söndag 23 november 2008

Images of Kabir

Som jag tidigare nämnt, så är uppsatsen jag var till Indien för att skriva nu klar (sedan i augusti), och sedan någon vecka tillbaka också godkänd av examinatorn! Så allt gällande lärarutbildningen är nu klar, så när som att få ut pappren därifrån.

Senare kommer uppsatsen att finnas uppe för nedladdning på KAU:s sidor. (Dem som jag nämnde för rätt länge sedan, gällande mängd text det finns där ute.) Men den som har lust kan läsa den redan här:

Abstract In his own time, the nirguna poet-saint Kabir was a controversial figure. He spoke ill of Islam and Hinduism alike, yet, in the end, both groups claimed him as their own. In this essay, various images of Kabir are discussed. Kabir as he appears in legends; Kabir as he appears in his poems; Kabir as a historical figure. But more importantly, Kabir as he is perceived as today. The image of Kabir, as it were. The question of ‘who Kabir was’ is posed to members of two groups in the city of Banaras, India — one group Muslim (Julaha), the other Hindu (Yadav).

Abstrakt Under sin egen tid var nirguna helgonpoeten Kabir, en kontroversiell figur. Han pratade illa som såväl Islam som Hinduism --- men till slut kom ändå båda grupperna att anamma honom som sin egen. I den här uppsatsen diskuteras olika bilder av Kabir. Kabir som han beskrivs i legender; Kabir som han träder fram i sina dikter; Kabir som en historisk figur. Men kanske viktigast av allt, bilden av Kabir idag. Frågan om "vem Kabir var" ställs till personer ur två grupper i staden Banaras, Indien --- en grupp Muslimer (Julaha), den andra gruppen Hinduer (Yadav).

Vill du läsa filen "för sig själv", utanför bloggen, klicka här: Images of Kabir


Religion / Teacher's Program Kristian Niemi Images of Kabir As described by Yadav in Assi and Nagwa, and Julaha in Shivala and Saket Nagar History of Religion C-level thesis Teacher's Program Final Paper Date: Supervisor: Examiner: 2008-08-26 Marc Katz, Mohammad Toha Marc Katz Karlstads universitet 651 88 Karlstad Tfn 054-700 10 00 Fax 054-700 14 60 Information@kau.se www.kau.se Abstract In his own time, the nirguna poet-saint Kab¯ was a controversial figure. He spoke ır . ill of Islam and Hinduism alike, yet, in the end, both groups claimed him as their own. In this essay, various images of Kab¯ are discussed. Kab¯ as he appears in ır ır legends; Kab¯ as he appears in his poems; Kab¯ as a historical figure. But more ır ır importantly, Kab¯ as he is perceived as today. The image of Kab¯ as it were. ır ır, The question of ‘who Kab¯ was’ is posed to members of two groups in the city of ır Ban¯ras, India — one group Muslim (Jul¯h¯), the other Hindu (Yadav). a aa Notes on transliteration and terms Words in Hindi and Sanskrit have been transliterated using standard methods of showing pronunciation as used in Benjamin Walker, Hindu World: An Encyclopedic Survey of Hinduism (Volume 1), first published in 1968 by Goerge Allen & Unwin Ltd, (New Delhi: Rupa & co, 2005) and others. That is, using diacritics. Instead of simply writing ‘diksha’, the spelling ‘d¯ a’ is used, as this follows the actual pronunciation in the original ıksh¯ language more closely. Spelling in book titles, quotes and such, are, naturally, given as they were spelled in the original. The standard transliteration system for Sanskrit is used, except for a few modifications to aid in pronunciation. For Hindi, the mute ‘a’ at the end of a word is dropped — but only if the ‘a’ is, indeed, mute. Terms that might be unknown for a reader unaccustomed to Hinduism, Indian culture — or other areas touched by in the paper — are explained in footnotes on introduction of term. See, for instance, note 6 on page 7 about ‘Ban¯ras’. a Contents 1 Introduction 1.1 Framing the Question . . . . . . . . . . 1.2 The Structure of the Essay . . . . . . . 1.3 Methodology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.3.1 Selection of Interview Subjects . 1.3.2 Method for Interviews . . . . . 1.3.3 Literature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 6 7 8 8 9 11 13 13 13 14 15 17 19 20 20 29 34 34 35 39 40 41 42 43 43 45 46 46 46 47 47 2 Research 2.1 The Times of Kab¯ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ır 2.1.1 Hinduism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.1.2 The Challenge of Islam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.1.3 Bhakti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.1.4 The Sufis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.1.5 The N¯ths . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . a 2.2 Where Kab¯ can be Found . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ır 2.2.1 Legends of Kab¯ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ır 2.2.2 Poems of Kab¯ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ır 2.3 Kab¯ Described by Scholars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ır 2.3.1 The Biography of Kab¯ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ır 2.3.2 The Dates of Kab¯ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ır 2.3.3 Kab¯ — Hindu or Muslim? . . . . . . . . . . . . ır 2.3.4 Kab¯ — the Yogi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ır 2.3.5 Kab¯ — the Sufi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ır 2.3.6 Apostle for Hindu-Muslim Unity — or a Thorn in 2.4 Kab¯ Described by Yadav and Weavers in Ban¯ras . . . ır a 2.4.1 Knowledge of Kab¯ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ır 2.4.2 The Religion of Kab¯ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ır 2.4.3 Kab¯ Personality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ır’s 2.4.4 A relevant figure for today . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.4.5 Quoting Kab¯ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ır 2.4.6 Differences Between the Two Groups . . . . . . . 2.4.7 Additional Interviews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... Everyone’s Eye? .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... 3 Discussion 48 3.1 Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 3.1.1 Suggestions for Further Studies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Bibliography 52 Appendices A Figures A.1 Usage of terms in the Kab¯ an¯ . . . ır-v¯ . ı A.2 Timeline, possible dates of Kab¯ . . . ır A.3 Respondents knowledge about Kab¯ . ır A.4 Education of the respondents . . . . . A.5 The religion of Kab¯ . . . . . . . . . . ır A.6 Kab¯ is relevant today . . . . . . . . . ır A.7 What can we learn from Kab¯ . . . . ır? A.8 Where can one find God acc. to Kab¯ ır? 56 56 56 57 58 58 59 59 60 60 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . B Quotes 61 B.1 List of quotes in text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 B.2 Additional quotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 C Questionnaire 67 C.1 English . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 C.2 Hindi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68 D Interviews, transcribed D.1 Yadav, men . . . . . . . . . D.1.1 Ramjanm Yadav . . D.1.2 Mahavir Yadav . . . D.1.3 Sri Mayaram Yadav . D.1.4 Muresh Yadav . . . . D.1.5 Rajan Yadav . . . . D.2 Yadav, women . . . . . . . . D.2.1 Pr¯ma Yadav . . . . e D.2.2 Kausalya Yadav . . . D.2.3 Laxmi Yadav . . . . D.2.4 M¯ Yadav . . . . . ıra 69 69 69 70 71 73 74 75 75 76 76 78 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . D.2.5 Parm¯ Yadav . . . . . ıra D.3 Muslim weavers, men . . . . . . D.3.1 Abdul Bari . . . . . . . D.3.2 Ansaru Din . . . . . . . D.3.3 Mustaka Ahmad Ansari D.3.4 Abdul Kabis . . . . . . . D.3.5 Gani Kha . . . . . . . . D.4 Muslim weavers, women . . . . D.4.1 Nazbul . . . . . . . . . . D.4.2 Johara Begam . . . . . . D.4.3 Nurjaha . . . . . . . . . D.4.4 Monima . . . . . . . . . D.4.5 Sadika Fatur . . . . . . . D.5 Additional interviews . . . . . . D.5.1 11 students . . . . . . . D.5.2 Mohammad Toha . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80 80 80 81 82 85 85 86 86 87 88 88 89 89 89 91 1 Introduction 1 Introduction In the late 13th century,1 a child was born — the views differ as to where and by whom he was born, but all agree that he was to become a weaver, and more than that, a poet that would have an impact on Indian literature — even the language of Hindi itself. Kab¯ ır would be seen as a Sant and a P¯ as a revolutionary and as an ‘apostle of Hindu and ır, 2 Muslim unity’ . Kab¯ can be quoted by people of lower cast Hindu’s and Br¯hmins alike, ır a by Muslims as well as Hindus — or even Christians. Kab¯ spoke against both the religion of Hindus and of Muslims — yet, at the end, he ır was embraced by both groups. This was six-hundred years ago. Who is he today? Is he still embraced by both groups? If so, as what; how do they perceive him? There has been much debate about who Kab¯ was. There are many views, but facts ır are scarce. Even though there’s no way of knowing with certainty who he really was,3 — we can’t even tell for sure which poems can be ascribed to Kab¯ 4 —, there are opinions ır of him. People have their own views of who he was. This — i.e. the views of him can be studied. The images of Kab¯ as he is described by different groups, are interesting ır, in their own right. How is Kab¯ a possible focal point between Hindus and Muslims, ır, actually described by Hindus and Muslims? The question at hand, then, is What is the image of Kab¯r today, as described by ı Hindus and Muslims? 1.1 Framing the Question The aim of this paper is not an all-encompassing survey, covering all views and uses of Kab¯ — though that would be interesting research to undertake. What is sought after ır here is rather a glimpse of how people view Kab¯ Given that there are so many facets of ır. the figure Kab¯ many even contradictory, it is interesting to see how people view him. ır, In order to be able to discern something tangible, the question of who Kab¯ was will be ır posed to two specific groups, one Hindu and one Muslim. It is especially interesting to see how people from the two religions view Kab¯ as he ır, can, judging from legends, poems and history, be seen as either a follower of Islam, or the More on the dates of Kab¯ in section 2.3.2 on page 35. ır Kabir: The Apostle of Hindu-Muslim Unity was the title of a book by Muhammad Hedayetullah. Unfortunately, at the time of writing it proved impossible to acquire it. Even though several sources mention Hedayetullah, virtually all agree that Kab¯ was, in fact, not an apostle of Hindu-Muslim unity. ır More on this in section 2.3.6 on page 42. 3 See section 2.3.1 on page 34 for biographical information. 4 Even if only focusing on the poems, the personality of Kab¯ the image of Kab¯ would be different ır, ır, depending on which collection of poems one would study. See in section 2.2.2 on page 31. 2 1 6 1 Introduction 1.2 The Structure of the Essay Hindu faith — or neither. Do Hindus see Kab¯ as a Hindu, and vice versa; does the one ır group see the influences of the other religion in the figure of Kab¯ ır? Kab¯ is known throughout India, and especially in North-India. As his probable ır place of birth,5 Ban¯ras6 is a location where one would expect people to know, and have a opinions of, Kab¯ Thus, this is where the question will be asked of the two groups. ır. Kab¯ original audience was the lay people — or even more specifically, groups posiır’s tioned low in the social hierarchy. In this paper it is that group that will be approached. A reason why this group would be more interesting is that one could surmise that the view of the highly educated — of scholars, as it were — would correspond fairly closely with the image of Kab¯ as put forward in various books on the subject.7 Thus, it is ır simply less interesting to study. It is less clear what view lay men would have of Kab¯ ır. And this is what the study will take as its subject. Through the poems attributed to Kab¯ both Hinduism and Islam are criticized, ır, yet that criticism also brought people of the respective faiths together. Rituals and outer practices mean nothing, Kab¯ said, all that matters is personal faith and devotion. ır Strong, opposing voices were heard from both communities — but in the end, the two groups ended up claiming Kab¯ as their own. What is the situation today? Is Kab¯ ır ır claimed by one or the other or by both? What is the ‘Muslim view’ and the ‘Hindu view’, respectively, of Kab¯r — if there are indeed separate views worth mentioning. Is there a ı unified picture, or distinctly different views withheld by the different communities? 1.2 The Structure of the Essay After some remarks in the following section on the methodology for interviews and some notes on the literature, a backdrop to the times of Kab¯ will be given (section 2.1 on ır page 13). In order to appreciate the role Kab¯ played — and, thus, to be able to better ır understand the answers the respondents gave — there is a need to have a basic understanding of Hinduism (section 2.1.1 on page 13) as well as Islam, particularly in which ways the two religions can at times seem to clash (section 2.1.2 on page 14). Additionally, See section 2.3.1 on page 34. The official name of the city of Ban¯ras today, is V¯r¯nas¯ The oldest name for the city, however, a a a ı. is K¯sh¯ K¯sh¯ or K¯shik¯, is the shining one; the city of light. V¯r¯nas¯ the official name, is also an a ı. a ı, a a a a ı, ancient one. This name is derived from the geographical location of the city — it’s situated between the rivers Varan¯ and Asi. According to Eck, the name ‘Ban¯ras’, which is by which the city is most widely a a known today, is a corrupt version of ‘B¯r¯nasi’ — which is the Pali version of V¯r¯nas¯ Under the rule of aa a a ı. the British, as well as the Muslims, the city was known as ‘Benares’. Other names for the city is Avimukta, ¯ the never forsaken; Anandavana, the forest of bliss; Rudrav¯sa, the city of Shiva; Mah¯shmash¯na, the a a a great cremation ground. (Diana L. Eck, Banaras: City of Light, reprint 1999, [New York: Columbia University Press, 1982], pp. 25–26, 28, 29, 31, 32) 7 Scholarly opinions and theories concerning Kab¯ are discussed below at 2.3 on page 34. ır 6 5 7 1 Introduction 1.3 Methodology three groups or movements will briefly be introduced: the Bhakti movement (section 2.1.3 on page 15); the Sufis (section 2.1.4 on page 17); and the N¯ths (section 2.1.5 on page 19). a All three are essential for understanding Kab¯ and each will frequently be mentioned ır, throughout the essay. The following sections will introduce Kab¯ as he is found in legends (section 2.2.1 on ır page 20) on the one hand, and in poems (section 2.2.2 on page 29), on the other hand. Both the legends and the poems need to be included, as the persona of Kab¯ is portrayed ır quite differently depending where you look. The most famous legends are briefly retold. In the discussion about the poems of Kab¯ focus will be on the different images of Kab¯ ır, ır that can be distinguished although the language of Kab¯ will be touched upon, as will ır his signature ulatb¯ms¯ poems. There will be no section as such with quotes of Kab¯ ır’s . a. ı poems, but they will rather be scattered throughout the essay. A full list of all quotes mentioned in the text is found in appendix B.1 on page 61, and some additional ones that were mentioned in the essay but too long to include in-text are found at appendix B.2 on page 61. Next will be a brief summary of the scholarly debate about Kab¯ Starting with some ır. notes the biography of Kab¯ (section 2.3.1 on page 34), and moving on to a quite lengthy ır discussion about the dating of Kab¯ (section 2.3.2 on page 35). Although this essay is ır about the image of Kab¯ particularly as seen by the Jul¯h¯ and Yadav in certain areas ır, aa of Ban¯ras, and not primarily about the historical figure of Kab¯ the latter should not a ır, be completely ignored. Through the discussion about the dates of Kab¯ a critical light ır, will be shed, in particular, on the legends of Kab¯ ır. The religious identity of Kab¯ will be explored in sections 2.3.3 on page 39, 2.3.4 on ır page 40, 2.3.5 on page 41 and 2.3.6 on page 42. Finally, the turn will come to the actual research, the survey undertaken in Ban¯ras. a In section 2.4 on page 43 the answers of the respondents will be summarized and discussed. The discussion will continue further in section 3 on page 48, where the conclusions will be found as well. 1.3 1.3.1 Methodology Selection of Interview Subjects To answer the question at hand, people from two sets of groups — one Hindu and one Muslim — were interviewed. For the answers to be comparable, there is a need to make sure that the individuals would have a somewhat similar background and education, as well as the two groups to be generally comparable with each other — again, having somewhat similar circumstances regarding background and education. Men and women 8 1 Introduction 1.3 Methodology in equal numbers have been interviewed from both groups. For the Hindu group, the caste Yadav was chosen. Yadav are traditionally milkmen. They’re considered as being of the varna high Shudra or low Vaishya — that is, they’re not . one of the lowest jatis, but nor are they of the highest. Thus it can be expected that they have some education, but not that they would be highly educated. Five Yadav men and five Yadav women, from two neighbouring locations: Asi and Nagwa, were interviewed. An obvious group to interview amongst Muslims were weavers. They are a distinct group, and are of somewhat similar social status as Yadav amongst Hindus. Relatively low, that is, but not of the lowest strata. It would be probable that they would have some degree of education, but improbable that they would have a University degree or some such.8 However, originally weavers was to be avoided as interview-subjects, because Kab¯ himself was a weaver.9 It would seem natural that weavers would have a stronger ır tradition of Kab¯ that they would remember him better, maybe have more stories of ır; him circulating in the oral tradition, than the average group would have. Another Muslim group that seemed to be comparative in relation to the Hindu Yadav, was ricksha wallahs. For quite some time my assistant tried to find people willing to be interviewed; some even volunteered, but when it came down to actually doing the interview, something always came up. The subject was either was ill, travelling, too tired, or simply suddenly unwilling at the moment. In the end, it was simply too difficult to find willing subjects from this group. Focus was again turned to the weavers; they became the subjects in the Muslim group. It turned out that both the respondents education and knowledge of Kab¯ was comparable to the Hindu group — it was, indeed, very similar ır —, yet it should be noted that this Muslim group might not, for the reasons mentioned above, be representable for the Muslim community in general. 