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Kabirdas: Guide and Philosopher by Dr. R. K.

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Kabir was a revolutionary saint who moved the people of his age. He had a great following of common people. His birth and origin are uncertain. There is no authentic evidence available regarding his birth and family. Some say he was born a Muslim and some still believe he was born of a high class Brahmin girl who was brought up by a Muslim weaver of low rank. It stands undisputed that he was by profession a weaver. The story current after Kabir's death makes his life legendary. It is said that after his death, both the Hindu and Muslim disciples had arguments over the form of funeral cremation or burial. When they uncovered the cloth covering his dead body, they discovered only some flowers as leftover. Half of the flowers were cremated and halfburied.

His Age

When Kabir appeared on the scene of medieval India, Islam was ruling major parts of India. The majority of Hindus were subjected to various humiliations and even rulers levied Jazzia tax (protection Tax) on them to provide them safety in their own land. The minority of Muslims had made the majority of Hindus a second class citizen. As a result, there was great conversion of Hindus into Islamic fold. The Hindus felt helpless and resorted to ostrich-like situation. They adhered to a form of rigid caste system and conservatism for security and safety in its brotherhood. The priest class was lucky to make added income in

form of rituals and ceremonies, customary poojas and fasts. The priest class disdained and boycotted the Muslims and made them settle at the outskirts of the village where they had already thrown out the lower class people of their own society. Now the low class Hindus and the Muslims got a common enemy, the rest of the Hindus. So they combined against them. Conversion became easy for them as they were benefited with the gift of advantages of the rulers. The narrow Hindu vision could not assess the harm in right perceptive, done by them.

In the mean time there emerged amongst Muslims a sect named Sufi. Sufi saints though Muslims were not the product of main stream Islam. They preached the oneness of all religions and stood for mutual love and understanding. The Hindus found some similarity in their teachings with the Vedic thoughts. They welcomed the Sufis and there developed an idea of cooperation between the two religions which hereto had remained denied by the mullahs and the priest class. It was at this juncture that Kabir appeared on the scene. There was a large section of Hindus which had lost faith in the priest dominated rituals and seemed influenced by the Buddhist thoughts and preaching which were against caste system. The poems of Siddha ascetics in the 7th to 9th century were powerful as to find expression in the later period in the composition of Kabir and other poets of Nirgun (Formless God) devotion. Kabir under their influence followed the formless and nameless devotion of the Absolute Pure Awareness. He declared that all castes are equal and God is present in all Hearts of the living being and one can find Him inside himself as there is in no purpose to search Him outside in the temple or elsewhere. Kabir, Nanak Dadu, Haridas, Niranjani and other saints were all under Buddhist influence and opposed the caste system. Kabir preferred Sahajyani sect of Buddhists and opposed rituals and scriptures too along with caste system. Like the Bajrayani

tradition of Buddhist, he preached about the fruitlessness of the rituals and customs with literary bend of sweet melody and artistic hues. He did not follow the Sahajyana in its adherence to sensuousness and desire but accepted the word Sahaja Samadhi as a product of Raja Yoga. He says, Sadho Sahaj Samadhi Barhi

The Religion of Kabir

For Kabir, religion was a way of life and not at all a bundle of theorized dogmas. He believed that theory and practice has to be inter-related and inter-connected. Religion is widely connected with life and existence. It is the part of our every day activity in this mundane world. He said, "Jahan jahan dolun so paricharya, Jo Jo Karun so pooja." (All our actions performed anywhere are our duties, and work is worship). Kabir stood for Pravrati (activity) as against inactivity of Sanyasa or life of renunciation or aestheticism. He appreciated the value of family life, being a householder himself. Vedas also speak of the seers who were all householders and were even allowed more than one marriage. Vedas also link us with every day business of life as a religious duty to perform. They speak of a proper diet and dress management. They plead for agriculture, animal husbandry and commerce as our religious duty. To help the blind and the lame and to kill the enemy and pray God, they speak, is our binding duty. The life of Janaka, the king, has been depicted as one of integration of both the Pravriti and Nivrati an ideal life style to follow.

Vedas say that it is not a big dharma to leave home for a forest life as the real test lies in being a householder performing duties unattached, one hand on woman, the other on spiritual altar.

Sanyasa is only an exception. Sanyasa means renouncing ones individuality and not shaving ones head and putting on ochre robes. A man may be householder but if he does not think he is the one, he is a Sanyasin. So long as he goes on thinking that he is a Sanyasin, he does not actually become so because the thought of preoccupation with ones renunciation defeats the very purpose of renouncing.

