(Pavitra Rishta is Pure Relationship)
Kabir is a nobody, a man of the masses, very poor, very ordinary, with no education at all, with no culture. And that is his rarity. Why do I call it his rarity? Because to be ordinary in the world is the most extraordinary thing. He was very ordinary — with no desire to be special. When he became enlightened, then too he remained in his ordinary life. He was a weaver; he continued to weave.
Kabir is one of the greatest revolutionaries who has ever walked the earth. His insight is of tremendous value. If you can fall en rapport with his vision you will be enriched — you will be enriched beyond all your expectations. He is not a theologian; he does not belong to any religion. All religions belong to him, but he is vast enough to contain all. No particular religion defines him. He is a Hindu and a Mohammedan and a Christian and a Jaina and a Buddhist. He’s a great beauty, a great poetry, a great orchestra.
Kabir is rare. In Kabir, for the first time a poor man is recognized as a man of God. Otherwise, it was a monopoly of kings, princes and the wealthy.
There is a beautiful anecdote from the life of Kabir. Every day a number of people gather at Kabir’s place to listen to his words of wisdom. At the end of the satsang, Kabir always requested them to dine with him before going home.
One day the matter came to a head. Kabir’s son Kamal came to him and said, “It is now becoming too much. We can no longer bear the burden of feeding so many people every day. We have to buy everything on credit, and we are now heavily in debt.” Kabir said, “Why don’t you borrow more?” “But who is going to repay it?” Kamal asked.
Then his father said, “One who gives will repay it. Why should we worry about it?”
Kamal could not understand what his father meant. He was a worldly man. He said, “This answer won’t do; it’s not a spiritual matter. Those who lend us money ask for repayment, and if we fail to repay them we will prove to be dishonest.”
Kabir would weave the cloth in the foyer outside his hut. People would gather there to listen to his wisdom, his dohas and bhajans. They would get lost, get drunk in the flow of Kabir’s songs. Sun would keep climbing in the sky, but people and devotees would remain engrossed. Then it would be lunch time…Kabir had this habit to tell people not to go away and insist on at least having prasad (lunch) and go. Sometimes there were 200 people, sometime 300 people…What would be the standing of poor Kabir…for a weaver, how much one could weave and earn in a day? The Debt was mounting each day…his wife was worried and so was his son.
One day it so happened that Kabir’s wife went to the market and told the grocer that “As usual Kabir has invited the devotees and there are 200 people sitting at home waiting to be served lunch. There is not a single grain left in the house. I have escaped from the back door to beg for the essentials, ghee, atta, ghehu (wheat), so I can cook and serve them food.”
The shop owner was irritated, said, “Enough is enough. First clear all the past dues as they are continuously mounting. How on earth are you going to pay all that? Because of you I will go bankrupt. This Kabir will keep singing bhajans and I will keep sinking and getting eroded. Kabir keeps inviting everyone as he knows that I will keep feeding them on his behalf and for that he is not even worried. You only tell me who will pay this mountain of debt, huh? Na…na…bas…I am sorry.” He folded hands over his head and said in an annoying voice, “I can lend no further, not even one grain of wheat nor a drop of ghee. Go”
Kabir’s wife pleaded, “do whatever you can but please don’t refuse it today. It’s a matter of Kabir’s word, his tradition and reputation. People are waiting to be served…with what face can I go back home? I will have to serve them food, please.” There were tears of helplessness in her eyes.
The grocer was eyeing Kabir’s wife for many months. Kabir’s wife must have been very beautiful. Anyone who lives with Kabir would have become beautiful even if she was initially not so much. How can anyone not be beautiful where there was a continuing bliss showering around Kabir! She must be very beautiful, and the man was eyeing her for such a long time. Today, he thought she was trapped. Today he thought there was a chance.
The shop owner looked around to ensure nobody else was listening and then in a slimy way he whispered to Kabir’s wife, “Look…I am not saying anything but if you really feel like that, that you can’t refuse serving lunch to your guests, I can find a way out of this, just for you. Then you will have to promise me that tonight you will sleep with me. And if you do so, I will waive not just what I will give you today, but all the previous debts I will waive off for you. Only….If you wish.”
Kabir’s wife said, “whatever it takes, I have to serve food to my guests.” However, she was Kabir’s wife and not of any ordinary person or sadhu. She said, “this is fine…at least it solved this issue. If this is what you were thinking, intending, you should have told me before, this daily hassle and botheration could have been avoided…Ok, I will see you in the evening.”
She came home with all the necessary ingredients, cooked food and served lunch to everyone.
It started raining heavily in the evening. She was all dressed up. Kabir asked, “Are you going anywhere? What’s the matter, it’s raining heavily and you have dressed as if you are going out somewhere. What’s the matter?”
She said, “Yes, I have to go and most certainly I will go. And there is nothing to hide from you.”
This is True Love….Ab tum se kya chhipana? There is nothing to hide from you. She narrated the entire story…this was the matter. The debt became unbearable for the shop owner. He wasn’t willing to give it on credit any further. He asked if I could stay the night with him then he will waive the entire debt. So I found the key. Now I am not worried, you may go ahead and invite as many people as you wish to. This idiot, why didn’t he say anything so far. If he would have said, the matter would have been solved long back. This ordeal of pleading every day could have been avoided.”