1.3.2 Method for Interviews Why interviews Since it’s not certain that all subjects would be literate, in addition to the fact that written questionnaires would, in itself, probably be somewhat odd for the subjects, oral interviews is chosen as the only method for questioning the subjects. Assistants Mr. Ashish Yadav, my assistant located both the men and the women from the group of Yadav, as well as the men from the group of weavers. It was also with him Reportedly 100% of the boys and 93% of the girls in India does start in school. Although education is free up to the tenth class, only 50% completes fifth grade. (‘Indien: utbildning’, in Nationalencyclopedins Internettj¨nst, URL: http://www.ne.se [visited on 05/20/2008] [henceforth cited as Nationalencyclopea dins Internettj¨nst]) a 9 See section 2.3.1 on page 34 8 9 1 Introduction 1.3 Methodology that the aforementioned interviews were conducted. Interviews with the women among Muslim weavers were conducted with Ms. Mamta Yadav. Originally, Mr. Ashish tried to wind respondents among the Muslim women for himself, but it soon became apparant that it would not do; none were willing to partake in the survey. Thus, Ms. Mamta’s services were employed. Both assistants have worked as translators for scholars before. Even though they don’t have any education for the job per se, they are experienced assistants. How the interviews were conducted The interviews were semi-formal. There was a specific set of questions, asked in a specific order by the assistant, and, in most cases no or very few follow up questions. The questions asked were open and large in scope.10 Some of the things that needed to be established was, for instance, the subjects views of what the religion of Kab¯ was; where and how one should find God, according to Kab¯ ır ır; Kab¯ and the social structure — what his views were and what his impact on it, if any, ır was —; if the subjects have any favourite poems of Kab¯ and, if that’s the case, which is ır, it and what is it that he or she likes in the poem. I had some help with discerning what might be of interest by Prof. Mohammad Toha, who also was interviewed11 at a later stage due to his role at the Zintul Islam Girls’ School. Mr. Virendra Singh, an established Hindi teacher with years of experience, translated the questions from English to Hindi. Thereafter the method of back-translation was used, as Mr. Ashish translated the Hindi sentences to English. Some small modifications were made to the sentences proposed by Mr. Singh, as it was important that Mr. Ashish felt confident with the questions — it was, after all, his job to ask them as well as interpret the answers into English.12 The whole interview was done in Hindi, which is the language most comfortable for the subject, and recorded with a voice recorder by the author. Later, all of the recordings, including the interviews where Mamta Yadav was assisting, were translated with Mr. Ashish, and then transcribed.13 Things to note concerning the interviews On reading the transcribed interviews, it is important to note that the choice of wording is Mr. Ashish’s, not the subjects. The transcription is not a word-by-word translation of what the subjects said, but rather of Mr. Ashish’s translation, where he sought to convey the meaning of the respondents answers. See section C on page 67; the questionnaire is available in both English and Hindi. Appendix D.5.2 on page 91, Mohammad Toha, Professor of Sociology and a leading figure in the Zintul Islam Girls’ School, Reori Talab, Dec. 12, 2007. 12 Questionnaire, English as well as Hindi, is found in appendix C on page 67. 13 See appendix D on page 69. 11 10 10 1 Introduction 1.3 Methodology Mr. Ashish’s words are transcribed as closely as possible, in order to not further distance the written words from what the subjects originally intended to say. The sentences are often awkward; the grammar is off and words are missing. This should by no means seen as reflecting how the subjects spoke. It is simply a result of the effort to stay as close to my assistants translation as possible. Another thing worth keeping in mind when the results are reviewed, is that my assistant during the interviews with the Muslim women was different than with the other three groups. Mr. Ashish and Ms. Mamta did confer with each other, and with the author, before the interviews to make sure they asked the questions in a similar fashion, etc. Yet it is still likely that they posed the questions in a somewhat different fashion, perhaps put emphasis on different areas, and so on. By and large, one could assume it would have an effect on the respondents answers as well. Furthermore, it is possible that the short replies from some of the Hindu women are due to the fact that it was a man, Mr. Ashish, that was posing the questions. 1.3.3 Literature Vaudeville Charlotte Vaudeville is an author mentioned by virtually all scholars, specifically her Kab¯r14 . Monika Horstmann, herself a Kab¯ scholar, even stated that Vaudeville ı ır ‘completed’ research of Kab¯ with the study mentioned above, at least as far as the study ır of Kab¯ as a historical person goes.15 For this paper, a revised edition of Kab¯r has been ır ı used: A Weaver Named Kabir 16 . Hess Linda Hess as a scholar of Kab¯ whose authority might rival Vaudeville’s. In this ır essay two articles of Hess’s has been used: “Kabir’s Rough Rhetoric”,17 where the style of Kab¯ is discussed, and “Three Kabir Collections: A Comparative Study”,18 where Hess ır analyzes the different collections of Kab¯ poems. ır’s Charlotte Vaudeville, Kabir, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974). Monika Horstmann, “Introduction”, in: Images of Kab¯ ed. by Monika Horstmann, (Manohar, 2002), ır, pp. 1–8, p. 1. 16 Charlotte Vaudeville, A Weaver Named Kabir, (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1993). 17 Linda Hess, “Kabir’s Rough Rhetoric”, in: The Sants: Studies in a Devotional Tradition of India, ed. by Karine Schomer and W.H. McLeod, (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1987), pp. 143–166. 18 Linda Hess, “Three Kabir Collections: A Comparative Study”, in: The Sants: Studies in a Devotional Tradition of India, ed. by Karine Schomer and W.H. McLeod, (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1987), pp. 111–142. 15 14 11 1 Introduction 1.3 Methodology Keay One of the best descriptions of the followers of Kab¯ path — the Kab¯ Panth19 ır’s ır 20 — was found in F. E. Keay’s Kabir and His Followers. Keay gives an introduction to the environment of Kab¯ as well as a general overview over the history, organization, ır, and doctrines of the different branches of the Kab¯ Panthis. Although it is dates in some ır areas, it is nevertheless of use in others. Lorenzen Another prominent scholar of Kab¯ is David N. Lorenzen. In Kabir Legır, ends 21 he goes through the main legends of Kab¯ as well a short history of Kab¯ — ır, ır 22 including a thorough discussion of the dates of Kab¯ ır. Bharati and Flood For some basic understanding of Hinduism in general and Hindu way of life, Gavin Flood’s An Introduction to Hinduism 23 and Agehananda Bharati’s Hindu Views and Ways and the Hindu-Muslim Interface 24 were used. General information and dictionaries For some general references, online dictionaries such as The Oxford Dictionary of English (revised edition),25 Encyclopædia Britannica Online,26 and Nationalencyclopedins Internettj¨nst,27 was used. Additionally, Benjamin a Walkers Hindu World proved invaluable for looking up information concerning various terms and phenomena about Hinduism and Indian culture in general.28 Other Other, complementing literature has been used as well. A good number of valuable sources was found in anthologies such as The Sants by Karine Schomer and W.H. ‘Panth’ means ‘way (of)’ or ‘path (of)’. Thus the Kab¯ Panth means the way of Kab¯ It can be ır ır. seen as something like ‘school (of)’, tradition or cult. (David N. Lorenzen, “Introduction”, in: Religious Movements in South Asia (600-1800), ed. by David N. Lorenzen, [Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2004], pp. 1–44, p. 5) Also see samprad¯ya and parampara in note 66 on page 17. a 20 F.E. Keay, Kabir and His Followers, first edition: Calcutta, 1931, (Delhi: Sri Satguru Publications, 1996). 21 David N. Lorenzen, Kabir Legends and Ananta-das’s Kabir Paracha¯ (Delhi: Sri Satguru Publicaı, tions, 1992). 22 See section 2.3.2 on page 35. 23 Gavin Flood, An Introduction to Hinduism, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996). 24 Agehananda Bharati, Hindu Views and Ways and the Hindu-Muslim Interface, (Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd. 1981). 25 Catherine Soanes and Angus Stevenson, eds., The Oxford Dictionary of English (revised edition), 2005, URL: http://oxfordreference.com (visited on 05/20/2008). 26 Encyclopædia Britannica Online, URL: http://search.eb.com (visited on 05/20/2008). 27 Nationalencyclopedins Internettj¨nst, URL: http://www.ne.se (visited on 05/20/2008). a 28 Benjamin Walker, Hindu World: An Encyclopedic Survey of Hinduism (Volume 1), first published in 1968 by Goerge Allen & Unwin Ltd, (New Delhi: Rupa & co, 2005), Benjamin Walker, Hindu World: An Encyclopedic Survey of Hinduism (Volume 2), first published in 1968 by Goerge Allen & Unwin Ltd, (New Delhi: Rupa & co, 2005) 19 12 2 Research McLeod;29 Images of Kab¯r by Monika Horstmann30 and Religious Movements in South ı Asia 600-1800 by the aforementioned David N. Lorenzen.31 2 2.1 2.1.1 Research The Times of Kab¯ ır Hinduism To understand the tumult surrounding Kab¯ and his times, there is a need for some short ır words concerning Hinduism in general. When speaking of Christianity, Buddhism or Islam, there are some basic beliefs which are held by followers of respective paths. The same can only with great difficulty be said about Hinduism.32 The western concept of religion was developed from an understanding of religion stemming from Christianity.33 The closest term to ‘religion’ in an Indian context would be ‘dharma’. It is, however, a term of much broader meaning than ‘religion’. Religion might be defined as the Oxford dictionary puts it: “the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods [. . . ] a particular system of faith and worship”.34 Dharma, on the other hand, is the order of the universe; it is moral laws, right and wrong for individuals and groups. Dharma means the law of man as well as the law of nature; it is the way of life for all, even for the universe itself.35 It has been said that Hinduism is “all things to all men”,36 and that “every good man is a Hindu”37 . Although the last two statements paint a rather too broad a picture, it should nevertheless be noted that it isn’t nonsensical to make that kind of broad statements of Hinduism. It is that difficult to define it38 . Christianity defines itself through a founder, or rather: a series of founders; by a declaration of faith. There are central authorities that decide what Christianity is and should be. This is not the case with Hinduism. Hinduism, in contrast, has no founder; there is no unified system of beliefs, no central authority that tells you what is right and The Sants: Studies in a Devotional Tradition of India, ed. by Karine Schomer and W.H. McLeod, (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1987). 30 Images of Kab¯ , ed. by Monika Horstmann, (Manohar, 2002) ır 31 Religious Movements in South Asia 600-1800, ed. by David N. Lorenzen, (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2004) 32 Bharati 1981, p. 2. 33 Flood 1996, p. 8. 34 ‘religion, noun’, in The Oxford Dictionary of English. 35 ‘Dharma’, in Walker 2005a, p. 275; Flood 1996, p. 11. 36 Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India, in Flood 1996, p. 7. 37 Bharati 1981, pp. 1, 47. 38 See Bharati 1981, pp. 2, 46; Flood 1996, 6ff. 29 13 2 Research 2.1 The Times of Kab¯ ır what is not39 . Furthermore, there is no behaviour that can be said to be demonstrated by all Hindus everywhere.40 One of the reasons for this broadness, this vagueness of the term — the diversity and openness in Hinduism —, is that religious practice was individualized from the beginning in Indian culture. Every individual could practice faith as he or she saw fit — by which is meant that beliefs does not matter, nor the following of one or another god. What matters is what kind of person you are; if you have the proper moral conduct and character. This enabled the Indian culture to integrate a multitude of worldviews, a great variety of groups of people41 . As a sociological concept, to be ‘Hindu’ is basically to belong to a certain social group. In this sense, one becomes a Hindu by being born into a group within the Hindu society; no actions need to be taken; no beliefs have to be accepted.42 In a religious sense, it’s more complex. Flood utilizes prototype theory43 to argue that Hinduism is a category, albeit one with ‘fuzzy edges’. There are some prototypical forms of Hindu practice and belief — some that are clearly Hindu —, and there are other practices and beliefs that aren’t as clearly Hindu but nevertheless belong to the same category. On it’s fuzzy borders, as it were.44 2.1.2 The Challenge of Islam The times preceding Kab¯ were turbulent, to say the least. India was confronted with a ır phenomena that not only challenged the fundamentals of Hinduism as a religious concept, but confronted Hinduism at its sociological core as well. This was the challenge of Islam. Generally speaking, the Muslim religion was not individualized, in the manner Hinduism was described as above, but collectivized. It was expected that the group would follow a certain set of behavioural rules; religious rituals were to be done in a certain way; one should believe in a particular god, and that god alone. Additionally, and more importantly, other groups who were adopted by the whole were assimilated, they had to abandon their cultural characteristics. Moreover, Islam was a well organized religion. This was one of the main factors that made the challenge it posed a serious one.45 Flood 1996, p. 6. Bharati 1981, p. 42. 41 Hajariprasad Dvivedi, “Kabir’s Place in Indian Religious Practice”, in: Religious Movements in South Asia (600-1800), ed. by David N. Lorenzen, (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2004), pp. 269–288, pp. 270– 271. 42 Bharati 1981, pp. 4, 42, 47. 43 An alternative might have been to use Ludvig Wittgenstein’s concept of family resemblance. (See ‘language, philosophy of’, in Encyclopædia Britannica Online) 44 Flood 1996, p. 7. 45 Dvivedi 2004, pp. 269, 271. 40 39 14 2 Research 2.1 The Times of Kab¯ ır A more specific conflict between the two systems of ideas originated from the Hindu Varna system — or rather, how it had come to be implemented. Although the ideas behind . the Varna system were for the good of society, it nevertheless had led to groups of people . being “shut out from all the good that a civilized society could provide”, as Barthwal puts it.46 When tribes or other groups had been incorporated into Hindu culture, they had also gotten a place in the Varna system. The incorporated group became situated somewhere . in the Varna system, but were not forced to adopt a certain behaviour or beliefs; they did . not have to abandon their cultural identity — in contrast to the assimilation of groups into Islam. However there was, as was noted above, a division between high and low. And this was something people had gotten used to.47 This was not the case within Islam. Everyone was considered equal. If someone would convert from Hinduism to Islam, he would be considered equal with every other Muslim — regardless of his original social status. Thus it was only natural, when taking this into consideration, that a lot of people were beginning to ask why some would be considered to be more than others within Hindu society.48 One of these enquiring minds was Kab¯ ır. Although there were many from within both the Hindu and the Muslim fold who spoke ill of the other, there was also groups within both communities that spoke of peace and unity. Most prominently, there were the renunciates: yogis like the N¯th among the a 49, 50 Hindus, and sufis among the Muslims. There was also Guru N¯nak and the Sikh.51 a 2.1.3 Bhakti The Bhakti movement is a very important part of the times of Kab¯ Whereas traditional ır. Hinduism — if such a term can be used — was primarily concerned with rituals, the Bhakti movement changed the focus. In Bhakti, the kernel is instead the devotees love for God, and God’s love for the devotee. In Bhakti, there is no need for knowledge — but of faith.52 The devotee doesn’t have to do certain acts, rituals or some such. One might even say, that in Bhakti the notion of karma is dispelled — “god’s grace is greater than man’s sin.”53 All one needs to do is to believe. In Bhakti, all acts, even all thoughts, can be regarded as offerings for the divine. Furthermore, it’s an egalitarian movement in P.D. Barthwal, “The Times and their Need”, in: Religious Movements in South Asia (600-1800), ed. by David N. Lorenzen, (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2004), pp. 253–268, p. 256. 47 Barthwal 2004, p. 256; Dvivedi 2004, p. 270. 48 Barthwal 2004, pp. 256–257. 49 Barthwal 2004, p. 260. 50 There has been claims of ties between Kab¯ and the N¯th (see section 2.3.4 on page 40) as well as ır a between Kab¯ and the Sufis (see section 2.3.5 on page 41). ır 51 See section 2.3.2 on page 37 52 See the poem “Moko kah¯m dh¯ndhe re bande” in appendix B.2 on page 62. a . . u. . 53 ‘Bhakti’, in Walker 2005a, p. 139. 46 15 2 Research 2.1 The Times of Kab¯ ır that caste, gender and other superficial differences are of no matter. In God’s eyes, all are equal. All that matters is one’s devotion.54 In the harsh words of Kab¯ ır: It’s all one skin and bone, one piss and shit, one blood, one meat. From one drop, a universe. Who’s Brahmin? Who’s Shudra?[. . . ] Kabir says, plunge into Ram!55 Says Kab¯r: No one is lowly born. ı The only lowly are those who never talk of Ram.56 The Bhakti movement emerged in south India, in the Tamilnadu, around the seventh century. At this time, myths about the gods and goddesses from the Mahabharata and Ramayana, as well as the Pur¯nas, were beginning to have certain standard forms. Bhakti a. peaked between the fifteenth and the seventeenth century, but had an enormous impact on Hinduism well before that, and still has today. The force of the Bhakti movement was such, that virtually all Hindu movements formed after the seventh century have been based on Bhakti, in one way or the other. It is, as Schomer puts it, what gives “present-day Hinduism its emotional texture, its spiritual and social values, and its basic philosophical assumptions.”57 ¯a A foundation for early Bhakti were the poet-saints Alv¯rs. Later Hindu movements ¯ have also often been led, at least initially, by so-called poet-saints. Saints such as Kab¯ ır. ¯a The Alv¯rs were Vaishnav and even later on, it is common for bhaktas58 is general to . ¯ have a Vaishnav orientation, so to speak. That said, even early on there where Shaiva . bhaktas — such as the N¯yanars — and others. The most important order in the south, a ¯ ¯ 59 ´ ¯a the Sri Vaishnavs, were directly influenced by the Alv¯rs.60 . ¯ Karine Schomer, “Introduction: The Sant Tradition in Perspective”, in: The Sants: Studies in a Devotional Tradition of India, ed. by Karine Schomer and W.H. McLeod, (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1987), pp. 1–20, p. 1; ‘Bhakti’, in Walker 2005a, pp. 138–139; Lorenzen 2004, p. 17; Flood 1996, p. 135. 