The temper of the age favored action and activity to restore the lost nectar of life. Not by Sanyasa but through action and duty alone, the human spirit of life-existence could be activated and re inspired. The Nirguna sadhus put their own example. They led a family life and worked for their daily bread while remained chanting the name of God as Sumiran.

The God of Kabir

The name of Rama came to live with Kabir. He realized that Ramas name is for the pure in the heart and for those willing to remain righteous in life as against those who are mean and selfindulgent. He got the name of Rama from his Guru Ramanand as a guru-mantra but interpreted it in his own way. He added new dimension to the name. He says, Dasaratha ke ghar na janmey, yee chal Maya keenha. To him, his Rama was not the son of Dasharatha, the King of Ajodhya but the Absolute Pure Awareness itself. His devotion was not of Saguna Bhakti as was of his guru but he was a pure Nirguna out and out. He preferred devotion to Pure Absolute Awareness (Satchitananda) as Infinite Existence (Sat) and Consciousness (Chit) and Bliss (Ananda). In this way of devotion, Kabir was influenced by Siddhas and the Buddhas more than the Islamic tradition of monism. He says, Nirguna Nama

japahu rey Bhaiya, Avigati Ki gati Lakhi Na Jaiya (Go on chanting the name of Rama; the Pure Absolute is hard to conceive.)

Kabir preached that Allah and Rama are not different but are the different names of the same and the one Godhead. He tried to promulgate a religion of love and brotherhood in which no class or caste was superior to the other and all creeds unified. It was the path of one-pointed devotion and surrender to God while allowing personal devotion to a personal God.

Kabir accepted Shankaras Advaita (non-dualism) but stressed on Karma, action and activity in the worldly life. He staunchly believed in monism and kept away from polytheism. His monism was not without an Islamic effect. His understanding of all pervasive nature of the Divine came not through the Vedas but by Quran which quotes, God, there is no God but He is living, the Eternal One. There is one God and no other. The Bible also speaks, Know ye not, that ye are the temple of God and that the spirit of God dwelled in you.

So much was he absorbed in Rama that he says,

I shut my eyes, I close my ears I do not mortify my body I see with my eyes wide open, smile and behold His beauty all around I speak of His name and see what reminds me of Him

What so ever I do, it turns into His worship

Kabir well understood Maya, illusion and cautions us against it thus -

Maya is a cruel deceiver She wields a rope of hangman In the form of three Gunas - Sattva, Rajas Tamas And keeps roaring about By her sweet words she keeps people entangled in her In the home of Vishnu, She appears in the form of Lakshmi In the abode of Siva She presents herself as Parvati In the stand of Pandas, she is worshipped as Idols In holy places she becomes Ganga and Yamuna; In yogis rest houses, she is decorated as Yogini And shines as queens in the palace of power and pelf

(See also: Mystic Songs # 17)

Immediate Islamic influence may possibly be behind his tirade against the irrelevant rites and customs that had crept up in the Hindu society through the ages. For him, the Yogic rites and physical exercises, caste system, brahmanical learning, necked austerity were irrelevant ceremonies H e chose to criticize the wrong notions that had crept in Islam too. He did not spare the

pundits and the mullah for their orthodox behavior. He tried to pinpoint the wrong actions for a healthy social order and mutual harmony and understanding for peaceful existence.

Kabir expressed his experience of love with God through Bhajans and mystical songs. His 243 verse are preserved in Adi Granth Sahib of the Sikh religion. His composition was in couplets, and short stories - Doha, Sakhi and slokas (Couplets, quartets and Sakhis). His love intoxication made him a mystic. It is generally believed that he was influenced by the Sufi mystics, but more than the Sufis, he was following the line of Siddhas. In his Ultavasis and in the use of Sandhya Bhasa, the influence of Siddha sadhus is evident. Not only in respect of subject matter but also in prosody the Siddha influence is clearly visible. He said, Rama mera piyu , Maiyan Piyu Ki Bahuria This is Dampatya Bhakti, the Devotion of husband and wife. The bliss caused by the Dampatya Bhava is called Brahmananda (The spiritual love) and is compared to Kamananda, the Cupid love. The Sahajyani tradition of Buddha accepted the symbol of Krsna as male and Radha as female and aspired for their union. The devotion of Madhurya Bhava is established as a symbol of love between husband and wife. The Sufi saints were totally different. They accepted male as lovers and female as beloved as per their tradition. It is the male there who expresses the love first. The difference can be easily marked. The physical worldly love (Mazazi Ishka) to spiritual love (Hakiki Ishka).

