Kabirpanthis: An Indian community comprising of either Muslim or Hindu ancestry which recognises Kabir as their Prophet. The ritual life of the community displays its dual origins. They are numerous in provinces of Upper and Central India, notably in Uttar Pradesh extending into Bihar.
It claims to be a spiritual organization dedicated to unite Hindu and Muslim traditions and sustain peace between them. They in a way can be compared to the Syrian Druze tradition in which a Christian or a Muslim can be a part.
Practices and Beliefs
Considering that Nanak Sahib pressed straight and further on the mission which Kabir Sahib had relentlessly pursued till he blended with Akaal Purukh, and that Kabir Sahib verses are generously present in Gurbani with much larger account of his Bani being freely available beyond Guru Granth Sahib, the spirit of their beliefs smoothly blends into Gurmat. Some Sikh scholars have advanced the thought that of considering Kabir Sahib as the originator of Sikhism.
Unfortunately somehow the community seems have got isolated from mainstream Sikhism for two reasons :-
- Geographically this community being some thing like tiny islands in the staunch majority community (Hindus) dedicated to Idol worship and brahmanic ritualistic & anti Gurmat ways.
neecha andar neech jaat neechy hun ati neech nank tin ky sang saath vadiyan sio kia rees"
- Sikh polity...
- maintaining a 'could not care less' attitude & not extending a helping hand to this isolated community.
- maintaining a stratigic & sustainable socio-political association with anti Gurmat forces.
Kabirpanthis are required to observe sanctity, purity and truthfulness in their daily lives and behaviour. They believe that good behaviour and meditation on the virtues of God are the methods of finding fulfilment and salvation.
Those who are literate read their holy books, which contain the messages of Sant Kabir. On their own strength some of them are now learning to read and write because they have been so swayed by the teachings of Kabir.
Due to anti-Gurmat socio political forces, regulated and aimed at the world known policy of 'divide and rule', keep the masses ignorant of reality. Some of the traditional rituals, unlike Sikhism which is devoid of any of these, still stick on to the community. Typical examples are:-
- Kabirpanthis wear small rosaries made from Tulsi - believed to be a sacred Hindu plant.
- During their religious ceremonies, they sing praise songs to the music of cymbals, and the guru recites morning and evening prayers.
- Lay persons must be cremated according to Hindu law, and priests must be buried according to Islamic law.
- God is commonly called "sat sahib" or "kabir sahib". Kabir sahib is himself considered the supereme power.
- Kabirpanthis practice Sahaja Yoga which was instigated by Kabir himself.
- Kabirpanthi priests are called Mahant.
The Sacred book of the Kabirpanthi religion is the Bijak, many jumbled passages from which are preserved in the Guru Granth Sahib although. The contents of the Bijak cannot be classified as Hindu, Muslim, or Sant. In a blunt and uncompromising style the book exhorts its readers to shed their delusions, pretensions, and orthodoxies in favor of a direct experience of truth. It satirized hypocrisy, greed, and violence, especially among the religious. The Bījak includes three main sections called Ramainī, Shabda, and Sĝkhī, and a fourth section containing miscellaneous folksong forms. Most of the Kabir material has been popularized through the song form known as Shabda (or pada), and through the aphoristic two-line sĝkhī (or doha) that serves throughout north India as a vehicle for popular wisdom. Kabir gave the essence of all Holy Scriptures in simple Sakhis, which are couplets with musical rhythm. His Sakhis are so important that they are accepted as supreme testimony of profound spiritual truth.
Born in 1398 and died in 1518B, Kabir was raised in the Muslim Julaha (weaver)community, a social group considered low. However according to some legends, he was born a Brahmin, but there is nothing to prove or disprove these legends. in this context own words in SatGurBani are considered relevent...
"sunnat key muslmaan jo hoeyy to aurat ka kia keejyy......ardh shreeree naar na sshody ta ty hindu he ho rahiyy
He criticized caste ideology and declared the equality of all human beings. Kabir was an oral poet whose works were written down by others. His oral traditions have flourished for more than 500 years, producing a rich array of musical forms, folk and classical, in countless local dialects and regional styles. Thousands of poems are popularly attributed to Kabir, but only a few written collections have survived over the centuries.
The most holy places for Kabir panthis are the Kabir Chaura based in Benares with a branch at Maghar. The headquarters of the Dharmadasis is the Chattisgarh district of northern India. The Muslim origin Kabir panthis have Maghar as their headquarters.
