Few months ago I was trying to look for some appropriate translation of this famous compositon of Kabir,not able to find it, I translated and added notes about what I think Kabir meant. Its quite interesting that the Nirguni Kabir (or so he is thought to be) was direct disciple of Ramananda who was initiated in the great tradition of Ramanujacharya. Ramananda's other famous disciples were Ravidas,Dhanna Bhagat etc.
So unlike Shankara who landed directly and spent his life above the vindhyas, Ramanuja did make an indirect impact and sort of ushered North India into Bhakti tradition. More on ramanuja some other time.
Kabir here talks about body, or human experience and how to utilize it. He talks about how he lived in the body, how other notable predecessors lived and how does an average man live.
चदरिया झीनी रे झीनी, रे राम नाम रस भीनी
body is like finely woven cloth and is permeated by the raam naam (ra+ma rechek purak (breath))
अष्ट कमल का चरखा बनाया, पांच तत्त्व की पूनी
Eight-petaled lotus was used as a spinning wheel, and the 5 elements as yarn
नौ दस मॉस बुनन को लागे, मूरख मैली कीनी
took 9-10 months to knit it, Oh fool you soiled it!
जब मोरी चादर बन घर आई, रंग रेज को दिनी
When I got my sheet, I gave it to person who dyes sheet(guru).
ऐसा रंग रंगा रंगरे ने, लालो लाल कर दिनी
It was dyed such, totally red in color
ध्रुव प्रह्लाद सुदामा ने ओढी, शुकदेव ने निर्मल किन्ही
Dhruv prahlad and sudama wore it, Shukdev made it pure.
दास कबीर ने ऐसी ओढी, ज्यों की त्यों धर दिनी
dar kabeer wore it such, he left it as it is(as he got it)
Body is a sheet. You can experience cloth but you arent cloth. Compare with Gita. वासांसि जीर्णानि यथा विहाय नवानि गृह्णाति नरोऽपराणि । तथा शरीराणि विहाय जीर्णा न्यन्यानि संयाति नवानि देही ॥२- २२॥ kabir urges us to realize body is permeated by ra and ma (in and out going breath) anaapshanti, which is permeating . breath is the link which makes body experience possible.(raam naam), hence re raam naam ras bhini chadariya
Eight lotuses, eight latent tendencies of body(survival,threat,accumulation,attention,domination ,suppression,discontentment,) correlate with eight energy centres within body(7+1(bindu).
Notice how 5 elements manifest as body and in that we create these tendencies compare with samkhya of kapila.
This sheath takes involves 9-10 lunar cycles around earth, time as celestial movement. celestial connection with sheath.
You soiled it, you lost awareness :)
Kabir now talks about his own body (mori chadar what happened with his sheet). When kabir took body, he let his guru work on it. His guru dyed it( permanent transformation of body based experiences :-) ) and made it red. (red is the color of root).
Kabir now talks about how other noted ppl who wore it, dhruv, prahlad sudama(all bhaktas), and shukdev(son of vyasa) and purified it (lived with awareness).
How did Kabir wear it? Kabir, dint let it get soiled. He maintained the new born's awareness all his life.