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.
and the Koran are mere words: lifting up the curtain, I have
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
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.