55 ´ Excerpt from Sabda 75 in Linda Hess and Sukhdev Singh, The B¯ ıjak of Kabir, reprint 2001, (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited, 1983), p. 67. The ´abda is quoted in full in appendix B.2 s on page 66. 56 Excerpt from P¯d 182 (Kab¯ a ır-granth¯val¯ ) in John Stratton Hawley and Mark Juergensmeyer, Songs aı of the Saints of India, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988), p. 54. The p¯d is quoted in full in a appendix B.2 on page 64. 57 Schomer 1987, p. 2; Flood 1996, pp. 131–132; Lorenzen 2004, pp. 16–17. 58 Here, ‘bhaktas’ are used designating devotees within the Bhakti movement in general. Another, common, use of ‘bhakta’ is for followers or saints within the saguna branch. Followers or saints within . the nirguna branch are called Sants. See more below, paragraph Nirguna. . . 59 See R¯m¯nuja at 107 on page 22. aa 60 Flood 1996, pp. 131–132, 134, 147; ‘Bhakti’, in Walker 2005a, p. 138. 54 16 2 Research 2.1 The Times of Kab¯ ır Today, we separate bhaktas into two separate groups, those who follow a saguna path . of Bhakti, and those who follow a nirguna path. It should be noted that the categories are . not something the early bhaktas themselves discerned, but a nineteenth century idea.61 Saguna Bhakti emphasizes faith, but also one’s emotions and body. The latter, ie the . devotees body, can be seen as the point where God is in the world. At times, the worship can take an ecstatic form. The body can be seen as the point where God is in the world. In Saguna Bhakti in particular, the God which is worshipped is a tangible one. The divine . has characteristics.62 The most typical form of Saguna Bhakti might be the Vaishnav who . . focuses on viraha Bhakti. Of the Kab¯ an¯ — the Words of Kab¯ —, two collections (the Kab¯r-granth¯val¯ ır-v¯ . ı ır ı aı and the Gur¯ Granth S¯h¯ emphasize bhakti and have general Vaishnav tendencies of u a ıb) . a somewhat Saguna nature. The third (the B¯jak ), on the other hand, is clearly more ı . 63 Nirguna. . Nirguna Within Nirguna Bhakti there is the same focus on devotion, but here the . . divine is transcendent and indescribable. The divine is without characteristics.64 Kab¯ ır 65 is often thought of as the archetypical example of a nirguni Sant. For an illustrative . quote, see section 2.3.6 on page 42. The main samprad¯yas66 are the Kab¯ Panthis, the Ravidasis, the Dadu Panthis and a ır the Sikhs.67 2.1.4 The Sufis It has been claimed that Kab¯ himself would have been a sufi; this will be discussed ır 68 later. But it may be apt at this time to note some characteristics of ‘Sufism’. In Schomer 1987, p. 3. ‘Sa-guna’ literally means ‘has attributes.’ (‘God’, in Walker 2005a, p. 394) ˙ 63 Charlotte Vaudeville, “Sant Mat: Santism as the Universal Path to Sanctity”, in: The Sants: Studies in a Devotional Tradition of India, ed. by Karine Schomer and W.H. McLeod, (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1987), pp. 21–40, p. 27, note 9. Also see section 2.2.2 on page 29. 64 ‘Nir-guna’ literally means ‘without attributes.’ (‘God’, in Walker 2005a, p. 394) ˙ 65 ‘Sant’ means ‘good man’. It is used designating saints within the Nirguna branch of the Bhakti . tradition, but may also be used referring to saints in general who lived between the thirteenth and seventeenth century or the so called ‘poet-saints’ found in northern and central India from the fourteenth century and onwards. (Flood 1996, pp. 142, 144; Vaudeville 1987, p. 21) 66 ‘Samprad¯ya’, can be translated as ‘tradition’ or a system where there is a succession of teachera disciples — called sant¯na or parampara; the latter can also be used naming a genealogy. Analogous to a samprad¯ya is panth. (See note 19 on page 12.) Western terms which roughly is used designating parallel a phenomena is ‘cult’, ‘tradition’ or ‘school (of)’. (Flood 1996, pp. 16, 134; Lorenzen 2004, p. 5) 67 Lorenzen 1992, p. 14. 68 See section 2.3.5 on page 41. 62 61 17 2 Research 2.1 The Times of Kab¯ ır the times of Kab¯ Sufism had made a large impact on culture in general, especially in ır, Northern India throughout which it had spread. And, it should be added, Sufism and its philosophy wasn’t only known to small groups, but to the wide masses.69 As a Muslim movement, the base for Sufi belief is the Koran and the hadiths. Shar¯ ’a ı law isn’t rejected, but is seen as the bare minimum one should follow. It is the first step, but only a part of the outer form of religious life. A true religious life is one imbued with devotion.70 A devotion, a love for the divine so strong, that the Sufis believed the ego-centered self had to die in order to be able to rest in God.71 Rituals and such are of no importance — all that matters is faith. Thus, for instance, undertaking the hajj72 is unnecessary: “The Kaaba is in the faithful worshipper’s heart.”73 Indeed, what sufis strive for is to find God within themselves; to achieve union with God. The first step, shari¯t, is following shar¯ ’a; the second, tar¯ at, is to worship the divine in ones mind; a ı ıq¯ knowledge is the third step, m¯rifat; and finally, the fourth step, fan¯, is to have certainty a a of the union with the divine.74 Common methods to achieve this are poverty and chastity; reciting Gods names over and over; and music and song.75 There are many parallels between the Sufis and the bhaktas.76 The recitation of Gods names as mentioned above, as a means of approaching the divine, is called japa within Bhakti, and dhikr in Sufism. Most importantly, the relationship between the divine ¯ and the devotee are in both groups seen as a love relationship. The likeness is even more striking between the Sufis and the nirguna Sants. For both, the divine is without . attributes. The Sants describe the devine as aparamp¯ra (beyond the beyond) and Sufis a say it’s w¯ra’l-w¯ra (behind the behind).77 a a Vaudeville 1993, p. 83. Sadiqur Rahman Kidwai, “Kab¯ and Mystic Poetry in Urdu”, in: Images of Kab¯ ed. by Monika ır ır, Horstmann, (Manohar, 2002), pp. 165–176, p. 166; Keay 1996, p. 91. 71 John L. Esposito, Islam: Den raka v¨gen, (Lund: Studentlitteratur, 2001), p. 148. a 72 ‘Hajj’ is the fifth pillar of Islam, the pilgrimage to Mecca. (‘Hajj’, in Nationalencyclopedins Internettj¨nst) a 73 Vaudeville 1993, p. 173, note 27. 74 Keay 1996, p. 91. 75 Esposito 2001, p. 149. 76 ‘Bhaktas’ are again, as explained in note 58 on page 16, used designating followers of the Bhakti movement in general, not merely those of the saguna branch. . 77 Bruce B. Lawrence, “The Sant Movement and North Indian Sufis”, in: The Sants: Studies in a Devotional Tradition of India, ed. by Karine Schomer and W.H. McLeod, (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1987), pp. 359–374, p. 369. 70 69 18 2 Research 2.1 The Times of Kab¯ ır Knowledge in front, knowledge in back, knowledge right and left. The knowledge beyond knowledge is my knowledge.78 The devotees love of the divine can be so intense that it can be said to be a suffering, called ishq in Sufi terminology. This is a theme that isn’t found in the tradition of the N¯ths,79 nor in the Bhakti poetry — not before the Sants, that is. Kab¯ is one of the a ır first Sants, and indeed one who describe the relationship to the divine in just such a way. In Hindu terminology, it’s called viraha. It has been claimed that Kab¯ got this notion ır by influences from the Sufi, and that viraha then spread to Bhakti in general.80 The snake of Virah has crept in my body, it has bitten the inmost heart, Yet the saint does not flinch: “Let it bite as it pleases”, says he.81 Bhakti is, however, not the only ‘movement’ that bears parallels to Sufism. Several scholars has pointed out kinship in thought between the Sufis and the yogis. Especially in North India — where Ban¯ras, home of Kab¯ is situated —, there seem to have been a ır, 82,83 close connections between the two groups. 2.1.5 The N¯ths a The N¯ths, also known as K¯nphata84 or Gorakhn¯th¯ Yog¯s, are — as the latter name a a aı ı . suggests — a group of hatha yog¯ Their main focus is perfecting the body so that they ıs. . can attain immortality. The use of different forms of drugs is common. According to Walker, both Kab¯ and N¯nak criticized the N¯th. There is a vast amount of legends ır a a concerning the N¯ths and of the supernatural powers they wielded. The N¯ths originally a a 85 came from North India, but figures in at least Nepal, Bengal and Assam. Kab¯ s¯kh¯ 188 in Hess and Singh 1983, p. 112. ır, a ı See section 2.1.5. 80 Lawrence 1987, p. 369. 81 Kab¯ s¯kh¯ from the Kab¯ ır, a ı ır-granth¯val¯ in Vaudeville 1993, p. 169. aı 82 Vaudeville 1993, pp. 83–84. 83 The N¯ths have even claimed that none other than the Prophet Muhammad himself was a disciple a of Gorakh N¯th. (Vaudeville 1993, p. 84) a 84 K¯nphata, means ‘ear-split’. The N¯ths were so called because of their initiation rite, a part of which a a . was the splitting of the ear cartilage. This enabled them to wear very large ear rings. (‘Gorakhn¯th’, in a Walker 2005a, p. 402) 85 ‘N¯tha’, in Walker 2005b, p. 128; Vaudeville 1993, pp. 37, 74–75. a 79 78 19 2 Research 2.2 Where Kab¯ can be Found ır The founder of the N¯ths was guru Gorakh N¯th. He is a figure of legendary status. a a According to some stories, he was born from the sweat of Lord Shiva’s breast; according to others Gorakh is the child between Shiva and a cow. However he was born, the connection ¯ between him and Lord Shiva is important. Shiva is the first N¯th, the Adi-nath. The a second N¯th was Matsyendra.86 Matsyendran¯th was the one who initiated Gorakh.87 a a Gorakh N¯th probably lived between the ninth and twelfth century, perhaps the later a date is somewhat more likely.88 There are legends connecting him with Kab¯ 89 but given ır, 90 the early date of Gorakh N¯th, is highly improbable that they ever met. a Something that links the N¯ths to Kab¯ as well as both strains of Bhakti, is their a ır disregard for the Hindu hierarchy of different casts. There were so called Untouchables and low-caste people among the N¯ths, as well as people from ‘higher’ varnas. Kab¯ a ır . frequently mentions yog¯ in general, or even N¯ths in particular, in his poems.91 This ıs a will be discussed more in section 2.3.4 on page 40. There is also good deal of literature written inside the tradition of the N¯ths. Some a of this is very similar to the poems in upside-down language, the ulatb¯ms¯ poems of . a. ı Kab¯ 92 Even today, wandering yog¯ in the North and Northeast of India sing ulatb¯ms¯ ır. ıs . a. ı 93 songs that sometimes are said to be of Kab¯ hand, sometimes of Gorak N¯th’s. ır’s a 2.2 2.2.1 Where Kab¯ can be Found ır Legends of Kab¯ ır Besides the poems that are attributed to Kab¯ 94 there are also some collections of legır, ¯ endary material about him. For a long time, the oldest sources known was the Sikh Adi Granth,95 dating to 1604, and N¯bh¯ji’s Bhaktam¯l ,96 of around 1600–1625. N¯bh¯ji’s aa a aa entry on Kab¯ is actually seemingly objective and, thus, useful as a source of Kab¯ as a ır ır Matsyendra is also known as Macchendra. In Bengali tradition Maccehndra is identified with M¯ ath. M¯ ınan¯ ınan¯th, in turn, is the ancient protector of Nepal, and Buddhists believe M¯ a ınan¯th to a be none other than Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of Compassion. (Vaudeville 1993, p. 74; ‘Avalokiteshvara’ in Nationalencyclopedins Internettj¨nst) a 87 ‘Gorakhn¯th’, in Walker 2005a, p. 402; Vaudeville 1993, p. 74. a 88 Vaudeville 1993, p. 75; ‘Gorakhn¯th’, in Walker 2005a, p. 402. a 89 For more on the legends of Kab¯ and Gorakh N¯th, see section 2.2.1 on page 27. ır a 90 For more on the dates of Kab¯ see section 2.3.2 on page 35. ır, 91 Hawley and Juergensmeyer 1988, p. 45. 92 For more on ulatb¯ms¯ poems, see section 2.2.2 on page 32. . a. ı 93 Linda Hess, “Appendix A: Upside-Down Language”, in: The B¯ ıjak of Kabir, reprint 2001, (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited, 1983), pp. 135–161, p. 142. 94 See section 2.2.2 on page 29. 95 ¯ Adi Granth, the holy scripture of the Sikhs. It is also known as the Gur¯ Granth S¯h¯ (‘Sikh’, in u a ıb. Walker 2005b, p. 396) 96 Bhaktam¯l , a collection of legends about a variety of Vaishnav saints by the poet N¯bh¯ji. (‘Hindi’, a aa . in Walker 2005a, p. 442; Vaudeville 1993, p. 43) 86 20 2 Research 2.2 Where Kab¯ can be Found ır historical figure. The legendary material as such, is introduced Priy¯das’s commentary. a More recently, we also have the Paracha¯ of Ananta-das, which possibly dates back to ı 1588, which makes it the oldest source at our disposal. Additional sources containing legends of Kab¯ that might be mentioned are the Kab¯ Panthi Kab¯r-kasaut¯ and the ır ır ı .ı 97 Kab¯r-caritra. ı The most common legends about Kab¯ are retold here. They give a backdrop which ır is valuable for understanding the answers given by the respondents. Hypothetically, what is known to laymen is not the scholarly discussion about Kab¯ biography, but rather ır’s some poems and legends. Additionally, some legends are of interest concerning the dating of Kab¯ 98 The legends are retold without concern of whether they might have actually ır. happened or not. Of interest here are only the legends themselves. It might also be noted that the search for an ‘authentic’ person, the historical person, as it were, which is so common among Western scholars is just that — a primarily Western approach. Kab¯ is situated within a tradition which has not, until recent times, made ır an effort to discern fact from story. Thus, we cannot possibly succeed in finding the historical Kab¯ 99 The legends serve a purpose. They communicate something about ır. Kab¯ nevermind if they’re fact or fiction.100 Thus, it is worthwhile — maybe even ır, necessary — to at least summarize the legends. As with the poems — and virtually anything concerning Kab¯ — there are various ır versions of the legends. For the following, primarily Ananta-das Paracha¯ in Lorenzen’s ı Kabir Legends and Chapter 11 in Keay’s Kabir and His Followers have been used. Birth of Kab¯ In the earliest accounts,101 the story begins with Kab¯ being found by ır ır Jul¯h¯ — that is, Muslim weavers. Early on, and common among Kab¯ Panthi versions, aa ır Kab¯ is depicted as an avatar of the divine.102 In all accounts, Kab¯ is adopted and ır ır brought up by foster parents. It seems that without exception legends speak about Kab¯ ır being found by coincidence, as it were, by the Jul¯h¯ that will adopt him. Especially aa by Kab¯ Panthis, the divinity of Kab¯ is stressed; quite often Kab¯ and possibly his ır ır ır parents — real or adopted — are made out to be more Hindu than was the case in the earliest descriptions.103 In some versions we read that although N¯ and N¯ ıru ıma, which Hess 1987b, p. 112; Lorenzen 1992, p. 10; Vaudeville 1993, pp. 40, 43–44. More on the dates of Kab¯ in section 2.3.2 on page 35. ır 99 This said, we can still try. See section 2.3 on page 34. 100 Lawrence 1987, pp. 359–360. 101 Raghav-das’s Bhaktam¯l from about 1720 and Mahipati’s Bhaktavijay from about 1762. (Lorenzen a 1992, pp. 20, 44) 102 Mahipati’s Bhaktavijay (ca 1762) and Paramananda-das’s Kab¯ Manshur (1887) among others. ır (Lorenzen 1992, pp. 21, 44) 103 Lorenzen 1992, pp. 43–45. 98 97 21 2 Research 2.2 Where Kab¯ can be Found ır Kab¯ foster parents often are called, were Jul¯h¯, they had in fact been Hindus, even ır’s aa 104 Br¯hmins, but had lost their status. a Lorenzen reports a different version to be prominent in the oral tradition;105 this is also the one that Keay tells.106 Here, a Br¯hmin takes his daughter, a virgin and a widow, a 107 to see sw¯mi R¯m¯nanda. a aa As a kind gesture — but not knowing she was a widow —, R¯m¯nanda wishes her the blessing of a son. The blessing could not be taken back, and aa the daughter gave birth to a son.108 To escape the dishonour that a widow giving birth to a baby would ensue, the mother leaves baby Kab¯ behind. The story then continues ır 109 as above; Jul¯h¯ finds Kab¯ and raises him. aa ır, Initiation by R¯m¯nanda One of the most common stories told about Kab¯ is how aa ır, he tricked sw¯mi R¯m¯nanda110 to initiate him. The legend is included in the Paracha¯ a aa ı 111 as well as in most later collections. Some versions of the legend start off with God telling Kab¯ to don the Vaishnav112 ır . 113 t¯ a and prayer beads. This was not something Kab¯ felt he could do, as he was ır . ık¯ Lorenzen 1992, p. 45. Lorenzen 1992, p. 47. 106 Keay 1996, pp. 9–10. 107 Sw¯mi R¯m¯nanda was, according to the hagiographies of the Vaishnav, of the lineage of R¯m¯nuja. a aa aa . R¯m¯nuja (born 1017) founded one of the early strands of Bhakti, the Srivaishnavas. (Burton Stein, aa “Social Mobility and Medieval South Indian Hindu Sects”, in: Religious Movements in South Asia (6001800), ed. by David N. Lorenzen, [Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2004], pp. 81–102, p. 87) R¯m¯nanda aa disagreed with some of R¯m¯nuja’s teachings, and founded his own lineage — the Ramanandi sect — in aa Ban¯ras (Schomer 1987, pp. 4–5). This sect was called the Bair¯gis, and was open to all. Ramanandi’s a a disciples included Br¯hmins and Kshatriya — including a king —, as well as a butcher, a cobbler — both a low in the social system —, and Kab¯ a Muslim. (Schomer 1987, pp. 4–5; Barthwal 2004, p. 263) For ır, more on Kab¯ and R¯m¯nanda, see section 2.3.2 on page 36. ır aa 108 It is interesting to note that the name of this daughter, the name of Kab¯ mother, is not mentioned ır’s in any of the literary sources. A respondent, however, did. Sri Mayaram Yadav called her Urv¯si. (Sri a Mayaram Yadav, 65 years old, from Nagwa, Oct. 31, 2007, appendix D.1.3 on page 71) 109 Keay 1996, pp. 9–10; Lorenzen 1992, pp. 47–48. 110 For information on R¯m¯nanda, see note 107. aa 111 Lorenzen 1992, pp. 23–24. 112 Vaishnav, are the group who are devoted to Vaishnavism — i e devoted to Vishnu and/or one or the ˙ ˙ . other of his incarnations. The most popular incarnations are, of course, R¯m and Krishna. (‘Vaishnavism’, a ˙ .. in Walker 2005b, p. 541) 113 Tilaka, or t¯ a, are sometimes called ‘caste marks’. This is, however, not quite an exhaustive descrip. ık¯ tion. There are those who put on the marks — which usually are of red, white, or yellow colour — to show their devotion. The truly devout are to have marks on several parts of their body, though most are content with a dot in their forehead. Women can have them as a sign of faithfulness to their husband. You also don a dot on your forehead for having been close to the divine; for having had darshan of the divine. This might have been by attending a puja, a service to God. (Walker 2005a, pp. 207–208; Marc J. Katz, The Children of Assi – The Transference of Religious Traditions and Communal Inclusion in Banaras, [Varanasi: Pilgrims Publishing, 2007], p. 131) From personal experience, it might be added that sometimes it is even enough to have been close to a puja being conducted. After all, that would mean you would have been close to the divine. 