Bhagat Kabir ji
Bhakt Kabir ji
Kabir ji was a 15th-century Indian mystic poet and saint, whose writings influenced Hinduism's Bhakti movement and his verses are found in Sikhism's scripture Guru Granth Sahib. His early life was in a Muslim family, but he was strongly influenced by his teacher, the Hindu bhakti leader Ramananda.Kabir is known for being critical of both Hinduism and Islam, stating that the former was misguided by the Vedas, and questioning their meaningless rites of initiation such as the sacred thread and circumcision respectively. During his lifetime, he was threatened by both Hindus and Muslims for his views. When he died, both Hindus and Muslims claimed him as theirs.(There was dispute whether to cremate or bury his corpse).
The years of Kabir's birth and death are unclear. Some historians favour 1398–1448 as the period Kabir lived, while others favor 1440–1518.
Many legends, inconsistent in their details, exist about his birth family and early life . Kabir is widely accepted to have been born and brought up in a family of Muslim weavers.Circumcised or not, Kabir was officially a musalman, though it appears likely that some form of Nathism was his ancestral tradition. This alone would explain his relative ignorance of Islamic tenets, his remarkable acquaintance with Tantric-yoga practices and his lavish use of its esoteric jargon [in his poems]. He appears far more conversant with Nath-panthi basic attitudes and philosophy than with the Islamic orthodox tradition.Kabir's family is believed to have lived in the locality of Kabir Chaura in Varanasi.
Kabir's poems were in vernacular Hindi, borrowing from various dialects including Avadhi, Braj. They cover various aspects of life and call for a loving devotion for God.Kabir composed his verses with simple Hindi words. Most of his work were concerned with devotion, mysticism and discipline.Literary works with compositions attributed to Kabir include Kabir Bijak, Kabir Parachai, Sakhi Granth, Adi Granth (Sikh), and Kabir Granthawali .Kabir's poems were verbally composed in the 15th century and transmitted viva voce through the 17th century. Kabir Bijak was compiled and written down for the first time in the 17th century.
Songs of Kabir were collected by Kshitimohan Sen from mendicants across India, these were then translated to English by Rabindranath Tagore.New English translations of Songs of Kabir is done by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra ."It is Mehrotra who has succeeded in capturing the ferocity and improvisational enegry of Kabir’s poetry".
Kabir's legacy continues to be carried forward by the Kabir panth ("Path of Kabir"), a religious community that recognises him as its founder and is one of the Sant Mat sects. This community was founded centuries after Kabir died, in various parts of India, over the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Its members, known as Kabir panthis, are estimated to be around 9.6 million. They are spread over north and central India, as well as dispersed with the Indian diaspora across the world.
There are two temples dedicated to Kabir located in Benares. One of them is maintained by Hindus, while the other by Muslims. Both the temples practise similar forms of worship where his songs are sung daily. Other rituals of aarti and distributing prasad are similar to other Hindu temples. The followers of Kabir are vegetarians and abstain from alcohol.
Kabir's verses were incorporated into Adi Granth, the scripture of Sikhism, with verses attributed to Kabir constituting the largest non-Sikh contribution.