Sunday, August 14, 2005

Kabir - Another Weaver of Ideas & Philosphy


Kabir is one saint, I truly wish to follow. His ideas are simple, revolutionary(at the time he said and even now), and easy to implement. My search in understanding his philosphy is still on. This blog is a small introduction to him.

Kabir was born in India in 1398 AD. He lived for 120 years. According to one of the legends, he was of a virgin birth. It is said that his mother becomes pregnant after visiting a Hindu shrine. Upon delivery the child is given up for adoption. Kabir was raised among a Muslim community of weavers. He was never formally educated and was almost completely illiterate. According to legend, the only word that he ever learned how to write was "Rama".

The basic religious principles he espouses 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 into union these two divine principles.

The social and practical manifestation of Kabir's philosophy has rung through the ages. It represented a synthesis of Hindu, and Muslim concepts. From Hinduism he accepts the concept of reincarnation and the law of Karma. From Islam he takes the affirmation of the single god and the rejection of caste system and idolatry. Not only has Kabir influenced Muslims and Hindus but he is one of the major inspirations behind Sikhism as well. The Holy Guru Granth Sahib contains over 500 verses by Kabir. The Sikh community and others who follow the Holy Granth, hold Kabir in the same reverence as the other ten Gurus.

Kabir openly criticized all sects and gave a new direction to the Indian philosophy. This is due to his straight forward approach that has a universal appeal. It is for this reason that Kabir is held in high esteem all over the world.

The hall mark of Kabir's poetry is that he conveys in his two line poems (Doha), what others may not be able to do in many pages.Another beauty of Kabir's poetry is that he picks up situations that surround our daily lives. Thus, even today, Kabir's poetry is relevant and helpful in guiding and regulating our lives, in both social and spiritual context.

Some of the his poems -

Moko Kahan Dhundhere Bande, Mein To Tere Paas Mein,
Na Teerath Mein, Na Moorat Mein,
Na Ekant Niwas Mein, Na Mandir Mein,
Na Masjid Mein, Na Kabe Kailas Mein,
Mein To Tere Paas Mein Bande Mein To Tere Paas Mein,
Na Mein Jap Mein, Na Mein Tap Mein, Na Mein Barat Upaas Mein,
Na Mein Kiriya Karm Mein Rehta, Nahin Jog Sanyas Mein,
Nahin Pran Mein, Nahin Pind Mein,
Na Brahmand Akas Mein, Na Mein Prakuti Prawar Gufa Mein,
Nahin Swasan Ki Swans Mein,
Khoji Hoye Turat Mil Jaoon Ik Pal Ki Talas Mein,
Kahet Kabir Suno Bhai Sadho Mein To Hun Viswas Mein

Translation
Where do you search me? I am with you
Not in pilgrimage, nor in icons, Neither in solitudes, Not in temples,
nor in mosques, Neither in Kaba nor in Kailash,
I am with you o man I am with you,
Not in prayers, nor in meditation, Neither in fasting, Not in yogic exercises, Neither in renunciation, Neither in the vital force nor in the body,
Not even in the ethereal space, Neither in the womb of Nature,
Not in the breath of the breath,
Seek earnestly and discover In but a moment of search,
Says Kabir, Listen with care Where your faith is, I am there.

Dohas
This one most of u out there must have heard - For my fellow procastinators ;)
Kaal Kare So Aaj Kar, Aaj Kare So Ub
Pal Mein Pralaya Hoyegi, Bahuri Karoge Kub

Do Tomorrow's work today, today's work now
if the moment is lost, when will u complete the work

For my friend Arjuna, the concept of Advaita by Kabir
Jab Mein Tha Tab Hari Nahin‚ Jab Hari Hai Mein Nahin
Sab Andhiyara Mit Gaya‚ Jab Deepak Dekhya Mahin

When "I" was then Hari was not, Now Hari "is" and "I" am not
All the darkness (illusions) mitigated, When I saw the light (illumination) within

For all us fault finders
Bura Jo Dekhan Main Chala, Bura Naa Milya Koye,
Jo Munn Khoja Apnaa, To Mujhse Bura Naa Koye

