Timeline History

Kabir

Kabir (1398 - 1518) was an Indian mystic and a sufi saint who preached an ideal of seeing all of humanity as one. He was known to be a weaver and later became famed for scorning religious affiliation. His philosophies and ideas of loving devotion to God are expressed in metaphor and language from both the Hindu Vedanta and Bhakti streams using vernacular Hindi. Kabir is also considered one of the early northern India Sants. He was initiated by Ramananda

Philosophies

His greatest work is the Bijak (that is, the Seedling), an idea of the fundamental one. This collection of poems demonstrates Kabir's own universal view of spirituality. His vocabulary is replete with ideas regarding Brahman and Hindu ideas of karma and reincarnation. His Hindi was a very vernacular, straightforward kind, much like his philosophies. He often advocated leaving aside the Qur'an and Vedas and to simply follow Shahaj path, or the Simple/Natural Way to oneness in God. He believed in the Vedantic concepts of atman and therefore spurned the orthodox Hindu societal caste system and worship of statues, thus showing clear belief in both bhakti and sufi ideas. The major part of Kabir's work as a Sikh Bhagat was collected by the first Sikh guru, Guru Nanak, and is published in the holy Sikh scripture "Guru Granth Sahib".
While many ideas reign as to who his living influences were, the only Guru of whom he ever spoke was Ramananda, a Vaishnav saint whom Kabir claimed to have taken initiation from in the form of the "Rama" mantra. His poems resonate with praise for the true guru who reveals the divine through direct experience, and denounced more usual ways of attempting god-union such as chanting, austerities etc. His verses, which being illiterate he never expressed in writing, often began with some strongly worded insult to get the attention of passers-by. Kabir has enjoyed a revival of popularity over the past half century as arguably the most acceptable and understandable of the medieval Indian 'sants', with an especial influence over spiritual traditions such as that of Sant Mat and Radha Soami. Prem Rawat ('Maharaji') also refers frequently to Kabir's songs and poems as the embodiment of deep wisdom.

Religious affinity

It is a fruitless endeavor, indeed one that Kabir himself disliked, to classify him as Hindu or Muslim, Sufi or Bhakta. The legends surrounding his lifetime attest to his strong aversion to communalism.
In fact, Kabir always insisted on the concept of Koi bole Ram Ram Koi Khudai..., which means that someone may chant the Hindu name of God and someone may chant the Muslim name of God, but God is the one who made the whole world.
His birth and death are surrounded by legends. He grew up in a Muslim weaver family, but some say he was really son of a Brahmin widow who was adopted by a childless couple. When he died, his Hindu and Muslim followers started fighting about the last rites. In Maghar, his tomb or Dargah and samadhi still stand side by side. [2] Another legend surrounding Kabir is that shortly before death he bathed in both the river Ganges and Karmnasha to wash away both his good deeds and his sins. One popular legend of his death, which is even taught in schools in India (although in more of a moral context than a historical one), says that after his death his Muslim and Hindu devotees were fighting over his proper burial rites. The problem arose, as Muslim customs called for the burial of their dead, whereas Hindus cremated their dead. The scene is depicted as two groups fighting around his coffin one claiming that Kabir was a Hindu, and the other claiming that Kabir was a Muslim. However when they finally open Kabir's coffin, they find the body is missing, in lieu of which is placed a set of flowers. The legend goes on to state that the fighting was resolved, and both groups looked upon the miracle as an act of divine intervention. Kabir is revered as Satguru by the Kabirpanthi religion, based in Maghar



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