Spiritual Elevation of Bhagat Kabir Ji

Bhagat Kabir Ji was born in Uttar Pradesh (1398 -1494) in a Hindu family but was raised by a Muslim Weaver. He took weaving as his profession as well.Right from his childhood, Bhagat Ji was a devotee of God (Waheguru). Guru Arjan Dev Ji recognised Bhagat Ji’s spiritual awastha and wrote in Gurbani:-

ਕਬੀਰਿ ਧਿਆਇਓ ਏਕ ਰੰਗ ॥ (Raag Basant M. 5, GGS. 1192-12).
Kabeer meditated on the One Lord/Waheguru with love.

Out of respect for spiritual elevation of Kabir Ji, Guru Arjan Dev Ji incorporated his 297 Sabds and Ashtpadis; and 243 Saloks in 18 Raags in the Adi Granth Sahib.

Bhagat Kabir Ji shares considerable similarity with the spiritual Anubhav of Guru Nanak Sahib. Thus showing that both reached independently on the climax of Sat as narrated by Guru Nanak Dev Ji: –

– ਤੇਰਾ ਏਕੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਤਾਰੇ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ॥ ਮੈ ਏਹਾ ਆਸ ਏਹੋ ਆਧਾਰੁ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ (Sri Raag M.1, GGS. 24-15).
Your Name alone, Lord, saves the world. This is my hope; this is my support. ||1||Pause||

– ਕਬੀਰ ਅਲਹ ਕੀ ਕਰਿ ਬੰਦਗੀ ਜਿਹ ਸਿਮਰਤ ਦੁਖੁ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਦਿਲ ਮਹਿ ਸਾਂਈ ਪਰਗਟੈ ਬੁਝੈ ਬਲੰਤੀ ਨਾਂਇ ॥੧੮੬॥ (Salok Bhagat Kabir, GGS. 1374-10).
Kabeer, worship the Lord Allah; meditating in remembrance on Him, troubles and pains depart. The Lord shall be revealed within your own heart, and the burning fire within shall be extinguished by His Name. ||186||

– ਕਬੀਰ ਮੇਰਾ ਮੁਝ ਮਹਿ ਕਿਛੁ ਨਹੀ ਜੋ ਕਿਛੁ ਹੈ ਸੋ ਤੇਰਾ ॥ ਤੇਰਾ ਤੁਝ ਕਉ ਸਉਪਤੇ ਕਿਆ ਲਾਗੈ ਮੇਰਾ ॥੨੦੩॥(Salok Kabir, GGS. 1375-9).
Kabeer, nothing is mine within myself. Whatever there is, is Yours, O Lord. If I surrender to You what is already Yours, what does it cost me? ||203||

ਕਬੀਰ ਤੂੰ ਤੂੰ ਕਰਤਾ ਤੂ ਹੂਆ ਮੁਝ ਮਹਿ ਰਹਾ ਨ ਹੂੰ ॥ ਜਬ ਆਪਾ ਪਰ ਕਾ ਮਿਟਿ ਗਇਆ ਜਤ ਦੇਖਉ ਤਤ ਤੂ ॥੨੦੪॥
Kabeer, repeating, “”You, You””, I have become like You. Nothing of me remains in myself. When the difference between myself and others is removed, then wherever I look, I see only You. ||204||

Kabir Ji was a spiritually elevated soul who was bold but a humble person without personal conceit (ego). He traces his Divine Elevation on account of his extreme humbleness and devotion to his Guru and God. Bhagat Kabir promotes the Bhagati of Waheguru who is present everywhere. According to Kabir Ji, to contemplate on Gur-Sabd leads to Naam Japna and that finally leads to merger in Waheguru:-