I searched for the evil in the world, didn't find a single one,
When searched within myself, I found out that none were more evil than me

An attitude that we need to develop - Nothing wrong in asking for yourself, but do remember others too
Sayeen Itna Deejiye, Ja Mein Kutumb Samaye
Main Bhi Bhookha Na Rahun, Sadhu Na Bhookha Jaye

Give so much O God, suffice to envelop my clan
I should not suffer cravings, nor the visitor goes unfed

Major Extracts from http://www.boloji.com/kabir/ - One of the best sites on Kabir,
Do make it a point to read more dohas from this site

17 Comments:

Blogger ada-paavi!!!! said...

kabir was a truly gr8 person, probably wat we need in today communally charged times, his work cuts acros religious barriers, but he sadly is highly unknown in india

14 August, 2005 18:32  
Blogger Aatma said...

Welcome to my blog vatsan and thanks for your comments.

Yes everyone kinda know him but don't know him. Its like they know about Kabir, but have never read his work.

SO I plan from time to time to post some of his dohas.

14 August, 2005 18:55  
Blogger Ram.C said...

good effort aatma... on some memorable personalities.

probably, if you can shorten the posts and widen the width of your blog, it would make it a better interesting post. just take this as my observation..

15 August, 2005 01:59  
Blogger ram said...

Excellent post. May I suggest you to post one personality of this caliber atleast every month.

Thanks, I came to know much about kabir only from this post.

15 August, 2005 02:36  
Blogger Aatma said...

Thanks Ram, I will try and follow your suggestion

15 August, 2005 08:45  
Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Aatma - very good post - yes I had heard about Kabir but this is the first time I am reading about him thru ur blog :)..I like his philosophy..

When he says about the "I was not, Hari was.." - I guess the I hear means Ego..beautiful..I see lots of similarities between Kabir and St Arunagirinathar..Read about him as well :)

Thanks for introducing me as your friend :)..proud of it..what's ur original name btw?what are u doing?

15 August, 2005 13:42  
Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Oops - just checked out ur age - ur older than me :)..I thought u were 22 yrs or so :)..the way u give comments show ur so wise in nature :)..

15 August, 2005 13:44  
Blogger Aatma said...

Yes it is true Arjun, on the first reading it is ego, but I believe Kabir works in layers, the more you peel the deeper the meaning.

At the end we have to merge into him, I believe thats what he means.

15 August, 2005 14:41  
Blogger Aatma said...

My name is Venkatesh, Arjun and like most, work as a Software Engineer at Cisco Systems Inc, San Jose, CA.

15 August, 2005 14:44  
Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

15 August, 2005 15:20  
Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Venkatesh :) - Did u do ur masters there in US? Wow - Cisco is my dream company :)..Btw - I have a friend who works in Cisco there..His name is Suresh Kumar Nalagatla..do u know him? I am not sure which branch..

15 August, 2005 15:22  
Blogger Aatma said...

Yes Arjun, did my masters at Worcester Polytechnic Institute - Massachussetts.

No I don't know Suresh, I checked him up on the Cisco directory but couldn't find him.

15 August, 2005 16:31  
Blogger Aatma said...

Yep Cisco was my dream company too when studying - I had told my Dad before going to the interview - I am happy that they just called me for the interview

15 August, 2005 16:33  
Blogger Narayanan Venkitu said...

I didn't know a lot of these Aatma..Thanks for writing about Kabir.!

Birth, 120 years life..!! All too surprising.!

If I were to listen to him say this:
Do Tomorrow's work today, today's work now
if the moment is lost, when will u complete the work

I should be ready now by finishing my Power Point slides.!! No.No....only after blogging.!

15 August, 2005 17:49  
Blogger Aatma said...

Yes Narayanan Sir, if only we could follow his suggestions, our life would be so much better :)

16 August, 2005 00:12  
Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

what happened aatma - no updates - and also I didnt see ur responses in my blog :)?

17 August, 2005 13:45  
Blogger Aatma said...

Sorry Arjun, been busy for the last couple of days, I will be back soon

17 August, 2005 17:55  

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