105 104 22 2 Research 2.2 Where Kab¯ can be Found ır a Muslim — but God told him that he would be initiated into Vaishnavism by sw¯mi ˙ a 114, 115 R¯m¯nanda. aa Other versions begin with Kab¯ singing the praise of lord R¯m — ır a 116 which the Br¯hmins a protests against; they also complain about Kab¯ not having a ır 117 118 guru . To remedy this, Kab¯ seeks out R¯m¯nanda . ır aa Whether out of instruction from God or Kab¯ own wit, according to the legends this ır’s is what followed. Every morning sw¯mi R¯m¯nanda took a bath in the holy Gang¯ — at a aa ˙a 119 Pa˜chgang¯ gh¯t, as tradition would have it. n ˙a a Kab¯ lays down on the stairs, waiting for ır R¯m¯nanda. In some legends, Kab¯ has taken the form of a child. As R¯m¯nanda comes aa ır aa walking, he accidentally steps on Kab¯ One variant of the legend tells that R¯m¯nanda ır. aa has Kab¯ to say “Ram, Ram!” to console him; others state that R¯m¯nanda exclaims ır aa “Ram!” in surprise. In any event Kab¯ takes the uttering of Ram’s name as his mantra,120 ır the event as his d¯ksh¯,121 although this was not the intention of R¯m¯nanda. As Kab¯ ıa aa ır 122 returns home, he puts on the clothes of a Vaishnav s¯dhu, and claims to be a disciple a . of R¯m¯nanda. When asked, R¯m¯nanda denies this, and so Kab¯ is brought in front aa aa ır of R¯m¯nanda. Kab¯ reminds R¯m¯nanda of what happened at the stairs — and, after aa ır aa some trials, additionally convinces R¯m¯nanda that he’d be a good disciple. In the end, aa 123 he is accepted as a disciple. Lorenzen 1992, p. 24. For more information on who R¯m¯nanda was, see note 107 on the previous page. aa 116 Br¯hmins are one of the four varnas. Sometimes called ‘the priest varna’, which gives an indication a . . of their role. Primarily, their duty is to conduct the daily rites and to study and teach the vedas. (Walker 2005a, p. 168) 117 Guru, a spiritual teacher or leader. The guru is the keeper of the secrets of the cult. Even though one may know ‘the right words’, they are, as it were, meaningless if they haven’t been conveyed by the guru himself. Only then are the words truly words of power; only then can the mantra lead to enlightenment. (Walker 2005a, p. 419) (Also see note 120.) 118 Keay 1996, p. 12. 119 Vaudeville 1993, p. 44, note 17. 120 Mantra, although originally signifying ‘metrical psalms of praise’ it has come to designate ‘words of power’ in general — be it a verse from the Vedas, a spell, or something more cryptic. The belief is that there is power in the sound itself, as well as in the words. Within religious sects, it is often the case that the guru gives his disciple a mantra in the rite of initiation. (Walker 2005b, pp. 25, 486) (Also see notes 117 and 121.) 121 D¯ a is the rite of initiation into a religious order. It literally means ‘enhallowment’, which gives ıksh¯ an indication of its purpose: to raise someone from the profane to the sacred. Usually done by the guru — the last part of the d¯ a is the whispering of the mantra (see note 120) into the ear of the disciple. ıksh¯ (Walker 2005a, pp. 485–486) 122 ‘S¯dhu’, is a common term designating an ascetic or a wonderworker. Strictly speaking though, a a s¯dhu is one who has attained siddhis. (‘S¯dhu’, in Walker 2005b, p. 322) For more on siddhis, see a a note 156 on page 27. 123 Lorenzen 1992, p. 24; Keay 1996, p. 12. 115 114 23 2 Research 2.2 Where Kab¯ can be Found ır Tested by Sikandar Lodi Some of the more popular legends about Kab¯ are about ır 124 him being tested by the emperor Sikandar Lodi. It is not only mentioned in most hagiographies about Kab¯ but also, albeit without mentioning Sikandar by name, in the ır, ¯ Kab¯r-granth¯val¯ as well as the Adi Granth.125 ı aı Fire does not burn him, water does not drown him. His chains simply fall away. The devotee Harid¯s says: Kab¯r worships Govinda, a ı and his mind becomes free of fear. The k¯z¯ calls out: Kill him, kill him. aı Tie him under the elephant’s feet. The devotee Harid¯s says: Heat won’t burn him. a Your are the savior, the killers are countless. The devotee Harid¯s says: No one was able a to weaken Kab¯r’s resolve.126 ı It all started with Sikandar visiting the city of Ban¯ras. Enemies of Kab¯ — Br¯hmins a ır a as well as well as mullahs —, even Kab¯ own mother, petitioned Sikandar. They said ır’s Kab¯ had “abandoned the customs of the Muslims and [. . . ] broken the touchability rules ır of the Hindus”; Kab¯ had “scorned the hope of all religions” and “separated himself from ır both the Hindus and the Muslims.”127 This had corrupted everyone, and they felt that only by stopping Kab¯ would both communities again be respected.128 Sikandar takes ır the charges seriously, and sends for Kab¯ 129 ır. Having arrived, he’s questioned by the k¯z¯ 130 and Sikandar points out that only by a ı, following one’s traditional path can salvation be gained. Kab¯ replies that the k¯z¯ and ır a ıs the mullahs are the ones who will fall into hell, and, he adds, they’re clumsy. Kab¯ ır proclaims to be “faithful to R¯m alone.”131 a This made the emperor so furious that he ordered Kab¯ to be bound in chains and ır thrown into the river Gang¯. But when Kab¯ touched the holy water, the chains fell off ˙a ır and Kab¯ himself floated on the water. As water wouldn’t harm him, they tried next ır For more about Kab¯ and Lodi, see section 2.3.2 on page 37. ır ¯ Lorenzen 1992, p. 20; Keay 1996, p. 32. For information on Adi Granth, see note 95 on page 20. 126 Excerpt of poem attributed to Harid¯s Nira˜jan¯ in David N. Lorenzen, Praises to a Formless God: a nı Nirgun¯ Texts from North India, (Delhi: Sri Satguru Publications, 1997), p. 159. ˙ı 127 Lorenzen 1992, pp. 33, 107. 128 Lorenzen 1992, pp. 33, 107; Keay 1996, pp. 20–21. 129 Lorenzen 1992, pp. 33, 107, 109; Keay 1996, p. 21. 130 K¯z¯ also known as Kadi or Qadi, is a Muslim judge who only hears religious cases and makes a ı, decisions based on Shari’ah. (‘kadi’, in Encyclopædia Britannica Online) 131 Lorenzen 1992, pp. 33, 109–110; Keay 1996, pp. 21–22. 125 124 24 2 Research 2.2 Where Kab¯ can be Found ır with fire. Kab¯ was again tied and this time thrown into a house which was set on fire. ır The house burned down; the ashes flew up and Kab¯ walked out unharmed. The people ır knew they had witnessed a miracle, but the k¯z¯ and the Br¯hmins protested even louder. a ıs a Even angrier than before, Lodi now called for a frenzied elephant. It had no fears, and had killed several warriors before. But as it was to attack Kab¯ Hari132 took the form of ır, a lion and stood in front of Kab¯ The elephant refused to go near Kab¯ and fled. Now ır. ır 133 even Sikandar was convinced and bows to Kab¯ ır. Taqqi: P¯ and disciple Although not one of the main legends, the following is still ır mentioned as it is of interest in relation to the religious identity of Kab¯ There are ır. different legends that connects Kab¯ with Sheikh Taqqi. In some, Taqqi is the rival of ır Kab¯ in others an enemy. In others still he is Kab¯ disciple.134 Some even mention ır, ır’s Kab¯ visiting Sheikh Taqqi in Jh¯s¯ where Taqqi was the P¯ 135 of Kab¯ 136 ır u ı, ır ır. 137 According to some legends, Kab¯ had a family. ır Among Kab¯ Panthi’s it has been ır common to denounce that Kamal and Kamali would have been Kab¯ natural children. ır’s Interestingly, Sheikh Taqqi is involved in the legendary material of the Panth concerning both children.138 Having survived the ordeals at the hands of Sikandar Lodi, Kab¯ travels to Delhi with ır Sikandar and Taqqi — the latter having been the chief P¯ of Sikandar’s. There, Kamal is ır resurrected from the dead by Kab¯ as a response to a challenge issued by Taqqi. Kamali ır was also resurrected from the dead by Kab¯ — again through the involvement of Sheikh ır Taqqi. The dead woman was, as it happened, Taqqis own daughter. The Sheikh asked Kab¯ to revive her, and he did. But to the dismay of Taqqi the girl proclaimed that she ır no longer was his, but will live her life at the feet of Kab¯ 139 ır. The most common portrait of the relation between Sheikh Taqqi and Kab¯ is, however, ır that they were enemies. In Walker 2005a Taqqi plays the role that Keay has cast to a faq¯ named Jah¯ngast. Taqqi — or Jah¯ngast — is on his way to see Kab¯ Kab¯ hears ır a a ır. ır about this, and ties a pig up outside his door. Taqqi criticizes Kab¯ sharply for having ır an unclean animal at his house. Kab¯ replies as follows.140 ır Hari, is a name of Krishna and, thus, of Vishnu. Only R¯m is more common as a name for the divine ˙ a .. ¯ in the Pa˜chv¯n¯ the Adi Granth and the B¯ . (‘Vishnu’, in Walker 2005b, p. 576; Hess 1987b, p. 121) n a . ı, ıjak ˙ 133 ¯ Lorenzen 1992, pp. 33–34, 111–114; Keay 1996, pp. 22–23. There is also a verse in the Adi Granth that mentions Kab¯ having survived being chained and thrown into the Ganges. (Keay 1996, p. 43) ır 134 ‘Kab¯ in Walker 2005a, p. 506. ır’, 135 P¯ a Muslim variant of guru. (Keay 1996, note 2, p. 17) (Also, see note 117 on page 23.) ır, 136 Keay 1996, p. 17. 137 More on this at section 2.3.1 on page 35. 138 Lorenzen 1992, pp. 50–51. 139 Lorenzen 1992, pp. 35, 50–52. 140 Keay 1996, p. 18; ‘Kab¯ in Walker 2005a, p. 506. ır’, 132 25 2 Research 2.2 Where Kab¯ can be Found ır I have tied up what is unclean at my door, but you have tied up what is unclean in your heart. Anger, pride, avarice, etc., are unclean; and these are inside you. What you think to be unclean is not unclean; but anger is unclean.141 And so, Keay concludes, the faq¯ becomes a disciple of Kab¯ 142 ır ır. The Pand¯ of Jagannath A reason for including this legend — as it, perhaps, is not a one of the more famous ones — is that it mentions Virasimha Baghel, who plays a role in the dating of Kab¯ 143 ır. At a point of Kab¯ life, he had become famous. People gathered around his house ır’s to catch a glimpse of him and glean some of his wisdom. As this wasn’t to Kab¯ liking, ır’s he tries to escape this fate by behaving in ways that would diminish his fame. Kab¯ goes ır to the home of a prostitute, puts his arm around her and grabs a jug of holy water with the other. Kab¯ then goes to the market with the prostitute, pretending that the water ır would be liquor and that he’d be drunk on it. Everything seems to go as planned; the people of the town laugh at Kab¯ and even his friends can’t say anything in his defence. ır, The Br¯hmins, of course, take the opportunity to shame him further.144 a But this is not the end of the debacle. Kab¯ — still acting as if drunk — walks up ır to the king himself, Virasimha Baghel. With Kab¯ fame intact, the king had respected ır’s him, and even used to get up from his throne to greet Kab¯ Now, Baghel sees no reason ır. to give Kab¯ that respect but remains seated. —Suddenly, Kab¯ pours water from the ır ır jug he had held on to on his own feet. Surprised, the king asks why Kab¯ had done this. ır Kab¯ explains that by doing this, he had saved the feet of a pand¯145 of the temple of ır a 146 Jagannath in far away Puri. Baghel sends men to verify this. And, indeed, when the men arrive at Puri they find a pand¯ who tell them that he bad broken a pot of boiling a rice over his feet. Kab¯ who had said to have been a visiting weaver from K¯sh¯ 147 came ır, a ı, running up and poured water on the feet of the pand¯. Baghel’s men returned to the king a and reported what the pand¯ had told them. As the king hears this, he takes his family a with him and goes to Kab¯ to show him respect. “Master, forgive our mistake,” the king ır 148 begs. Kabir greets the king with the following words: Keay 1996, p. 18. Keay 1996, p. 18. 143 For the discussion on the dates of Kab¯ see 2.3.2 on page 35; Baghel is mentioned on p. 2.3.2 on ır, page 38. 144 Lorenzen 1992, p. 29. 145 A ‘pand¯’, is a priest. (Lorenzen 1992, p. 30) a 146 ‘Puri’, is identified as Orissa. (Lorenzen 1992, p. 30) 147 K¯sh¯ is one of the names of the city of Ban¯ras. For more on this topic, see note 6 on page 7. aı a 148 Lorenzen 1992, pp. 29–30. 142 141 26 2 Research 2.2 Where Kab¯ can be Found ır [. . . ] There is no anger in my heart. For me there is no question of either hatred or love, nor any difference between king and commoner. [. . . ] Your coming here has honored me. Whoever gives greatness to others is himself great. A great person is one who consumes wealth by sharing it with others.149 Competing with Gorakhn¯th Since the Kab¯ Panth competed with the N¯ths for a ır a the support of groups situated low in the social hierarchy, it’s common that Kab¯ Panthi ır texts contain some version of the following legend, where Kab¯ and Gorakhn¯th comır a 150 petes. It begins with Gorakhn¯th asking Kab¯ to talk with him. Gorakh plants his a ır trident on the ground, handle first. He takes seat on one of the tridents prongs and invites Kab¯ to sit on one of the other prongs. In reply, Kab¯ takes out a ball of thread, holding ır ır one end in his hand and throwing the ball in the air. The thread aligns itself vertically, and Kab¯ climbs the rope to take his seat on the thread. Then, Kab¯ invites Gorakhn¯th ır ır a 151 to take his place beside him. Gorakh is thus defeated. The episode above seems to be the base legend. Some versions add the following episodes: Gorakhn¯th challenges Kab¯ to find him in a pond. Gorakh transforms himself a ır into a frog, and jumps into the water. But Kab¯ doesn’t let him disappear, but quickly ır grabs hold of him. It is then Kab¯ turn to issue the same challenge. Kab¯ jumps into ır’s ır the pond, at the same time that he transforms himself into water. As Gorakh can’t find him, Kab¯ has won again. Later, Gorakhn¯th sends two poisonous snakes into Kab¯ ır a ır’s home. He expects the snakes to return to him after biting Kab¯ but when they don’t ır, return he goes to Kab¯ home and asks him to come out. Kab¯ replies that Gorakh ır’s ır should come in instead, as he’s busy serving the two guests that had recently arrived.152 Meeting Guru N¯nak There is legendary material from both Sikh and Kab¯ Panthi a ır 153 sources about Kab¯ and Guru N¯nak meeting. ır a In each case, the group lifts up the ‘own character’ as being superior to the other. Some Kab¯ Panthi legends uses well known ır Sikh legends about N¯nak alone, such as the entire city of Mecca turning around Nanak’s a feet out of respect for him, but places Kab¯ in the scenario as well.154 ır One time Kab¯ and N¯nak met, they were accompanied by the 84 N¯th155 Siddhas.156 ır a a Lorenzen 1992, pp. 30, 105. Lorenzen 1992, p. 54; Keay 1996, p. 42. 151 Lorenzen 1992, p. 42. 152 Lorenzen 1992, p. 55. 153 Also see section 2.3.2 on page 37. 154 Lorenzen 1992, p. 69; Vaudeville 1993, p. 52. 155 See section 2.1.5 on page 19. 156 Siddha, a Siddha is one who has attained such a mastery of himself that he has acquired siddhi — supernatural powers, like the ability to shrink or expand, weightlessness, being able to control other living 150 149 27 2 Research 2.2 Where Kab¯ can be Found ır By crushing a single sesame seed in water — water which Kab¯ had magically made flow ır in a dried up river — everyone could drink until they were satisfied. On another occasion Kab¯ asked Nanak to fill his begging bowl with milk. N¯nak found a five day old calf, ır a but couldn’t get any milk from it. Kab¯ instructed N¯nak to ask the calf in Kab¯ ır a ır’s name, and N¯nak did as much. He only had to place the bowl under the calf and make a the request, and milk flowed freely.157 Death of Kab¯ One of the best known legends of all, and one that does a very good ır job of illustrating the character of Kab¯ is of his death in Magahar. ır, From Kashi he came to Magahar, the p¯r of both religions. ı Some want to bury him some to burn him, no one keeps his temper.158 It is said that those who die in Ban¯ras achieve moksh159 . In contrast, popular belief a in Ban¯ras would have it that if you die in Magahar, you are reborn as a donkey. It seems a that is exactly why Kab¯ chooses not to die there. To die in Ban¯ras would not show ır a ones faith in R¯m; to die in Ban¯ras would be to take the easy way out.160 a a ‘[. . . ] Besides, they say whoever dies at Magahar comes back a donkey.’ So much for your faith in Ram. What’s Kashi?161 Magahar? Barren ground, when Ram rules in your heart. If you give up the ghost in Kashi is there some debt on the Lord’s part?162 Or, perhaps, he leaves Ban¯ras on order by the emperor.163 For whatever reasons a he leaves Ban¯ras, it may be apt to note that while the popular belief in Ban¯ras — a a beings etc. In the context of the N¯ths, Siddhas are a certain category of adepts. According to their a tradition, there are nine great N¯ths (lords) and 84 Siddhas, who are revered within the cult. (‘N¯tha’ a a and ‘Siddhi’, in Walker 2005b, pp. 128, 394–395) Also see section 2.1.5 on page 19. 157 Lorenzen 1992, pp. 68, 69; Keay 1996, p. 18. 158 Excerpt of a poem attributed to Mal¯kad¯s (1574-1682) in Lorenzen 1997, p. 158. u a 159 Moksh, deliverance from sams¯ra, the wheel of rebirth. When moksh is attained, the soul is not born ˙a on earth again. The final liberation. (‘Trance states’, in Walker 2005b, p. 520) 160 Vaudeville 1993, pp. 61–63; Keay 1996, p. 44; Flood 1996, p. 214. 161 K¯sh¯ is another name for Ban¯ras. See note 6 on page 7. a ı, a 162 ´ Sabda 103 in Hess and Singh 1983, p. 76. 163 Keay 1996, p. 44. 28 2 Research 2.2 Where Kab¯ can be Found ır that is, the belief painted in the color of Brahmanical views — was that Magahar was a dreadful place, it’s fair to assume that this was not the belief of the inhabitants of Magahar. And the inhabitants of Magahar was then, as they are today, Jul¯h¯s. They aa 164 are Muslim weavers and farmers. Just as Kab¯ was. ır So, then, Magahar would not at all be that strange a place for Kab¯ to spend his last days. ır While Kab¯ was alive, both Hindus and Muslims were eager to attack him. After his ır death, however, both groups wanted to claim Kab¯ as their own. They started fighting ır over who would conduct the funeral rites. The Muslims wanted to bury him and the Hindus wanted to cremate him; each according to respective tradition.165 Kab¯ body was covered with a sheet. The Sants166 assembled around, sang and ır’s danced. When the sheet is removed, to everyone’s astonishment there are only two heaps of flowers left. Kab¯ became immortal without leaving his body behind. The Hindus ır took one heap of flowers, which they cremated in Ban¯ras; the Muslims took the other a heap and buried it right there in Magahar.167 2.2.2 Poems of Kab¯ ır The language of Kab¯ Though much can be debated about the various collections, ır as well as the various verses of Kab¯ — if they are, indeed, Kab¯ own words. Even the ır’s ır’s language of Kab¯ is uncertain, though it probably was a form of hindui — the lingua ır’s franca of both low-caste Hindus and Muslim converts.168 The scholars are, however, in agreement that Kab¯ himself was illiterate. He was, after all, of low caste as a weaver ır and there are no indications that he had gotten any training in reading or writing.169 The poems of Kab¯ were probably handed down orally for at least a century before being ır 170 ¯ written down. In the B¯jak and the Adi Granth Kab¯ himself makes the following ı ır statement: I touch not ink nor paper, nor take pen in my hand; of the greatness of the four Ages Kab¯r has given instruction with his lips.171 ı 164 165 Vaudeville 1993, p. 62. Lorenzen 1992, pp. 40–41; Vaudeville 1993, pp. 62–63; Keay 1996, pp. 23–25. 