Ever since I was a young child, Kabir has mystified me. Kabir, a saint to millions, a universal Guru, a poet, a lover, a weaver by profession, a Sufi, and last but not the least a mystic.
To read Kabir is a blessing, to hear him is a blessing and to write about him, well for me personally, is a blessing.
Kabir teachings in the form of dohas (two line poems), have been my guide in most of my work-a-day moments of life. Kabir touches the soul, the conscience, the sense of awareness and the vitality of existence in a manner that is unequalled in both simplicity and style.
All of Kabir's recorded verses are in Hindi. The meter and the simplicity in which they are written, it sometimes becomes very hard to translate. And, for a person like me, who has nothing to boast about academics, it becomes all the more difficult. Yet, if I have dared to present Kabir, it is only because Kabir has left a deep impact on my psyche and his teachings have helped me in understanding myself. His simple but complicated (read between the lines) verses have helped transform me, as perhaps, many others worldwide have been helped.
To be able to see oneself straight faced in the mirror is not an art, but the ability to see oneself stark naked. Following Kabir means understanding one's inner self, realizing oneself, accepting oneself as is, and becoming harmonious with one's surroundings.
To put the records straight, I have attempted to present Kabir when I am 48, while Kabir was introduced to me when I was but a little kid - as a part of our primary school curriculum. Millions worldwide can recite his poetry, but only a handful can claim to truly understand the essence of Kabir.
To say this, does not mean that I understand Kabir fully. No, not the least. To claim this, will be a blasphemy. Kabir is simple. Yet in his simplicity are all the difficulties. Aren't all simple things complicated? On the face of it, Kabir says not much, but between the lines, he tends to shake up the entire universe.
I must confess the "taste" that one gets in the original does not and perhaps cannot be cherished in translations. Keeping this fact in mind, after translating them as best as I can, I have tried to explain the inference drawn from them in as simple a manner as is possible as "My Understanding".
If I have erred anywhere in this presentation, then the fault lies with my personal knowledge and ability, not the least with Kabir and definitely not with scholars, writers and academicians through whom I came in contact with Kabir in the first place. At this point, I take the opportunity of thanking all those, whether my school teachers or my family members or social contacts at large, who somehow motivated me to study Kabir.
I may mention here, that I was born and raised in a family whose main vocation was to deal in selling books. It is at my father's bookshop (less in school) that I got exposed to all kind of literature. As I write this, I remember my father who laughingly once said, "We all sell books, but my son reads them". Bravo Rajender (self kudos), but it is true that because of my access to my parental shop comprising of thousands of books on all kinds of subjects, I was exposed to the intricacies of life much early in life, as compared to an average person. Is this a plus point? I wonder! for I have been the prince and the beggar at the same time; many a times. And it has been a great experience. Life is a great teacher and Kabir projects Life's ethos only as Kabir can.
I hope you will enjoy "Kabir - The Mystic Poet", and perhaps, discover yourself, as I am doing.
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I hope you like Kabir-The Mystic Poet and I will appreciate if you will please recommend it to your family and friends.
New York, 1999