdom of IkOankar through the Wisdom. Every wedding ceremony has some version of ‘tying the knot’ — something to make it official, something like a contract. In Indic traditions, where Yogis are considered supreme, they say that the lotus in the navel is where the knot is tied. This is where they understand the altar to be. In this context, the lotus in the navel is interpreted as the heart. The seeker has made the heart an altar of union. The seeker has uttered the mantra of IkOankar’s wisdom. There is no Pandit or priest or holy man who has to come to complete the task of marriage successfully. There is a great disruption in this idea — that the human-bride themselves can conduct this marriage with the help of the Wisdom that colored them in love. No particular things are being recited, no auspicious mantras, no particular elements of religiosity and ritual. The only thing being uttered is the deep knowledge or wisdom of the Supreme Being. There is great sovereignty and freedom in this union. The center of this union is not the rituals and customs but the Bridegroom, IkOankar. So great are the seeker’s fortunes that they have found the Sovereign as the Spouse. The time, the placement of the planets, the setting, the company, the adornment, the ritual — none of those things make the seeker fortunate. The seeker is made fortunate by virtue of who they are wedding. The congratulations that are usually external and motivated by those aforementioned worldly things are nowhere to be found here. Instead, the seeker feels internal relief and comfort at the self-realization that they have become fortunate. They know this within themselves. They have experienced it.

Sing, O newly-married brides! Sing the joyful songs of IkOankar’s praises! King Ram, the Beautiful Sovereign, the dearest Bridegroom, has come into my heart-home. In the worldly wedding ceremonies, there comes a time for the bride to leave with the groom to be sent off to the in-laws’ house. In that procession, there are usually relatives, elders, dignitaries, and friends usually join. In this union, who has come to this wedding to take the human-bride away? Where will she go? Bhagat Kabir says that the divine-oriented beings and the sages, the three hundred and thirty million deities mounted on flying chariots, have all come to see the wonderful spectacle of this ideal union. The most celebrated beings, the supreme ones, the dignitaries, the ones in tune with the One, have come to witness the extraordinary that has no explanation. They have come to witness the phenomenon of this union. As the human bride says, Bhagat Kabir says that having married me, the One Being, the dearest Divine, is taking me away. The One who is everywhere is the One Kabir is wedding. Nothing has physically changed; it is not that the body or mind was made new but that both were deeply colored in love and devotion. It is not that the Divine was once not present and now is; it is that Bhagat Kabir feels that presence now. This is about a change in internal and external disposition and perspective brought on by the Wisdom. 

In this composition, Bhagat Kabir disrupts paradigms again and again. Marrying the Sovereign IkOankar is a disruption of all those systems in which there are only a few who can claim this relationship exclusively. Hierarchies of caste and status are disintegrated. The most important thing becomes preparation of the self, dyeing the self in the color of love. The happily wedded women are not just married; they are married to the One that Bhagat Kabir is also marrying. The ones glorifying this union are married to the sovereign and share in that relationship and joy. There is no exclusivity or gatekeeping. The intimacy in this composition disrupts the formalities and religiosities of existing paradigms that require a broker or an agent to facilitate even communication with the One. There is no religious authority being invoked. This is between Bhagat Kabir as the human-bride and the Sovereign Divine as the Groom. Among all those celebrated beings, supreme ones, and dignitaries, Bhagat Kabir is now known because he has wedded the Beautiful Sovereign. His certainty about this union is deeply revolutionary and intimately adoring. No one can keep him from his Beloved. Are we pursuing this relationship with the same conviction and love? Are we cultivating a community of happily wedded seekers? Are we dyeing ourselves in devotion? Are we coloring ourselves in love?