Bhagat Kabir

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Devotee Kabir
Full Name : Kabirdas
Birth : 1440, Pratapgarh, Uttar Pradesh, India
Parents :
Spouse :
Children :
Death : 1518, Maghar, Uttar Pardesh
Other Info: 500 verses in Guru Granth Sahib.

Bhagat Kabir (Gurmukhi: ਭਗਤ ਕਬੀਰ) was a Devotee and Spiritual Poet lived in Uttar Pardesh, India. He was a strict monotheist and follower, probably founder, of Gurmat. In Guru Granth Sahib, There are 227 Padas in 17 ragas and 237 slokas of Kabir.

Kabir was born in Muslim family. He is revered by Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs. He played the role of a teacher and social reformer by the medium of his writings. Like other Devotees, Kabir did not believe in Ritualism, the worshiping of Dieties, Brahmanism, Caste System and illusioned concepts of Hindu and Muslim priests. The Kabirpanthi sect which follow the teachings of Kabir, referring to him as their guru.

Sikhs also follow the teaching of Kabir, as in Gurmat, Kabir, Nanak, Ravidas, Bhatts all are same and all are treated as Guru and Sikhs bow before Guru Granth Sahib which include the teaching of many who had similar thoughts about God.

Early Life

Many Views are their regarding life history of Kabir:

  • Some historians favor 1398–1448 as the period Kabir lived, while others favor 1440–1518.
  • It is widely accepted that he was born in 1398 AD (71 years before Guru Nanak). Kabirpanthis (followers of Kabir) say that he lived upto the age of 120 years and give date of his death as 1518, but relying on the research of Hazari Prased Trivedi, a British Scholar Charlotte Vaudenville is inclined to lend credence to these dates and has proven that 1448 is probably the correct date of Saint Kabir's demise.
  • Kabir was born in Benaras and adopted by Neeru and his wife Neema who named him Kabir (the Most High). Kabir had a son who he named Kamal and a daughter named Kamali by Mata Loi. Though a Hindu by tradition, he was a Muslim by upbringing. A weaver by profession, Kabir said he had been sent by the Lord himself.

In Benaras
In the fifteenth century, Benaras was the seat of Brahmin orthodoxy and their learning center. Brahmins had a strong hold on all the spheres of life in this city. Thus Kabir belonging to a low caste of Julaha had to go through an immensely tough time of preaching his idealogy. Kabir and his followers would gather at one place in the city and meditate. Brahmins ridiculed him for preaching to prostitutes and other low castes. Kabir satirically denounced Brahmins and thus won hearts of people around him. There is no doubt that the single most famous important person from the city of Benaras today is none other than Saint Kabir.

Even though he was in Banaras (Shivpuri), he had not found Gurmat knowledge- all he found in Shivpuri was a bunch of hypocrites, (Sagal Janam Shivpuri Gavaya), there he wrote Bijak. He went to Maghar. There he founded Gurmat (meaning, "in company of holy men") and again wrote Bani which is present in Guru Granth Sahib. He preached the same bani when he returned to Benaras. He died at Magahar.

Although Ramanand Ji was his outer Guru, ultimately it was Kabir who gave Ramanand Ji true knowledge. In fact, in the previous 3 ages, he revealed his names as: Sat Sukrit, Munindra and Karunamaya.

Muslims Invaded Benaras
Benaras was devasted by an attack by a Muslim invader Tamur Lang or "Tamur the lame" during his time. Kabir also denounced mullahs and their rituals of bowing towards kaba five times a day. Because of open condemnation of established and popular religoins, Kabir became an object of the wrath of both Hindus and Muslims in and around Benaras. Kabir travelled in and around Benaras to preach his beliefs.

He is the first Perfect Master to have revealed the secrets of the entire creation to world at large (see his two verses, both entitled: "Kar Nainon Deedar"). He met with opposition from Pandits and Maulvis alike.

Sultan Sikandar Lodi attempted to punish him by various means such as by drowning, by fire and by having him trampled under an elephant's feet. His verses, though encompassing the highest secrets of Sant-Mat, clearly remain close to the common man's heart even today. He often uses strong language to denounce the prevalent ritualism. Of his works are 'Bijak', 'Granthavali', 'Shabdavali' and 'Anurag Saagar'. The King of Benaras was among his disciples. He had a galaxy of renowned disciples such as: Dharamdas Ji, Mir Taqi, Ganaka Ji, Pipa Ji, Dhanna Ji and Sadana Ji.

It is said that, when he headed his way for heaven, a tussle took place between the Hindus and Muslims over the issue of performance of the last rites. Eventually, in the memory of the great Kabir, his tomb as well as a Samadhi Mandir were constructed, which are still standing erect next to each other at Maghar.

