Kabir is definitely one among the sages, saints, poets, writers and thinkers who have shaped, molded and refined the inner self and influenced the life of both the Hindus and Muslims. With the clarity in vision, simple and balanced philosophy, practical ideas for a healthy, happy and pleasant life, strong opposition to everything unworthy for human beings Sant Kabir became a legend and a common familiar name for poor and rich, literate and illiterate, and foolish, wise or enlightened during his life-time. The life of Kabir is both worldly and spiritual. He saw, felt, experienced, conjured up and boldly expressed all that happened around him. He meditated on the eternal truth, devoted himself to the Brahman, got revelation, collected these spiritual experiences and expressed all that happened in the divine world of his inner self. Kabir is treated as a Mystic of the highest order; a perfect living saint, as a great preceptor capable of initiating others to spiritual world. Without any doubt he is the greatest and most outstanding devotee, mystic poet and singer sant of India. 'Knowing Sant Kabir' presents everything that Kabir is known for Dohe, Sakhi and Ulatvani: his social consciousness and spiritual awakening and his positive ways and Sahaja Yoga.
Shrikant Prasoon is a reader, teacher, thinker, poet and above all, thinks, the more he writes on varied topics, but with one aim 'to show man the need of Nature and natural life'. He believes that all religions are Integral and inseparable, living and developing parts of one basic religion called Humanism; and all systems are an outcome of the greatest celestial system, which is devised and regulated by the Unseen and Unknown Creator.
A retired Professor of English, Prof. soon writes in Hindi with equal and also in Samskrit. His recent books are Knowing Buddha; Knowing Guru Nanak; Indian Scriptures; Panch Mahabhuta Tatwa and Sharira; Chanakya; Nataji Subh§sh Chandra Bose; Absorbing Buddha; 16 Hindu Samskars and Hinduism Clarified and Simplified.
Since my childhood I have always read Kabir with pleasure and respect; and have immensely enjoyed quoting him to make others silent. Decades back I read 'Kabir Granthawali' and almost all the famous books on him; and also some articles from different magazines. During the 1990s I wrote some critical essays on him in Hindi; and thus Kabir became a part of my being and thinking. He is definitely one among the sages, saints, poets, writers and thinkers who have shaped, molded and refined my inner self and influenced both my life and writing. So, it came as a boon when Sri Rama Avtar Gupta, the Managing Director of MIs. Pustak Mahal, New Delhi, asked me to write a book on Kabir as a part of Hindoology series. I readily agreed, rather I grabbed the opportunity; and the result is before you.
The complete book "Knowing Sant Kabir" has been written in one rhythm, in similar tone, corresponding tempo, matching pitch and identical texture. It can be read and finished in one sitting or at one go.
All the mistakes are mine and everything sublime and divine has come from Sant Kabir and our Brahman. Only a has been taken from Scriptural Transliteration for long a sound, as it is almost impossible to write that sound in Roman Script. Rest is as, written in government papers, Newspaper, Magazines, Text books and General and quotations from Kabir.
The life of Kabir is both worldly and spiritual. He saw, felt, experienced, conjured up and boldly expressed all that happened around him. He meditated on the eternal truth, devoted himself to the Brahman, got revelation, collected these spiritual experiences, and expressed all that happened in the divine world of his inner self. He went for the most difficult "Ntibhabhahtiyoga", which is a sort of Rajayoga in the Hathyoga sequence of Kundanlini Awakening.
Kabir was treated as a Mystic of the highest order; a perfect living saint, as a great Master capable of initiating others to spiritual world, of introducing others to the rare skill of spirituality. People took him to be a prophet of a new path, a rare Fakir, endowed with wisdom and a Divine preceptor. His disciples started a 'Kabir Pantha'.
Kabir was accepted in his life time both by the Hindus and the Muslims as the direct incarnation of the Supreme Being; as one among the selected and elevated being, one, who was habitual diver in Ocean of Spirituality and as one, who had realised the Ultimate Reality. He lived in higher regions. First, he himself merged into his Master, served His purpose, and then ultimately merged into God.