The Kabir Chaura Math is on the site where Kabir traditionally gave instructions to his disciples. The Math or monastery contains the Khanraon, a pair of wooden sandals representing the feet of Kabir, and the Gaddi, the pillow of Kabir. Pictures of Kabir, Ramananda, Ravidas and Mahants are on the walls of the Math. Above the pictures are designs in coloured cloth symbolising the five elements and the nine doors of the human body.
The main chant or Simran of the Kabirpanthi religion is Sant Kabir ji
Param Pujania Swami Kabirsahabji Maharaj
Response: Sant Kabir ji Mera Shat Shat Namaskar hai
Summary About Kabir Panthis
A follower of Kabir; A life of Kabir, who was a little earlier than Luther, having been born in 1440, and who died in l5l8 A. D. Of all the fourteen persons usually classed as Bhagats or saints, viz., Beni, Bhikhan, Dhanna, Shaikh Farid, Jaidev, Kabir, Namdev, Pipa,Ramanand, Ravidas, Sadhna, Sain, Surdas and Trilochan (whose lives are) for the most part, given in the Bhaktamaal, or the North Indian Lives of the Saints) Kabir and Tulsi Das have had the greatest influence for good on the unedu-cated masses of Northern and central India.
A mystery hangs over Kabir's birth, but it appears that whoever his parents may have been, he was brought up in a family of Muslim weavers at Benares. He is generally looked on as having been a weaver by caste, and the weavers of the country by a process well known in eastern ethnology are fond of calling themselves as the descendants of this celebrated member of their caste.
Many of the julahas in the Punjab return their caste as Kabirpanthi and many of those who return their sect as Kabir bansi or Kabirpanthi, are probably little more than ordinary weavers who have no idea of distinguishing themselves from other Hindu weavers in matters of doctrines. However, Kabir whatever his caste may really have been, is said to have been a pupil of Ramanand and whether this be true or not, it is beyond doubt that he imbibed a good deal of that master's teaching. From one point of view the Kabirpanthis are merely Ramanandis who refuse to worship idols.
In the 14th century Ramanand, the founder of the Bairagis, lived at Benares. One day he went to gather flowers for worship in his garden, but there he was seized and taken by the gardener's daughter to one of the rulers of that period. The girl took with her also the flowers, which she herself had picked, and on the road found that they had turned into a handsome child. Thinking Ramanand a wizard she left both him and the child on the spot and fled homewards. Ramdnand then gave the child to a newly wedded Muhammadan Julaha and his wife who chanced to pass that way, and they brought the boy up as their own son.
Another version is that a Brahman's wife craved the boon of a son and used to do homage to her sadhu for one. But one day her husband's sister went to do him reverence in her stead, and it was to her that the sadhu granted the desired boon, though she was a virgin. On learning this the Sadhu declared himself unable to recall his gift, and in due course a child was born to her from a boil which formed on her hand when it was scratched by the rope at a well.
In her shame she secretly cast the child into a stream, where it was found by a weaver and his wife on their way home after their muklawa. The child was named Kabir, from kur, palm, and bir, a son, and one-day his adoptive mother took him to a tank to bathe. There too came Ramanand and hurt the boy with his sandals, but when he began to cry, he endowed him with miraculous powers.
On his death Hindus and Muhammadans disputed for possession of his body, so it was placed under a cloth and when that was again removed it had disappeared. Half the cloth was then burnt by the Hindus and the other half buried by the Muhammadans. "In the midst of the dispute," says Professor Wiksn," Kabir himself appeared amongst them and desiring them to look under cloth supposed to cover his mortal remains, immediately vanished.
Obeying his instructions they found nothing under the cloth but a heap of flowers." The Hindus took a half of them and burnt them at Benares ; the Mohammadans took the other half and buried them in Gurakhpur, 'where his death is said to have occurred. Flower-born Kabir at his death turned to flowers again Kabir is in many ways rather a literary, than a religious celebrity and his writings in the common Bhasha are very voluminous. The Adi Granth of the Sikhs is full of quotations from him, and he is more often quoted there than any other of the Bhagats.
His apothems are constantly on the lips of the educated classes, whether Muslim, even at the present day ; and possibly there is no native author whose words are more often quoted than those of Kabir It is noticeable, too, that Kabir instead of impressing on his disciples like most Hindu leaders, the necessity of absolute adherence to the Guru, was fond of stimulating enquiry and encouraging criticisms of his own utterances.