Kabir introduced a new idea of love; He said that love is in itself an independent identity apart from love of God. This was a new dimension never adopted before in devotional poems. He said, "Dhai Akhar Prem Ka Jo Parhe So Pandit Hoi (Even a simple awareness of love makes one a wise man.) However he accepted

the Sufi concept of reaching the Divine through the physical love, from Mazazi Ishka to Hakiki Ishka (from worldy love to the spiritual love).

Kabir believed that a mystic experience is needed for understanding the mystery of God. His songs on separation and imaginary union with God are very impressive and form part of high level literature. He compares the souls anguish in separation with the Lord to a bride in waiting for a meeting. He says,

"Hari (God) is like sugar spilled in sand that an elephant can not pickup, Says Kabir , the Guru gave me the hint become an ant and eat it."

Kabir says,

"My heart is dying though it lures and my longings sing His name and they are lost in His great beauty; I wash His feet, I look upon His face and lay before Him as an offering my body, my mind and all that I have and also my love has touched Him,

my heart is longing for the name that is Truth. Thus sings the servant of all servants (as translated by Tagore).

Kabir believed that only the chanting and singing of Gods name (Sumiran) is all that we need in the attainment of the supreme Bliss.

He says,

Diamonds are not found in bulk; nor do lions in herds Nor do the saints have a clan, Knowledge of Hari (God) is hard to come by, None perceived it fully Kabir is burning in sweetness of Rama, As cotton burns in the storehouse, How can the name of Rama rest in the heart of a fool?

The Place of Guru

Kabir was essentially a saint. He derived his spiritual awareness from the direct experience of his satguru spoken Shabad of Rama which penetrated deep into his soul. His formal Guru was a Vaishnava saint, Swami Ramananda, who heralded the Worship movement in the north. Ramananda had formerly denied to initiate him. So one day, he plotted himself on way to Ganges so

that in the dark hours when swami walked for the bath, he may walk over him with his sandals on. It really so happened as planned and the stunned swami at once uttered the word Rama. This very word Rama was taken by Kabir as Guru Mantra, which is generally offered in any initiation process. Thus Ramananada came to be accepted as his Guru. The Guru tradition is very old in India. The idea of a person as channel for spiritual understanding first existed in the Vedas. Kabir says -

My Satguru is a true warrior He shoots his arrows of wisdom on the voices of his devotees Says Kabir, that the devotees should bear these blows and not run away from him.

The Upanishad says that Satyakama approached his teacher for spiritual knowledge. The Vishnava, Shaiva and Tantra traditions treat Guru as means of passing over traditions through the generations as the Guru line keeps the knowledge authentic all over. In the Bhakti tradition Guru came to be known as Liberator and savior. The Kashmiri Shaivism treats Guru as identical with God. The Siddha saints followed Guru tradition thus

Guru upadesh amrit rasa; thayin peyoi jahi Bahu sastrarthmarursthamin trashit maran tehi Guru bachne Dararh bhakti kuru, jyon hoya sahaj ullhas

Sarahappa praises Guru at the time when the Sufi saints did not at all exist and Islam had no such idea to entertain. Kabir followed the traditional approach. He says, 'Guru Gobind Dou kharhe kakey lagau paun / Balihari Guru Apno Gobind diya dikhaya.' It is the Guru who is our spiritual guide and philosopher and Kabir had a firm belief in this approach.

Analysis

Kabir is considered as the torch bearer of a new awakening. After Gautama Buddha, with the exception of Adi Shankara, it was Kabir who moved the masses of his age in social and religious spheres. He was at first the founder of the chain of saint reformers of proven guiding force to the helpless generation. No wonder all these saints belonged to lower order of society. Kabir was a weaver, julaha by birth; Ravidas, a cobbler, Shudra in social order; So were Sunderdas and Malukdas; Dadu was a dhunia; Nabhadas, a doma; Sahajobai, a cowherd, - all of them belonged to lower order of society. Dr Rangeya Raghava says that the Nirguna saints came from that section of society which had been exploited, ignored and made unprivileged since centuries. They were deprived of any education and kept subdued, subordinated. Blind faith and ignorance ruled the society but negative thoughts running since centuries gave way and self confidence was exhibited when Kabir appeared on the scene.

