Kabir ke dohe (Kabir’s couplets) are couplets from India.
Here is one of them:
“Pehle Agan Birha Ki, Pachhe Prem Ki Pyas
Kahe Kabir Tub Janiye, Naam Milan Ki Aaas”
“First the pain of separation, then the thirst for love
Says Kabir, only then will you know joy of the union.”
Background information (Why does the informant know or like this piece? Where or who did they learn it from? What does it mean to them?):
Informant’s grandmother used to teach her these couplets because they were popular.
The informant believes that this couplet means first you experience the pain of separation then you can feel love. Only from the pain of separation do we feel the pangs of love. Then there is hope of union. This is the story of life – lovers meeting, separating, and realizing their love for each other then holding the urge for union and an eventual union. In Sufi tradition, it is a reflection of man and God – realization of the separation from God, the pangs of love and urge for union with God, and the eventual joy of union.
Context (When or where would this be performed? Under what circumstance?):
It is shared with children in school.
I never grew up with couplets, so it’s strange that other cultures see this as regular. The meaning is universal though and it can be said for lovers, family members, God, and anything else we love.