Historical Facts of Kabir's life in Guru Granth Sahib

Kabir's memorial at Maghar


Wasting of Life in Kashi and Recieved Gurmat from Maghar

  1. In Gurbani, it is clear that Bhagat Kabir spend whole his life in Shivpuri(Kashi,Banaras), and when he grow old, during end days of life he spend his life in Maghar(Uttar Pardesh). Kabir said that he wasted his whole life in benaras and during that tenure he wrote Bijak too. He was not able to find Gurmat their but in Maghar he found Gurmat probably in Company of Saints.

    ਸਗਲ ਜਨਮ੝ ਸਿਵ ਪ੝ਰੀ ਗਵਾਇਆ ॥
    I wasted my whole life in the city of Shiva;

    ਮਰਤੀ ਬਾਰ ਮਗਹਰਿ ਉਠਿ ਆਇਆ ॥੨॥
    at the time of my death, I moved to Magahar. ||2||

  2. Fron Gurbani, it also clears that the lifetime he spent in Kashi wasted in penance and meditation which was of no use. He even said that Saints of Benaras are Hypocrites. They actually tangled in Maya(Temporal) and forget the name of god which he able to find at Maghar.

    ਬਹ੝ਤ੝ ਬਰਸ ਤਪ੝ ਕੀਆ ਕਾਸੀ ॥
    For many years, I practiced penance and intense meditation at Kaashi;

    ਮਰਨ੝ ਭਇਆ ਮਗਹਰ ਕੀ ਬਾਸੀ ॥੩॥
    now that my time to die has come, I have come to dwell at Magahar! ||3||

  3. Kabir also cleared that after getting Gurmat from Maghat he again came to Kashi and Kabir have found God in Maghar either in company of saints or he found himself.

    ਤੋਰੇ ਭਰੋਸੇ ਮਗਹਰ ਬਸਿਓ ਮੇਰੇ ਤਨ ਕੀ ਤਪਤਿ ਬ੝ਝਾਈ ॥
    Relying upon You, I can live even in the cursed place of Magahar; You have put out the fire of my body.

    ਪਹਿਲੇ ਦਰਸਨ੝ ਮਗਹਰ ਪਾਇਓ ਫ੝ਨਿ ਕਾਸੀ ਬਸੇ ਆਈ ॥੨॥
    First, I obtained the Blessed Vision of Your Darshan in Magahar; then, I came to dwell at Benares. ||2||

How he Attains Gurmat?

  1. Some people claims that Kabir was thought by Guru Nanak but following lines clear that Kabir got Gurmat gyan from inner like Nanak had.

    ਗ੝ਰਿ ਦੀਨੀ ਬਸਤ੝ ਕਬੀਰ ਕਉ ਲੇਵਹ੝ ਬਸਤ੝ ਸਮ੝ਹ੝ਹਾਰਿ ॥੪॥

    The Guru has blessed Kabeer with the commodity, saying, "Take this commodity; cherish it and keep it secure". ||4||

    ਕਬੀਰਿ ਦੀਈ ਸੰਸਾਰ ਕਉ ਲੀਨੀ ਜਿਸ੝ ਮਸਤਕਿ ਭਾਗ੝ ॥
    Kabeer gives it to the world, but he alone receives it, upon whose forehead such destiny is recorded.

Guru Amardass on Bhagat Kabir

  1. One more thing is cleared that Kabir was Weaver by Profession. Third Guru, Guru Amardas mentioned this ->

    ਨਾਮਾ ਛੀਬਾ ਕਬੀਰ੝ ਜਲਾਹਾ ਪੂਰੇ ਗ੝ਰ ਤੇ ਗਤਿ ਪਾਈ ॥

A rare fresco depicting Bhagat Kabir weaving at his traditional 'khaddi' and Mai Loi spinning. The picture that once adored the walls of Akal Takht was destroyed when its building was pulled down in January 1986.

Bhagat Ravidas Comments on Bhagat Kabir

  1. Kabir was muslim.

ਜਾ ਕੈ ਈਦਿ ਬਕਰੀਦਿ ਕ੝ਲ ਗਊ ਰੇ ਬਧ੝ ਕਰਹਿ ਮਾਨੀਅਹਿ ਸੇਖ ਸਹੀਦ ਪੀਰਾ ॥
And he whose family used to kill cows at the festivals of Eid and Bakareed, who worshipped Shayks, martyrs and spiritual teachers,

ਜਾ ਕੈ ਬਾਪ ਵੈਸੀ ਕਰੀ ਪੂਤ ਝਸੀ ਸਰੀ ਤਿਹੂ ਰੇ ਲੋਕ ਪਰਸਿਧ ਕਬੀਰਾ ॥੨॥
whose father used to do such things - his son Kabeer became so successful that he is now famous throughout the three worlds. ||2||