Common among these preachers were their love and devotion for God, the absolute Pure Conscious and their simple family life and high thinking. They set the example of work is worship and while eking out a living they kept dedicated to the thought of the

Absolute. They preached that the worth of a person is measured not by his birth in a particular caste or by power and pelf in his possession but in the nature of spiritual and mental devotion to the human welfare and dignity and in inculcating the sense of oneness, sympathy and understanding for all mankind as the path shown in Sarve Sukhinah Santu Kabirs appeal was wide and all comprehensive. He was inclusive and never left any section of society untouched. He asked us to rise above consideration of caste, creed and religion and rise against all divisive tendencies afflicting the society and creating differences between man and man on the basis of money, power and religion. He asked people to be reasonably sound and introspective, analytical in the comprehension of ego, and superiority and corruption, deep rooted violence and self-interest rampant in the society. He pleaded for the inclusion of the deprived people on equal footing and for the chanting of Ram-Nam for all to beget the Bliss.

Dr Hazari Prasad Dwevedi, an authority on Kabir says, 'By nature, Kabir was head to foot soft hearted, polite and courteous before holy people but hard and kicking to the wicked and the selfish. Pure of heart, sound of mind, soft in heart, but uncompromising in external behavior, untouchable by birth, adorable by duty and action, Kabir was born a revolutionary powerful enough to affect a change in bringing out an era of transition.'

February 14, 2010

Kabir was one of Indias leading spiritual saints who lived in the northern part of India in (and around) the holy city of Benares (also called Varanasi). He is widely renowned for his pithy

couplets and songs that connect life and spirituality in a simple yet powerful way. Kabirs genius has been in that he has inspired the scholars/poets like Rabindranath Tagore and the common masses. His words were in a universal language that, literally and figuratively, broke down barriers to experiencing the divine.

It is intriguing that there continues to be many unknowns about Kabirs life despite the extensive and global awareness of his verses and sayings. In fact, even basic information on his life for instance, when he was born, who his parents were, what his family life was like, and when he died is shrouded in mystery. Indeed, very little appears to be known about him with any degree of certainty. Perhaps, these controversies can be attributed partly to the parochial manipulation of his life history by various religious sects. Hindus want him to be a representative of their religion. They claim that he was born to a Hindu woman, even though he was raised by a Muslim family and that he was a disciple of a Hindu Guru, Ramananda. Some dismiss theories of Kabirs illegitimate birth by claiming that his birth-mother, even though unmarried, had an Immaculate Conception. Muslims tend to emphasize his Muslim upbringing and his initiation into the Sufi traditions. The celibate/ascetic sects claim that Kabir never married and if evidence of his marriage is presented, they retort that he never had an intimate relationship with his wife. Proponents of tantric traditions point to Kabirs songs to show that he was influenced very much by the Kundalini practices. Sikh and Shabad-based traditions say that the essence of Kabirs practice was based on tuning in to the internal sounds, even though they vehemently deny that Guru Nanak was Kabirs disciple and tend to support the theory that Kabir died before the birth of Guru Nanak. In summary, each sects claim on Kabir appears to be selfserving and, hence, cannot be considered as providing reliable information on his life. Indeed, it is likely that divergent

viewpoints and claims on Kabirs life will continue to exist despite the efforts of historians, philosophers and literary scholars to reach consensus.

In my opinion, it is ironic but no coincidence that such conundrums on Kabirs physical existence persist. Perhaps, Kabir would have liked it that way? He was quite unimpressed and even irreverent to the dogmas of organized religion and society. His essence was far more subtle, pervasive, unconstrained and universal in short, beyond the boundaries laid down by religious, sectarian and social traditions. In this article, I attempt to humbly share with you my personal understandings and experiences of Kabir that, despite my own biases and limitations, continue to have a life of their own within me.

Kabir, The Man

We can safely say that Kabir lived during the 15th or 16th century. Even though his exact birth and death times cannot be ascertained reliably, it is quite likely that he lived beyond the age of 50. It would be reasonable to assume that he was not formally educated because his songs and couplets lack the erudite tone and have a refreshing rustic quality. That he may have been a weaver is evident from his songs and couplets that draw inspiration and metaphors from the weaving profession. It is also likely that he was born and brought up poor and continued to work throughout his life as he strongly upheld the working-to-earn way of life.

