(From the Bhaktamal)
The news has spread far and wide
Kabir is a holy man and can do miracles.
Someone asks him to cure him of his disease,
The childless woman wants a child,
Somebody wants him to demonstrate his powers
While others say prove that God exists.
With tears in his eyes
Kabir prays and says to his God
'It was your great mercy
That I was born an outcaste
I thought that none would come to disturb
And would leave me alone
To live only with my God.
But what scheme is this O great Schemer
Is it to avoid me
That you have sent
All these crowds to my home?'
The Brahmins of the city were very displeased –
People are crowding for a grain of dust
Of the feet of this low caste weaver!
The Kali age is ascendant indeed!
To rectify this
Something has got to be done.
They hatched a conspiracy
With an unchaste woman
And gave her a lot of money.
When Kabir went to the bazar to sell clothes
Suddenly that woman began to pester
'You cruel cheat! so long I did not tell
How have you cheated a simple girl like me
A saint indeed! don't you see
How ugly and indigent have I become
Since you abandoned me
And stopped giving any maintenance?'
The Brahmins waiting nearby
Were quick to take the cue
They told him in a rough manner
'What a fake saint you are!
In the name of religion
You are doing the most irreligious thing.
Is it right on your part
To cheat a simple girl like her?'
Kabir told he was guilty indeed
Let her come to his home
And he'll feed her well.
Kabir brought her home
And took good care of that wicked woman.
He told her in great humility
'God Himself has sent you to my poor home'.
Ashamed of her conduct
She began to repent
And broke down in tears,
'I committed this sin in greed
Now I shall be condemned by your curse.'
Kabir said,'Mother, do not fear
I have not taken any offence
The dishonour you have brought me
I consider as the crown of a king '.
Kabir cured her of the diseases of her mind
And helped her to see the divine light
He taught her how to sing God's praise.
Now rumour became rife – Kabir is a fraud,
His saintliness is a mere show.
Hearing this Kabir bowed his head and said,
'I am the lowliest of the low.
For the sake of salvation
I shall give up all pride
If God abides with me
I shall take the lowest place'.
The king became curious to know the saint
And sent his emissary with his invitation
Kabir refused to move and he said,
'I stay at my humble station away from all
Is it proper for me to be with courtiers and kings?
The emissary said, 'I'll be punished
If you don't go
And satisfy the curious king.'
The king was sitting in his court
With all his courtiers sitting in rows
When Kabir entered there with that woman
Some laughed aloud, others grinned,
Some sat there with their heads hung in shame.
The king thought how shameless is this man
He goes everywhere with a woman?
He made signs
And the gateman drove Kabir out.
On Kabir's way those Brahmins were waiting
They laughed at him in ridicule
And used many hard and unkind words.
The woman wept and fell on the feet of Kabir,
'Why did you raise me from the rut of sin
And bear this load of shame?'
Kabir in reply said,
'Mother, you are my Lord's own gift.'
Translation of the poem Apamanbar from the collection Katha by Rabindranath Tagore.
Compare no. 24 of The Fugitive III.
The original in Bengali script may be viewed at http://www.rabindra-rachanabali.nltr.org/node/11168.