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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Kabir : The Man, The Myth, The Mystic, The Master and … More …by Maalok

We can safely say that Kabir lived during the 15th or 16th century. Even though his exact birth and death times cannot be ascertained reliably, it is quite likely that he lived beyond the age of 50. It would be reasonable to assume that he was not formally educated because his songs and couplets lack the erudite tone and have a refreshing rustic quality. That he may have been a weaver is evident from his songs and couplets that draw inspiration and metaphors from the weaving profession. It is also likely that he was born and brought up poor and continued to work throughout his life as he strongly upheld the working-to-earn way of life.

It is clear from his songs and teachings that he was a very observant and thoughtful person, who questioned everything that was taught or presented to him. It is likely that he spent considerable time observing nature, as his teachings also draw inspiration and learning from the trees, animals, birds and the ocean. Long-standing traditions of Kabir in the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Bengal, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh1 indicate that either Kabir or his leading disciple(s) traveled to those parts, and/or his popularity drew seekers from these parts to come and learn from him and later returned to establish a following in their native areas.

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