It is clear from his songs and teachings that he was a very observant and thoughtful person, who questioned everything that was taught or presented to him. It is likely that he spent considerable time observing nature, as his teachings also draw inspiration and learning from the trees, animals, birds and the ocean. Long-standing traditions of Kabir in the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Bengal, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh1 indicate that either Kabir or his leading disciple(s) traveled to those parts, and/or his popularity drew seekers from these parts to come and learn from him and later returned to establish a following in their native areas.

What distinguished Kabir from other gurus were his inner conviction and an undying trust in his own self and experience. He seems to have questioned and challenged all scriptural teachings, traditions and rituals, until he himself was able to validate their truth. This, however, should not be taken to imply that he rejected all teachings and practices. To the contrary, given his familiarity with, and his use of stories/teachings from, a variety of traditions, he appears to have openly embraced and accepted any path that could be validated by his own experience. Perhaps, this is why it is so difficult to typecast Kabir into this or that faith or tradition. Sometimes, he was this, sometimes he was that and at other times he was neither this nor that!

What is clear is that Kabir was courageous enough to speak his truth even in face of societal pressures and coercion. From his work, we know that he was quite critical of hypocrisy especially among religious leaders. Even though we cannot ascertain whether he was tolerant of genuine devotees who worshipped physical forms of God, we can be reasonably confident that his own spiritual path was focused more on an internal form of

devotion to God and Guru terms that he often used interchangeably to convey the cosmic force. In essence, the core of Kabirs life and teachings are based on honesty, truth, conviction and simplicity, renewed continuously by inner experience and propelled by an unceasing detachment from the web of physical and mental realities.

Kabir, The Myth

As we discussed earlier, many controversies exist about Kabirs birth, upbringing, family life, teachings, practices and death. In my opinion these myths are irrelevant to the essence of Kabir. Indeed, I would say that those who are enamored or engaged by these myths are, probably, missing the point. Still, for the record, I would now like to propose clarifications on a few other widelyheld beliefs about Kabir.

Kabir is often considered to be a social or religious reformer who tried to bridge the gap among various castes and religious sects. Even though Kabir showed a healthy disregard for conventional boundaries of society and organized religion, his intrinsic pursuit was rooted in spirituality and spirituality alone. In the process of conveying the innate spirituality of all of creation, Kabir, in all likelihood, had to deal with and overcome prevalent parochial barriers. But this ought not to be misconstrued to imply that his intent was to reform society or religion.

Another prevalent myth is that Kabir was primarily a literary figure, a poet and an orator. But, Kabirs life was deeply ingrained in spirituality, and in the process of conveying his teachings he

probably used poetry and metaphors. Therefore, his magnificent contribution to Hindi literature is only secondary and, indeed, a testimony to the fundamental spiritual message of his teachings.

Finally, there are many written or sung verses attributed to Kabir in circulation in the commercial/spiritual marketplace. It is my opinion that many of these are altered, modified, embellished or corrupted. After an extensive study of Kabirs work, it is my understanding that Kabir did not use the name Ram to imply the deity, Rama. Rather, to Kabir, Ram is a symbolic representation of the inner sound or experience. Similarly, it is unlikely that Kabir used any reference to Krishna or any of the other Hindu gods, as his practices were primarily inwardly directed2. Indeed, we should be careful not to mistake the use of the signature line Kahat Kabir Suno Bhai Sadho to imply authenticity. In fact, this signature line makes it easy to create believable altered/corrupted writings.

One could lament, What a pity! We cant really ascertain the truth from the untruth. But, isnt this exactly what Kabir is really trying to teach us here? Wasnt his life about not taking anybodys word as the truth until we could validate it ourselves? The experience of Kabir is likely to unfold when we are impelled to put aside the irrelevant myths and instead, focus on an honest and intense quest for the truth.

Kabir, The Mystic

Kabirs uniqueness and ingenuity is that he communicates his message through the use of easy-to-understand metaphors,

drawing inspiration from day-to-day life. Whether it is comparing God to a weaver, body to a cloth, Guru to a washerman, ignorance to a crow, cosmic experience to the ocean, senses to the deer, humility and steadfastness to the tree, grace and beauty of solitude and completeness to a swan, longing for God to the longing of a newly-wed bride, he is able to establish a very vivid and instantaneous channel of communication with his audience. Perhaps, this is one of the reasons why Kabirs followers and admirers come from a wide array of backgrounds.

