Kabir And His Followers
Among medieval saints and sadhus of India, Kabir occupies a prominent place. With each passing century since his death, his name and fame have gained more luster and the wise utterances and couplets of this rustic philosopher are recited and quoted, with equal reverence, both in peasants? huts as well as in the mansions of the rich. Who was Kavir and why is he revered both by the Hindus and the Muslims of India? It goes to the credit of the British Scholar that he chose Kabir as the subject for his Thesis of Doctorate from London University in the twenties of this century which was later revised by him and given the shape of the present Volume. It is perhaps the best treaties existing on the life and doctrines of Kabir in English. Who was Kabir? The traditional date of his birth is AD 1398 on a Monday in the bright half of the month of Jyeshtha. He lived to be 119 years 5 months and 27 days and died in AD 1518 at Maghar not far from present Gorakhpur in Basti District. He predicted the precise date and time of his end. His Hindu disciple, Raja Bir Sinha and Muslim disciple Nawab Bijli Khan wanted to perform his funeralites according to their respective faiths. When the door of his hut was opened nothing was to be found except two sheets and some flowers. The two disciples divide the flowers and two sheets between them, Raj Bir Sinha took his portion to Benares where he cremated it and buried the ashes at the spot what is now known as the ?Kabir Chaura? and the Nawab buried his portion at Maghar where a shrine was built in his memory. This rugged philosopher hated the superstitious practices of both Hindus and Muslims who were vehemently chastised by him. Like Socrates of old amongst the Greeks, he tried to penetrate behind the conventionalities of speech and popular ideas of the reality of things. He exposed with merciless severity the weak points of both Hinduism and Islam. He is probably the greatest exponent of the composite culture of India. The Adi-Granth of the Sikhs contains many allusions to the events of his life. his verse embodies his remarkable teachings and his short didactic poems in Hindi and quoted all over India an example of which is quoted as under: Mala pherat yuga gaya; paya na mana ka pher. Kara ka manka chchanrike; mana ka manka pher. (As he revolves his rosary, life passes away, and he knows not the sectet of his heart, Throw away the rosary of the hand and revolve the rosary of the heart.) Ja ghata prema no base; ta ghat janu masan; Jaise khala luhar ke; sans leta binu pran. (The ghat is which love dwells not, know that ghat to be a burning ghat (Masan); that heart is as the blacksmith?s bellows, which breath but have no life.) ?If union with God be obtained by going about naked All the beasts of the forest shall be saved; What mattereth it whether man goeth naked or weareth a deerskin; if he recognize not God in his heart?? Even Western philosophers have started taking keen interest in Kabir and his philosophy. Alfred Adler in his remarkable book What Life Should Mean to You gives great credence to the original ideas and philosophy of Kabir. The present volume is without exaggeration a unique work on Kabir and although it was first published in 1931, it continues to be a matchless work on the historical, social, biographical and philosophical ideas of Kabir. He will continue to inspire generations not yet born.
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