Kabir - Myths, Misconceptions & Mystery
Published on May 6, 2020
Myth (Greek "Muthos") basically represents stuff which is meaningless, an imaginative story or an irrational creation of a crooked mind.
(On a side note, its derivative is the word "Mythology" which in its true sense can't be applied to "Hinduism" as none of the concepts, events and epics in Hinduism are a myth. Being a very old religion or way of live, the fact that these events occurred eons ago make some think that these are mythological fables or legends. However this assumption is a farce and misleading.)
This writeup particularly is about Kabir, a Supreme Saint who appeared in 1398 C.E. and dispels some myths around the Great Saint.
Myth: Kabir was born to a widowed brahmin lady
The above statement is a myth, a lie about Kabir. The fact is that Kabir descended on this earth in 1398 C.E. as an infant in Lahar Tara Pond in Varanasi on to a lotus flower. Kabir did not take birth. He rather appeared on this earth at his own will, to perform a divine play and propagate his knowledge which unfolded during the entirety of his lifespan on this earth spanning 120 years.
Kabir as an infant was found by a childless couple named Niru and Nima in the Lahar Tara pond when they had gone there to take a bath.
Myth: Kabir was a Muslim
Kabir had no religion. He was beyond any religion, caste or creed. However Niru and Nima, the childless couple who found and raised Kabir, were muslims. Prior to being forced in to islam, Niru and Nima were Brahmin / Pandits (hinduism) who were forcefully turned muslims due to prevailing circumstances at the time. Niru previously was known as 'Gauri Shankar' and Nima was known as 'Saraswati'. They were ardent devotees of Lord Shiv. Despite being forced in to Islam, they still had their allegiance to Lord Shiv.
Kabir however was beyond Hindu and Muslim. He wrote numerous speech which is famous as Kabir poetry but in reality, He gave his secret, though surreptitiously. In one of the speeches Kabir wrote:
हिन्दू तुरक के बीच में मेरा नाम कबीर (Hindu turk ke beech mein mera naam Kabir)
जीव मुक्तवन कारने अबिकत धरा सरीर। (Jeev muktaavan kaarney avigat dhara sharir)
Kabir here describes himself to be present between the two major religions (Hinduism and Islam) at the time prevalent in Indian subcontinent where he says that I have acquired this body to liberate the souls.
Kabir indeed was Supreme God who appeared as a Saint, which meant he was above the shackles of religion, caste etc..
Myth: Kabir was merely a Bhagat (devotee) or Das (servant)
Kabir is generally known or addressed as Kabir Das. This is true as Kabir played a role of a perfect "Das". He showed to the world, the true attributes of a 'Das', what a das should be like, what should be his behaviour, mannerism and attitude. It is only with "Das Bhaav" (the attitude of humble submission) that a devotee can achieve the Supreme God. This was also one of the messages of Kabir.
Sikhs particularly refer to him as a "Bhagat". This is simply due to their ignorance. It can't be said to be their fault alone, as their 5th Guru, Guru Arjan Dev Ji could not even realise the grandeur of Kabir and assigned him to the category of devotees (bhagats). This was also the will of God Kabir to keep this fact (that Kabir is Supreme God) as a secret until the right time. That is how it has propagated down generations and got ingrained into the minds of the sikhs in particular, and they continue to refer to Kabir as a Bhagat (Devotee). In true sense, only the Supreme Lord can play the role of a "Perfect Bhagat" too. And that is what also Kabir came to be known as, "a Perfect Bhagat / devotee".
The bottom line is that Kabir is Supreme God. It is this same Kabir who appeared in Varanasi in 1398 and led the life of a weaver and came to be known as a "Weaver Saint". It is this same Kabir who is mentioned in the Vedas as "Kavir Dev".
Kabir Sahib once in conversation with Gorakh Nath uttered the following lines which are self explanatory.
