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The Scriptures - Adi Guru Durbar
Page 11 of 12


Kabir (1398 to 1448)

The tale of Bhagat Kabir begins when a certain Brahmin lived in Benares who with his daughter went to see Guru Ramanand (a Swami, and great spiritual soul). As the girl touched the Swami's feet he, not knowing she was a virgin widow, blessed her with a child. Her father told Ramanand that she was a widow. Ramanand said what had been said has been said and she would have a son but no one will see any signs of her pregnancy and no stigma would be attached to her reputation.

The most celebrated of the 12 disciples of the great Ramanand

In time on a Monday in 1398 she gave birth to a baby boy. She left the child on a lotus flower in a lake called Laher Talao. A Muslim weaver called Ali, of the 'Julah' caste, also known as Nir for he lived near water (Nir), found the child. He and his wife Nima, being childless, brought up the abandoned child as their own. They called upon a Muslim clergyman who opened up the holy Quran and picked out the name 'Kabir', meaning 'great' in Arabic.

Laher Talao
A painting depicting Kabir as a child floating on the lake in a lotus flower

Bhai Gurdas Ji speaks of an amazing encounter between Kabir and Ramanand that displays the difference between faith (being universal) and religion (a desire for society to split humanity based on labels):
'The Brahmin Ramanand lived at Benaras detached from the world.
Early in the morning, he would visit the Ganga [Ganges] to take his bath. One time, before Ramanand, Kabir went and lay in his path.
Touching Kabir with his foot, and waking him, he asked of Kabir to say "Raam".
Just as the iron touched by the Philosopher's stone becomes gold, and the margosa tree [Azadirchta indica] is made fragrant by sandalwood, so too the wonderous Guru [enlightened One] can turn animals and ghosts into divine angels.
Meeting the miraculous [the Guru], the disciple merges into the spectacle of the wonder [ie. the Lord].
There, the from within the Self emerges a fountain and the words from the Gurmukh's [follower of the Guru's words] carve the amazing creatures [ie. the sould is given its beauty].
For now, Raam and Kabir have become identical.'
(Bhai Gurdas Ji, Vaar 10, Verse 15)

Kabir's works are by far the most numerous in Adi Guru Durbar, 292 Hymns & 249 Sloks. Swami Ramanand became his teacher which explains the depth of knowledge regarding Yoga that Kabir portrays in his works. Ridiculed by Brahmins for being a low caste, his works actively reject caste, and the notion of the Almighty only being accesible by higher classes.

Kabir actively rejected tyranny (by the muslim 'Mullah' class and the Hindu 'Brahmin' class). Legend holds that Kabir married Loi and had 2 children in his lifetime. Going against superficial and superstitious thinking, Kabir on realising his time of death was near in order to disapprove an old Brahmnical superstition moved from so-called 'blessed city' Banares, where he had lived all his life, to a so-called 'cursed city' of Magahar. In accordance with a Brahminical superstition any one dying in Shiva's city of Banares went to highest heaven and anyone dying in Magahar went to hell.

An old painting depicting Kabir singing devotional hymns to Lord Raam

Kabir died in 1518. On his death a dispute arose, as on Akali Guru Nanak's death, between Muslims and Hindus. They both claimed him to be of their faith hence both wanted to dispose of his dead body according to their respective faiths religious rights. As a heated quarrel arose a voice came from heaven. When they then ceased quarrelling they found the corpse had miraculously vanished. Kabir left upon his death a religious order, the 'Kabir Panthis’.

A painting depicting Bhagat Kabir with his students

His works, ‘Kabirbijak’, were compiled by a number of his disciples - Dharm Das, Surat Gopal etc. around 1464 when Kabir was approximately sixty six years of age. His works include, 'Kabir Granthvali' and 'Bjack'. His followers, known as 'Kabir Panthis' exist to this day and sing the praises of the Almighty, simplicity and morality.

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