166 For information on ‘Sants’, see note 65 on page 17. 167 Lorenzen 1992, p. 41; Keay 1996, pp. 24-25; ‘Kab¯ in Walker 2005a, p. 507. ır’, 168 Vaudeville 1993, pp. 126, 128, 131. 169 Vaudeville 1993, p. 109. 170 Vaudeville 1993, p. 131. 171 B¯ , s¯kh¯ 188, from Keay 1996, p. 39. ıjak a ı 29 2 Research 2.2 Where Kab¯ can be Found ır I am not skilled in book knowledge, nor do I understand controversy.172 There is another, often quoted, poem that relates to the language of Kab¯ — but ır 173 perhaps only symbolically. In the poem Kab¯ claims his language to be that ‘of the ır East’. Vaudeville interprets this to mean that only those who know the symbolism of yoga can understand him.174 Kab¯ an¯ Literally ‘the words of Kab¯ the Kab¯ an¯ are split up in different colır-v¯ . ı ır’, ır-v¯ . ı lections. There are three main ones containing ‘poems’175 attributed to Kab¯ The ır. ¯ Adi Granth is the oldest of the three — it is also the only one that can be dated with ¯ some certainty. The Adi Granth, as we know it today, was compiled in 1604. The second source are some Rajasthani manuscripts, of which the most important one is the Pa˜chv¯n¯ manuscript compiled by the Dadu Panth; it can be dated to the late sevenn a. ı teenth century.176 These two collections are called the ‘western tradition’, as there are some similarities between them as compared to the ‘eastern tradition’;177 that is, the B¯ . The B¯jak , ‘seed’ of sacred treasures, is the collection of Kab¯ poems used by ıjak ı ır’s 178 the Kab¯ Panthis in Ban¯ras. The B¯jak is probably also from the late seventeenth ır a ı century, although the dating is more uncertain than in the case of the Pa˜chv¯n¯.179 n a. ı A fourth collection might be mentioned, though it is not a part of what is usually referred to as Kab¯ an¯ This is the Fatehpur manuscript, and it was prepared as early ır-v¯ . ı. as 1582. From the year 1661, the manuscript had been stored by the royal house of Amber and not been studied by scholars. Not until 1980, when it was exposed to public inspection, photographed, and thus made available for a wide audience. It includes poems of several poet-saints, both saguna and nirguna, and among them 15 texts attributed to . . ¯ Adi Granth, bil¯valu 2, from Keay 1996, p. 39. a The poem is quoted in section 2.3.4 on page 40. 174 Vaudeville 1993, p. 118. For more on the quote, Kab¯ and yoga, see section 2.3.4 on page 40. ır 175 ‘Poems’ and ‘verses’ are called by different names in the different collections. There are pads, bhajans, ´loks, dohas, s¯kh¯ and ´abdas. Bhajans and pads are songs. A bhajan is a song of devotional love. (See s a ıs s Bhakti at section 2.1.3 on page 15.) Bhajans are often accompanied by drums and stringed instruments, and tend to be based on religious themes. Pad is an old form of song. Pads are usually based on a concise and meaningful saying. A P¯d is also what a line in a verse is called. A ´lok is a form of verse, based a s ¯ on four lines (p¯ds) each of which are eight syllables long. The sayings of Kab¯ in the Adi Granth are a ır called ´lokas. S¯kh¯ means ‘testimony’, and is an equivalent of ´lok. Dohas are simply couplets; pairs of s aı s lines which rhyme. (‘Singing’, in Walker 2005b, p. 403; ‘Prosody’, in Walker 2005b, pp. 245–246; ‘Hindi’, in Walker 2005a, p. 442; Vaudeville 1993, p. 133, note 4) 176 Hess 1987b, pp. 111–112. 177 Hess 1987b, p. 113; John Stratton Hawley, Three Bhakti Voices: Mirabai, Surdas, and Kabir in Their Times and Ours, (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2005), p. 269; Vaudeville 1993, p. 133. 178 According to Hawley, the earliest existing manuscript of the B¯ ıjak was compiled as late as 1805. (Hawley 2005, p. 270) 179 Hess 1987b, pp. 111–113; Hawley 2005, p. 269; Vaudeville 1993, p. 132. 172 173 30 2 Research 2.2 Where Kab¯ can be Found ır Kab¯ 180 The Fatehpur manuscript is mentioned later in the essay at section 2.3.6 on ır. page 42. Different personalities The personality of Kab¯ as it is shown through the poems, ır, ¯ differs from collection to collection. The Kab¯ in Adi Granth is someone who cares for ır an household; a quite warm figure, as is the Kab¯ found in the Pa˜chv¯n¯. The western ır n a. ı 181 tradition seems, furthermore, to be filled with Bhakti in a greater extent than the eastern tradition.182 Something that illustrates the latter, is that word ‘Bhakti’ is used only 19 times in the whole of the B¯jak — but as many as 203 times in the Pa˜chv¯n¯ and ı n a. ı ¯ in the Adi Granth there are 127 occurrences. The name of Krishna, a strong indicator of .. ¯ bhakti, is frequently used in the Pa˜chv¯n¯ (71 times); it’s common in the Adi Granth (33 n a. ı times) — but is never used in the B¯jak at all. Even ‘R¯m’, which is the most common ı a word for the divine in the B¯jak , is only used therein 49 times, or in ab. 24% of the ı ¯ poems. In the Adi Granth ‘Bhakti’ is the most common key word, and ‘Ram’ — which is the second most common — is used as many as 112 times, or in ab. 50% of the poems. In the Pa˜chv¯n¯ ‘Ram’ is the most common key word, mentioned as many as 220 times, n a. ı or in ab. 52% of the poems; Bhakti takes the second place.183 For an illustration of the numbers mentioned, see figure 1 on page 56. There are other differences between the western and the eastern corpus as well, when it comes to the personality of Kab¯ In the Pa˜chv¯n¯ we find a Kab¯ that laments the ır. n a. ı ır fact of death — something the persona found in the B¯jak would never do.184 ı In the B¯jak we find a Kab¯ that is composed and cool — but much more harsh, than ı ır the Kab¯ of the western collections. He confronts people directly and does it in an almost ır brutal way. It’s the Kab¯ of ‘rough rhetoric’, as Linda Hess has put it185 . ır Qazi, what book are you lecturing on? Yak yak yak, day and night. You never had an original thought.186 They’re morons and mindless fools who don’t know Ram in every breath. [. . . ] 180 181 Hawley 2005, pp. 280–282. For more on bhakti, see section 2.1.3 on page 15. 182 Hawley 2005, p. 269; Hess 1987b, p. 117. 183 Hess 1987b, p. 120, table 1; p. 121, table 2. 184 Hess 1987b, pp. 127–128. 185 Hess 1987a. 186 The first three lines of ´abda 84, in Hess and Singh 1983, p. 69. s 31 2 Research 2.2 Where Kab¯ can be Found ır Pandits read Puranas, Vedas, Mullas learn Muhammeds faith. Kabir says, both go straight to hell if they don’t know Ram in every breath.187 There’s a trend that poems in modern collections soften Kab¯ The thorns in his ır. sarcasm aren’t as sharp, and the criticism of an outer religiousness isn’t as aggressive. The critique is still there, as is the sarcasm, but no where near the dryness what we find in, say, the B¯jak . Where the Kab¯ of ‘rough rhetoric’ can even be iconoclastic, and ı ır speaks directly against traditional practices, the ‘soft Kab¯ rather pleads the reader, or ır’ 188 listener, to go beyond mere external observances. Modern bhajans typically focus on death and the transience of human life.189 According to Lorenzen, it isn’t even far fetched to say that for the average Hindi speaker today, Kab¯ is above all a poet of death. The ır topic of death is, however, running strong in the traditional Kab¯ an¯ as well.190 ır-v¯ . ı Despite the differences between the different collections of Kab¯ words, there is still ır’s far more similarities than differences. In Hess detailed comparison of the terms used, ¯ she calculates that the similarity between the Adi Granth and the B¯jak , as well as the ı Pa˜chv¯n¯ and the B¯jak , is about 66%. The similarity between the Pa˜chv¯n¯ and the n a. ı ı n a. ı ¯ Granth is a bit higher, 88%. —One of the reasons why one can speak about an Adi eastern, and a western, tradition.191 In both traditions there are a large number of poems which deal with ‘delusions’. This is the attacks on Hindus, Muslims, on hypocrites and so on. It also includes ‘inner delusion’; the minds deception of the self as well as of others. Another common theme is death, as was mentioned above. A third theme that can be mentioned, is the ulatb¯ms¯ . a . ı, the poem of ‘upside-down language’.192 Ulatb¯ms¯ Poems of ‘upside-down language’, or ulatb¯ms¯ is a peculiarity of Kab¯ ır. . a . ı, . a. ı The ulatb¯ms¯ poems are paradoxical statements, enigmas sometimes utilizing imagery . a. ı from Tantric193 sources, sometimes from popular tradition and sometimes from what can The first and last lines of ´abda 83, in Hess and Singh 1983, p. 69. s For an example of such a bhajan, see “Moko kah¯m dh¯ndhe re bande” in appendix B.2 on page 62. a . . u. . 189 For an example of such a bhajan, see “Man t¯m ph¯l¯ phire” in appendix B.2 on page 62. u. ua 190 Lorenzen 1997, p. 207; Hess 1987b, p. 121. 191 Hess 1987b, p. 121. 192 Hess 1987b, p. 121. 193 Tantrism, is a non-Vedic tradition, opposed to Hindu orthodoxy. Tantrism probably stems from eastern India, and that’s where it has had its strongest support. It is a somewhat rebellious tradition, but despite that — or, perhaps, because of — it is a phenomena found throughout the whole of India, and virtually all of the major sects show influences from Tantra. The doctrines of Tantrism is open to everyone, regardless of gender or class. In it’s commonly known form, Tantrism is associated with occultism — 188 187 32 2 Research only be Kab¯ own, vivid imagination.194 ır’s They’re hoping to hear the unstruck sound: see the upside-down spectacle. Just look at the spectacle, brother— they’ve taken off for the void!195 2.2 Where Kab¯ can be Found ır Absurd, paradoxical and seemingly impenetrable poems are by no means something unique to Kab¯ — although they’ve become somewhat of his trademark. There is a long ır tradition of ‘ulatb¯ms¯ . a . ı-like’ texts throughout India and, indeed, the world. Poems akin to Kab¯ ulatb¯ms¯ are found in India from at least several thousand years before Kab¯ ır’s ır, . a. ı 196 but became common among Tantric cults about 1.000 years before his birth. They are also frequently found in Buddhism.197 In trying to understand them, one can either try to understand the symbols used — by means of dictionaries written for this very purpose198 — or by trying to receive an understanding by means of intuition.199 Hess gives a description of the difficulties in interpreting these poems, that is worth quoting in length: Attempts to explicate this poetry can easily go awry. If you ignore traditional lore, you’re a fool. If you approach the material as a scholar, pulling long lists of meanings and equivalences out of your pocket, you’re a fool. If you don’t have an intimate, immediate understanding of the poem, you have nothing. If you report your personal interpretation, why should anyone believe you? Even in assuming that there is a hidden meaning to be dug out, you may be playing the fool: who is to say you aren’t describing a naked emperor’s clothes? Upside-down language should make you feel like a fool: that is part of its function.200 Typical ulatb¯ms¯ poems turns roles, personalities and even the laws of nature upside. a. ı down. Yet the key to understanding is by no means as easy as reading it backwards, so to speak. Ulta is here reversed — but in a way so that there is no way of telling what .¯ is normal. This can be seen to break language, indeed “the profane universe” itself;201 it breaks what’s expected and the reader, or listener, is rendered free to see something new. A ‘new’ universe is opened up for the adept. But for this freedom to be attained, one including black magic and other esoteric practices. Important features of Tantrism is sexuality, but also bhairav — terror or, in this context, the awe-inspiring. (‘Tantrism’, in Walker 2005b, pp. 482–486) 194 Hess 1987b, p. 121. 195 Ramain¯ 19 (B¯ ), in Hess 1983, p. 147. ı ıjak 196 For some information on Tantrism, see note 193 on the previous page. 197 Hess 1983, pp. 135, 136. 198 Judging by interviews Hess made with both pandits at the Kab¯ Math, as well as the mahant himself, ır . it seems using dictionaries to make sense of Kab¯ is commonplace. (Hess 1983, p. 146) ır 199 Hess 1983, p. 135. 200 Hess 1983, p. 135, emphasis in original. 201 Mircea Eliade, in Hess 1983, p. 137. 33 2 Research 2.3 Kab¯ Described by Scholars ır cannot be dependent on dictionaries or similar ‘dead’ sources. In fact, ulatb¯ms¯ poems . a. ı can be seen as ‘methods’, processes, or even initiations, rather than sources to knowledge in themselves. The point is not what is in the poem, but rather where you can go through it.202 Perhaps one might say that through the ulatb¯ms¯ — or in the state of mind of . a. ı 203 ulta, how the mind is before creation —, the adept can see the satguru,204 the true .¯ guru.205 For examples of Kab¯ ulatb¯ms¯ poems, see appendix B.2, p¯d 119 on page 63 and ır’s a . a. ı s¯kh¯ 1 on page 65. aı 2.3 Kab¯ Described by Scholars ır [Kab¯ though being a Muslim, was in truth not a Muslim. Though being a Hindu, he was ır], not a Hindu. Though being a sadhu, he was not a sadhu. Though being a Vaisnava, he was not a Vaisnava. Though being a yogi, he was not a yogi. He was made different form all others and was sent from God.206 Kab¯ is a figure of paradox, mystique and legend. In the following section, efforts will ır be made to sift through some of the scholarly debate about him. 2.3.1 The Biography of Kab¯ ır Kab¯ biography won’t be discussed from birth to death, but there is reason to mention ır’s some details. Much has already been gleaned when going through the legends. The discussion will be continued later on in the essay as well, but with a slightly different goal, in section 2.3.2 on the following page when searching for the dates of Kab¯ But ır. first, a few tidbits about the life of Kab¯ ır. Kab¯ birthplace Most say that Kab¯ was born in Ban¯ras, but a handful mention ır’s ır a Magahar as, not only the place where he died, but also where he was born.207 It has also been claimed that Kab¯ would have been born in Belhara, a village in the district ır Hess 1983, pp. 136–137, 145, 146, 155, 161. Hess 1983, p. 160. 204 ‘Satguru’, is the perfect guru or the true guru, identical to God. But specifically, in the context of Kab¯ it is invariably the Lord as found within oneself, the interiorized satguru. (Vaudeville 1987, pp. 33, ır, 36; Mark Juergensmeyer, “The Radhasoami Revival of the Sant Tradition”, in: The Sants: Studies in a Devotional Tradition of India, ed. by Karine Schomer and W.H. McLeod, [Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1987], pp. 329–358, pp. 340–341) 205 See Vaudeville 1987, p. 36; Vaudeville 1993, p. 112; Juergensmeyer 1987, pp. 340-341. 206 Dvivedi 2004, p. 281. 207 Personal encounters in Ban¯ras. In these cases, placing Kab¯ birth at Magahar can probably be a ır’s explained with people mixing it up with his place of death. However, it is also mentioned by Vaudeville. (Vaudeville 1993, pp. 57, 131) 203 202 34 2 Research 2.3 Kab¯ Described by Scholars ır of Azamgarh.208 Nevertheless, the tradition that he would have been born in Ban¯ras is, a 209 by far, the strongest. And, thus, the most believable. The families of Kab¯ Kab¯ was probably born into a Jul¯h¯ family, Muslim weavers. ır ır aa Legend has it that his parents were called N¯ and N¯ ıru ıma; of them, we know nothing for certain. But of the Jul¯h¯ it can be said that even in modern day, they are one of three aa main groups among the Indian Muslims. As noted in section 2.1.2 on page 14, many Hindus were attracted by the equality of the Muhammedean faith. It seems a great number of Hindu Shudra converted to Islam between the twelfth and fourteenth century — the same time around which Kab¯ was born.210 ır As the reader may recall, the legend of Kab¯ birth would have it that Kab¯ would ır’s ır have been born by a Hindu woman. This is most probably a product of the hinduization of Kab¯ There’s been a tendency to shape Kab¯ into an ideal Vaishnav saint. One who ır. ır . simply could not have been born Muslim. There is no way to be certain, but it is unlikely that the legend would have it right.211 We can somewhat safely assume he was indeed born into a Jul¯h¯ family. aa If Kab¯ had a wife and family of his own, is a somewhat controversial question — that ır is, controversial at least to those who wish to ‘hinduize’ Kab¯ A true s¯dhu212 could not ır. a be a householder. But when has Kab¯ ever followed set rules? Although Kab¯ at times ır ır speak ill of family life, he nevertheless speaks at least as badly of ‘professional ascetics’; yogis, s¯dhus and the like. He did not take the vows of an ascetic. There are legends213 a as well as poems of his that implies that he had a wife, even children, of his own. In fact, it even seems probable that he had several children. His wife is said to have been named ¯ Lo¯ Children that are mentioned, for instance in the Adi Granth, are the sons Kam¯l and ı. a Nih¯l and the daughters Kam¯l¯ and Nih¯l¯ There’s even a poem mentioning Dhan¯ a a aı a i. ıa, 214 grand-daughter of Kab¯ ır’s. 2.3.2 The Dates of Kab¯ ır There has been a lot of debate concerning the dates of Kab¯ The traditional dates are the ır. ones advocated by the Kab¯ Panthis; that Kab¯ was born 1398 and died 1518.215 Thus, ır ır 208 209 Keay 1996, p. 28; Vaudeville 1993, p. 57. Keay 1996, p. 7. 210 Vaudeville 1993, pp. 47, 57, 69. 211 Vaudeville 1993, p. 65. 212 For information on s¯dhus, see note 122 on page 23. a 213 See section 2.2.1 on page 25. 214 Vaudeville 1993, pp. 58–59. 215 Vaudeville 1993, p. 52. 35 2 Research 2.3 Kab¯ Described by Scholars ır Kab¯ would have grown to be 120 years old — an unlikely age, considering that even ır today, the average lifespan of a man in India is 61 years.216 There are, however, plenty of other suggestions of more and less likely dates.217 Different groups have advocated different dates depending on with what biographical data they would prefer Kab¯ life ır’s 218 to best fit with. Although the dates of Kab¯ is in a way a minor detail, not directly connected to the ır subject of this essay, the discussion concerning them is nevertheless taken in some length. It sheds a critical light on some of the legends, and other topics, covered elsewhere in the essay, are touched on as well — such as Kab¯ and his relation to R¯m¯nanda,219 Sikander ır aa Lodi,220 Guru N¯nak,221 among others. a Kab¯ and R¯m¯nanda For it to have been possible that Kab¯ and R¯m¯nanda222 ır aa ır aa had met, they would obviously have had to been alive at somewhat the same time period. However, reliable dates concerning R¯m¯nanda are as scarce as those of Kab¯ The aa ır. earliest date mentioned for the birth of R¯m¯nanda is 1299, and the latest date of his aa 223 death is 1470. Many scholars doubt that Kab¯ was the disciple of R¯m¯nanda. As Hawley points ır aa out, it’s a good story, but one that isn’t seen before the early eighteenth century. Before that, it was only noted by Ananta-das and N¯bh¯d¯s224 that there was a relation between a aa the two. Hawley has two objections to it: (i) the dates doesn’t fit; (ii) it’s too good a story, one that fits too well with the hinduization of Kab¯ 225 Vaudeville concurs with the ır. 226 second objection. Lorenzen is, however, of another opinion. He doesn’t see the dating as problematic at all, and gives greater weight to the fact that tradition is unanimous in claiming Kab¯ as R¯m¯nandas disciple, than to the objection (ii).227 For the sake of the ır aa argument, the large fork between the dates of R¯m¯nanda is provisionally accepted as a aa starting point. For Kab¯ to have met, let alone be the disciple of Ramananda, he would ır have had to have been alive somewhere between 1299 and 1410. ‘Indien, Landsfakta’, in Nationalencyclopedins Internettj¨nst. a Lorenzen 1992, p. 18; Vaudeville 1993, p. 55. See figure 2 on page 57. 