Kabir is undoubtedly one of the most famous saints not only in India but round the world. I had an inner pull towards Kabir even before I read anything about Kabir or by Kabir himself. He is one of the most quoted saints.
Kabir- Birth and early life
They say Kabir was illiterate. Some argue that he was learned. His life is surrounded by mystery right from his birth. He was found on the banks of a pond by a weaver Neeru and his wife Neema. As the conventional story goes, he was born to a Brahmin and she abandoned the baby. There is a large number of historians who deny this in totality. Of course, a true seeker is not at all worried about all these things as words of Sant Kabir is what enchants him and not the web of myths and arguments.
Kabir was a disciple of Sri Ramananda. He was one of the most revered masters of those days having a large number of disciples. Though Kabir was grown up by Muslim parents, Ramananda accepted him as a disciple. There is a long popular story which tells how Kabir was accepted as a disciple by his master. Many authors claim in their books that Kabir was a name given by his master Ramananda and his original name should have been something different. Though there are no proofs to support any of these claims, as I said earlier, it hardly matters for seekers.
Kabir and his family
In many of his Dohas, Kabir has mentioned Loi, which experts say should have been wife. All of us should bear in our minds that Kabir was ultimately a poet. His language is quite poetic. He has taken liberty of using a single word with many different meanings which could have been very common those days but might not be familiar to today’s generation. The word Loi can have different meanings ranging from Log (people) to cotton. Again, we find equal number of learned people fighting for both the sides.
Kabir is also said to have a son, named Kamal. It is said that Kabir was not happy with his son and the way he behaved. Some mystics like Osho even claim that Kamal was also an enlightened saint- just like Kabir himself, but his way was different. He even mentions Kamal opening his own hut in front of that of Kabir’s and equal number of people used to visit both of them- to some, way of Kabir was suitable, for others, it was Kamal’s. Again, we find some scholars who stick to their opinion that Kabir was never married and Kamal is just a fictitious character.
Kabir – Master for both Hindus and Muslims
Kabir was a weaver by profession. It is commonly seen that saints generally run away from the societies and seek solitude. All the scholars agree on one point- Kabir never went away from the society. He was always there, right in the middle of chaos. He taught spirituality right in the middle of market place. After he acquired knowledge, some say that he kept on moving throughout the Indian subcontinent- which includes today’s Pakistan, Afghanistan and other countries surrounding India. Then he settled. Kabir was accepted as a master by both Hindus and Muslims.
Kabir is famous for his Dohe (couplets). One can experience tremendous amount of power to impact one’s heart in these Kabir ke Dohe. He has written around 700 of these two liners. I have tried to throw some light on a few of them. I am constantly adding new Kabir ke Dohe to this section.
Kabir Doha on importance of remembering Lord’s name
जब ही नाम हिरदय धरा, भया पाप का नाश I
मानो चिंगारी आग कि, पुरी पुरानी घास II
[A small spark can completely burn heaps of grass collected over years. In same way, the name of god, when uttered from the heart, can burn the sins accumulated over years]
2. Kabir Doha on Truth
सांच बराबर तप नही, झूठ बराबर पाप ।
जाके हिरदय म साच है, ताके हिरदय हिर आप
[There is no meditation is effective as truth and no sin as grave as falsity. Lord is present in the heart of one, whose heart is filled with truth.]
3. Kabir on human life and existence
दुर्लभ मनुस्या जीवन है,देह न बरम्बार ।
तरुवर ज्यों पत्ती झड़े,बहुरि न लागे डार ॥
Rare is the birth as a human being and one does not again again gets this human body. Once a leaf is detached from the trunk, cannot be joint back again.
4. Kabir Doha on our habit of asking for favors
माँगन मरण समान है, मत माँगो कोई भीख ।
माँगन से तो मरना भला, यह सतगुरु की सीख
(Do not ask for anything. To ask for anything is like being dead. My master teaches me that it is better to die than to ask for something. )
5. Kabir Doha on finding fault in others and self reflection
बुरा जो देखन मैं चला, बुरा न मिलिया कोई।
जो मन खोजा अपना, तो मुझसे बुरा न कोई।।
(I started searching for the devil but could not find anyone. When I searched inside me, realized, no one is more devilish then me.)
6. Kabir Doha on Awareness
नींद निशानी मौत की, उठ कबीरा जाग,
और रसायन छाँड़िके, नाम रसायन लाग
(Unawareness is a sign of death, wake up, Kabira! Leave aside all the drugs and practice the drug of meditation )
7. Kabir on world and seeker
सुखिया सब संसार है, खाये और सोये I
दुखिया दास कबीर है, जागे और रोये I
(The entire world is happy, engrossed in sleep and hunger. Look at poor Kabir, he is awake and crying!)
8. Kabir Doha on utilizing time properly
रात गवाई सोय के, दिवस गावाया खाय I
हिरा जन्म अनमोल था, कोडी बदले जाय I
(You waste the night sleeping and the day eating. The precious life which you have got, will be of no use!)