The followers of Kabir Panth, known as the Kabir Panthis, have extended their presence throughout the northern and central parts of India.It is believed that the renowned poet Saint Kabir Das was born on the full moon of the month of Jyestha in the year 1440. Every year, during the full moon day of Jyestha, which lies between the months of May and June, Saint Kabir Das Jayanti or his birthday anniversary is celebrated with fervor and joy by his family members and followers.
According to Islamic beliefs, the term Kabir reflects something of great magnitude and importance. Kabir Panth is a huge religious community that identifies Kabir as the originator of the Sant Mat sects. The members of Kabir Panth are known as the Kabir panthis who had extended all over the north and central India. The renowned writings of Kabir Das include Bijak, Kabir Granthawali, Anurag Sagar, Sakhi Granth, and much more. His birth date is not recorded, however what is known is that he was raised in a financially destitute family of Muslim weavers.
Kabir Das: Biography, Life, Legacy, Contributions and Teachings
He was a deeply spiritual individual and eventually transformed into a great Sadhu. His influential traditions and culture gained him a widespread recognition throughout the world. It is commonly believed that he received all his spiritual wisdom and teachings from his Guru, Ramananda, during his early years of life. After a period of time, he developed a reputation as a devoted follower of guru Ramananda. Kabir Das' house has been made available for students and scholars to reside in and learn from his incredible works.
The starting point of Kabir Das' life is unknown, as he was initially found in Lehartara, a small village in Varanasi by his foster parents, Niru and Nima. Despite their lacking wealth and lack of schooling, his parents opened their hearts to the little child and taught him all that they knew about their business. He managed to find a balance between living a life as a humble householder and a spiritual figure.
He had crafted the poems in a straightforward and simple language that radiated the deep respect for the reality of the situation. Despite his lack of formal education, he composed his poetry in Hindi as well as in other languages such as Avadhi, Braj, and Bhojpuri. All of the poetry and songs attributed to Sant Kabir are available in a variety of different languages. Kabir, along with his many disciples, have become recognized for their use of lyrical responses, including 'banis', which are poems of faith.
The Kabir Matha, located in both Kabir Chaura and Lahartara in Varanasi, is a place of spiritual enlightenment, where devotees gather to sing the words of wisdom from the hymns of Kabir. It is the place where real life lessons are taught to the people. The house of his parents, Neeru and Neema, was known as Neeru Teela. The space has been transformed into a residence for students and scholars who are conducting research on Kabir's work.
The existing religious climate of Sant Kabir's time was highly prejudiced as a result of Hinduism, Tantrism and personal devotion being mixed with the imageless God of Islam. Kabir Das is the first Indian saint to bring the two religions, Hinduism and Islam, together by giving a path of spiritual realization that both Hindus and Muslims could follow. He believes that every life has a special connection between two spiritual principles, the Jivatma and Paramatma. His opinion was that moksha is the process of connecting these two spiritual forces together.
His renowned work Bijak has a large compilation of poems that demonstrate Kabir's holistic perspective of spirituality. Kabir's Hindi dialect was uncomplicated, much like the simplicity of his philosophies. He devoted himself to the concept of unity in God and followed it faithfully. He has never embraced or accepted the practice of murti pujan within Hinduism, rather he has displayed an unwavering confidence in the Bhakti and Sufi ideologies.
Numerous translations of the poems and songs credited to Sant Kabir are present in a variety of languages. The three types of poems that are written are dohe, shloka, and Sakhi. To remember and be reminded of the highest truth is what Sakhi stands for. Through the process of memorizing, performing, and contemplating these utterances, Kabir and all his followers have found a way to reach spiritual awakening.
Contribution to the Country
Saint Kabir Das was a major contributor to the Bhakti and Sufi movement in India during the Middle Ages, and is well-known for his work in the Bhakti movement in the northern part of the country. The region of Kashi, which is also known as the Banaras or Varanasi, is the center of his life cycle. He was closely connected to the profession of weaving and was a member of the Julaha caste.
He is widely credited as one of the pioneering figures of the Bhakti Movement in India, alongside figures such as Farid, Ravidas, and Namdev, for his immense contributions. His combination of Nath tradition, Sufism, and bhakti created a unique spiritual identity and made him a saint of a religion all his own. He asserted that the only way to truly experience love and life is to go through the path of suffering.
During the fifteenth century, the Brahmin orthodoxy had a strong influence on the people of Varanasi, as did the education centers in the city. Kabir Das worked fervently to express his ideas even though he was from the Julaha caste, in order to make people understand that all of us are human. He never felt any distinction amongst the people regardless of whether they were prostitutes, from a lower caste or a higher one.
He would bring his followers together in order to preach to them as a whole. Despite the ridicule he received from the Brahmins due to his preaching activities, he never responded with criticism, which is why he was beloved by the common people. Through his couplets, he began to shape the thinking of the general public about the real truth. He had always been against the idea of using religious rituals and asceticism as a way to reach salvation.
According to him, the ruby of goodness is more valuable than any ruby mined from the earth. He argued that if your heart is overflowing with goodness, then you will have all the wealth and abundance of the world. A person who has mercy has strength and the ability to forgive is a true testament to their existence, and only by being righteous can one hope to achieve eternal life. He expressed that God is always within your heart and is constantly with you, so take some time to offer your worship to Him in your heart.