– ਰਮਈਆ ਜਪਹੁ ਪ੍ਰਾਣੀ ਅਨਤ ਜੀਵਣ ਬਾਣੀ ਇਨ ਬਿਧਿ ਭਵ ਸਾਗਰੁ ਤਰਣਾ ॥੨॥ (Sri Raag Bhagat Kabir, GGS. 92-2).
Meditate on the Lord, O mortal being, through the Word of His Bani; you shall be blessed with eternal life. In this way, shall you cross over the terrifying world-ocean. ||2||

– ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਪਤਿ ਹਰਿ ਪਰਵਾਨੁ ॥ ਸਰਬ ਤਿਆਗਿ ਭਜੁ ਕੇਵਲ ਰਾਮੁ ॥੪॥੩॥ (Raag Gauri Bhagat Kabir, GGS. 324-4).
Says Kabeer, honor is that which is accepted by the Lord. Give up everything – meditate, vibrate upon the Lord alone. ||4||3||

– ਕਬੀਰ ਕੂਕਰੁ ਰਾਮ ਕੋ ਮੁਤੀਆ ਮੇਰੋ ਨਾਉ ॥ ਗਲੇ ਹਮਾਰੇ ਜੇਵਰੀ ਜਹ ਖਿੰਚੈ ਤਹ ਜਾਉ ॥੭੪॥ (Salok Bhagat Kabir, GGS. 1368-8).
Kabeer, I am the Lord’s dog; Moti is my name. There is a chain around my neck; wherever I am pulled, I go. ||74||

– ਕਬੀਰ ਕਾਰਨੁ ਸੋ ਭਇਓ ਜੋ ਕੀਨੋ ਕਰਤਾਰਿ ॥ ਤਿਸੁ ਬਿਨੁ ਦੂਸਰੁ ਕੋ ਨਹੀ ਏਕੈ ਸਿਰਜਨਹਾਰੁ ॥੧੩੩॥(Salok Bhagat Kabir, GGS. 1371-11).
Kabeer, the Creator does whatever He pleases. There is none other than Him; He alone is the Creator of all. ||133||

– ਕਬੀਰ ਸੁਪਨੈ ਹੂ ਬਰੜਾਇ ਕੈ ਜਿਹ ਮੁਖਿ ਨਿਕਸੈ ਰਾਮੁ ॥ ਤਾ ਕੇ ਪਗ ਕੀ ਪਾਨਹੀ ਮੇਰੇ ਤਨ ਕੋ ਚਾਮੁ ॥੬੩॥ Salok Bhagat Kabir, GGS. 1367-15).
Kabeer, if someone utters the Name of the Lord even in dreams, I would make my skin into shoes for his feet. ||63||

– ਹਰਿ ਹੈ ਖਾਂਡੁ ਰੇਤੁ ਮਹਿ ਬਿਖਰੀ ਹਾਥੀ ਚੁਨੀ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਕਹਿ ਕਬੀਰ ਗੁਰਿ ਭਲੀ ਬੁਝਾਈ ਕੀਟੀ ਹੋਇ ਕੈ ਖਾਇ ॥੨੩੮॥ (Salok Bhagat Kabir, GGS. 1377-8).
The Lord is like sugar, scattered in the sand; the elephant cannot pick it up. Says Kabeer, the Guru has given me this sublime understanding: become an ant, and feed on it. ||238||

– ਹਰਿ ਜਨੁ ਐਸਾ ਚਾਹੀਐ ਜੈਸਾ ਹਰਿ ਹੀ ਹੋਇ ॥੧੪੯॥ (Salok Bhagat Kabir, GGS. 1372-9).
The humble servant of the Lord should be just like the Lord. ||149||

Kabir Ji promoted Simran of Waheguru and a company of spiritually elevated persons as a mean to attract happiness and salvation. One can unite with Waheguru through Waheguru naam while an anubhavi Guru is a definite guide on path to Waheguru realization:-

