Sant Kabir


Hindi Text

Kabir (also Kabira) was a mystic poet and saint of India, whose writings have greatly influenced the Bhakti movement. The name Kabir comes from Arabic Al-Kabir which means 'The Great' - the 37th Name of God in the Qur'an. He was as is widely acknowledged born in Year 1398 A.D.(71 years before Guru Nanak). Kabirpanthis (followers of Kabir) say that he lived upto the age of 120 years and give date of his death as 1518, but relying on the research of Hazari Prased Trivedi, a British Scholar Charlotte Vaudenville is inclined to lend credence to these dates and has prooven that 1448 is probably the correct date of Saint Kabir's demise. Apart from having an important influence on Sikhism, Kabir's legacy is today carried forward by the Kabir Panth ("Path of Kabir"), a religious community that recognizes him as its founder and is one of the Sant Mat sects. Its members, known as Kabir panthis, are estimated to be around 9,600,000. They are spread over north and central India, as well as dispersed with the Indian diaspora across the world, up from 843,171 in the 1901 census.


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Kabir was influenced by the prevailing religious mood of his times, such as old Brahmanic Hinduism, Hindu and Buddhist Tantrism, the teachings of Nath yogis and the personal devotionalism of South India mixed with the imageless God of Islam. The influence of these various doctrines is clearly evident in Kabir's verses. Eminent historians like R.C. Majumdar, P.N. Chopra, B.N. Puri and M.N. Das have held that Kabir is the first Indian saint to have harmonised Hinduism and Islam by preaching a universal path which both Hindus and Muslims could tread together. But there are a few critics who contest such claims. The basic religious principles he espoused are simple. According to Kabir, all life is an interplay of two spiritual principles. One is the personal soul (Jivatma) and the other is God (Paramatma). It is Kabir's view that salvation is the process of bringing these two divine principles into union. The incorporation of much of his verse in Sikh scripture, and the fact that Kabir was a predecessor of Guru Nanak, have led some western scholars to mistakenly describe him as a forerunner of Sikhism. His greatest work is the Bijak (the "Seedling"), an idea of the fundamental one. This collection of poems elucidates Kabir's universal view of spirituality. Though his vocabulary is replete with Hindu spiritual concepts, such as Brahman, karma and reincarnation, he vehemently opposed dogmas, both in Hinduism and in Islam. His Hindi was a vernacular, straightforward kind, much like his philosophies. He often advocated leaving aside the Qur'an and Vedas and simply following Sahaja path, or the Simple/Natural Way to oneness in God. He believed in the Vedantic concept of atman, but unlike earlier orthodox Vedantins, he followed this philosophy to its logical end by spurning the Hindu societal caste system and worship of murti, showing clear belief in both bhakti and Sufi ideas. The major part of Kabir's work as a bhagat was collected by the fifth Sikh guru, Guru Arjan Dev, and forms a part of the Sikh scripture Guru Granth Sahib. While many ideas reign as to who his living influences were, the only Guru of whom he ever spoke was Satguru. Hence one does not find any mention of human gurus in his verses.


, INDIA

Posted By : Vinod Jindal on Dec 16, 2010


 
 

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