Kabir said, “the rains are heavy. Let me come and drop you.”
Only Kabir could say this….he picked up an umbrella. Ensured that his wife was well protected under the umbrella as he accompanied her to the shop owner’s house a couple of streets away.
He said, “you go inside, while I wait for you in the verandah…rains are still heavy and are not likely to stop. Once you are free, I will take you home. I will sit under this roof and wait.” Kabir sat in the veranda and his wife knocked the door. Tuk…Tuk…Tuk.
The shop owner was anxiously waiting for her but was also a bit scared. He was afraid because Kabir’s wife had so easily and casually accepted his proposal without any of his persuasion. He was not sure that such a thing was ever possible. That she never argued or refused. If she would be any other pious woman, she would have become angry and would have removed her chappal to beat him up…and here, she immediately said Yes….this guy was shivering in disbelief. And that too, wife of Kabir agreeing to such a proposal…!!?? No shame, no hesitation, no reaction…and in one instance she agreed??!! There was no strain on her face as if this matter was so insignificant to her!!
He was not sure whether she would come and he was thinking that she would definitely betray him. He was thinking that today he was fooled by her. She took away the goods and now was not likely to come. But when he heard the knocks on the door, as he opened the door, Kabir’s wife was standing there. He saw that she was very well dressed up, wearing whatever ornaments were available in her house.
He saw her and was afraid. He started perspiring. He had never thought that she would come. Couldn’t believe his eyes. And he was further shocked to notice that the lady was not even wet despite such heavy rains.
He said, “In these fearful rains I was not sure if you would come, but tell me what is this miracle that not a single drop of rain could touch you? Your clothes are not even wet?”
She said smilingly, “How will they be wet? Arrey Kabir brought me to your doorsteps. He was fully drenched but kept me under the umbrella and said, ‘it’s okay if I get drenched but you have to go to the shop owner’s house. What is the fault of that poor guy that it’s raining today.”
The shop owner was shattered further listening to her as he exclaimed with his eyes wide open and voice stretched, “WWWWHAT?? Did Kabir drop you here?? Where is he? Did he leave?”
She innocently replied, “No…no he has not gone. He is outside in the verandah. He was saying that once we are done, the night is dark and rains are heavy. He is waiting to take me back home. Let’s finish fast as it’s not right to make him wait any longer. As you know, he gets up very early in the dawn and again the bhajans starts as his devotees gather through the morning.”
The shop owner fell on her feet like a log. Ran out to touch Kabir’s feet. Kabir said “ Come on, don’t waste your time…do what you intended to do and let us do what we are supposed to do. Don’t get involved in such things like touching the feet etc. We can do that even later. You may come to me in the morning and sing bhajans with us all and there you may touch my feet but for now just focus on what you wanted.”
The shop owner kneeled down and tears were rolling down. He pleaded, “What are you saying? Please don’t beat me more. Please don’t scuttle me more. Please don’t insult me more.” ?”…and with his head down, the shop owner couldn’t see eye to eye with Kabir or his wife. With folded hands, he kept on crying and begging for forgiveness.
Kabir lifted him and smiled, “We are not insulting you Bhai. None of these things matter. How can it matter? What is the value of such things? huh…!!
He then opened his umbrella and his wife joined him as they stepped out in the rain.
For me Kabir is a Teerthankar. It does not matter how many palaces, elephants and horses he left, one thing that Kabir realized that this Sansar (the world) and the values of this world have no value. Its morality is no morality, and its immorality is not it’s immorality. Everything is practical, transactional. And nothing will touch that eternal truth. That the eternal truth is always virgin, untouched. It is like a blooming lotus in the mud.
But who will call Kabir a Teerthankar? Who will recognize him as an Avataar? Who will consider him as Buddha?
Osho – Ecstasy – The Forgotten Language, Chapter #1 – The Fish in the Sea is Not Thirsty, Chapter #1 – The Guest, Chapter #1 – The Revolution, Chapter #1 – Books I Have Loved, Chapter #5 (Excerpts)
माया से काया हुई, काया से सब भोग ।
भोगों से सब को लगा, जनम मरण का रोग ॥
कबीर चिंता क्या करे, चिंता से क्या होय ।
मेरी चिंता हरि करे, चिंता मोहि ना कोय ॥
चिंता खा गयी जगत को, चिंता जग की पीर ।
जो चिंता को मेट दे, ताका नाम कबीर ॥
Maya se kaya hui, kaya se sab bhog;
bhogon se sab ko lagaa, janam maran ka rog.
Kabir chinta kya kare, Chinta se kya hoy?
meri chinta Hari kare, chinta mohi na koy.
chinta kha gayi jagat ko, chinta jag ki pir;
jo chinta ko met de, taka naam Kabir.
Body is an illusion, all indulgence comes from body;
Everyone has suffered the disease of birth and death.
What should Kabir worry about, what should be done with worry?
God worries for me, I never worry.
Worry has eaten up the world, worry about the world;
One who erases worry, that person is Kabir.
I am a big fan of Shabnam Virmani ji. The simplicity of her style and singing is very heart warming. This bhajan of Sant Kabir is very relevant to the blog. I am also sharing one more bhajan by Shabnam ji that is also my favorite. Please listen if time permits.