– ਕਬੀਰ ਮੇਰੀ ਸਿਮਰਨੀ ਰਸਨਾ ਊਪਰਿ ਰਾਮੁ ॥ਆਦਿ ਜੁਗਾਦੀ ਸਗਲ ਭਗਤ ਤਾ ਕੋ ਸੁਖੁ ਬਿਸ੍ਰਾਮੁ ॥੧॥ (Salok Bhagat Kabir, GGS. 1364-11).
Kabeer my rosary is my tongue upon which the Lord’s Name is strung. From the very beginning, and throughout the ages, all the devotees abide in tranquil peace. ||1||

– ਕਬੀਰ ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਸਿਮਰਨੁ ਜੋ ਕਰੈ ਸੋ ਸੁਖੀਆ ਸੰਸਾਰਿ ॥ ਇਤ ਉਤ ਕਤਹਿ ਨ ਡੋਲਈ ਜਿਸ ਰਾਖੈ ਸਿਰਜਨਹਾਰ ॥੨੦੬॥ (Salok Bhagat Kabir, GGS. 1375-12).
Kabeer, whoever meditates in remembrance on the Lord, he alone is happy in this world. One who is protected and saved by the Creator Lord, shall never waver, here or hereafter. ||206||

– ਕਬੀਰ ਏਕ ਘੜੀ ਆਧੀ ਘਰੀ ਆਧੀ ਹੂੰ ਤੇ ਆਧ ॥ ਭਗਤਨ ਸੇਤੀ ਗੋਸਟੇ ਜੋ ਕੀਨੇ ਸੋ ਲਾਭ ॥੨੩੨॥ (Salok Bhagat Kabir, GGS. 1377-2).
Kabeer, whether is is for an hour, half an hour, or half of that, Whatever it is, it is worthwhile to speak with the Holy. ||232||

– ਅਲਹ ਰਾਮ ਜੀਵਉ ਤੇਰੇ ਨਾਈ ॥ ਤੂ ਕਰਿ ਮਿਹਰਾਮਤਿ ਸਾਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ (Raag Parbhati Bhagat Kabir, 1349-12).
O Allah, O Raam, I live by Your Name. Please show mercy to me, O Master. ||1||Pause||

– ਕਹਤੁ ਕਬੀਰੁ ਸੁਨਹੁ ਨਰ ਨਰਵੈ ਪਰਹੁ ਏਕ ਕੀ ਸਰਨਾ ॥ ਕੇਵਲ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਹੁ ਰੇ ਪ੍ਰਾਨੀ ਤਬ ਹੀ ਨਿਹਚੈ ਤਰਨਾ ॥੬॥੨॥ (Raag Parbhati Bhagat Kabir, GGS. 1349-17).
Says Kabeer, listen, O men and women: seek the Sanctuary of the One. Chant the Naam, the Name of the Lord, O mortals, and you shall surely be carried across. ||6||2||

Kabir Ji was votary of equality among human-beings and he denounced discrimination on caste and creed:-

– ਅਵਲਿ ਅਲਹ ਨੂਰੁ ਉਪਾਇਆ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਕੇ ਸਭ ਬੰਦੇ ॥ ਏਕ ਨੂਰ ਤੇ ਸਭੁ ਜਗੁ ਉਪਜਿਆ ਕਉਨ ਭਲੇ ਕੋ ਮੰਦੇ ॥੧॥ (Raag Parbhati Bhagat Kabir, GGS. 1349-19).
First, Allah created the Light; then, by His Creative Power, He made all mortal beings.From the One Light, the entire universe welled up. So who is good, and who is bad? ||1||

– ਕਬੀਰ ਮੇਰੀ ਜਾਤਿ ਕਉ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਹਸਨੇਹਾਰੁ ॥ ਬਲਿਹਾਰੀ ਇਸ ਜਾਤਿ ਕਉ ਜਿਹ ਜਪਿਓ ਸਿਰਜਨਹਾਰੁ ॥੨॥ (Salok Bhagat Kabir, GGS. 1364-12).
Kabeer, everyone laughs at my social class. I am a sacrifice to this social class, in which I chant and meditate on the Creator. ||2||

