Remembering Bhagat Kabir Ji
Kabir Ji was an amazing soul who came to this world a little before Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji and was in absolute love with Waheguru ji. He would engage in daily activities; however, his mind was always connected to Waheguru ji.
I am not going to spend time on his birth, birthplace, parents, upbringing because you can find all that on the internet… some correct, some not so correct or should I say ever changing, however, one thing that doesn’t change is, Bhagat Kabir Ji’s Bani in Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji.There are 541 shabads, most number of Shabads from among the Bhagats whose Bani is included in Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji.
Kabir Ji was born during what’s known as the Bhagti movement. He was a revolutionary saint, and through his teachings he emphasized the equality and fraternity of all mankind.
ਅਵਲਿ ਅਲਹ ਨੂਰੁ ਉਪਾਇਆ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਕੇ ਸਭ ਬੰਦੇ ॥
Aval Allah Noor Upaayaa, Kudrat Ke Sabh Bande.
First, Allah created the Light; then, by His Creative Power, He made all mortal beings.
ਏਕ ਨੂਰ ਤੇ ਸਭੁ ਜਗੁ ਉਪਜਿਆ ਕਉਨ ਭਲੇ ਕੋ ਮੰਦੇ ॥੧॥
Ek Noor Te Sabh Jag Upjayaa, Kaun Bhale Ko Mande
From the One Light, the entire universe welled up. So who is good, and who is bad? || 1 ||
Kabir Ji was completely immersed in meditation at all times, so much so, that his mother would have to hear from people, how Kabir ji wasn’t working and that she be concerned and so like any parent she worried about him…
ਮੁਸਿ ਮੁਸਿ ਰੋਵੈ ਕਬੀਰ ਕੀ ਮਾਈ ॥
Mus Mus rovai Kabir Kee Maayee.
Kabeer's mother sobs, cries and bewails.
ਏ ਬਾਰਿਕ ਕੈਸੇ ਜੀਵਹਿ ਰਘੁਰਾਈ ॥੧॥
Ey Baarik Kaise Jeeveh Raghuraayee.
- O Lord, how will my grandchildren live? || 1 ||
ਤਨਨਾ ਬੁਨਨਾ ਸਭੁ ਤਜਿਓ ਹੈ ਕਬੀਰ ॥
Tan-naa Bun-naa sabh tajeyo hai Kabir.
Kabeer has given up all his spinning and weaving,
ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਲਿਖਿ ਲੀਓ ਸਰੀਰ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
Har kaa naam likh leeyo Sareer.
and written the Name of the Lord on his body. || 1 || Pause ||
Like a good child, he tries to explain his situation to his mother by telling her, O’ dear mother, when I am busy weaving, I tend to forget my beloved Waheguru ji. Regardless of what others think, I have earned a great profit of the Lord’s name. Please remember my mother, Waheguru ji is the provider for all of us.
ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਤਾਗਾ ਬਾਹਉ ਬੇਹੀ ॥
Jag Lag Taagaa baahau Behee.
As long as I pass the thread through the bobbin,
ਤਬ ਲਗੁ ਬਿਸਰੈ ਰਾਮੁ ਸਨੇਹੀ ॥੨॥
Tab lag Bisrai Raam Sanehee.
I forget the Lord, my Beloved. || 2 ||
ਓਛੀ ਮਤਿ ਮੇਰੀ ਜਾਤਿ ਜੁਲਾਹਾ ॥
Ochhee mat meree jaat julaahaa.
My intellect is lowly - I am a weaver by birth,
ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਲਹਿਓ ਮੈ ਲਾਹਾ ॥੩॥
Har kaa naam laheyo mein laahaa.
but I have earned the profit of the Name of the Lord. || 3 ||
ਕਹਤ ਕਬੀਰ ਸੁਨਹੁ ਮੇਰੀ ਮਾਈ ॥
Kahat Kabir sunoh meree maayee.
Says Kabeer, listen, O my mother
ਹਮਰਾ ਇਨ ਕਾ ਦਾਤਾ ਏਕੁ ਰਘੁਰਾਈ ॥੪॥੨॥
Humraa in kaa daataa ek raghuraayee.
- the Lord alone is the Provider, for me and my children. || 4 || 2 ||
Kabir ji took his message to anyone and everyone who would listen. His message was very clear and hit home hard to those who listened.
Kabir Ji’s Bani is guiding us not to while away time in sleeping or other useless activities.
ਕਬੀਰ ਸੂਤਾ ਕਿਆ ਕਰਹਿ ਉਠਿ ਕਿ ਨ ਜਪਹਿ ਮੁਰਾਰਿ ॥
Kabir sootaa kyaa kareh, uth ke na japeh muraar.
Kabeer, what are you doing sleeping? Why not rise up and meditate on the Lord?
ਇਕ ਦਿਨ ਸੋਵਨੁ ਹੋਇਗੋ ਲਾਂਬੇ ਗੋਡ ਪਸਾਰਿ ॥੧੨੮॥
Ik din sovan hoyego laambe gaud pasaar.
One day you shall sleep with your legs outstretched. || 128 ||
ਕਬੀਰ ਸੂਤਾ ਕਿਆ ਕਰਹਿ ਬੈਠਾ ਰਹੁ ਅਰੁ ਜਾਗੁ ॥
Kabir sootaa kyaa kareh baithaa raho ar jaag.
Kabeer, what are you doing sleeping? Wake up, and sit up.