In doing so, Kabir achieved a rare balance, scarcely achieved by others, between personal and universal, between simple and grotesque, between the familiar and strange, between the subjective and objective, mundane and divine, ephemeral and immortal, social and intellectual, physical and spiritual, the general and mystic work and thought; between family affairs and saintly aspirations, and also between the least income and controlled expenditure.
For the maintenance of life on the earth, Kabir requested his Lord to give him only enough to feed him along with his family and the saints or guests, who usually visited his place:
Sain Itna dijiye, jame kutum samaya
Main bhi bhukha na rahun sadhu na bhukha jaya
That is what he taught the people: a simple and pure life dedicated to Rama: the Brahman. He advocated and advised all others to follow 'Sahaj Yoga'; although, he himself was capable of repeatedly and easily diving in Sahsrtir Chakra and returning back safely to the physical self both through Bihangam truirg (the bird's way) and Pipeelika Mtirg (the ant's way).
Hence Kabir should not be tested on intellectual touchstone of reason and logic, as his experiences are personal and mystic; and his expressions emotional and symbolic.
The emergence of Kabir was due to the age and also the need of the age. That was a vital reason behind his immense popularity. In one thing he was very close to Tulasidas, who like him, travelled least and spent almost all his life at Varanasi.
What has Kabir expressed have already been expressed in Vedas, Vedanta and Upnishads. What Kabir established, is not new but it's entirely human, hence, it's world religion and of course, the most convenient way of life, easy to understand and follow, for it's based totally on one Brahman, Love, Purity and spending sparingly or on frugality. In all this Kabir is so simple, natural and straight forward that the mass accepted his ideals and made them a part of their lives.
Kabir proclaimed that Brahman is the only truth and all the manifestations are illusions (Miiyii) and hence false. He personified Miiyii and identified her with gold (Kanchan) and woman (Kiimini). His Brahman has no form or shape or quality. One can worship Him through meditation, yoga, devotion and recitation, That Brahman is All: Father, Mother, Friend, Master, Teacher, King and the Husband. He has used different imagery to describe Him which turns into mysticism. He declared loudly and repeatedly, that he won't survive without the Brahman.
Kabir's utterances are so spontaneous, powerful and forceful that it created a tradition known both as
"Kabir Panth" and "Sant Sampradiiya" and the language that he used, came to be known as "Sadhukari Bluishii", though he has mostly employed the common dialect of eastern region. He has expressed himself so well and comfortably that it was accepted as the language of literary works also. At least, he has expressed all his spiritual and mystic emotions and experiences with ease and often figuratively and has employed many figures of speech, as for example: Pun, Alliteration, Similes and Metaphors. Sometimes even his satirical and paradoxical expressions and verses (Padas and Ramainies) contain figures of speech.
Without any doubt, Kabir is the greatest and the most outstanding devotee and mystic poet of India, whose words are still vehemently quoted and honestly followed. He is the most revered saint. To sum up Kabir, one can safely say that:
Kabir was socially conscious and spiritually awakened. He followed a positive way and advocated Sahaj Yoga, though he himselfhad attained union through Hatha Yoga or Raja Yoga or Kundalini Awakening and had achieved success with ease.
Kabir's mysticism is an incessant search for balance between physical self and spiritual self and salvation through ultimate union of soul and Brahman. The Soul and the Brahman are both present in every 'self.' His delineations are "Brahman Yichar", thoughts on the Absolute.
Kabir's teachings include efforts to reach Nad Brahman through sabad, recitation, remembrance and of course, through purity of character, pious deeds and complete surrender.
Kabir talks of Ira, Pingalti, Sushumrui, Heart Lotus and Six Wheels and treats Jruina, Yoga and Bhakti as synonyms and through them he asks others to realise the inner self.
In the eyes and perception of Kabir, sublime vision given by Guru or God is devotion, to know Brahman through meditation is yoga and to be free from all the three qualities: Rajas, Sattwa and Tamas, is jruina .
For Kabir, death is not death; it's like changing the cloth, the outer garb. Death is in fact, indulgence into sensual pleasure while life is pure consciousness.
Of all the holy men, saints and preachers of piety, Kabir stands up alone and above all with his individuality, consciousness and devotion.
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