Kabir Ji describes the ever exhaustive expanse of Waheguru who is the doer of every event and can be comprehended by being humble without any personal conceit/ego:-

– ਕਬੀਰ ਸਾਤ ਸਮੁੰਦਹਿ ਮਸੁ ਕਰਉ ਕਲਮ ਕਰਉ ਬਨਰਾਇ ॥ ਬਸੁਧਾ ਕਾਗਦੁ ਜਉ ਕਰਉ ਹਰਿ ਜਸੁ ਲਿਖਨੁ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥੮੧॥ (Salok Bhagat Kabir, GGS. 1368-15).
Kabeer, if I could change the seven seas into ink and make all the vegetation my pen, And the earth my paper, even then, I could not write the Praises of the Lord. ||81||

-ਕਬੀਰ ਜਾਤਿ ਜੁਲਾਹਾ ਕਿਆ ਕਰੈ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਬਸੇ ਗੁਪਾਲ ॥ ਕਬੀਰ ਰਮਈਆ ਕੰਠਿ ਮਿਲੁ ਚੂਕਹਿ ਸਰਬ ਜੰਜਾਲ ॥੮੨॥ (Salok Bhagat Kabir, GGS. 1368-16).
Kabeer, what can my lowly status as a weaver do to me? The Lord dwells in my heart. Kabeer, the Lord hugs me close in His Embrace; I have forsaken all my entanglements. ||82||

– ਕਬੀਰ ਨਾ ਹਮ ਕੀਆ ਨ ਕਰਹਿਗੇ ਨਾ ਕਰਿ ਸਕੈ ਸਰੀਰੁ ॥ ਕਿਆ ਜਾਨਉ ਕਿਛੁ ਹਰਿ ਕੀਆ ਭਇਓ ਕਬੀਰੁ ਕਬੀਰੁ ॥੬੨॥ (Salok Bhagat Kabir, GGS. 1367-14).
Kabeer, I have not done anything; I shall not do anything; my body cannot do anything. I do not know what the Lord has done, but the call has gone out: “”Kabeer, Kabeer.””||62||

– ਕਬੀਰ ਮਾਟੀ ਕੇ ਹਮ ਪੂਤਰੇ ਮਾਨਸੁ ਰਾਖਿਓ‍ੁ ਨਾਉ ॥ ਚਾਰਿ ਦਿਵਸ ਕੇ ਪਾਹੁਨੇ ਬਡ ਬਡ ਰੂੰਧਹਿ ਠਾਉ ॥੬੪॥(Salok Bhagat Kabir, GGS. 1367-16).
Kabeer, we are puppets of clay, but we take the name of mankind. We are guests here for only a few days, but we take up so much space. ||64||

Kabir shows respects for those individuals and their families who are engrossed in Waheguru’s name:-

– ਕਬੀਰ ਸਦ਼ਈ ਮੁਖੁ ਧੰਨਿ ਹੈ ਜਾ ਮੁਖਿ ਕਹੀਐ ਰਾਮੁ ॥ ਦੇਹੀ ਕਿਸ ਕੀ ਬਾਪੁਰੀ ਪਵਿਤ੍ਰੁ ਹੋਇਗੋ ਗ੍ਰਾਮੁ ॥੧੧੦॥ (Salok Kabir, GGS. 1370-6)
Kabeer, blessed is that mouth, which utters the Lord’s Name. It purifies the body, and the whole village as well. ||110||

– ਕਬੀਰ ਸੋਈ ਕੁਲ ਭਲੀ ਜਾ ਕੁਲ ਹਰਿ ਕੋ ਦਾਸੁ ॥ ਜਿਹ ਕੁਲ ਦਾਸੁ ਨ ਊਪਜੈ ਸੋ ਕੁਲ ਢਾਕੁ ਪਲਾਸੁ ॥੧੧੧॥ (Salok Bhagat Kabir, GGS. 1370-7).
Kabeer, that family is good, in which the Lord’s slave is born. But that family in which the Lord’s slave is not born is as useless as weeds. ||111||

