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Bhagats Bhagat Kabir

Discussion in 'History of Sikhism' started by Critical Singh, Jul 11, 2004.

  1. Critical Singh

    Critical Singh
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    To honour the tradition of the Kabirpanthies, 1518 has been recorded here as the date of death of this mystic poet. According to them, Bhagat Kabir lived for 120 years from 1398-1518. But scholarly research puts his life span from 1398 to 1448. (Bharat Khanda cha Prachin Kosh; Jodh Singh, Kabir, p.20, and others.)

    An interesting story is told, as to how Kabir made Ramanand agree to be his Guru, although the latter took only Brahmins as his disciples. But, it lacks credibility as according to the code of guru-shish relationship in India, it is hypocritical not to tell the name of one's guru, as Guru Amardas says:

    He who conceals his guru

    Will have no place to rest.

    _ Guru Granth Sahib, p. 314

    Guru Ramdas also says:

    He who conceals the name of his guru

    Is not a good person.

    _ Guru Granth Sahib, p 304

    Kabir in his compositions clearly says, that his guru is Satguru, who is omnipresent, and lives deep within one's heart.

    He also says:

    I know the One God who is from the beginning.

    I do not believe in those whom He created and destroyed.

    _ Guru Granth Sahib, p 340

    Regarding the "Ram" that he often mentioned in padas (and is also mentioned in the Guru Granth Sahib) Kabir had explained:

    Make the Lord your companion

    And be free of joy and sorrow

    He was not born as Dashrath's son,

    Nor did he kill the king of Lanka; He issued not from Devki's womb,

    Nor was he reared by Tashodha. …

    And He is not the one that passed away at Dwarka…

    He is the One who is beyond these

    And keeps the world going.

    (Jodh Singh, "Kabir", p.40 ; cf. Dr. Parasnath Tiwari, "Ramaini of Kabir" p. 74.)

    Similarly it would be incorrect to say, that Kabir was Guru Nanak's Guru, just because of similarity in their views. Guru Nanak's Guru also was none other than Satguru. (Sidh Gosht, GGS, p. 972.)

    Had it been otherwise we would not have had Nanak II and Nanak III, we would have had Kabir II and Kabir III or Ramanand III and Ramanand IV. In the Guru Granth Sahib, where the baani of the Gurus is given in each Raga, in chronological order. And then follow compositions of various Bhagats, with Kabir's baani placed first—and in some cases also at the end. If the lineage of gurus had started from Ramanand, his baani would have been given first position.

    In the entire baani of Guru Nanak in the Guru Granth Sahib Kabir's name is not mentioned even once. (Jodh Singh, Kabir, p. 25. Patiala: Punjabi University.)

    In Sidh-Gosht (p. 942) the Sidhs directly ask Nanak, "Who is your Guru, and whose disciple are you?" Guru Nanak replies:, "The Lord is my Guru, and I am His disciple."

    Kabir's reputation as a man of God was so high, that his followers said: Kabir was not born of a woman but descended straight from the heavens, into the heart of a lotus flower, and newly married Nima and her husband Niru picked up the celestial baby and raised him. Coincidentally, to give the child a name, when the Qazi consulted the Quran, the name he got was Kabir, which in Arabic is an attribute of God.

    Kabir went through no schooling, but to earn his living went to Benares, famous for its learned personage. In his compositions he tells us he liked the company of holy persons for exchange of views:

    sMq imlY ikC suxIAY ikC khIAY

    _ Guru Granth Sahib, p ??

    Not depending on tradition, we can trace his life and understand his philosophy from the voluminous treasure of his compositions that is available.

    Guru Nanak during his sojourns visited Benares also. He found echo of his own thoughts in the hymns of Kabir. He collected some of them, and probably sang them accompanied by Mardana's rebeck (rabab). He handed over his notebooks to Bhai Lahina (Guru Angad Dev), when he passed on the spiritual torch to him in 1539. Guru Angad's successor, Guru Amar Das, added to that collection, as he had been a regular visitor to Haridwar, which was another center of religious scholars, and mendicants who collected in their repertoire all they found easy to sing. This collection of Guru Amar Das, available in Goindval pothis, was used by Guru Arjan in compiling the Adi Granth _ sealed, bound and placed in the Harimandar in 1604, as a spiritual beacon for mankind.