अवधु अविगत से चल आया, कोई मेरा भेद मर्म नहीं पाया।।टेक।।
ना मेरा जन्म न गर्भ बसेरा, बालक ह्नै दिखलाया।
काशी नगर जल कमल पर डेरा, तहाँ जुलाहे ने पाया।।
माता-पिता मेरे कछु नहीं, ना मेरे घर दासी।
जुलहा को सुत आन कहाया, जगत करे मेरी हांसी।।
पांच तत्व का धड़ नहीं मेरा, जानूं ज्ञान अपारा।
सत्य स्वरूपी नाम साहिब का, सो है नाम हमारा।।
अधर दीप (सतलोक) गगन गुफा में, तहां निज वस्तु सारा।
ज्योति स्वरूपी अलख निरंजन (ब्रह्म) भी, धरता ध्यान हमारा।।
हाड चाम लोहू नहीं मोरे, जाने सत्यनाम उपासी।
तारन तरन अभै पद दाता, मैं हूं कबीर अविनासी।।
Kabir Sahib also said
जो बूझे सोए बावरा, क्या है उमर हमारी।
असंखो युग प्रलय गई, मैं तब का ब्रहमचारी।
कोटी निरंजन हो गए परलोक सिधारी।
हम तो सदा महबूब हैं, स्वयं ब्रहमचारी।
अरबो तो ब्रह्मा गए, 49 कोटी कन्हैया।
7 कोटी शंभू गए, मोर एक नहीं पलैया।
Misconception: Kabir was a Ram Bhagat (devotee of Shri Ram Chander ji)
One encounters the word "Ram" numerous times in Kabir speech (Kabir Vani). God Kabir however clarifies in his own speech the various designations of this word "Ram".
एक राम दशरथ का बेटा , एक राम घट-घट में बैठा
एक राम का सकल पसारा , एक राम सबहूँ से न्यारा
God Kabir says that Ram was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu who took birth as a son of King Dashrath. However the Supreme "Ram" is someone else and separate to Ram Chander Ji.
Here God Kabir has clarified that the word "Ram" is a power-denoting word. It is also a name by which the Supreme Lord is addressed. So whenever Kabir speech uses the word "Ram" contextually, it is attributed to the glory or singing praise of the Supreme God.
"Ram Naam" is an entirely different entity to "Ram Chander Ji"
Whenever Kabir Ji refers to "Ram Naam", He is referring to either the "naam mantra" of the Supreme God / Lord or singing his glory. A similar context appears in Shri Guru Granth Sahib where people mistake the word "Ram" for Ram Chander ji of Ayodhya, whereas that is certainly not the case. Guru Nanak Dev Ji was also a disciple of Kabir and henceforth the word "Ram" appears in his speech numerous times and is attributed to the Supreme Lord.
Myth: Kabir had a wife named Loi / Loee
Kabir Sahib did not acquire a wife during his tenure on this earth. So it is total lie that God Kabir had a wife named Loi / Loee. Kabir Sahib has used the word Loi / Loee in His poetry numerous times. Depending upon the context, the word Loi / Loee has been attributed to a 'Woman' in general or even general public / world.
God Kabir did have two children named 'Kamaal' and 'Kamaali'. These two were adopted children whom he had brought to life. The first one Kamaal was a dead boy whose body was afloat in a river when God Kabir resurrected it in front of Sikander Lodhi (the king of Delhi). The second was a girl named Kamaali who was the daughter of a pir named Sheikh Taqi (religious guru of Sikander Lodhi) whose body was exhumed and brought to life by God Kabir. The girl refused to live with Sheikh Taqi and chose to live with God Kabir and He kept her with him as his daughter.
Mystery: Kabir did not leave his body of 5 elements at the time of death. Only flowers were found instead of a dead body.
This was a true miracle indeed. When Kabir departed from earth, he went along with his body. He did not leave a body on this earth. Rather he left scented flowers shaped like a body under a sheet. When his devotees lifted the sheet, they found flowers. Through an ether voice Kabir communicated to them that he was going back to his eternal place "Satlok". People call it a legend but this account is only 600 years old and is true, and only Supreme God is capable of doing so.
पानी से पैदा नहीं, श्वासा नहीं शरीर। (Pani se paida nahin, shwaasa nahin shareer)
चार दाग आता नहीं, वा का नाम कबीर। (Char daag aata nahin, wa ka naam Kabir)
God Kabir did not take birth as a result of a union of sperm and egg. Likewise He is devoid of the "Char Daag" (the four ways in which a dead body is cremated either by putting on a pyre, or burying under the earth, or left afloat in a river or left in the open for scavengers to consume). Kabir is devoid of all these.
The reality is that Kabir did not take birth from a womb and did not die like any human would. He appeared on this earth and then disappeared along with his body. He did not leave a body behind. These qualities are attributed to Supreme God only.
On this Sant Garib Das Ji has said,
अनंत कोटी ब्रहम्ण्ड में बंदीछोड़ कहाए (Anant koti brahmand mein bandichhor kaha-aye)
सो तो पुरुष कबीर हैं, जननी जने नां माँये (So to Purush Kabir hain, Jan-ni janey na maa-aye)
Kabir did not take birth from a mother and came to be known as a liberator in the uncountable universes.