The divine soil of Bharat has been fertile with innumerable saints from time immemorial. Such rare gems have been born all over Bharat. Many of them sang the glories of the Lord and were a living embodiment of Bhakti (devotion). The remarkable aspect of this is that although many of these saints were born in different centuries, their sayings have been consistent. Their only preaching to mankind is to chant the Names of the Lord.
In this Bharata Pradakshina series, we periodically see briefly how every Indian state has been graced by ‘bhakta’ saints who glorified the easiest and the most effective path of chanting the Lord’s Names.
Kabirdas: The Saint Who Transcended Boundaries
The message of Bhagavata Dharma—that the path to God has no boundaries—finds its vivid presence in the holiest of lands, Mother India. Many a saint lived his/her life exemplifying this great message and was a source of inspiration to the common man.
Saint Kabir, born in Uttar Pradesh in year 1440, was a Muslim who lived and preached Bhagavata Dharma and showed the world that the easiest and surest way to be in union with God was to chant His divine names.
Though a Muslim, he had a deep desire to be initiated into “Rama Nama” by Swami Ramananda. All his attempts to meet the mahatma were in vain as the disciples of Swami Ramananda would not let Kabir meet the saint. However, instead of giving up, Kabir constantly pleaded with God to bless him with this opportunity. One early morning, as Swami Ramananda was heading to the Ganges River to perform his morning ablutions, his holy feet accidentally hit Kabir’s head who was lying down and weeping by the Ganges river ghat. Not noticing the figure in the dark, Swami Ramananda uttered “Rama Rama”. Taking this as an initiation from his Guru, Kabir chanted the divine name incessantly and attained union with God.
Kabir’s poetic works are collectively called Kabir’s dohas (couplets) where he stresses on primarily only three aspects of Bhagavata Dharma: glory of chanting the divine names, the greatness of a Guru and the importance of satsang. Many people, irrespective of caste, creed or religion, accepted and followed His simple and powerful message to experience God’s grace in their own lives. Here are some of his dohas highlighting the greatness of chanting God’s names:
Pothi padh padh kar jag mua, pandit bhayo na koye
dhai aakhar prem ke, jo padhe so pandit hoye
Reading books everyone died, none became any wise
One who reads the word of Love, only becomes wise.
Gur dhobi sikh kapda, saboo sirjan har
surti sila pur dhoiye, nikse jyoti apaar
Guru is the washerman, the disciple is the cloth, and the name of God is like the soap.
Wash the mind on a firm foundation, to realize the glow of Truth.
Kaanchi kaari jini karai, din din badhai biyaadhi
Raam kabirai ruchi bhaee, yaahi oshadi saadhi
O living being! Don’t spoil your cloth of body with passions. Due to this your disease will increase day by day. The medicine of the uttering the name of Rama will inspire devotion to God in you. Take this medicine always. Only this medicine will remove all your diseases.
Aravind Thathachari, Dallas, TX