    All references below are from Sri Guru Granth Sahib.


    Life
    Kabir tells us: He was a weaver of Benares. (p. 970). His Muslim mother did not like Hindu skinhead sadhus frequenting their house, and giving them Hindu nicknames. (p. 484) Kabir's wife and his mother were fed up with that regular inflow of sadhus who ate their bellies full, while Kabir's own daughter and his two sons were being deprived of their basic needs — because Kabir was spending most of his time in the company of Sadhus, neglecting the weaving work, which was source of their livelihood. They complained; they sighed and cried that Kabir did not talk about the loom, the warp, the beam or the shuttle, instead it was the word of God that was allover him. (p.524) But, Kabir himself enjoyed the company of holy men exchanging with them his views, diametrically opposite to those of the Brahmins, who he thought would go to hell. Brahmins tried to drown him in the Ganges (p. 1162). Muslims considered him a {censored word, do not repeat.}, and complained against him. The Qazi punished him to be trampled by an elephant. But, despite the mahawat's multiple attempts to goad him to put his foot on Kabir, the elephant did not move forward; instead, he picked him up in his trunk and saluted several times. (p. 870-71)

    He says, "I am a weaver of Kashi" (p. 970). "People make fun of my caste, but I am proud of it". (p. 1364). But, he is also happy, to `lose' his caste by mingling with sadhus, Brahmins and people of all walks of life. (p. 484).


    Kabir's Beliefs
    God is purest of the pure (p. 727). "I know one God, who is from the beginning! I do not believe in those, whom he created and destroyed". (p. 340). "I am thy son, thou art my father; Both of us live in the same place _this body" (p.333). God is found through devotion. "There is no salvation without the name of God". (p. 1157). Salvation means union with the Supreme Reality.


    Kabir's Message

    There is one God _ the Creator. "The Lord is One O Qazi". (p. 483). "The Creator pervades the creation everywhere; the same clay has been molded into diverse forms" (p. 1349). "In Hindus and Muslims, pervades the same God, Kabir proclaims it aloud". (p. 483)."Let the name [of God] be thy sustenance;…Make righteousness and compassion be thy garden". (p.970). "Destroy lust, anger and pride". (p.1349).

    Kabir condemned forcible conversions. "Says Kabir, what is done by force is tyranny, thou deemest it lawful [O Qazi!] ". (p. 1374). He condemned hypocrisy, superstitions, idol worship, and false beliefs: "They buy idols and worship them, and with an obstinate mind go and bathe in holy places….Missing [the real path] wander astray. They made a stone into a god and multitudes worship it. Those who put their faith in it [for salvation] will drown midstream". (p. 1371).

    He condemns the caste discrimination: "How art thou a Brahmin and how am I a Shudra? Does milk flow in thy veins and blood in mine? (p. 324).

    There is one major difference between Kabir and Nanak; the former is sometimes blunt, while Nanak is discreet and polite. Kabir tells the Brahmin:

    "If you are a Brahmin, born of a Brahmin woman,

    Why did you not take birth from another way".

    _ Guru Granth Sahib, p 324),

    Jy qU bwhmx bhmxI jwieAw ]

    Qau Awn bwt kwhy nhI AwieAw


    While Guru Nanak says:

    Be not impolite to any one, one learns this from studying….

    Speaking crudely makes body and soul ungracious.

    mMdw iksY n AwKIAY piV AKru eYho buJIAYY ] …

    nwnk iPkY bolIeY qn mn iPkw hoie ]


    _ Guru Granth Sahib, p 473

    Kabir was not influenced by the common `belief' that one who dies in Kashi goes straight to the heaven. To condemn such a superstition, after living most of his life in Kashi, towards the end of his life he moved to Maghar — a place given a bad reputation, that one who dies in Maghar will be reborn as an {censored word, do not repeat.}. He said, "I think Kashi and Maghar to be equal." (p. 326). And, that is where he breathed his last leaving behind thousands of admirers _ both Hindus and Muslims. As per tradition, the Hindus wanted to cremate him, but the Muslims wanted to bury him. When they picked up the shroud, instead of his body they found a layer of flowers. "Born from a flower, he returned to flowers". [243 verses composed by Bhagat Kabir are contained in the Guru Granth Sahib.]
     