218 Vaudeville 1993, pp. 54–55. 219 See section 2.2.1 on page 22 and note 107 on page 22. 220 See in section 2.2.1 on page 23. 221 See in section 2.2.1 on page 27. 222 More on R¯m¯nanda in note 107 on page 22; legends mentioning him at section 2.2.1 on page 22. aa 223 Vaudeville 1993, p. 53; Lorenzen 1992, p. 12; ‘R¯m¯nanda’, in Walker 2005b, p. 284. aa 224 N¯bh¯d¯s (ca. 1625), also known as N¯bh¯ji, was a contemporary of Tuls¯ as. N¯bh¯d¯s compiled a aa aa ıd¯ a aa the Bhaktam¯l , a book containing hagiographies of bhaktas. The Bhaktam¯l is probably more known a a through Priy¯das (ca. 1640) later commentary. (‘Hindi’, in Walker 2005a, p. 442) a 225 Hawley 2005, pp. 327–328. 226 Vaudeville 1993, p. 47. 227 Lorenzen 1992, pp. 11–13, 18. 217 216 36 2 Research 2.3 Kab¯ Described by Scholars ır Kab¯ and Guru N¯nak Guru N¯nak is the Sikhs most important guru and their ır a a 228 founder. Both the legends of the Sikhs and the Kab¯ Panthis would have it that Kab¯ ır ır 229 230 and N¯nak had met. a Guru N¯nak was born 1469 and died 1538 — which is quite a late, in relation to the dates of R¯m¯nanda. If one would have to choose between the aa two, dating Kab¯ in relation to Guru N¯nak would be far less important. Virtually all ır a scholars agree that it is highly improbable that the two met231 . One important reason, is that none of the early legends of Kab¯ mention such a meeting. It is only found in later ır Sikh or Kab¯ ırpanthi texts, and then always in ways that have a clear purpose: to exalt either N¯nak, in the Sikh texts, or Kab¯ in the Kab¯ a ır, ırpanthi texts. Guru N¯nak can play a no role in the dating of Kab¯ 232 ır. Kab¯ and Sikander Lodi Another important part of Kab¯ biography, is his encounır ır’s ters with the Muslim ruler Sikander Lodi, whose trials Kab¯ survived miraculously.233 ır Sikander Lodi reigned between the years 1488 and 1512, and possibly visited Ban¯ras in a 234 1495. These dates fit quite well with those of Guru N¯nak, so at least there’s not a third a difficult case on our hands — if one would feel the need of adjusting the dates of Kab¯ ır to fit those of Guru N¯nak, and accept those that accord with Sikander Lodi. a Closing in on a suggestion A lifespan of Kab¯ accepted by some, which would allow ır’s, him to both have been a disciple of R¯m¯nanda, have met Guru N¯nak, and endured the aa a trials of Sikander Lodi, is that he would have been born 1440 and died 1518.235 Vaudeville does not want to take a stand, and perhaps wisely so given the scarce evidence. According to her, there is a probability that he was born 1398 and died 1448, and we can at least provisionally accept that he lived during the first half of the fifteenth century.236 Hess gives the same dates, following Vaudeville.237 Flood follows suite, giving Hess as his source.238 ‘N¯nak’, in Walker 2005b, p. 121. a Vaudeville 1993, p. 53; Keay 1996, p. 18 Also see section 2.2.1 on page 27. 230 ‘N¯nak’, in Walker 2005b, p. 121. a 231 Vaudeville 1993, p. 54; Lorenzen 1992, pp. 17–18. Keay, on the other hand, noting only the dates, deems it possible. However, he does not present any other evidence to the table, merely notes that the (probable) dates does not make it impossible for Kab¯ and Guru N¯nak to have met. (Keay 1996, p. 28) ır a 232 Lorenzen 1992, pp. 17–18. 233 For the legends, see section 2.2.1 on page 23. 234 Lorenzen 1992, p. 17. 235 Vaudeville 1993, p. 53; Keay 1996, pp. 27–28. 236 Vaudeville 1993, p. 53. 237 Hess and Singh 1983, p. 5, note 5 on p. 172. 238 Flood 1996, pp. 145, 291. 229 228 37 2 Research 2.3 Kab¯ Described by Scholars ır Lorenzen, on the other hand, would agree rather with the first date mentioned, or at least that the traditional date of Kab¯ death might be right. In his discussion239 he ır’s considers the dates of Kab¯ in the light of ‘four tests’,240 one of which is the proposed ır meeting with Sikander Lodi that Vaudeville rejects. With the backing of Ananta-das’s Paracha¯, Lorenzen adds the relation of Kab¯ with another ruler into the discussion, ı ır 241 namely Virasimha Baghel. Kab¯ and Virasimha Baghel Lorenzen is alone in taking Virasimha Baghel into ır consideration; no one else mentions him. In his discussion Lorenzen shows that Baghel in fact was a historical person, and that we are able to discern approximate dates for him as well. Baghel is the king who plays a role in the legend of the pand¯ of Jagannath.242 a The relation between Kab¯ and Baghel is similar to the possible synchronicity between ır Sikandar Lodi and Kab¯ Even if the legends don’t hold true; even if Lodi didn’t torture ır. Kab¯ the fact that they are mentioned together should not be discarded. Even if the ır legend of the pand¯ in Jagannath isn’t true, the possible synchronicity of Baghel shouldn’t a 243 be ignored. Historically, there are ties between the Baghel dynasty and the Kab¯ Panth. Members ır of the ruling Baghel family of Rewa State were traditionally Kab¯ Panthis. There is ır legendary material that claims Virasimha Baghel, his son Virabhanu as well as king Ramasimha Baghel, would have been direct disciples of Kab¯ In one source Ramasimha ır. is said to be Virasimha Baghels grandson. Obviously it is deemed unlikely that this would be true, but the connections should not be discarded. There is a strong tradition that would have it that there is a synchronicity between Virasimha Baghel and Kab¯ 244 ır. Baghel died around the year of 1530, and is said to have been contemporary with Babur, who ruled between 1526 and 1530. Lorenzen’s suggestion As was previously noted, both Vaudeville and Hess gives a relatively early date for Kab¯ They believe that the traditional date of birth of Kab¯ ır. ır’s might be right, but that he died around 1448 rather than the traditional date of 1518. Lorenzen, in contrast, would rather believe the traditional date of Kab¯ death, but ır’s would have him to have been born later than tradition would have it. Lorenzen arrives Lorenzen 1992, pp. 9–18. The four tests are (i) Counting genealogically back from Ananta-das; (ii) counting genealogically back from Nabha-das; (iii) Kab¯ having met Sikandar Lodi; (iv) Kab¯ having met Virasimha Bagel. ır ır (Lorenzen 1992, p. 14) 241 Lorenzen 1992, pp. 11, 14. 242 See section 2.2.1 on page 26. 243 Lorenzen 1992, pp. 14-17. 244 Lorenzen 1992, pp. 15-16. 240 239 38 2 Research 2.3 Kab¯ Described by Scholars ır at the dates he proposes by taking into consideration (i) a geneological count back from Ananta-das and (ii) a similar count back from N¯bh¯d¯s; (iii) the synchronicity between a aa Kab¯ and Lodi; (iv) the synchronicity between Kab¯ and Baghel. Considering these ır ır dates, and accepting the traditional date of death, it seems likely that Kab¯ would have ır been born around the middle of the fifteenth century, and died in 1518. This is very close to the dates 1440-1518 of Kab¯ proposed by Farquhar as well as Keay.245 As illustrated ır, by figure 2 on page 57, there is much more that speaks for a later date, than an earlier date. 2.3.3 Kab¯ — Hindu or Muslim? ır There isn’t much that can be said to be clear-cut when it comes to Kab¯ There are ır. different takes on what the religion of Kab¯ was — was he born a Muslim and converted ır to Hinduism, or maybe the opposite, born Hindu and converted to Islam; or something else? As noted below, Dvivedi has suggested246 that Kab¯ ancestors would have been ır’s N¯th yogis for centuries before converting, quite recently before the birth of Kab¯ to a ır, Islam. It is clear that prior to Priy¯das’s commentary of the Bhaktam¯l ,247 none questioned a a the fact that he would have been born Muslim. It is only in later versions, including Kab¯ ırpanthi texts, where Kab¯ is said to have been born248 Br¯hmin. One of the reasons ır a Dvivedi suggested Kab¯ or rather his family, only recently would have converted to Islam ır, is that Kab¯ does not appear to be well versed in the Muhammedean faith. He seems a ır lot more comfortable using yogic terms, or some such.249 Everything points to Kab¯ having been born and brought up in a Muslim family — ır his proposed Hindu birth mother is most likely a product of later hinduization.250 But whether he at heart was Hindu, Muslim or something else, perhaps the following sections — especially 2.3.6 on page 42 — can shed some additional light on the kind ‘religiosity’ Kab¯ might have leaned towards. The quotes of Kab¯ at pages 42, 64 and 66 might be ır ır enlightening as well. 245 246 Lorenzen 1992, p. 18; Keay 1996, p. 27; Vaudeville 1993, pp. 53-54. Hess 1983, pp. 142–143. 247 See note 96 on page 20 and the first paragraphs of section 2.2.1 on page 20. 248 See section 2.2.1 on page 21. 249 Vaudeville 1993, pp. 46–47; Hess 1983, pp. 142–143. 250 Vaudeville 1993, p. 65. 39 2 Research 2.3 Kab¯ Described by Scholars ır 2.3.4 Kab¯ — the Yogi ır During the time when the survey was conducted in Ban¯ras, the topic of Kab¯ naturally a ır came up on more than one occasion. One of those was in meeting a yogi. When he heard the topic of the research, he lit up and exclaimed “Ah yes! Kab¯ He was a great, great ır! yogi. Very good yogi.” It seemed that all could relate to Kab¯ in some way. But perhaps ır there really is reason to celebrate Kab¯ as ‘a great, great yogi.’ ır The following s¯kh¯ in the B¯jak has been interpreted by some to imply that Kab¯ aı ı ır would have an ‘eastern’ language. My language is of the East—none understands me: He alone understands me who is from the farthest East.251 Vaudeville does not agree with this interpretation, but sees the s¯kh¯ rather as meaning aı that the only one who understands Kab¯ are those who live in the Eastern region. The ır key here is that ‘the Eastern region’ is not a geographical place, but something of spirit. To be of the east, to live in this ‘Eastern region’, is to be a yogi. Thus, only those well versed in the practice of yoga can really understand Kab¯ 252 ır. There are also legends that creates ties between Gorakhn¯th, one of the most famous a N¯th253 yogis, and Kab¯ Although they can’t possibly have met — Gorakh having lived a ır. at least one hundred years before the earliest date of Kab¯ 254 —, it is still likely that ır Kab¯ was born into a tradition of some kind of N¯thism. Kab¯ makes fun of the N¯th, ır a ır a as he does of so many, but nevertheless, he seems more familiar with the customs of the N¯th than of the Muslim tradition. In his poems, he frequently mentions yog¯ in general, a ıs or the N¯ths in particular. Sometimes in a disdainful fashion; sometimes as if he’d be a inclined to follow at least some steps of their path.255 Go naked if you want, Put on animal skins. What does it matter till you see the inward Ram? If the union yogis seek Came from roaming about in the buff, every deer in the forest would be saved.256 Vaudeville 1993, p. 118. For more on the language of Kab¯ see section 2.2.2 on page 29. ır, Vaudeville 1993, p. 119. 253 For information on the N¯ths, see section 2.1.5 on page 19. For more on the legends of Kab¯ and a ır Gorakh, see section 2.2.1 on page 27. 254 For more on Gorakh Nath, see section 2.1.5 on page 19. For more on the dates of Kab¯ see ır, section 2.3.2 on page 35. 255 Vaudeville 1993, pp. 77–78; Hawley and Juergensmeyer 1988, pp. 44–45. 256 Pad 174 from the Kab¯ Granth¯val¯ in Hawley and Juergensmeyer 1988, p. 50. For the whole poem, ır a ı, see appendix B.2 on page 64. 252 251 40 2 Research 2.3 Kab¯ Described by Scholars ır In the poem above, Kab¯ ridicules specificly the N¯ths. But in the Kab¯r Paracha¯ ır a ı ı, 257 it is mentioned that Kab¯ excels even Gorakh in the practice of yoga. ır And even still today, Kab¯ is viewed as very important by the N¯ths — second only to Gorakhn¯th ır a a 258 himself, even. Given the many references to the N¯ths is is clear that Kab¯ had an in-depth knowla ır edge of them. Whether or not he really lived in ‘the Eastern region’ of yoga or not, he does seem to have some connections to it. And although Kab¯ could not have met Gorakh ır himself, he nonetheless could be in the tradition of Gorakh — that is, of the N¯ths. a Dr. Hajariprasad Dvivedi, a scholar of Kab¯ has even claimed that Kab¯ ancestors ır, ır’s since several centuries before Kab¯ would have been yogis — probably N¯th yogis. That ır, a his family would have converted to Islam as little as one generation before the birth of Kab¯ This would explain why he was so well versed in areas of yoga, but seem to have ır. so little knowledge of the ways of Islam.259 2.3.5 Kab¯ — the Sufi ır As mentioned in section 2.1.4 on page 17, by the time of Kab¯ Sufism had spread throughır out the whole of Northern India and influenced culture in general — as a part of the amalgamatic culture that had been created in the meeting of Hinduism and Islam. Sufi imagery and terms where a part of the vocabulary of anyone living in North India at the time — and certainly by Kab¯ family, the Jul¯h¯, the Muslim weavers, in Ban¯ras.260 ır’s aa a As the reader recalls, it has been suggested that Kab¯ ancestors would have been ır’s yogis since a long time back, and recently converted to Islam. It was, in fact, among none other than the yogis, that the Sufis found their first acolytes — that is, people who converted into Islam. Furthermore, it can be added to the case in favor of Kab¯ being a ır Sufi, that he at times uses terminology borrowed from the Sufis.261 On the other hand — everyone borrowed terms from the Sufis, during this period. And the Sufis themselves borrowed terms from others, such as, for instance, the yogis.262 There is simply not enough evidence to support that he would have been a Sufi. We don’t know that Kab¯ was a yogi, so the fact that Sufis gained followers from them does not ır really weigh in, as such. Lorenzen 1992, p. 122. Daniel Gold, “Kab¯ Secrets for Householders: Truths and Rumours among Rajasthani N¯ths”, in: ır’s a Images of Kab¯ ed. by Monika Horstmann, (Manohar, 2002), pp. 143–156, p. 146. ır, 259 Hess 1983, pp. 142–143. 260 Vaudeville 1993, p. 83. 261 Hess 1983, pp. 142–143; Vaudeville 1993, pp. 83, 117. 262 Vaudeville 1993, p. 117. 258 257 41 2 Research 2.3 Kab¯ Described by Scholars ır 2.3.6 Apostle for Hindu-Muslim Unity — or a Thorn in Everyone’s Eye? If I say one, it isn’t so. If I say two, it’s slander. Kabir has thought about it. As it is, so it is.263 The earliest Kab¯ we can know, the one found in the Fatehpur manuscript, can hardly ır be called ‘an apostle for Hindu-Muslim unity.’ In these, the oldest words attributed to Kab¯ that we know of, there is virtually no Islamic vocabulary used at all. This Kab¯ ır ır doesn’t mention Muslim — nor Hindu! — groups at all. A group mentioned, on the other hand, is the N¯ths.264 a Moreover, what we recognize as the familiar Kab¯ even in the Fatehpur manuscripts, ır is the tone of his voice. Here, too, are poems which are blunt, harsh, and repeatedly touching the topics of death and warning the reader of different kinds of delusion. Here, too, he praises R¯m above all.265 a Rather than trying to harmonize the two communities of Hindu and Muslim,266 Kab¯ ır rejected both. He rejected the Vedas and the Koran; Muharram as well as Diwali; prayer as well as puja267 — all forms of institutionalized religion.268 Form was of no consequence for Kab¯ — or more specifically: outer form, rituals and scripture, was only in the way for ır the devotee. Content was all that mattered. That R¯m was in the heart of the devotee. a I have one Niranjan and Allah, I don’t belong to the Hindus or the Turks. I don’t keep vows nor know about Muharram. I keep in my memory Him who is the prime cause. I do not do puja, nor do I spend time in namaz. I offer homage to the formless one in my heart. I don’t go on hajj, nor do puja at sacred bathing places. I regognize the One, where is the second? S¯kh¯ 120 (B¯ ) in Hess and Singh 1983, p. 103. aı ıjak Hawley 2005, pp. 285–286. 265 Hawley 2005, p. 290. 266 Is should also be mentioned, that speaking of ‘Hindu’ and ‘Muslim’ as two communities is, to say the least, a generalization. Neither community is by any means homogeneous. There are probably groups within both communities, take the sufi and the bhaktas for example, that share more between respective group, than they do with other factions within the ‘community’. 267 For information on puja, see note 113 on page 22. 268 Dvivedi 2004, pp. 282–283; Vaudeville 1987, p. 38. 264 263 42 2 Research 2.4 Kab¯ Described by Yadav and Weavers in Ban¯ras ır a Kabir says: All error has fled, my mind is attached to the one Niranjan.269 The Sants, the group of poet-saints, can however be seen as one of the few traditions that actually crossed the boundaries of ‘Hindu’ and ‘Muslim’.270 Furthermore, among the group called ‘poet-saints’, there were even people who weren’t Hindu at all, but Muslims.271 As was noted in the earlier section, 272 Bhakti crossed boundaries of class and gender. The many similarities between Sufism273 and Bhakti made the one group accessible to the other. For the Hindu and for the Turk there is but one Way which the Satguru has shown. Says Kabir, O Sants, listen: what matter if one calls ‘Ram’ or ‘Khuda’?274 2.4 2.4.1 Kab¯ Described by Yadav and Weavers in Ban¯ras ır a Knowledge of Kab¯ ır Of the twenty respondents, only five (25%) did not know Kab¯ Although it may sound ır. like 25% is a high percentage of people not knowing who he was, it should be noted that if people aren’t confident in their knowledge, they are naturally hesitant to participate in a survey like this. It is possible that they knew Kab¯ albeit not enough to be willing to ır, answer questions. Another factor that might have been relevant, was that the group where the fewest respondents knew Kab¯ was the Yadav women. The assistant during these interviews ır, was Mr. Ashish Yadav — a man. This might have made them uncomfortable and less prone to be willing to answer. In contrast, interviewing the group of Muslim women, my assistant and interpreter was Ms. Mamta Yadav, and in this case the women did show as good a knowledge of Kab¯ as did the Muslim men. ır As many as eight (53%)275 recited a doha or some such.276 This is quite interesting, given that dohas generally are in sanskrit — a language the respondents wouldn’t be able Pad 338, Kab¯ Granth¯val¯ in Dvivedi 2004, p. 283, emphasis in original. ır a ı, Vaudeville 1987, p. 21. 271 Vaudeville 1987, p. 23. 272 See section 2.1.3 on page 15. 273 See section 2.1.4 on page 17. 274 ´ ´ Sabda 10, B¯ , in Vaudeville 1987, p. 33. The Sabda is given quite a different tone in Hess and ıjak Singh 1983 — see appendix B.2 on page 65. 