He was able to show the common people that even if a road is present, if one is unable to walk, the road is of no use to them and opened their minds to this concept. His deep and penetrating gaze opened the eyes of the people to the true teachings of humanity, morality, and spirituality. He was a strong advocate of the ahimsa and was a great promoter of this important belief.
Through his revolutionary teachings, he was able to turn the minds of the people away from his era. His exact background and family remains unknown, though some have suggested that he may have come from a Muslim family, others have speculated that he was from a high-class Brahmin family.
Kabir’s Doha and Meaning
बडा हुआ तो क्या हुआ जसै ेपेड़ खजर।ू
पंथी को छाया नही फल लागेअति दरू ॥
Meaning – Having wealth and power is of no avail if it is not used to help those in need. A palm tree is an example of a plant that is incredibly tall, however it does not provide any shade for a traveller as the fruit is positioned at the very top of the tree. As a result, it is not easy for anyone to eat it.
कबीरा खड़ा बाज़ार में, सबकी मांगेखरै.
ना काहूसेदोस्ती, ना काहूसेबरै.
Meaning – It is important to always have a positive opinion and think the best of everyone. There is no need to be overly friendly with anyone, nor should you be unkind or unfriendly to anyone.
कहेकबीर कैसेनिबाहे, केर बेर को संग
वह झूमत रस आपनी, उसकेफाटत अगं .
Meaning – People from different backgrounds may find it challenging to live together in the same environment. If a ber and banana tree are planted in close proximity, the ber tree will be seen swaying in the air, and the leaves of the banana tree will be ripped apart by the ber tree's thorns.
तिनका कबहूँन निदिं येजो पावन तर होए
कभूउडी अखिँ याँपरेतो पीर घनेरी होए
Meaning – Oppressing the weak and fragile is wrong, just as it is wrong to trample a tiny speck. When that individual who lacks strength retaliates, the repercussions will be severe and very painful. Even the smallest speck of dust in the eye can cause a significant amount of uneasiness and pain.
साँई इतना दीजिए जामेंकुटुंब समाय ।
मैंभी भखा ू ना रहूँसाधुन भखा ु जाय॥
Meaning – In his prayers, Kabir asks the almighty to provide him with enough resources to sustain his family and have the capability to offer meals to any guests that may come. It is important to consider only having what is necessary, as having too much is of no use.
It is said that Kabir Das, the 15th century Sufi poet, made the conscious decision to die in Magahar, which lies approximately 240 kilometers from Lucknow. To end the myth that has been circulating among the people, he has chosen to pass away in this location. In those times, it was believed that if one were to take their last breaths and die in the region of Magahar, they would not be granted entry into heaven, and would instead be reincarnated as a donkey in their next life.
As per the Hindu calendar in Vikram Samvat 1575, he left this world in the month of Maghar in the year 1518 on Magh Shukla Ekadashi. It is a devout Hindu belief that those who die in Kashi will be taken to heaven straight away, which explains why they go to Kashi in their last moments and await death to be granted salvation. Kabir Das left the Kashi area in order to challenge the misconception of the myth.
The famous saying related to this is “jo kabira Kashi mue to rame kaun nihora” which translates to: If simply dying in Kashi would take one to heaven, then why is it necessary to worship God? The words of Kabir Das are unbiased and apply to all people, no matter what religion they may be, such as Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, and others. In the Magahar, a sacred place of pilgrimage, there is the mazar and samadhi of Kabir Das. After his death, his Hindu and Muslim followers of the religion were in disagreement as to who should lead the funeral of his body.
A cave located a few meters away from the Samadhi serves as a reminder of the place where he meditated prior to his death. As a research foundation, Kabir Shodh Sansthan is a running trust that works to encourage and promote research on Kabir Das' works.
Kabir Das was a 15th-century Indian mystic poet and saint, who made a significant contribution to Indian literature and culture that is still remembered centuries later. His poetry and lessons were highly influential in the Bhakti movement, an effort to break down rigid boundaries of caste and religion and to promote a global understanding of spirituality and love. Kabir's poetry was recognised for its straightforwardness, lack of complexity, and its ability to convey a powerful message.
His writing had the power to convey deep and meaningful messages in an uncomplicated way, and his thoughts were able to touch the hearts of people regardless of their backgrounds. His poetry explored various themes such as the existence of God, the purpose of life, and the relevance of love and understanding. The revolutionary message of spiritual unity and social equality that Kabir shared still resonates with people even now, centuries later.
He taught that the importance of having inner experiences and realizing one's own spirituality was far more important than any outward religious rituals or dogmas, and his ideas have been influential in various spiritual paths. Even in a time of great religious and social struggles, Kabir's poetry managed to rise above and appeal to people of all backgrounds, without regard to religion and caste.
Even in this day and age of great need for understanding and harmony between communities, his message of universal love and brotherhood still holds great relevance and importance. In conclusion, it is apparent that Kabir Das's life and work have had a significant influence on Indian literature and culture and his legacy has inspired people since generations ago.