The Story of Ants in a Burning Log – How Dharamdas Met His Spiritual Master (Guru Kabir)

Dharma-das [Dharamdas] was extremely devout and practiced all the rules of charity toward the poor and guests. One day Dharma-das arrived at Mathura on a tour of sacred bathing places. After bathing in the Yamuna, he set about preparing his food. When he looked in the fire, he saw that an army of ants was desperately trying to escape from a burning log. He was filled with compassion and vowed not to eat the food. He put it on a plate and went out to find a suitable donee. Just then Kabir arrived in Mathura. Dharma-das offered the food to Kabir. Kabir told him: “Listen, merchant Dharma-das! When you were making this food, millions of ants were killed. Do you want to burden me with all this sin?” As Kabir spoke, all the rice grains on the plate turned into ants and began to crawl back to the ground.

Dharma-das then asked Kabir who he was. Kabir said: “In this Kali Yuga my name is Kabir. … I gave you a boon in a previous life. For this reason I have come here to enlighten you.”

(Kabir Legends and Ananta-Das’s Kabir Parachai, a translation of the Kabir Parachai, David Lorenzen, SUNY Press, New York)


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