However, Kabirs true mysticism becomes apparent only when one starts living the words. The authenticity of Kabirs words is rooted in the depth of his own experience that has a seed-like latent quality to it. That is, through ones care and nurturing, Kabirs words have the potential to flower into a variety of experiences that are not immediately obvious in the first engagement. For instance, it is one thing to intellectually understand the meaning of Chalti Chaaki Dekh Kar Diya Kabira Roye, Dui Pataan Ke Beech Mein Saabat Bacha Na Koi3, but totally a different thing to experience the truth of that statement. I have found that if a couplet or song of Kabir engages me, it is likely to have much more in store if I further introspect on it. In other words, what is obvious in Kabirs words is often suggestive, but whats veiled is significant. Kabir himself describes this mystical instruction as Gunge Ki Sain Jin Jani Un Mani (Those who recognized the indication of the mute, found the truth).

Besides his more obvious teachings, Kabir sometimes poses (seemingly) illogical riddles to his audience (e.g., A child was born before the mothers birth, the Guru is touching the feet of the disciple, the fish are swinging on the trees, or the lion is riding the waves of the ocean), challenging them to find a solution. In my

opinion, these riddles do not necessarily have any solutions or meaning per se, but, perhaps, are intended to draw us into a deepened state of introspection. They may make one question the direction of flow of time. They may enable us to experience the ability of the human mind to create any reality. Or, they may make one realize suddenly that the flow-based creativity within us is like a fish. In my limited experience, the meaning of these riddles or words is exactly and precisely the experience they generate within us, and it is futile and even counterproductive to look for the right answer.

Kabirs true mysticism is in his personalized instruction for each one of us which is likely to reveal in its fullness when we abandon ourselves to the search for the ultimate truth that Kabir so completely personified.

Kabir, The Master

Kabir speaks to us in a direct and uninhibited tone that invariably shakes us out of our slumber-like existence. His candid and frank style is so beautiful and refreshingly crisp. The instructions are simple yet deep, obvious yet multi-layered, challenging yet caring, powerful yet empowering, irreverent yet deeply devotional. Indeed, Kabir, lived what he preached, or, more accurately, preached what he lived. Like a true master, he always spoke the highest truth regardless of the circumstances. Kabirs completeness and humility becomes obvious in how he addresses every seeker as a Sadhu and himself as the commoner, Kabira. Sometimes one gets the feeling that the conversational teachings of Kabir, are actually a dialog between Kabir, the Master and Kabir, the disciple, inside of him. Despite his open criticism of

dogmas and sects, Kabir is very embracing of every seeker and includes himself in that category. Its a bond of friendship that Kabir extends to everybody by his simple calling Kahat Kabir Suno Bhai Sadho4. In this simple way he affirms the intrinsic divinity in each of us and opens up an intimate and direct channel of communication with each one of us.

In conclusion, I would like to share with you my personal encounter with Kabir one that changed me profoundly:

I was visiting my parents in India on vacation. One of Kabirs songs was playing in the background on the portable boom box. I walked into the kitchen and noticed that the middle-aged maid, who was cleaning the utensils, was using her saree to wipe her tears. I could not understand why she was crying and I did not feel it appropriate for me to ask her. After a few minutes she herself spoke softly in her village Hindi dialect Bhaia, yeh theek hi toh bolta hai. Bhagwan ka kare jab hum hi bhul gai usko? [Brother, he (referring to Kabirs words) is speaking the truth. What can God do if I myself have forgotten him?]. Intrigued by her comment, I asked her if she understood the meaning of what he was saying. She simply replied, Haan bhaiya, theek bolta hai [Yes brother, he speaks the truth]. Her simple reply instantaneously threw my intellectual understanding into insignificance. The words of Kabir became less important than the truth of her realization. Kabir had manifested himself through her. In that moment Kabir Das taught me Truth-101 through that divine lady. I got a true introduction and initiation to the experience of Kabir.

May 20, 2002

Footnotes:

There may be more such traditions that I am not aware of. In my experience, Pandit Kumar Gandharvas Nirguna Bhajans are one of the more authentic resource on Kabirs words. Pandit Kumar Gandharvas voice and singing perhaps offer the deepest experience of longing, devotion, detachment and awakening that Kabir symbolized. I highly recommend listening to his Bhajans. Kabir wails looking at the grinding wheels, between its two wheels nothing is left intact. Says Kabir listen oh seeking aspirant ...