Kabir For Hindu Temple Library?

Yashwant Malaiya malaiya at CS.COLOSTATE.EDU
Fri May 19 15:59:23 UTC 2000

Avi Dey wrote:

>1. Should life and work of the mystic poet Kabir belong in our Hindu
>Temple Library ? "Yes" or "No" with reasons please.

Yes. Vaishnav author Nabhadas in his Bhakta-Mal (1585) writes:

hindU turuk pramAn ramainI sabadI sAkhI
pachchhapat nahiN bachan sabahiN ke hit kI bhAkhI

[His "ramaini" "shabda" "sakhi" (sections of his "Bijak") are
accepted by Hindus and Turks alike. He spoke without discrimination
for the good of all]

Kabir was very influencial. Several panths in India, specially
Sikhism, were inspired by him.

Kabir represents openness of the Hindu society. Religious
criticism has traditionally been accepted in India. Sarahapa,
Ram Simh, Kabir, the Sikh Gurus, Swami Dayananda etc have
criticized existing practices and beliefs.

>2. What was the essence of Kabir's message ? Did Emperor Akbar take his
>ideas for combining religions he found in India into one from Kabir ?
>Is there any evidence that Akbar was influenced by Kabir ?

He was one of the Bhakti pioneers, along with the Vaishnavas.
While Kabir was brought up as a Muslim, and he stressed that
Hindus and Muslim are same, his philosophy basically belongs
to the Hindu and not the Muslim tradition.

Kabir was dead when Akbar was born. He may have been influenced
indirectly. Akbar appears to have been accepting of multiple
traditions, while Kabir questioned all traditions.

>3. Can anyone refer me to the English translation that Rabindra
>Nath Tagore made of select verses of Kabir ? Does anyone have a
>copy of this book ?

Songs of Kabir
by Kabir, Rabindranath Tagore (Translator)
ISBN: 0877286957

is out of print currently. Other translations are available.
It should be available in libraries.

>4. Everyone in India seem to know the name Kabir but very
>little details about this man. Why is he still remembered
>so widely even without much details ? Do the Muslims consider
>him one of their own or is he considered
>to be a "Hindu" by the Muslims of India despite his Muslim
>origins ?

He did have Muslim followers, but his movement was basically
a Hindu one (using the original definition of the term).

I haven't seen Muslims discussing him. Some consider him a

>5. I understand that he lived at a time just before Mogul
>Dynasty founder, Babur, who stormed into India from Central
>Asia around 1200 AD ?. And yet people in India still remember
>Kabir as if he lived only a few years ago !
>Why ?

His time is about 1398-1518, he is said to have lived more
than a 100 years. There is some disagreement about the dates.

He is one of the most quoted Hindi authors, perhaps right after



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