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December 11, 2008


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An absolutely wonderful post Brian. Thanks Brian. And thanks Kabir.

Yes idem

This blog should be retitled "The Hijaking Of Kabir" as Brian hand picks a few passages to justify his viewpoint.

My feelings on this I have expounded on before. Religion is a good place to start but for most there comes a time for the wilderness (figuratively speaking). One starts with a need to find form and leaves it eventually for formlessness.

There are probably those who can stay with the form and maybe grow that way. Some, however, will have a reason that causes them to be thrust out on their own to experience new ideas and things, and to put into practice what they thought they knew in their safe cocoon.

Yes, having read what others say about this whole topic, I know mine is not a popular belief (wouldn't be for those still in the religion I left). Religions prosper because it's not. I also recognize we all need different things and if something is working, you won't feel depressed by it or desperate to find something more. You will go with the flow and it will feel right to you and good. I also think that what I believe today might change in the future and I am free to do that. It's one of the things that makes writing a blog, a book, or any statement seem risky, but it also leads to a tremendous feeling of exhilaration and freedom because we live in a universe full of mystery and beauty. It's a place I think we will never stop finding new things. I suppose that would be more uncomfortable if one wanted their answers in boxes. I don't personally think it works that way.

At risk of rising the ire of some, I also don't think there are a list of steps that automatically lead us to a place of enlightenment, of knowing, or even of growth. I think it is different for each of us what we need and that's what is so bad about religions. Most provide boxes and a system that worked for someone somewhere, maybe even many people, and they now tell us it'll work for us.

Someday I might be in a religion again. I grew up without one with the feeling of god with me and most especially strong when out in nature. I spent my middle years deeply engrossed in trying to understand that being with me and in a religion and experiencing all it offered (what I called god stayed with me); then I left it again (but not that spiritual connection). Some would call me fallen away today and worry about my soul. I say I didn't leave 'it' because 'it' never was the religion but religion and what I learned there taught me a lot. I like the community part of religion but spiritual growth had to come first for me and I am following how I see that as happening-- for me.

Dear Joe - I think you have confused the RS publications on Kabir with Brian's blog?

Have you ever studied mystical writings NOT published by RS orgs?

*Read the Bijak directly yourself*

You'll find it is almost all entirely in accord with what Brian has selected, whilst hardly resembling the RS icon at all in any verse.

Kabir is, imo, far, far removed from the picture RS groups have painted.

As with numerous other mystics from the past.

Joe, I agree with Manjit (not surprisingly). The book I took the quotations from describes the several sides of Kabir. There is his more traditional bhakti side, where he talks (or is reported to talk; his teachings were oral) about devotion to the guru, etc.

But there also is his wild iconoclastic side, which I believe is the "real" Kabir -- and which needs to be kept in mind when reading his more traditional poems.

The way I see those two sides relating, in the Bijak of Kabir book, is that he seems to see a guru as someone who offers up a direct mind-blowing pointing toward reality.

But that reality isn't anything that's in the hands of the guru, because there's no guru, no disciple, no inner, no outer. None of those dualisms.

Yes, I focused on one of Kabir's themes. He has many. But if you read Bijak of Kabir you'll see that the tone I took in my blog posts about Kabir is right in line with how a Kabir scholar sees him. She isn't a religious person with a dogmatic ax to grind. So I trust the author's take on Kabir.

Dear Brian,

But you said: "If you think you understand Kabir, you don't."

Robert Paul Howard

"Biographics should show people in their undershirts. Goethe had his weaknesses, and Calvin was often cruel. Considerations of this kind reveal the true greatness of a man. This way of looking at things is better than false hero worship." C.G.Jung 1946

I think this observation applies to a great many of the historically "enlightened" humans - which is probably why so many of them were burned, poisoned, crucified, or killed by many creative means. Ironically, many sheep will claim belief in the more benign teachings but very few will accept the full human for all he/she was.

Incidently - does anyone here know if the word "human" truely originate from Hu and Man as in God-Man? I thought I read it somewhere in the RS literature, or on one of the tapes, that it is from sanskrit but haven't found another source to back that reference. Just curious.

Robert, good point. But since the theme of my post was that Kabir can't be understood, I think an understanding that he can't be understood more or less cancels out to equal nothing.

And that's the place Kabir wants us to live: nowhere land.

What you have is translation from old hindi. And in English phrases dont always have same multiple meanings that they have in hindi. Me who had studied kabir before in hindi literature before knowing anything about rssb , can clearly understand what he is saying. I am sorry brian but all what you have said is pointless.

Goku, you're welcome to your opinion. Which is all that it is, opinion. Here's the first paragraph of the Acknowledgements section in "The Bijak of Kabir."

Sure sounds to me like this is a reliable translation. What's pointless is you implying that all the Kabir experts mentioned below don't know as much as you about Kabir.

"First to acknowledge is my cotranslator, Shukdev Singh, who guided me inch by inch through the tangle and obscurity of Kabir's medieval Hindi.

Then the leaders and monks of Kabir Chaura Temple in Varnasi, especially Mahant Amrit Das, administrative head Ganga Sharan Das Shastri, and Sant Vivek Das. They published an early selection of translations, helped interpret many passages, and chanted Kabir's works.

Dr. Yugeshvar of Kashi Vidyapith and Dada Sitaram gave valuable commentaries on poems. Dr. Hazariprasad Dvivedi shared his vast knowledge of Kabir and the tradition. Thakur Jaydev Singh shed light on upside-down language. Dr. Veer Bhadra Mishra gave friendship and assistance more than can me measured."

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