275 When percentages are given of data, what is meant is percentage of respondents that knew Kab¯ (15) ır — not the total number of people participating in the survey (20). 276 Se figure 3 on page 58. 270 269 43 2 Research 2.4 Kab¯ Described by Yadav and Weavers in Ban¯ras ır a to speak, as such, given their education. In general, only Br¯hmins study sanskrit, and a obviously no-one of the respondents were Br¯hmins. a 277 278 Everyone, except Fatur and Kha, had at the most went to school up until tenth class; four had no formal education at all.279 This means that not only had they learnt a poem — a doha — by heart, they had learnt it by heart in a language they did not really know. In most cases they knew the doha well enough for them to be able to explain it when asked to do so by Mr. Ashish. More on this topic below at section 2.4.5 on page 46. Stories or history about Kab¯ was told by even more respondents than recited poır 280 ems. On the one hand, it isn’t surprising. It’s undoubtedly easier to remember tidbits from legends or history, than it is to remember a doha or some such well enough to be confident in reciting it. On the other hand, it still is a large number of respondents. 67% in total gave some information about the life of Kab¯ Some gave only a detail or two, ır. 281 others — like Mahavir Yadav — told almost the whole story about the birth of Kab¯ ır as well as of his death. This might be interpreted to mean that virtually all who knew who Kab¯ was, knew ır quite a lot about him. The group that seemed to have the least knowledge of Kab¯ (three ır didn’t know him) was also the group with the least formal education; This was women among the group Yadav. In contrast, all but one among the women in the group weavers knew who Kab¯ was. Of the latter group, all but one person — of the ones who knew ır him — told a doha as well as some history or story about Kab¯ The same group had ır. 282 the highest rate of education up until the ninth class. The connection between knowledge of Kab¯ and education was further corroborated ır by the fact that several respondents specifically mentioned school. Many excused themselves for not knowing more of Kab¯ or not being able to recite anything, by saying how ır, long ago it was that they had attended school.283 One respondent explicitly said that whose who haven’t gone to school haven’t heard of Kabir either — and, conversely, that those who have had some kind of formal education know him.284 Sadika Fatur, 38 years old, from Saket Nagar, Dec. 8, 2007, appendix D.4.5 on page 89. Gani Kha, 26 years old, from Shivala, Nov. 26, 2007, appendix D.3.5 on page 85. 279 See figure 4 on page 58. 280 See figure 3 on page 58. 281 Transcription of the interview with Mahavir Yadav is found at appendix D.1.2 on page 70. 282 See figures 4 on page 58 and 3 on page 58. 283 Rajan Yadav, 35 years old, from Asi, Nov. 1, 2007, appendix D.1.5 on page 74; Muresh Yadav, 40 years old, from Asi, Nov. 1, 2007, appendix D.1.4 on page 73. 284 Mustaka Ahmad Ansari, 42 years old, from Shivala, Nov. 25, 2007, appendix D.3.3 on page 82. 278 277 44 2 Research 2.4 Kab¯ Described by Yadav and Weavers in Ban¯ras ır a 2.4.2 The Religion of Kab¯ ır It was common among the respondents to hesitate before answering what the religion of Kab¯ was. Some reasoned that he didn’t have a religion because he was a s¯dhu;285 some ır a 286 deduced that he was Muslim since he was raised by Jul¯h¯. aa Several mentioned him being born by Hindu but raised by Muslims. The overwhelming majority (80%), however, agreed on Kabir being of all religions. Some said that he was of ‘no religion’.287 This is a treat of Kab¯ that can be found in every collection of poems, Eastern and ır Western, in the legends and in the picture painted by the respondents of the survey. It is simply difficult to pinpoint the religion of Kab¯ The best one can get at is to say that ır. he was of all religions, or of none. Based on the survey, it does not seem that either group can be said to claim him as their own — even though there is a tendency in both groups to maybe think of him a bit more like one of their own rather than of the other. When asked how one would approach God,288 many said that, according to Kab¯ ır, God is found in your heart or in everyone and everywhere. Out of the 14 respondents who answered this question, seven said you’d find God in your heart, two that God is in everyone and everywhere. Several (5) mentioned that you need to pray, and pray with your heart, to find God.289 A noticeable difference between the two groups, was that only one Hindu (Mahavir Yadav) mentioned you’d find God in your heart — but as many as six Muslims did. This might be a result of the impact of the respondents respective religion. The common ground was that prayer is needed. One respondent290 said that Kab¯ didn’t really talk that much about God as such, ır but rather about guru. This might on the one hand mean any guru, and the tradition of guru parampara,291 or, on the other hand, it might be a reference to the satguru292 . It might be noted that this particular respondent was unique in that she had the highest education of all, having studied at Banaras Hindu University. Rajan Yadav 2007, appendix D.1.5 on page 74. Kha 2007, appendix D.3.5 on page 85. 287 The respondents that said he was of no religion are, in the statistics included among those who said he was of all religions. By themselves, those who said he was of no religions were 2 (13%), both Hindu; one man and one woman. (Rajan Yadav 2007, appendix D.1.5 on page 74; Laxmi Yadav, 40 years old, from Nagwa, Nov. 15, 2007, appendix D.2.3 on page 76) Thus those who explicitly said he was of all religions, or gave respect to all religions, were 10 (67%). 288 Question number 6, see questionnaire at appendix C on page 67. 289 Results illustrated in figure 8 on page 60. 290 Appendix D.4.5 on page 89 Fatur 2007. 291 For information on ‘parampara’, see note 66 on page 17. 292 For information on ‘satguru’, see note 204 on page 34. 286 285 45 2 Research 2.4 Kab¯ Described by Yadav and Weavers in Ban¯ras ır a 2.4.3 Kab¯ Personality ır’s In contrast to the question of the religion of Kab¯ it was a lot easier to see almost ır, somewhat of a consensus regarding Kab¯ personality. To sum it up, he was, quite ır’s simply, a nice man (a aÚ ). He gave respect to all, troubled none and no one gave him any trouble. Many mentioned that Kab¯ was a s¯dhu; most said he taught others. ır a The image of Kab¯ that appears, is far from the harsh critic found in the B¯jak . The ır ı man in front of us is rather a sage; a saint who lived in peace and preached the same. This is not the Kab¯ that is a thorn in every person of hollow religiosity, but rather someone ır who harmonize groups; someone who speaks for both groups not against them. Perhaps one could say, that this is much closer to the Kab¯ in legends rather than poems. ır 2.4.4 A relevant figure for today Only one from the Muslim group and two from the Hindu group did not think that Kab¯ ır was a relevant figure today. In other words, of the respondents that knew Kab¯ as many ır, as 80% thought that he was relevant.293 When asked what we can learn from Kab¯ many responded either that one could ır, learn how to live a good life, or how one could live in peace. The latter mainly meaning how people can live in peace with each other, as brothers and sisters. How people from different religions can live together without disturbing one and another.294 The Hindu group seemed more inclined to talk about how to live a good life — as in a proper life; a morally good life. Whereas the Muslim group mentioned living in peace more frequently. 2.4.5 Quoting Kab¯ ır The respondents were quite able to recite a text or two of Kab¯ off hand. Two of the ır’s Yadav men, and one of the women, told a bhajan;295 one of the Muslim men told a bhajan, and three of the women. None of the bhajans mentioned by the Hindus were quoted by the Muslims, nor vice versa.296 Two bhajans were mentioned twice, ‘Kajur tree’ by two Hindus,297 and ‘Guru and Illustrated in figure 6 on page 59. Illustrated in figure 7 on page 60. 295 In addition to the two respondents among the Hindu men that quoted a doha or bhajan, there were in two cases quotations made by bystanders. These are not included in the statistics. (Mahavir Yadav, 43 years old, from Nagwa, Oct. 31, 2007; S. M. Yadav 2007) 296 Illustrated in figure 3 on page 58. 297 Appendix D.1.3 on page 71, S. M. Yadav 2007; appendix D.2.4 on page 78, M¯ Yadav, 45 years old, ıra from Asi, Nov. 15, 2007. It must, however, be noted that in the case of S. M. Yadav, the poem was not quoted by Mayaram himself, but by a bystander. 294 293 46 2 Research 2.4 Kab¯ Described by Yadav and Weavers in Ban¯ras ır a Govind standing’ by two Muslims.298 The message conveyed by pretty much every bhajan or doha quoted, is how to live a good life. You should do your work well and honestly; you should not compare yourself to others nor be overly curious. You should not fight amongst each other. In short, the quotes cited by the respondents where very much in tune with what they said could be learned from Kab¯ (see 2.4.4 on the preceding page). ır 2.4.6 Differences Between the Two Groups Though there were some variances between the groups, there were by far more similarities than differences. One from the group of Yadavs reported Kab¯ to have been Hindu; one ır from the group of Weavers, said he was Muslim. In the latter group, there was somewhat more focus on the fact that Kab¯ was raised in a Muslim family — but, nevertheless, ır they too said he was of all religions (or none). Likewise, it was stressed more in the group of Yadav that Kab¯ had been born in a Hindu family — but, again, most agreed that he ır was of all religions (or none). One respondent from the group of Jul¯h¯ gave some interesting answers concerning aa the influence Kab¯ had on the community of weavers. Din stated that before Kab¯ his ır ır, community only made clothes. It was none other than Kab¯ who taught them how to ır create different designs, how to make sarees and such.299 This is something that has not been mentioned by other scholars nor by other respondents. It seems to give Kab¯ a ır much more fundamental role — and one associated especially to the Jul¯h¯ of Ban¯ras. aa a Kab¯ appears as something like ‘the original Weaver’. ır That the Muslim group would put more emphasis on that one can learn from Kab¯ ır how to co-exist in peace, might stem from them being a minority. They would probably feel a greater need for such a teaching. 2.4.7 Additional Interviews As a complement to the actual survey, the questions300 was also asked of a class of students. The respondents here were 11 students, all girls between the age of 14 to 15, from the Muslim school of Zintul Islam Girls’ School in the area of Reori Talab, Ban¯ras.301 It is a important to keep in mind that the students had had notice well in advance that I would come. In other words, they had time to prepare. And of course the teacher would want Nurjaha, 30 years old, from Saket Nagar, Dec. 8, 2007, Appendix D.4.3 on page 88,[; appendix D.4.5 on page 89, Fatur 2007. 299 Appendix D.3.2 on page 81, Ansaru Din, 34 years old, from Shivala, Nov. 25, 2007. 300 See appendix C on page 67. 301 Transcription found in appendix D.5.1 on page 89. 298 47 3 Discussion the students to perform well. In that sense, one might read the results as that of the ideal class — or at least something of that kind. Indeed, the results were ‘ideal’. In this one interview, the students covered virtually every area that the previous respondents had touched on — combined. Their answers might be shorter, but that is only natural as the interview was conducted in group, and not in a more comfortable discussion. They knew dates; they knew details. What the students put much emphasis on, is that Kab¯ did not believe in any religions ır — and in all; he believed all religions were one. He wanted there to be ‘brotherhood’ between religions. Concerning his personality, they only had one thing to say: “He enjoyed life.” This reply might perhaps also be interpreted into meaning that he lived a good life. In any case, it is similar to the other respondents perception of Kab¯ as a ‘nice man’ — but very ır dissimilar to the Kab¯ found in, for instance, the B¯jak . ır ı During the visit to Zintul Islam Girls’ School, a few short questions was also asked of Mohammad Toha, Professor in Sociology and an important figure in the administrative work of the school.302 When asked what they teach of Kab¯ he said that what they teach ır, is what they’re told to do in the central plan. There wasn’t any said goals to be attained with this, or some such, it was simply something to be done. “Whatever is in the book, we have to teach.” Kab¯ enters the curriculum from class 6-7 and onwards, under the ır heading of Hindi studies. 3 3.1 Discussion Conclusions A well known figure Most of the respondents knew of Kab¯ — and perhaps there were ır reasons other than ignorance behind the lack of answers from some of the others as well. Regardless, the search for Kab¯ in Ban¯ras was often greeted with smiles and perhaps a ır a story or comment about Kab¯ As noted in the introductory words to section 2.3.4 on ır. page 40, a yogi exclaimed that Kab¯ was a great yogi; a respondent saw him as Ban¯ras ır a first great weaver — but the list is longer than that. Many seem to have a personal relation to Kab¯ or, in other words, many seem to be able to take Kab¯ and relate on ır; ır a personal level to him. Personality As was noted in the previous section, the personality of Kab¯ as it seemed ır, to appear in the interviews, was quite unlike the man of ‘rough rhetoric’ that can be found 302 Toha 2007, Appendix D.5.2 on page 91[. 48 3 Discussion 3.1 Conclusions in the B¯ . As the B¯jak is the main text of the Kab¯ ıjak ı ırpanthis, and the seat of the panth is in Ban¯ras, where the interviews were conducted, one could have assumed that more of a the B¯ ıjak would shine through. Some of the respondents even originally came from the area where the Panth is — but still they, also, kept to the ‘sage-like’ image. Perhaps this is a indicator that he primarily is not known directly through his poems. Rather, he is known through legends and plausibly through the function he is put to in the educational system. Of the latter there is unfortunately not much that can be said at this point, as it was not a part of the study. But it seems that Kab¯ would be used as ır somewhat of a bridgebuilder between communities. A bridgebuilder specifically between Hindus and Muslims, but also between men and women in general. The personality of Kab¯ in this image that has been painted by the respondents might ır also be seen as a result of the hinduization of Kab¯ as it fits quite well with the picture ır, of what a Vaishnav saint should be like — which is the mold into which Kab¯ has been ır . tried to make fit. Claimed by none A question that was framed in the introduction, was if Kab¯ seemed ır to be claimed by one or both of the two religions Islam and Hinduism. Judging by the answers of the respondents, neither was the case. Neither the group of Muslims nor the group of Hindus, generally speaking, claimed Kab¯ for their own. There was the odd ır voice that expressed a different opinion, but overall it was clear that the image that arose of the religiosity of Kab¯ was that he was of all religions, or of none. ır, ‘Muslim image’ — ‘Hindu image’ By now it has been repeatedly stated, but as another group of questions that was initially framed concerned the specific Muslim and Hindu view, respectively, of Kab¯ it will be said once more. The picture of Kab¯ as ır, ır painted by the respondents of both groups harmonized well with each other. In other words, there really was no ‘Muslim’ or ‘Hindu’ image to speak of. The image of Kab¯ ır was one and the same in both groups, generally speaking. There were, it should be noted, other opinions as well — one claiming Kab¯ to be ır Hindu; two claiming him to be Muslim. But, again, they were the minority. Some ither interesting variations did turn up as well — such as the claim by Mr. Ansaru Din, that Kab¯ was the one that taught the Jul¯h¯s to design sarees and such.303 ır aa That before Kab¯ the weavers of Ban¯ras only made clothes but nothing more. Today, ır, a Ban¯ras is famous for its weaves — the sarees in particular. All thanks to Kab¯ This is a ır. something that might be explored further, in a secondary study. Is this a widely spread view or an opinion that was unique to Mr. Din? 303 Appendix D.3.2 on page 81, Din 2007. 49 3 Discussion 3.1 Conclusions 3.1.1 Suggestions for Further Studies Limits of this survey The survey was not large enough to come to any real conclusions. There is much more to uncover — even only in what the image of Kab¯ is among the lay ır people. A much larger group of respondents should be interviewed for a reasonably clear picture to appear. Furthermore, the interviews should be more in-depth. There is some question as to whether the group of Jul¯h¯ were more knowledgeable aa of Kab¯ than the average Muslim would have — given that Kab¯ after all, was Jul¯h¯ ır ır, aa himself. It seems only natural that stories of him would cling longer in groups who are mentioned themselves in the stories. In a possible follow-up study, the results form the Muslim group should be corroborated by at least interviewing a number of people from another group of the same religion. Or, perhaps, only people who aren’t weavers themselves should be included in the survey. Untouched topics The field of Kab¯ ır-studies is a large one indeed, and though more might have been touched on in this essay than necessary, still more remain unmentioned. One that should be given more attention is the use of Kab¯ ır. Clearly, he has been put to use by a large number of groups — spanning from early, Christian missionaries304 to the nation-state of India of today. There is much work that could be done here. Just to mention something, there seems to be a political group in Ban¯ras who tries to convey their message by street theater — and they solely use Kab¯ a ır in their pieces. Kab¯ is also used frequently in general political speeches — both by ır left- and right wing groups, interestingly enough. Both these phenomena would be very interesting to study.305 The possibility of an emergent view of Kab¯ as ‘the original Weaver’ was mentioned ır above. It would be interesting to see if this is indeed the case. Is there a widespread belief that it was Kab¯ who taught the Jul¯h¯s of Ban¯ras the art of weaving their beautiful ır aa a sarees? Is that something that has begun to be added to the mythology of Kab¯ ır? Studies should also be done on the material used in school, as well as the guidelines concerning Kab¯ that has been set up by the state; the national plan, as Mr. Toha ır 306 put it. Looking at the answers the students at Zintul Muslim Girls’ School gave, it seems quite clear that the emphasis concerning Kab¯ is put on areas which lifts up unity ır between Islam and Hinduism, as well as justice for the ‘lower classes’. There is a large body of literature concerning Kab¯ Much has been written especially ır. For more on Christianity and Kab¯ — really, an astonishing read —, see Vaudeville 1993, pp. 23–24. ır Personal discussion with Siddhart Singh, professor at the department of Pali and Buddhist studies at Banaras Hindu University. 