Kabir For Hindu Temple Library?

Bijoy Misra bmisra at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Sat May 20 10:56:09 UTC 2000

On Sat, 20 May 2000, Samar Abbas wrote:

> On Fri, 19 May 1972, Tein Network wrote:
> > 4. Do the Muslims consider Kabir one of their own or is he considered
> > to be a "Hindu" by the Muslims of India despite his Muslim origins ?
> Neither Orthodox Muslims (Wahhabis), nor Orthodox Hindus (Vaidiks and
> Brahmanists) consider him as belonging to their faiths. It is for this
> reason that Kabirpanthis are attacked and perseccuted by the Hindus :
> http://www.secularindia.com/sangh_parivar_sena_target_secular1.htm
> Likewise, Wahhabi polemics are full of diatribes against the likes of
> Kabir. However, the Wahhabis comprise only 5-10 % of all Muslims (who are
> predominantly Hanafi) as compared to the Orthodox Hindus, who comprise
> more than 90 % of all Hindus. Thus, only a few `Hindus' (who are not
> recognised as such by the mainstream Manuwadins) belonging to fringe sects
> and certain lower castes consider him Hindus. But most Muslims would
> consider him a `Sufi' Muslim.
Kabir is not taken as a Hindu, but is highly respected as a saint
by all Hindus.  Kabir was a part of core literature while we were
in school in India.  To state Kabir is despised by Hindus would be
a great distortion.

I come from Puri in India.  Among the prayers offered to the deities
is one composed by a Musilm mystic.  Hindus know that Salabega was
Muslim, but they also know he was a more sincere devotee than many
of them.

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

> Kabir did not accept the caste system, opposed Manuwadi and did not accept
> the Brahmins. Thus he is considered a nastik by Orthodox Hindus. Thus, if
> the Hindu Temple Library is Orthodox Hindu, then including his works will
> raise eyebrows. However, if it is `Neo-Hindu' or belongs to some fringe
> `Vaishnava' sect, then Kabir should not cause any problems. Perhaps some
> of the Vaishnava experts on thist list can elucidate as to which sub-sects
> accept, and which do not accept Kabir.
Everyone accepts Kabir's teachings.  As I said above Hindus have
accepted and continue to accept prophets from all religions.
None of the Kabir's work will raise eyebrows anywhere.

> > 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 ?
> Both followed Sufism. There was a whole Sufi movement going on at the
> time, and to attribute it to one single person is perhaps far-fetched.

Kabir is a precursor to Nanak.  God does not sit in
temples or mosques.  God is in us and God is in a name.
It's our conduct that makes us good, not where we are born.
Kabir has to be read by all.

I visited Kabir's house in Varanasi in 1992.  It's in the muslim
area and normally the area is tense.  Transports won't go.
I walked and was greeted with extremely friendly Muslim people.
Previous day I had been to Tulasi Ghat on the banks.  I had
the simlar awe in both locations.

Best regards,

Bijoy Misra


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