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  3. tuaprasaad

    tuaprasaad
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    An absolutely lovely Shabad by Bhagat Kabir Ji,

    This Shabad is by Bhagat Kabeer Ji in Raag Basant on Pannaa 1194

    pRhlwd pTwey pVn swl ]
    prehalaadh pat(h)aaeae parran saal ||
    Prahlaad was sent to school.

    sMig sKw bhu lIey bwl ]
    sa(n)g sakhaa bahu leeeae baal ||
    He took many of his friends along with him.

    mo kau khw pV@wvis Awl jwl ]
    mo ko kehaa parrhaavas aal jaal ||
    He asked his teacher, ""Why do you teach me about worldly affairs?

    myrI ptIAw iliK dyhu sRI guopwl ]1]
    maeree patteeaa likh dhaehu sree guopaal ||1||
    Write the Name of the Dear Lord on my tablet.""||1||

    nhI Cofau ry bwbw rwm nwm ]
    nehee shhoddo rae baabaa raam naam ||
    O Baba, I will not forsake the Name of the Lord.

    myro Aaur pV@n isau nhI kwmu ]1] rhwau ]
    maero aour parrhan sio nehee kaam ||1|| rehaao ||
    I will not bother with any other lessons. ||1||Pause||

    sMfY mrkY kihE jwie ]
    sa(n)ddai marakai kehiou jaae ||
    Sanda and Marka went to the king to complain.

    pRhlwd bulwey byig Dwie ]
    prehalaadh bulaaeae baeg dhhaae ||
    He sent for Prahlaad to come at once.

    qU rwm khn kI Cofu bwin ]
    thoo raam kehan kee shhodd baan ||
    He said to him, ""Stop uttering the Lord's Name.

    quJu qurqu CfwaU myro kihE mwin ]2]
    thujh thurath shhaddaaoo maero kehiou maan ||2||
    I shall release you at once, if you obey my words.""||2||

    mo kau khw sqwvhu bwr bwr ]
    mo ko kehaa sathaavahu baar baar ||
    Prahlaad answered, ""Why do you annoy me, over and over again?

    pRiB jl Ql igir kIey phwr ]
    prabh jal thhal gir keeeae pehaar ||
    God created the water, land, hills and mountains.

    ieku rwmu n Cofau gurih gwir ]
    eik raam n shhoddo gurehi gaar ||
    I shall not forsake the One Lord; if I did, I would be going against my Guru.

    mo kau Gwil jwir BwvY mwir fwir ]3]
    mo ko ghaal jaar bhaavai maar ddaar ||3||
    You might as well throw me into the fire and kill me.""||3||

    kwiF KVgu koipE irswie ]
    kaadt kharrag kopiou risaae ||
    The king became angry and drew his sword.

    quJ rwKnhwro moih bqwie ]
    thujh raakhanehaaro mohi bathaae ||
    "Show me your protector now!"

    pRB QMB qy inksy kY ibsQwr ]
    prabh thha(n)bh thae nikasae kai bisathhaar ||
    So God emerged out of the pillar, and assumed a mighty form.

    hrnwKsu CyidE nK ibdwr ]4]
    haranaakhas shhaedhiou nakh bidhaar ||4||
    He killed Harnaakhash, tearing him apart with his nails. ||4||

    Eie prm purK dyvwiD dyv ]
    oue param purakh dhaevaadhh dhaev ||
    The Supreme Lord God, the Divinity of the divine,

    Bgiq hyiq nrisMG Byv ]
    bhagath haeth narasi(n)gh bhaev ||
    for the sake of His devotee, assumed the form of the man-lion.

    kih kbIr ko lKY n pwr ]
    kehi kabeer ko lakhai n paar ||
    Says Kabeer, no one can know the Lord's limits.

    pRhlwd auDwry Aink bwr ]5]4]
    prehalaadh oudhhaarae anik baar ||5||4||
    He saves His devotees like Prahlaad over and over again. ||5||4||
     
  4. Neutral Singh

    Neutral Singh
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    Sweet, Indeed !! :)
     
  5. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    I would like to open a discussion about the above Shabad by Bhagat Kabir ji.

    What's the underlying meaning of the Shabad and How can we relate this Shabad to our everyday life and practice the message given?

    Input from all is urged.

    Peace & Love

    Tejwant
     

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