ਜਾ ਕੇ ਸੰਗ ਤੇ ਬੀਛੁਰਾ ਤਾ ਹੀ ਕੇ ਸੰਗਿ ਲਾਗੁ ॥੧੨੯॥
Jaa ke sang te beechhuraa taa hee ke sung laag.
Attach yourself to the One, from whom you have been separated. || 129 ||
Through his Bani, he guides us to hang out in the company of saints, as it is in that company, that one will find peace and start meditating on the Lord’s name.
ਕਬੀਰ ਸੰਤ ਕੀ ਗੈਲ ਨ ਛੋਡੀਐ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਲਾਗਾ ਜਾਉ ॥
Kabir Sant kee gail naa chhodeeyai, maarag laagaa jaao.
Kabeer, do not leave the Society of the Saints; walk upon this Path.
ਪੇਖਤ ਹੀ ਪੁੰਨੀਤ ਹੋਇ ਭੇਟਤ ਜਪੀਐ ਨਾਉ ॥੧੩੦॥
Pekhat hee Puneet Hoye, Bhetat japeeyai Naao.
See them, and be sanctified; meet them, and chant the Name. || 130 ||
He didn’t stop there. While he is guiding us to keep the sangat of saints, because it’s that company that will bring us salvation or make us fearless.
ਕਬੀਰ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਕਰੀਐ ਸਾਧ ਕੀ ਅੰਤਿ ਕਰੈ ਨਿਰਬਾਹੁ ॥
-Kabir Sangat kareeyai saadh kee, ant karai nirbaahu
Kabeer, associate with the Holy people, who will take you to Nirvaanaa in the end.
He also warns us to stay away from the company of the faithless. He goes on to explain, that it will bring us destruction…destruction of our spiritual journey
ਸਾਕਤ ਸੰਗੁ ਨ ਕੀਜੀਐ ਜਾ ਤੇ ਹੋਇ ਬਿਨਾਹੁ ॥੯੩॥.
Saakat sang na keejeeyai, jaa te hoye binaahu.
Do not associate with the faithless cynics; they would bring you to ruin. || 93 ||
Kabir Ji faced many challenges because of his revolutionary teachings. He was under constant attack from Brahmins and Mullahs, however, he stood tall on his message and took everyone head on.
ਸੂਰਾ ਸੋ ਪਹਿਚਾਨੀਐ ਜੁ ਲਰੈ ਦੀਨ ਕੇ ਹੇਤ ॥
Sooraa so pehchaaneeyai jo larai deen ke het
He alone is known as a spiritual hero, who fights in defense of religion.
ਪੁਰਜਾ ਪੁਰਜਾ ਕਟਿ ਮਰੈ ਕਬਹੂ ਨ ਛਾਡੈ ਖੇਤੁ ॥੨॥੨॥
Purjaa purjaa kat marai, kab-hoo na chhaadai khet.
He may be cut apart, piece by piece, but he never leaves the field of battle. || 2 || 2 ||
His message to the Mullahs was:
ਕਬੀਰ ਮੁਲਾਂ ਮੁਨਾਰੇ ਕਿਆ ਚਢਹਿ ਸਾਂਈ ਨ ਬਹਰਾ ਹੋਇ ॥
Kabir Mullaan munaare kyaa chatdeh, saanyee na behraa hoye.
Kabeer: O Mullah, why do you climb to the top of the minaret? The Lord is not hard of hearing.
ਜਾ ਕਾਰਨਿ ਤੂੰ ਬਾਂਗ ਦੇਹਿ ਦਿਲ ਹੀ ਭੀਤਰਿ ਜੋਇ ॥੧੮੪॥
Jaa kaaran toon baang deh, dil hee bheetar joye.
Look within your own heart for the One, for whose sake you shout your prayers. || 184 ||
Oh dear mullah, why do you climb the top of the building and yell at top of your lungs. God is not deaf. Look within you, as that is where He is present at all times.
He took on all the misgivings on the society. Certain group of people felt by going to the forest and walking around naked, one can achieve salvation, then there are those who believe by shaving off ones head will be the key to salvation or living a life of a celibate, one would get salvation or mukti… Kabir ji debunked all those thoughts by saying, if that was true, then the deer, the sheep and the eunuchs would have achieved salvation. After debunking the misconceptions, Kabir ji guides us that the only path to salvation is through remembrance and meditation. There is a whole shabad on this on page 324 of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.
On the same page, Kabir ji takes on the Brahmins. In his message to them, he says, we all come from the same source, through the same means (that is through the womb of a mother) and we all have the same blood running through our veins. Born to a Brahmin mother doesn’t make anyone a Brahmin. He goes on to say, a true Brahmin is that who meditates upon Waheguru and has the true knowledge of Waheguru ji.
May Kabir Ji’s message resonate with us in the deepest way and may we all connect with Waheguru ji… In conclusion, may we all develop the love that Kabir Ji had in His heart for Waheguru ji and may we all look forward to the day when we meet our beloved...
ਕਬੀਰ ਮੁਹਿ ਮਰਨੇ ਕਾ ਚਾਉ ਹੈ ਮਰਉ ਤ ਹਰਿ ਕੈ ਦੁਆਰ ॥
Kabir mohe marne kaa chaao hai, marau ta har kai duaar
Kabeer, I long to die; let me die at the Lord's Door.
ਮਤ ਹਰਿ ਪੂਛੈ ਕਉਨੁ ਹੈ ਪਰਾ ਹਮਾਰੈ ਬਾਰ ॥੬੧॥
Mat har poochhai kaun hai paraa hamaarai baar
I hope that the Lord does not ask, "Who is this, lying at my door?" || 61 ||