Kabir Ji valued time spent in pursuing good deeds against any degree of slackness on one’s part:-

ਕਬੀਰ ਕਾਲਿ ਕਰੰਤਾ ਅਬਹਿ ਕਰੁ ਅਬ ਕਰਤਾ ਸੁਇ ਤਾਲ ॥ (Salok Bhagat Kabir, GGS. 1371-16).
Kabeer, that which you have to do tomorrow – do it today instead; and that which you have to do now – do it immediately!

ਪਾਛੈ ਕਛੂ ਨ ਹੋਇਗਾ ਜਉ ਸਿਰ ਪਰਿ ਆਵੈ ਕਾਲੁ ॥੧੩੮॥
Later on, you will not be able to do anything, when death hangs over your head. ||138||

Kabir Ji promoted gaining the wealth of spiritual wisdom to acquire a sense of forgiveness against becoming greedy for worldly possessions:-

– ਕਬੀਰਾ ਜਹਾ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਤਹ ਧਰਮੁ ਹੈ ਜਹਾ ਝੂਠੁ ਤਹ ਪਾਪੁ ॥ (Salok Bhagat Kabir, GGS. 1372-15)
Kabeer, where there is spiritual wisdom, there is righteousness and Dharma. Where there is falsehood, there is sin.

ਜਹਾ ਲੋਭੁ ਤਹ ਕਾਲੁ ਹੈ ਜਹਾ ਖਿਮਾ ਤਹ ਆਪਿ ॥੧੫੫॥
Where there is greed, there is death. Where there is forgiveness, there is God Himself. ||155||

Kabir Ji does a great service in dispeling our doubt about contemplation on a common term ‘Raam’ by clearly providing a distinction between the ONE who is everywhere against the one who is just by himself:-

– ਕਬੀਰ ਰਾਮ ਕਹਨ ਮਹਿ ਭੇਦੁ ਹੈ ਤਾ ਮਹਿ ਏਕੁ ਬਿਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਸੋਈ ਰਾਮੁ ਸਭੈ ਕਹਹਿ ਸੋਈ ਕਉਤਕਹਾਰ ॥੧੯੦॥ (Salok Kabir, GGS. 1374-14).
Kabeer, it does make a difference, how you chant the Lord’s Name, ‘Raam’. This is something to consider. Everyone uses the same word for the son of Dashrath and the Wondrous Lord. ||190||

ਕਬੀਰ ਰਾਮੈ ਰਾਮ ਕਹੁ ਕਹਿਬੇ ਮਾਹਿ ਬਿਬੇਕ ॥ ਏਕੁ ਅਨੇਕਹਿ ਮਿਲਿ ਗਇਆ ਏਕ ਸਮਾਨਾ ਏਕ ॥੧੯੧॥
Kabeer, use the word ‘Raam’, only to speak of the All-pervading Lord. You must make that distinction. One ‘Raam’ is pervading everywhere, while the other is contained only in himself. ||191||

I personally like the following advice of Kabir Ji:-

– ਕਬੀਰ ਤਰਵਰ ਰੂਪੀ ਰਾਮੁ ਹੈ ਫਲ ਰੂਪੀ ਬੈਰਾਗੁ ॥ ਛਾਇਆ ਰੂਪੀ ਸਾਧੁ ਹੈ ਜਿਨਿ ਤਜਿਆ ਬਾਦੁ ਬਿਬਾਦੁ ॥੨੨੮॥ (Salok Bhagat Kabir, GGS. 1376-16).
Kabeer, the Lord is the tree, and disillusionment with the world is the fruit.The Holy man, who has abandoned useless arguments, is the shade of the tree. ||228||

Kirpal Singh
Wellington, New Zealand

kirpal2singh@yahoo.com

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