Sant Kabir: The Mystic Poet and Philosopher

sant kabir

Sant Kabir, a 15th-century Indian mystic poet and philosopher (1440 -1518), holds a significant place in the history of Indian literature and spirituality. His teachings and poems continue to inspire and guide people even today. Born to Muslim parents in Varanasi, Kabir’s philosophy transcended religious boundaries and emphasized the importance of love, unity, and self-realization.

Kabir’s poetry, known as “Dohas,” consists of short, thought-provoking verses that convey profound spiritual truths in a simple and accessible manner. His verses were composed in a language that blended elements of Hindi, Urdu, and Persian, making them relatable to people from various linguistic backgrounds. Through his poetry, Kabir aimed to awaken individuals to the eternal truth and help them break free from the shackles of ignorance and illusion. He advocated the notion of “Koi bole Ram Ram Koi Khudai”…. The basic idea was to spread the message that whether you chant the name of Hindu God or Muslim God, the fact is that there is only one God who is the creator of this beautiful world.

The Dohas reflect the deep philosophical thinking of the poet-saint. His greatest work is the Bijak (the “Seedling”), an idea of the fundamental one. This collection of poems elucidates Kabir’s universal view of spirituality. Though his vocabulary is replete with Hindu spiritual concepts, such as Brahman, karma, and reincarnation, he vehemently opposed dogmas, both in Hinduism and in Islam. His Hindi was a vernacular, straightforward kind, much like his philosophies. He often advocated leaving aside the Qur’an and Vedas and simply following the Sahaja path or the simple/Natural Way to oneness in God. He believed in the Vedantic concept of atman, but unlike earlier orthodox Vedantins, he followed this philosophy to its logical end by spurning the Hindu societal caste system and worship of murti, showing clear belief in both bhakti and Sufi ideas.

One of the central themes in Kabir’s teachings is the concept of oneness. He emphasized that God is not confined to any particular religion or place of worship. According to Kabir, the divine can be found within oneself and in every living being. He urged people to look beyond external differences and embrace the unity that underlies all of creation. Kabir’s teachings on oneness and unity continue to be relevant in today’s world, where divisions and conflicts based on religion, caste, and nationality persist.

Kabir’s poems often highlight the futility of external rituals and the importance of inner devotion. He believed that true spirituality lies in connecting with the divine through love and devotion rather than blindly following religious customs. Kabir’s words remind us that the essence of spirituality lies in the purity of our hearts and the sincerity of our intentions. His teachings encourage individuals to cultivate a personal relationship with the divine and seek spiritual enlightenment through self-reflection and introspection.

Another significant aspect of Kabir’s philosophy is his critique of societal norms and the caste system prevalent during his time. He vehemently opposed social inequality and discrimination based on birth or social status. Kabir’s teachings challenged the prevailing social order and emphasized the inherent equality of all human beings. His words continue to inspire individuals to question oppressive systems and work towards creating a more just and inclusive society.

Kabir’s poetry is filled with metaphors and allegories that convey deep spiritual truths. He often used imagery from everyday life to illustrate profound philosophical concepts. His verses touch upon various aspects of human existence, such as the transient nature of life, the illusory nature of the material world, and the eternal nature of the soul. Kabir’s teachings provide individuals with a deeper understanding of the human experience and offer guidance on how to navigate the challenges of life.

Despite being a mystic poet who lived centuries ago, Kabir’s teachings continue to resonate with people from all walks of life. His verses have been sung and recited by countless individuals, both in formal religious settings and in informal gatherings. Kabir’s poetry transcends time and cultural boundaries, reminding us of the universal nature of spiritual truths.

In conclusion, Sant Kabir’s teachings and poetry have left an indelible mark on the spiritual and literary landscape of India. His emphasis on love, unity, and self-realization continues to inspire individuals to seek a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them. Kabir’s words remind us of the timeless wisdom that lies within each of us and offer guidance on how to lead a meaningful and purposeful life. Sant Kabir’s legacy as a mystic poet and philosopher lives on, serving as a beacon of light for those on the path of self-discovery and spiritual growth.

The most famous Doha is

“Kabira Khara Bazaar Mein, Mange Sabki Khair Na Kahu Se Dosti, Na Kahu Se Bair “
Kabira Stands in the market place, Asks for everyone’s prosperity
 Neither special friendship nor enmity for anyone.
“Dukh Mein Simran Sab Kare, Sukh Mein Kare Na Koye
Jo Sukh Mein Simran Kare, Tau Dukh Kahe Ko Hoye” 
 While Suffering everyone Prays and Remembers Him, in joy, no one does one prays and remembers Him in happiness, why would sorrow come?
“Hindu to main hun nahi, musalman bhi nahi,
Panch tatva ka pootla, jaibi khelat mahi.”
(Neither I am a Hindu, nor a Muslim. Just playing with this doll made of the five elements.)
“Aisee Vani Boliye, Mun Ka Aapa Khoye
Apna Tan Sheetal Kare, Auran Ko Sukh Hoye “
Speak such words, you lose the mind EgoBody remains composed, Others Find Peace
“Kaal Kare So Aaj Kar, Aaj Kare So Ub
Pal Mein Pralaya Hoyegi, Bahuri Karoge Kub”
Tomorrow’s work does today, today’s work now the moment is lost, how will the work be done?

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