Sant Kabir Das: A rare literary gem of India

Today is the 641th birth anniversary of Sant Kabirdas (1440-1518 ). Sant Kabir Das was a famous poet, saint and a social reformer who belonged to the 15th century.  It goes without saying that every child in India grows reading Kabir ke dohe in their growing years as it is part of their curriculum.

Kabir Das was born in Lahartara near Kashi and his writings have greatly influenced the Bhakti movement.  He got his spiritual training from the Ramananda. His Guru Ramanand had named him of Lord Rama as a guru-mantra which he had interpreted in his own way. He was devoted to the Nirguna Bhakti and not to the Saguna Bhakti like his Guru. He has been considered as the founder of Kabir Panth which is a religious community  and   its members are known as Kabir Panthis, who are actually the followers of Saint Kabirdas.

Inspite of being an illiterate, he had written his poems in Hindi mixing with Avadhi, Braj, and Bhojpuri.  His writings include Bijak, Sakhi Granth, Kabir Granthawali and Anurag Sagar. The fifth Sikh Guru Arjan Dev was totally influenced by his writings that he incorporated them in the Guru Granth Sahib. The two line couplets, known as Kabir Ke Dohe are the most famous verses till date.

If God be within the mosque, then to whom does this world belong?
If Ram be within the image which you find upon your pilgrimage,
then who is there to know what happens without?
Hari is in the East, Allah is in the West.
Look within your heart, for there you will find both Karim and Ram;
All the men and women of the world are His living forms.
Kabir is the child of Allah and of Ram: He is my Guru, He is my Pir.

—  Translated by Rabindranath Tagore

Kabir Das’s doha holds a high place in the world today. Though written in hindi, Kabir’s poetry is relevant in social and spiritual context. He was not bound by any grammatical precision which is why he is appreciated by all the poets all over the world. His poems are about soul searching, inner peace, and becoming harmonious with one’s surroundings.  Another beauty of Kabir’s poetry is that he picks up situations that surround our daily lives. This is what makes his poems relevant even today.

He had followers from all the three religions like Hindu, Muslims and Sikhs. He believed in God is one and people just worship him with different names. This was the theme in his writings too.

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