Quote from Gurbani

Bhagat Kabir ji’s Bani from page 91 of Sri Guru Granth Sahib:

  • The mother thinks that her son is growing up; she does not understand that, day by day, his life is diminishing. Calling him, "Mine, mine", she fondles him lovingly, while the Messenger of Death looks on and laughs. ||1|| (SGGS p91)
  • I was on fire, but now I have found the Water of the Lord’s Name. This Water of the Lord’s Name has cooled my burning body. ||1||Pause|| (SGGS p323)
  • Gauree: Like the monkey with a handful of grain, who will not let go because of greed - just so, all the deeds committed in greed ultimately become a noose around one`s neck. ||1|| Without devotional worship, human life passes away in vain. Without the Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy, without vibrating and meditating on the Lord God, one does not abide in Truth. ||1||Pause|| Like the flower which blossoms in the wilderness with no one to enjoy its fragrance, so do people wander in reincarnation; over and over again, they are destroyed by Death. ||2|| This wealth, youth, children and spouse which the Lord has given you - this is all just a passing show. Those who are caught and entangled in these are carried away by sensual desire. ||3|| Age is the fire, and the body is the house of straw; on all four sides, this play is being played out. Says Kabeer, to cross over the terrifying world-ocean, I have taken to the Shelter of the True Guru. ||4||1||8||59|| (SGGS p336)

Kabir Bani

Not all of Bhagat Kabir's bani was incorporated into Guru Granth Sahib by the 5th Guru, Guru Arjan Dev ji. The selections were passed down to the 5th Guru from 1st Guru, Guru Nanak Dev ji in his janamsakhis. Bhagat Kabir ji's bani can be found in the following angs (pages):

  • Bhagat Kabir, pg. 91 to 92
  • Bhagat Kabir, Guru Arjan Dev, pg. 323 to 330
  • Bhagat Kabir, Ashtpadi (Octet), pg. 330 to 340
  • Bhagat Kabir, Bawan Akkhari (Acrostic), pg. 340 to 343
  • Bhagat Kabir, Thiteen (Lunar Dates of Fortnight), pg. 343 to 344
  • Bhagat Kabir, Var - Seven Days of the Week, pg. 344 to 345
  • Bhagat Kabir, pg. 475 to 485
  • Bhagat Kabir, pg. 524
  • Bhagat Kabir, pg. 654 to 656
  • Bhagat Kabir, pg. 691 to 692
  • Bhagat Kabir, pg. 727
  • Bhagat Kabir, pg. 792 to 793
  • Bhagat Kabir, pg. 855 to 858
  • Bhagat Kabir, pg. 870 to 873
  • Guru Amar Das, Bhagat Kabir, Guru Nanak Dev, Guru Angad Dev, Ramkali Ki Var, pg. 947 to 956
  • Guru Arjan Dev, Bhagat Kabir, Sheikh Farid, Ramkali Ki Var, pg. 957 to 966
  • Bhagat Kabir, pg. 1102 to 1106
  • Bhagat Kabir, pg. 1123 to 1124
  • Bhagat Kabir, pg. 1157 to 1162
  • Bhagat Kabir, Ashtpadi (Octet), pg. 1162 to 1163
  • Bhagat Kabir, pg. 1193 to 1195
  • Bhagat Kabir, pg. 1196
  • Bhagat Kabir, pg. 1251 to 1252
  • Bhagat Kabir, pg. 1253
  • Bhagat Kabir, pg. 1349 to 1350
  • Bhagat Kabir, Guru Arjan Dev, Guru Amar Das, pg. 1364 to 1377

See also

External Links

Additional References

1. Sri Kabir Jio (Subhaian Naal Mail tey Do Do Gallan) - Sher Singh MSc Kashmir

2. Bavan Akhri - Bhagat Kabir (English Translation) - Sher Singh MSc Kashmir

3. Rag Gauri Kabir IV (English Translation) - Sher Singh MSc Kashmir

4. Sloks of the Bhagat Kabir - Sher Singh MSc Kashmir (English Translation)

5. Sri Kabir Ji - Sher Singh MSc Kashmir

6. Bhagat Kabir - Dr. Inderjeet Singh Vasu Tract No. 471

7. Sri Kabir Ji - The Holy Weaver - Sher Singh MSc Kashmir

8. Bhagatan di Bani Satik - Gyani Bishan Singh

These are the 15 Bhagats of Sikhism

Bhagat Beni | Bhagat Bhikhan | Bhagat Dhanna | Sheikh Farid | Bhagat Jaidev | Bhagat Kabir | Bhagat Namdev | Bhagat Parmanand | Bhagat Pipa | Bhagat Ramanand | Bhagat Ravidas | Bhagat Sadhna | Bhagat Sain | Bhagat Surdas | Bhagat Trilochan