Revisiting Kabir – the Weaver, the Myth, the Master

Do not go to the garden of flowers!
O Friend! go not there;
In your body is the garden of flowers.
Take your seat on the thousand petals of the lotus,
and there gaze on the Infinite Beauty.

(translation by Tagore)

Fifteenth century India witnessed the coming of age of a process that started brewing with the arrival of Central Asian Sufis who accompanied or followed the invaders from Asia Minor. When Sufi thought, an off-shore spiritual undercurrent to the rise of Islam, met its local hosts, the results were terrific. There was no shortage of fundamentalists and communalists in that cultural landscape; and the gulf between alien rulers and the native subjects was a stark reality as well.

Nevertheless, a synthesis of sorts was navigated by hundreds of yogis, Sufis and poets of India. Very much a people’s movement from the below, Bhakti movement articulated a powerful vision of tolerance, amity and co-existence that is still relevant. This is many centuries before the suave, western educated intelligentsia coined the ‘people-to-people’ contact campaigns. Yes, much has been lost in the tumultuous twentieth century and perhaps the histories and nation states rhetoric are also irreversible. But common ground remains.

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  1. another wonderful article…makes one wonder…where are the kabirs today when we need them so much more? from the rajinder krishan’s kabir site:

    Sadho Ye Murdon Ka Gaon
    Peer Mare, Pygambar Mari Hain
    Mari Hain Zinda Jogi
    Raja Mari Hain, Parja Mari Hain
    Mari Hain Baid Aur Rogi
    Chanda Mari Hain, Suraj Mari Hain
    Mari Hain Dharni Akasa
    Chaudan Bhuvan Ke Chaudhry Mari Hain
    In Hun Ki Ka Asa
    Nauhun Mari Hain, Dus Hun Mari Hain
    Mari Hain Sahaj Athasi
    Tethis Koti Devata Mari Hain
    Badi Kaal Ki Bazi
    Naam Anam Anant Rehat Hai
    Duja Tatva Na Hoi
    Kahe Kabir Suno Bhai Sadho
    Bhatak Maro Mat Koi


    Oh Sadhu This is the Village of the Dead

    The Saints Have Died, The God-Messengers Die
    The Life-Filled Yogis Die Too |
    The Kings Die, The Subjects Die
    The Healers and the Sick Die Too ||

    The Moon Dies, The Sun Dies
    The Earth and Sky Die Too |
    Even the Caretakers of the Fourteen Worlds Die
    Why Hope For Any of These ||

    The Nine Die, The Ten Die
    The Eighty Eight Die Easily Too |
    The Thirty Three Crore Devatas (Enlightened Beings) Die
    It’s a Big Game of Time ||

    The Un-Named Naam Lives Without Any End
    There is No Other Truth ||
    Says Kabir Listen Oh Sadhu
    Don’t Get Lost and Die ||

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