Sant Kabir (Saint Kabir) is the spiritual, religious and the mystic saint of India who lived in 14th and 15th century and who still lives in the hearts of his devotees who follow his teachings embodied in his poems and dohas (couplets or the two liner verses). Sant Kabir Jayanti is celebrated on the day of Jyeshtha Purnima (full moon day of Hindu Jyeshtha month corresponding to the months of May-June of Gregorian calendar). Jayanti means birth anniversary and thus Sant Kabir Jayanti is celebrated with great fervor by the devotees and followers of Saint Kabir.
Sant Kabir Jayanti Date
In the year 2013, Kabir Jayanti will be observed on 23 June 2013.
Birth of Sant Kabir Das
Kabirdas is said that he was born to a Hindu mother but this is not an established fact. Not much is known about his birth. He is said to have been found on the ‘Ghats of River Ganga ’ in the holy city of Benaras by a Muslim weaver Neeru and his wife Neema in the year 1398. The couple took the baby home and named him Kabir meaning ‘the Great One.’ Thus, Kabir was brought up by Muslim parents. However, Kabir is the one religious saint, perhaps the first one, to establish harmony among the various religions. He was the disciple of Saint Ramanand and a devotee of Rama. His teachings are also included in the Holy text of the Sikhs- the Guru Granth Sahib. He, in fact, influenced the ‘Bhakti Movement’ of India which stressed on worshipping the ‘Nirgun Bhagwan’ – the formless God without adhering to meaningless rituals.
Life History of Sant Kabir
The life of Sant Kabir Das is full of wonder and mysticism. Sant Kabir was born in India in 1398 AD and lived for 120 years. During his life, he influenced people of all religion and always emphasized on the oneness of the Supreme power. Although brought up by a Muslim family he wanted to become the disciple of Saint Ramanand. So, one day he went to the ghats of Ganga River where the saint came every dawn to have the holy dip in Ganges. In the faint light of dawn, the young Kabir touched the feet of Saint Ramanand. The saint thought that he had unknowingly touched someone with feet and he uttered the name of God. In Hinduism when a person wants to be a disciple of a Guru, he is initiated by the Guru by uttering the name of God. Thus, when Ramanand came to know the dedication of the young Kabirdas, he got overwhelmed and made him his disciple.
However, it is not clear from any historical text whether Kabirdas preached the spirituality that was bestowed on him by his Guru or his philosophy was a result of his own enlightenment. Kabirdas, since the very beginning, questioned each and every ritual of all the religions that were followed at the time.
Kabir was loved by Hindu, Muslims and Sikhs as well as others equally. This is evident in the fact that when he died, Hindus built the ‘Samadhi Mandir of Sant Kabir’ (Kabir Temple) and the Muslims built the ‘Sant Kabir’s Mazaar’ (Kabir Tomb) side by side and the followers of the both the religion pay homage to the great Saint standing right beside each other.
Kabir Panth- the Community Founded by Sant Kabirdas
Kabir Panth is the religious community that recognizes Saint Kabir as its. The members of this Panth are known as Kabir Panthis who are spread over north and central India and even across the world. They carry forward the legacy of Sant Kabir and spread his teachings through his writings that include Bijak, Sakhi Granth, Kabir Granthawali and Anurag Sagar. The Sikhs also preach the teachings of Bhagat Kabir Ji- the name given to Sant Kabir by the Sikh community. Bhagat Kabir’s work has been collected by the fifth Sikh guru, Guru Arjan Dev who incorporated this into the Sikh scripture, Guru Granth Sahib. There are more than 200 verses of Bahgat Kabir ji in this Holy Text of the Sikhs.
Sant Kabir- The Great Indian Poet
The greatness of Sant Kabir as a poet lies in the fact that he wrote in a very simple language yet the deep meaning of his poetry can be called a valuable philosophy of life. He used vernacular Hindi to write his dohas. Doha is a two liner verse- a couplet. Kabir ke Dohe or Kabir’s dohe are rhythmic in nature and each of them embodies one or the other philosophy of day-to-day life. The poetry of Kabir is not only a work of art- it is the means of teaching the way of life to the general mass who were being, knowingly or unknowingly, excluded by the other scholars at that time due to the scholarly language used by them. In fact, today Kabirdas is known more for his poems and the dohas but these were his secondary contribution to the society. These poems of Kabir were the means of spreading awareness in the people and to make them understand the true meaning of life. One of the examples of Kabir Dohas is as follows
Bura Jo Dekhan Main Chala, Bura Naa Milya Koye!
Jo Man Khoja Aapnaa, Mujhse Bura Naa Koye!!
Meaning- when I went in the search of the evil, I could not find even a single evil person. When I searched my heart then I realized no one is more evil than me.
Thus was the simplicity of style with which the doha or poem of Sant Kabir represented the truths of life!
Sant Kabir Jayanti Celebrations
Sant Kabir Jayanti is celebrated with great religious, spiritual and cultural fervor in various places in India and around the world. At his birthplace, Varanasi, The birth anniversary of Kabirdas is elaborately celebrated in Kabirchaura Mutt. Religious sermons ‘satsang’ are organized where the spiritual and religious leaders preach the way of life prescribed by saint Kabir. There are many temples of Kabir in various cities of India and the organizations dedicated to spread the teachings of Kabir make various arrangements to celebrate Sant kabir Jayanti there. For example, Bhagat Mahasabha in Jammu and Kashmir organizes a procession- ‘Shobhayatra’ in honor of Sant Kabir which culminates at Kabir temple.
Not only poem recitation and the musical events are held to give people the opportunity to listen to Kabir’s dohas, the students and other professionals are also honoured for excellence in their fields.