Kabirdas (1440 - 1518)
Kabir lived in the 15th century. He was a medieval
muslim mystic, who is well remembered even today for his simple life
and extraordinary devotional fervor. He lived in Benares, the famous
Hindu pilgrim center and led a very simple life as an ordinary weaver.
Born to Mohammadan parents, he came under the influence of the famous
Hindu saint, Sri Ramananda and delved deep into the mysteries of Hindu
mysticism. Not much is known about his birth and early childhood. But
according to popular legends, he was a Muslim by birth but went beyond
the religious bigotry of his times . A true worshipper of God, he
emphasized the purity of mind and selfless devotion to God. He openly
opposed the weaknesses of both Hinduism and Islam. The following verse
amply illustrates his fearless assessment of these two religions
The images are all lifeless, they cannot
speak: I know, for I have cried aloud to them.
The Purāna and the Koran are mere words: lifting up the curtain, I
During his life time he composed many poems. They
are usually two line couplets, known as dohas, recited by many
scholars even today to denote some deep philosophical truths. The Sikh
Gurus found his verses especially appealing and incorporated as many
as 740 of them into the Guru Granth Sahib, a clear indication that
Kabir was a Spiritual Master par excellence. Kabir left behind him a
legacy, but has very few followers today. It is unfortunate that he is
remembered mostly in the academic circles and by a few admirers.
We have presented in this section 100 songs of
Kabir translated into English by none other than Rabindranath Tagore,
the mystic poet and the Noble Laureate.