In India religious history Saint Kabir is unique. To the Hindus, he is a vaishnava Bhakta to the Muslims, a pir, to the Sikhs a Bhagat, to the Kabirpanthis, an Avatar and to the modern patriots, he is a champion of Hindu Muslim unity.
Swami Brahmeshananda a senior monk of the Ramakrishna order who is a former editor of The Vedanta Kesari and the author of many popular books, has painstakingly done the translation of some of the verses and songs of Kabir.
This book would help the readers to gain the secular and spiritual wisdom ingrained in the mystical verses and songs of Kabir.
From the foothills of the Himalayas to the shores of Kamyakumari, from Somnath in the west to the Bay of Bengal, Kabir has long been regarded by Hindus and Muslims as a great mystic poet and a religious reformer. His name has travelled far and wide in the Subcontinent. In Indian religious history, kabir is unique. To the Hidus, he is a Vaishnava Bhakta, to the Muslims, a Pir, to the Sikhs, a Bhagat, to the Kabirpanthis, an avatar and to the modern patriots he is a champion of Hindu- Muslim who opposed superstitious beliefs and empty rituals.
In modern progressive circles today, Kabir is held in high esteem as a social reformer and a revolutionary. He is a symbol of all that is free, noble, and challenging in the Indian tradition. His message of an omnipresent spiritual reality, divine love, and the equality of all beings, makes him a modern messiah who promotes the best of Hindu, Islamic, and Sufi wisdom.
It is now a well accepted fact that kabir was an abandoned child whom his foster parents the weaver name Neeru and his Wife Neema. Found near a lake at a place called Laheratara in Varanasi and took him home. There he was raised in a community open to both Hindu and Muslim practices. Kabir grew up in poverty but with values of inner richness and honesty. The naming ceremony of the child was done, according to the tradition, by a kazi, a muslim Priest, who opened the holy book Quran and named him 'Kabir as found therein. This Aribic word represents the Great Lord.
As is generally the case with the lives of most of the Saints, Kabir's life too is full of miracles. Since his foster mother was not lactating, he was reader up on goat's or cow's milk from his very infancy. At times the child would not take any food causing worry to the parents. However, when he would gaze eagerly at a cow, milk would flow from its udders and fill the cup kept underneath. Although, right from the childhood, he got into the family trade of weaving, he hardly ever paid much attention to it. From his very young age, he was so engroussed in the contemplation of God that his negligence caused his parents anxiety as to how he would survive without a livelihood. In one of his songs, he refers to his mother's anxiety and his faith that God is the sustainer of His devotes.
Kabir was a genuine spiritual aspirant who found a charismatic guru in Ramananda. since it was not possible for a Muslim to be initiated by a Hindu sage, he laid himself down on the steps leading to the Ganga where Swami Ramananda generally passed through. In the dark early hours of the day, the swami did not notice him and as his foot touched his (Kabir's) body, he uttered 'Rama, Rama'. Initiated thus, Kabir took his as his mantra (and according to some he later met Ramananda who willingly initiated him formally). According to another view, kabir was the disciple and the successor of Sheikh Taki, a renowned Sufi ascetic saint.
Like other facts of Kabir's life, his married life is also shrouded in doubt and confusion. Some believe that he was married and had wife called Loi and a son called Kamal. Some others believe that he had a daughter too, and since there is no authentic proof of the above beliefs, some opine that although a householder (not a monk), he never married
Kabir never advocated giving up the world. However, he pointed out that obsession with the world caused bondage. He believed that any place or time is good enough to experience the Divine. He advocated spiritual enlightenment within the world, not by renouncing it.
There are a number of miracles described in Kabir's life. As his reputation grew as a holy man, he also became famous for his healing power. Stories of healing the incurable diseases of Emperor Sikandar Lodhi and his master Sheikh Taki's daughter are well known. But more than the miracles, kabir's sole aim was to teach people that it was their birth right to experience God without discrimination of caste creed, religion or status it being the privilege of human existence. He is supposed to have met mythological personalities like Hanuman, Sage Vasistha etc. and other historical luminaries like Gorakhnath, Makhdoom Jaharia etc. and to have had discussions with them. While these may be true or false, he did suffer persecution at the hands of fanatic Muslims for his uprightness and uncompromising denunciation of the prevalent evils perpetrated in the name of religion. According to the records, in Barabanki several attempts were made to harm Kabir. In Guru Granthsaheb there is a mention of two drastic attempts on Kabir's life. But he survived to gain greater glory as a true man of God.
While multitudes flock to Banares to take their last breath, kabit showed his contempt for unfounded tradition and the belief that death in kasha grants salvation and went to Magahar near Gorakhpur. Knowing that the end was near, the saint demanded to be left alone inside a hut where he lay covered by a single cloth. Outside, his Hindu and Muslim disciples contested the right to dispose of his mortal remains according to the rites of their respective religions. A little while later a spark of light emanated from the hut and his disciples rushed in. But when the cloth was lifted, nothing was found but a bed of flowers. Half of the flowers went to the Rajah of Banaras, Veer Singh, who had them cremated according to the Hindu rites. The remainder went to the Pathan noble Bijli Khan, head of the Mohammaden group, who buried them and erected over them a monument on that spot in Magahar. This is generally acknowledged as Kabir's place of Samadhi. The Kabir Chaura Math at Banaras enshrines the Kabir Samadhi, which according to the legend, is built over the flowers procured by veer Singh.
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