You may have heard of many Saints, but have you heard of Saint Kabir? Well, Saint Kabir is considered to be one of the greatest poets as well as mystic ever born in India! He believed that human beings are equal and being one with God is the ultimate aim of every individual. His love and devotion towards the Supreme One clearly reflects in his poetry. The holy scripture Guru Granth Sahib contains over 500 verses by this great Saint Kabir. The verses or ‘dohas’ of saint Kabir are still sung by people with admiration and faith.
The great Saint Kabir Das was a simple weaver. He was a man of principles and practised what he preached. The Saint was Muslim by birth, but some believe that he was a Brahmin. He had many disciples as well as many who were against him.
Some beautiful stories of Saint Kabir:
There is a beautiful story about Saint Kabir. Once a lady with her young child came to Saint Kabir and complained that her son had the habit of eating lot of Jaggery everyday. Saint Kabir told her to come after a week. Upon the lady’s return after a week, Saint Kabir told the boy to give up the habit of eating Jaggery. The lady was surprised to hear this and asked Saint Kabir, “You could have said this when we had come earlier”? Saint Kabir clarified to the lady, “How could I advise your son not to eat Jaggery when I used to eat it myself at that time? Therefore these last seven days I practiced to stay without eating Jaggery, so I could advise your son to do the same!”
Saint Kabir and Saint Tulsidas were contemporaries. Saint Tulsidas came to know about the growing popularity of Saint Kabir and decided to meet him. He went to Delhi and reached the locality where Saint Kabir was staying. He asked the local people for directions that would lead to Saint Kabir’s house. Saint Kabir was also popular as a weaver besides being a saint. Someone pointed towards a small hut at the distant corner but the road leading to it was full of butchers’ shop on both sides, where slaughtered goats and chickens hung. Saint Tulsidas was a pure Brahmin. He felt great discomfort walking through that lane. He covered his nose with his hands and spat here and there occasionally as he was not accustomed to such situation in the past. Finally he managed to reach Saint Kabir’s house and went inside. He was made to sit on a handmade bed by his pupils. Saint Kabir appeared from the kitchen and was about to start ‘Satsang’. However, Saint Tulsidas could not resist the temptation to speak out what was going through his mind. He asked Saint Kabir, “You are such a famous poet and a great saint of India, you live in a place surrounded by slaughter house? Saint Kabir replied spontaneously in a poetic form:
“ Kabir ka ghar bazaar mein, gal katiyon ke pas Karega so bharega, tu kyon hove udas”
Meaning –“Kabir’s residence may be near a slaughter house but those will suffer who are performing the deeds of slaughtering. But there is no cause of worry for a non-doer!”
Saint Tulsidas understood the message in a flash and was highly impressed.
Another story shows Saint Kabir’s ability to exploit a situation for teaching purpose. One day a fakir visited Saint Kabir to pay his respects, but on finding a pig tied to a peg in the yard, he became upset. He said that since pigs are considered unholy, he couldn't stay there. To this Kabir responded: “There are five pigs inside the body [heart, kidney, lungs, brain and stomach]. Why don't you hate these ‘pigs’ too, and refuse to sit with them?” Immediately, the fakir bowed his head and begged to become Saint Kabir's pupil.
Saint Kabir would sell the cloth he wove, for no more than what was needed for his everyday living. Once he took a cloth to the market and the price he charged was only five takas. But people were not prepared to pay that price and offered only three takas. The day had almost come to the end and he could not sell his cloth. Seeing this a man took pity on him and called out to people that an excellent cloth was being offered cheap, only for twelve takas. Impressed by his business tactics, people came to him and soon the cloth was sold. The man gave Kabir ten takas, taking two as his commission. But Kabir would not accept saying that he wanted only five.
Once Saint Kabir was approached by Mohamed Shah who held Kabir in high esteem. He wanted to receive enlightenment through Saint Kabir´s teachings.
When he arrived at Kabir´s dwelling place he saw a pig tied in front of his house. He got terribly upset over it and asked Kabir why he had done so. Kabir calmly replied. "I have only tied the pig outside my home whereas you are so disturbed, you are carrying its´ memories in your mind!" This statement made Shah realize what ones attitude should be.