Kabir was probably a Muhammadan Sufi, but as a sufi his teaching was addressed to Hindus as well as Muhammadans. Wilson's description of the Kabirpanthi doctrines is still exact:- "The Kabirpanthis, in consequence of their master having been a reputed disciple of Ramanand and of their paying more respect to Vishnu than the other members of the Hindu triad, are always included among the Vaishnava sects and maintain, with most of them, the kamawats especially, a friendly intercourse and political alliance.
It no part of their faith, however, to worship any Hindu deity, or to observe any of the rites or ceremonials of the Hindus, whether orthodox or schismatically. Such of their members as are living in the world conform outwardly to all the usage of their tribes and caste, end some of them even pretend to worship the usual divinities, although this is considered as going rather further than is justifiable.
Those, however, who have abandoned the fetters of society abstain from all the ordinary practices and address the homage chiefly in chanting hymns exclusively to the invisible Kabir. They use no mantra nor fixed form of salutation; they have no peculiar mode of dress, and some of them go nearly naked, without objecting, however, to clothe themselves in order to dressed when clothing is considered decent or respectful.
The mahants wear a small scull cap; the frontal marks, if wore, are usually those of the Vaishnava sects, or they make a streak with sandal or gopichandan along the ridge of the nose; a necklace and rosary of tulsi are also worn by them, but all these outward signs are considered of no importance and the inward man is the only essential point to be attended to."
It is however very doubtful if the view that Kablr was probably a Muhammadan Sufi can be accepted with confidence, and Dr. G. A. Grierson would regard the sect founded by Kabir as one of the bhakti-sects. A common feature of many of these sects is the maha prasada or sacramental meal. On the evening of the appointed day the worshippers assemble And the mahant, or leading celebrant, reads a brief address, and then allows a short interval for prayer and meditation.
All who feel themselves unworthy to proceed further then withdraw to a distance. Those that remain approach the senior celebrant in turn, and placing their hands together receive into the palm of the right hand, which is uppermost, a small consecrated wafer and two other articles of consecrated food. They then approach another celebrant, who pours into the palm of the right hand a few drops of water, which they drink. This food and water are regarded as Kabir's Special gift, and it is said that all who receive it worthily will have eternal life.
Part of the sacramental food is 'reserved' and is carefully kept from pollution for administration to the sick. After the sacra-ment there is a substantial meal which all attend, and which in its character closely resembles the early Christian love-feasts. It is possi-ble that this rite was borrowed rein the Jesuit missionaries at Agra, but the headquarters of the Kabir.panthi sect are at Benares, and the rite is now likely to be a survival of historian influences.
The Kabirpanthi sadhs or faqirs in this Province wear generally clothes dyed with brickdust colour (guru); and both they and the laity abstain from flesh and spirits. The present f0llowers of Kabir hold an intermediate position between idolatry and monotheism, but the mission of Kabir himself is generally looked on as one directed against idolatry; and at Kanwsrdeh, near Ballabgarh, in the Delhi district, there is a community of Kabirpanthis descended from an Argarwal Bania of Puri, who used to travel with 52 cart-loads of Shivs and Salgirams behind him, but who was convinced by Kabir of the error of his ways.
The sect of Kabirpanthis is probably better known in the Gangetic Valley than in the Punjab, and the Kabirpanthis are largely found in the south-east of the Province ; but considerable numbers are also returned from Sialkot and Gurdaspur, and it is said that the Megh/Bhagats and Batwals,Now most of the megh kabirpanthi setteled in jalandhar,ludhiana,Amritsar,Gurdaspur,Kapurthala,S.A.S Nagar,Mohali so common in those districts, are very generally Kabirpanthis. The sect is also very largely recruited from the Chamar (leather worker) and Julaha (weaver) castes, and it is open to men of all classes to become Kabirpanthis.
The Kabirpanthi will almost always describe himself as a Hindu, but a certain number have returned the name as that of an independent religion, and some as a sect of the Sikhs. An offshoot of the sect is the Dharm Dasias, founded by a wealthy merchant of Benaras who turned sadhu. The Dharm Dasis, however, appear to differ in no way from the Kabirpanthis in doctrine, and they are very rarely found in the Punjab.
No close relation with sarabhloh article.......checked again byuser:paapi
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