Daily Life

Kabir had a penchant for saints and many of his hymns state how his wife would despair at his hospitality. He would put his family and himself through hardships to feed saints. On one such day when he was entertaining saints at home realizing that there was nothing at home Kabir sent his wife in search of some food from any kind grocer who would give some food for a payment later. All of them refused except one young grocer who gave food in return for a night with Kabir’s wife.

Not having an option, the lady came back with the food. When Kabir came to know of this, he took upon the opportunity to teach a lesson to the young grocer. It was raining that night and Kabir covered his wife with a blanket and carried her to the grocer. On seeing her completely dry on a night like that the grocer was surprised. Kabir’s wife explained that her husband had carried her and that he was waiting outside for her. The grocer was overcome with shame and he not only fell on Kabir’s feet but became his disciple later in life.

One day, when Kabir’s daughter was drawing water from the well, a thirsty Brahmin asked her for water. He later learnt who she ws and accused her for revealing her low caste to him thus contaminating him. She took him to her father. Kabir patiently explained to the Brahmin saying, "think my friend, in the water frogs, fish, tortoise and crocodiles live, they procreate and die in the water, if all this does not contaminate the water how can a mere human do s?". The Brahmin was convinced of the authenticity of what Kabir said. The Brahmin eventfully became Kabir’s disciple and married Kabir's daughter.

The caste system was a rigid. Brahmins were a closed elite caste. Muslims and non Hindus were pariahs. Water of the Holy Ganges was their birthright.Foe a outcast to offer water to an Brahmin was unthinkable.The Brahmins accused Kabir of being low caste and the bowl he was offering was polluted since it belonged to him. Kabir gently replied "If the water cannot purify my bowl, how can it wash your sins".

For those who claimed superiority by birth he said “ In the womb the soul neither has caste nor clan. All souls have sprung from the seed of Brahman. All are nurtured by Him who has given the form. O Brahmin, if you are superior then why did you not come to the world a different road? O Turk, if you are superior...then how come you are not born circumcised from the womb? Only he is low whose heart is averse to God’s name.”

Two brothers, Tatwa and Jeeva were keen seekers of the truth but they could not find a teacher. A banyan tree just away from their house started to dry up and they decided to wash the feet of saints and sprinkle the water on the roots of the tree revive it.. For years they watered the roots.to no avail. Once they invited Kabir to their house and washed his feet as was custom. They used that water to sprinkle on the tree and the tree miraculously revived. Seeing the miracle they begged Kabir to accept them as his disciples.

Jahan Shah a Muslim dervish who had met a lot of holy men came over to meet Kabir. Kabir knew this man to be a true seeker who had not freed himself from certain deep rooted prejudices. Kabir tied a pig to his door as Jahan Shah approached his house. On seeing the pig, Shah was incensed with anger and left. Kabir followed him and asked, "Sir, why are you not coming in? Shah replied "how can I when you keep an unclean thing outside your house". Kabir said, "Sir, I only keep an unclean thing outside my house but you keep it within you, are you not filled with anger and hatred towards me? In all God’s creation all beings are to be loved, one cannot truly claim to love God if they had hatred in their hearts. God has created each one being.In His eyes all is One."

Dharam DAs was yet another wealthy man with a religious bent and was very ritualistic in his worship. He was annoyed with this man Kabir who had the audacity to asked him if his idols ever spoke to him. If they had ever responded to his prayers. Dharam Das did not know Kabir, there was a truth in what this very wise looking man had to say.

 

One day when Das and his wife were performing a religious ceremony, Kabir proclaimed him to be a big sinner. He pointed to the wood that was being thrown into the fire and the insects and worms that lived in that wood which were getting killed in the fire. Kabir's radiant face his wise and benevolent demeanor did not leave their minds. They were filled with remorse Dharam Das’s wife asked him to hold large Yagnas to be able to meet Kabir again as she said “ flies always swarm around sugar”.

Dharam Das performed a number of Yagnas and invited hundreds of Sadhus, the last one was performed on a large scale and he had no more money left and yet there was no sign of Kabir. Bankrupt and filled with despair he wanted to drown himself in the river, and there near the river Dharam Das saw a familiar figure. At last! Dharam Das fell at Kabir’s feet. He asked Oh! Sire why did you nt come earier? Would have thought that devotion can be won by wealth as your wife said

“ Flies always swarm around sugar”.

For over seventy years Kabir taught the path of God realization, many muslims and Hindus joined him as disciples. His simple exposition of spiritual truth, his analysis of existing norms of worship, his message emphasizing self-realization while living and his personal magnetism drew true seekers to him. But the orthodox could not tolerate being deprived of their hold on people and the Muslims called him a Kafir and the Brahmins an apostate.

The End Years

 

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