306 appendix D.5.2 on page 91, Toha 2007. 305 304 50 3 Discussion 3.1 Conclusions — and naturally enough — about the poetry of Kab¯ Much has been said about the ır. influence of Kab¯ But there is still more to discover. ır. 51 Printed sources Printed sources Bibliography Printed sources Barthwal, P.D. “The Times and their Need”, in: Religious Movements in South Asia (6001800), ed. by David N. Lorenzen, (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2004), pp. 253–268. Bharati, Agehananda, Hindu Views and Ways and the Hindu-Muslim Interface, (Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd. 1981). Dvivedi, Hajariprasad, “Kabir’s Place in Indian Religious Practice”, in: Religious Movements in South Asia (600-1800), ed. by David N. Lorenzen, (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2004), pp. 269–288. Eck, Diana L. Banaras: City of Light, reprint 1999, (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982). Esposito, John L. Islam: Den raka v¨gen, (Lund: Studentlitteratur, 2001). a Flood, Gavin, An Introduction to Hinduism, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996). Gold, Daniel, “Kab¯ Secrets for Householders: Truths and Rumours among Rajasthani ır’s N¯ths”, in: Images of Kab¯r, ed. by Monika Horstmann, (Manohar, 2002), pp. 143–156. a ı Hawley, John Stratton, Three Bhakti Voices: Mirabai, Surdas, and Kabir in Their Times and Ours, (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2005). Hawley, John Stratton and Mark Juergensmeyer, Songs of the Saints of India, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988). Hess, Linda, “Appendix A: Upside-Down Language”, in: The B¯jak of Kabir, reprint ı 2001, (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited, 1983), pp. 135–161. — “Kabir’s Rough Rhetoric”, in: The Sants: Studies in a Devotional Tradition of India, ed. by Karine Schomer and W.H. McLeod, (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1987), pp. 143–166. — “Three Kabir Collections: A Comparative Study”, in: The Sants: Studies in a Devotional Tradition of India, ed. by Karine Schomer and W.H. McLeod, (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1987), pp. 111–142. Hess, Linda and Sukhdev Singh, The B¯jak of Kabir, reprint 2001, (Delhi: Motilal ı Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited, 1983). Horstmann, Monika, “Introduction”, in: Images of Kab¯r, ed. by Monika Horstmann, ı (Manohar, 2002), pp. 1–8. 52 Printed sources Printed sources Juergensmeyer, Mark, “The Radhasoami Revival of the Sant Tradition”, in: The Sants: Studies in a Devotional Tradition of India, ed. by Karine Schomer and W.H. McLeod, (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1987), pp. 329–358. Katz, Marc J. The Children of Assi – The Transference of Religious Traditions and Communal Inclusion in Banaras, (Varanasi: Pilgrims Publishing, 2007). Keay, F.E. Kabir and His Followers, first edition: Calcutta, 1931, (Delhi: Sri Satguru Publications, 1996). Kidwai, Sadiqur Rahman, “Kab¯ and Mystic Poetry in Urdu”, in: Images of Kab¯ ır ır, ed. by Monika Horstmann, (Manohar, 2002), pp. 165–176. Lawrence, Bruce B. “The Sant Movement and North Indian Sufis”, in: The Sants: Studies in a Devotional Tradition of India, ed. by Karine Schomer and W.H. McLeod, (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1987), pp. 359–374. Lorenzen, David N. “Introduction”, in: Religious Movements in South Asia (600-1800), ed. by David N. Lorenzen, (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2004), pp. 1–44. — Kabir Legends and Ananta-das’s Kabir Paracha¯, (Delhi: Sri Satguru Publications, ı 1992). — Praises to a Formless God: Nirgun¯ Texts from North India, (Delhi: Sri Satguru ˙ı Publications, 1997). Schomer, Karine, “Introduction: The Sant Tradition in Perspective”, in: The Sants: Studies in a Devotional Tradition of India, ed. by Karine Schomer and W.H. McLeod, (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1987), pp. 1–20. Stein, Burton, “Social Mobility and Medieval South Indian Hindu Sects”, in: Religious Movements in South Asia (600-1800), ed. by David N. Lorenzen, (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2004), pp. 81–102. Vaudeville, Charlotte, A Weaver Named Kabir, (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1993). — Kabir, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974). — “Sant Mat: Santism as the Universal Path to Sanctity”, in: The Sants: Studies in a Devotional Tradition of India, ed. by Karine Schomer and W.H. McLeod, (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1987), pp. 21–40. Walker, Benjamin, Hindu World: An Encyclopedic Survey of Hinduism (Volume 1), first published in 1968 by Goerge Allen & Unwin Ltd, (New Delhi: Rupa & co, 2005). — Hindu World: An Encyclopedic Survey of Hinduism (Volume 2), first published in 1968 by Goerge Allen & Unwin Ltd, (New Delhi: Rupa & co, 2005). 53 Online sources Online sources Online sources Encyclopædia Britannica Online, URL: http://search.eb.com (visited on 05/20/2008). Nationalencyclopedins Internettj¨nst, URL: http://www.ne.se (visited on 05/20/2008). a Soanes, Catherine and Angus Stevenson, eds., The Oxford Dictionary of English (revised edition), 2005, URL: http://oxfordreference.com (visited on 05/20/2008). Interviews Hindu, women Yadav, Yadav, Yadav, Yadav, Yadav, Kausalya, 27 years old, from Nagwa, Nov. 13, 2007. Laxmi, 40 years old, from Nagwa, Nov. 15, 2007. M¯ 45 years old, from Asi, Nov. 15, 2007. ıra, Parm¯ 28 years old, from Nagwa, Nov. 17, 2007. ıra, Pr¯ma, 32 years old, from Nagwa, Nov. 13, 2007. e Hindu, men Yadav, Yadav, Yadav, Yadav, Yadav, Mahavir, 43 years old, from Nagwa, Oct. 31, 2007. Muresh, 40 years old, from Asi, Nov. 1, 2007. Rajan, 35 years old, from Asi, Nov. 1, 2007. Ramjanm, 35 years old, from Asi, Oct. 31, 2007. Sri Mayaram, 65 years old, from Nagwa, Oct. 31, 2007. Muslim, women Begam, Johara, 35 years old, from Saket Nagar, Dec. 8, 2007. Fatur, Sadika, 38 years old, from Saket Nagar, Dec. 8, 2007. Monima, 40 years old, from Saket Nagar, Dec. 8, 2007. Nazbul, 60 years old, from Saket Nagar, Dec. 8, 2007. Nurjaha, 30 years old, from Saket Nagar, Dec. 8, 2007. 54 Online sources Online sources Muslim, men Ansari, Mustaka Ahmad, 42 years old, from Shivala, Nov. 25, 2007. Bari, Abdul, 35 years old, from Shivala, Nov. 25, 2007. Din, Ansaru, 34 years old, from Shivala, Nov. 25, 2007. Kabis, Abdul, 30 years old, from Shivala, Nov. 26, 2007. Kha, Gani, 26 years old, from Shivala, Nov. 26, 2007. Additional interviews 11 students, all girls between the age of 14 and 15, from the muslim Zintul Islam Girls’ School in the area of Reori Talab, Dec. 12, 2007. Toha, Mohammad, Professor of Sociology and a leading figure in the Zintul Islam Girls’ School, Reori Talab, Dec. 12, 2007. 55 A Figures Appendices A Figures Figure 1: Usage of terms in the Kab¯ an¯ ır-v¯ . ı 56 A Figures Figure 2: Timeline, possible dates of Kab¯ ır 57 A Figures Figure 3: Respondents knowledge about Kab¯ ır Figure 4: Education of the respondents 58 A Figures Figure 5: The religion of Kab¯ ır Figure 6: Kab¯ is relevant today ır 59 A Figures Figure 7: What can we learn from Kab¯ ır? Figure 8: Where can one find God acc. to Kab¯ ır? 60 B Quotes B B.1 Quotes List of quotes in text Quotes of Kab¯ are found in the text at the following locations: ır • Section 2.1.3 on page 16 • Section 2.1.4 on page 18 • Section 2.1.4 on page 19 • Section 2.2.1 on page 24 • Section 2.2.1 on page 26 • Section 2.2.1 on page 28 • Section 2.2.2 on page 29 • Section 2.2.2 on page 31 • Section 2.2.2 on page 31 • Section 2.2.2 on page 33 • Section 2.3.4 on page 40 • Section 2.3.4 on page 40 • Section 2.3.6 on page 42 • Section 2.3.6 on page 42 • Section 2.3.6 on page 43 B.2 Additional quotes The following are quotes mentioned in the text, but which are too long or otherwise cumbersome to include in-text. 61 B Quotes B.2 Additional quotes “Moko kah¯m dh¯ ndhe re bande” a . . u. . Where will you find me, my friend? I’m always near. Not in idols or sacred spas, not in secret places, I’m not in temples or mosques, not in K¯´¯ or Kail¯´. ası as I’m not in prayer or penance, not in vows or fasts. I don’t stay in yoga, in rites, or renunciation. Look and you’ll find me as quick as the wink of an eye. Says Kab¯r: Listen, sadhu. ı I’m found in faith.307 “Man t¯ m ph¯ l¯ phire” u. ua O mind, you merrily strut your stuff, But who in this world can you find to trust? The The The The mother says: This is my son. sister says: He is my hero. brother says: He is my rock. woman says: He is my man. His mother cries for the rest of her life. His sister cries for less than a year. His woman cries for a couple of weeks Then goes to live with someone else. The shroud the begged was four yards long. The pyre was lite, just like at Holi. The bones burned up like firewood. The hair burned up like dried grass. The body that once was gold is burnt And no one wants to come near to it now. 307 Lorenzen 1997, p. 213. 62 B Quotes B.2 Additional quotes The women of the house begin to cry, Wandering all over, searching in vain. Says Kab¯r: Listen, brother sadhu. ı Give up the hopes you hold for the world.308 Pad 119 (Kab¯ Granth¯val¯ ır a ı) Pundit, so well-read, go ask God who his teacher is and who he’s taught. He alone knows what shape he has and he keeps it to himself, alone. Child of a childless woman, a fatherless son, someone without feet who climbs trees, A solider without weaponry, no elephant, no horse, charging into battle with no sword, A sprout without a seed, a tree without a trunk, blossoms on a tree without a branch, A woman without beauty, a scent without a flower, a tank filled to the top without water, A temple without a god, worship without leaves, a lazy bee that has no wings. You have to be a hero to reach that highest state; the rest, like insects, burn like moths in the flame— A flame without a lamp, a lamp without a flame, an unsounded sound that sounds without end. Those who comprehend it, let them comprehend. 308 Lorenzen 1997, pp. 210–211. 63 B Quotes Kabir has gone off into God.309 Pad 174 (Kab¯ Granth¯val¯ ır a ı) Go naked if you want, Put on animal skins. What does it matter till you see the inward Ram? If the union yogis seek Came form roaming about in the buff, every deer in the forest would be saved. If shaving your head Spelled spiritual success, heaven would be filled with sheep. And brother, if holding back your seed Earned you a place in paradise, eunuchs would be the first to arrive. Kabir says: Listen brother, Without the name of Ram who has ever won the spirit’s prize?310 Pad 182 (Kab¯ Granth¯val¯ ır a ı) If case was what the Creator had in mind, why wasn’t anyone born with Siva’s three-lined sign? If you’re a Brahmin, from a Brahmin woman born, why didn’t you come out some special way? And if you’re a Muslim, from a Muslim woman born, why weren’t you circumcised inside? Says Kabir: No one is lowly born. The only lowly are those who never talk of Ram.311 309 310 B.2 Additional quotes Hawley and Juergensmeyer 1988, p. 57. Hawley and Juergensmeyer 1988, p. 50. 311 Hawley and Juergensmeyer 1988, p. 54. 64 B Quotes B.2 Additional quotes S¯kh¯ 1 (B¯ ) aı ıjak Seekers, bhakti came from the Guru. A woman bore two men — get this, pandits and sages. A rock broke open, out came the Ganges — on all sides, water, water. Two mountaints hit the water, stream entered wave. A fly flew up, perched in a tree, and spoke one word. A female fly without a male, she swelled up without water. One woman ate up all the men, now I alone remain. Kabir says, if you understand this, you’re guru, I’m disciple.312 ´ Sabda 10 (B¯ ) ıjak Saints, I’ve seen both ways. Hindus and Muslims don’t want discipline, they want tasty food. The Hindu keeps the elventh-day fast eating chestnuts and milk. He curbs his grain but not his brain and breaks his fast with meat. The Turk prays daily, fasts once a year, and crows “God! God!” like a cock. What heaven is reserved for people who kill chickens in the dark? For kindness and compassion they’ve cast out all desire. One kills with a chop, one lets the blood drop, in both houses burns the same fire. Turks and Hindus have one way, the guru’s made it clear. 312 Hess 1987b, p. 132. Also see Hess 1987b, p. 132 for a short discussion on this s¯kh¯ a ı. 65 B Quotes B.2 Additional quotes Don’t say Ram, don’t say Khuda. So says Kabir.313 ´ Sabda 75 (B¯ ) ıjak It’s a heavy confusion. Veda, Koran, holiness, hell, woman, man, a clay pot shot with air and sperm. . . When the pot falls apart, what do you call it? Numskull! You’ve missed the point. It’s all one skin and bone, one piss and shit, one blood, one meat. From one drop, a universe. Who’s Brahmin? Who’s Shudra? Brahma rajas, Shiva tamas, Vishnu sattva. . . Kabir says, plunge into Ram! There: No Hindu. No Turk.314 313 314 Hess and Singh 1983, p. 46. Hess and Singh 1983, p. 67. 66 C Questionnaire C C.1 Questionnaire English (1) Who was Kab¯ ır? (2) What was the dharm315 of Kab¯ ır? (3) Did Kab¯ have an impact on the relations between Hindus and Muslims? ır (3.1) If so, what kind of impact? (3.2) If so, is that change still in effect // does he still have that kind of effect? (3.3) In what manner did he try to bring about a change? (4) What were Kab¯ views on the social-structure? ır’s (5) Did Kab¯ have an impact on the social structure? ır (6) According to Kab¯ how and where should one try to find God? ır, (7) Have you been to (a) Lahartara316 (b) Kab¯ Math?317 ır . (8) Have you attended a Kab¯ bhajan? ır (9) Do you have a favourite bhajan, doha or sloka of Kab¯ ır? (9.1) If so, which is it? (9.2) If so, could you describe what you like about it? (10) In what way(s) is Kab¯ relevant or important today? ır (11) What can we learn from him? For more on ‘dharm’, see 2.1.1 on page 13. Lahartara is the lake where the Br¯hmin widow left Kab¯ according to legend. (See section 2.2.1 a ır, on page 21.) 317 ‘Math’, is a place similar to a monastery. A place of seclusion, where people who are dedicated to a . religious figure or cause, live. Important centres of religious education. (‘Education’, in Walker 2005a, p. 322) Kab¯ Math, in Ban¯ras, is the religious center of Kab¯ ır a ırpanthis. . 316 315 67 C Questionnaire C.2 Hindi C.2 (1) (2) (3) Hindi aº aº au i i Úu iÊ a aÚi яº e Êa au aº u a e e e a aºa Ú aauae uaa a e ai e iÊ a (3.1) (3.2) aº a i ai a e i aº a i ai a au uae ia (3.3) a e ai e aÚa (4) u a a a a iя a e (5) яi a a яi a aa eº e e uae a uae iÊ e aº ia i (6) aº a я ie e a u au a aa a Ú a (7) (8) (9) (9.1) (9.2) aº ae a aÚi aÚi e a aº aaa aº a e aº a a e a º e a ae i a ai ai ai e º aяa a a a a Úa º aяa a Ú a ai ºa a ai я e aº iÊ aaÚ a aÊÊ a a Úa a ai ia (10) я e a Úa º a ai e a ai e (11) u a e Úa a a aº a e iÊ i a a e ai e a a e a i ai 68 D Interviews, transcribed D D.1 D.1.1 Interviews, transcribed Yadav, men Ramjanm Yadav Ramjanm Yadav, 35 years old, from Assi. No education. (31 October 2007) (1) Kab¯ as was a nice318 person. He wrote nice poems too. He used to give nice ırd¯ knowledge to everyone. (2) [Ramjanm] thinks for a long time before answering.] He was a Hindu, but according to Kab¯ [himself], all religions were the same. Kab¯ as gave the same respect to ır ırd¯ Hindu and Muslim. Kab¯ as was Hindu. ırd¯ (3) All religions were the same for Kab¯ as . Since he was a s¯dhu, people came to him ırd¯ a for knowledge. Both Hindu and Muslim came. [Kab¯ as ] saw no difference between ırd¯ them. He got in no trouble, caused no trouble. (4) For Kab¯ time, he was giving his knowledge to everyone. And he was religious, ır’s gave religious teaching. (5) Kab¯ changed [it], with his speech. He wanted Hindu and Muslim to become nice ır friends. Everyone is still running to his words, following what he said. Kab¯ as was ırd¯ trying for everyone to become [a] nice person. And [for] everyone to come together, to be empowered together. That was what he was trying to change. All can become a success. [Kab¯ ] was trying to totally change what was different between Hindu ır and Muslim. (6) By doing bhajan you can get to God, according to Kab¯ And you need to clean ır. your soul. And never speak bad to people. And never cause pain to other people. The above is what Kab¯ said how you can get to God. ır (7) Yes, I’ve been to Lahartara, a few times. Not to Kab¯ Math. ır . (8) I’ve attended bhajan, a few times; not many. At Lahartara. (9) There are many dohas of Kab¯ but I don’t remember. [Thinks a while more.] There ır, is one doha, [tells it in Sanskrit:] My interpreter quite consistently translated the word aÊÊ / aÊÊ e with nice. aÊ is a multipurpose word, and although it might sometime sound better to use the word ‘good’, or some such, instead of ‘nice’, I have retained my interpreters choice of words. 318 69 D Interviews, transcribed D.1 Yadav, men e aº aae я a a Êu e я e ue я яi u i u a a a яa a a u e [Could you explain it in simple words?] Someone is begging at a home, but people are not giving anything; going to kick him, they say “We have nothing, go away from here.” Those who kick out the beggar, they will die. [Comment from interpreter: Not die, but be a beggar himself; a bigger beggar than the other one.] Is already dead. (9.1) — (9.2) I like it because in this doha there is thrutness. (10) At the present Kab¯ as has much respect and is very important. Because at this ırd¯ time no one can do as Kab¯ did – to be all truthful. Still people think he is important ır and give him respect becaus ethey think he was truthful. (11) We got truthness, and we change if we follow his way. How we treat people, how we live [will change]. And in heart we get truth. D.1.2 Mahavir Yadav Mahavir Yadav, 43, from Nagwa. Went to school up until tenth class. (31 October 2007) (1) Kab¯ was giving respect to all religions as the same. And we are all human, so we are ır all the same. There is nothing that is different. There is not one, but many thoughts of what the religion of Kab¯ was, but N¯ and N¯ ır ıru ıma were Jul¯h¯. They gave him aa food and other things during his childhood. Someone319 had thrown him [i.e. the baby Kab¯ ], because she was feeling shy because of society, what they would think ır of the child Kab¯ as . ırd¯ N¯ and N¯ ıru ıma managed his childhood. Kab¯ had no jati. No one knew who threw ır him, so how could one know to which jati he belonged to. When Kab¯ as was dead, there was a s¯dhu who covered the body [of Kab¯ ] with ırd¯ a ır clothes. Then after when they dig, there was two flowers, [but] no body. The s¯dhu a gave one flower to the Muslims, one flower to the Hindus. Difficult to know if he was Hindu or Muslim. But he was a s¯dhu. a (2) — In Hindi, words get different endings depending on the gender of the subject, as in this case, or the object. Because of that, we know that this ‘someone’ was of female gender, even though Mahavir didn’t give any more details. 319 70 D Interviews, transcribed D.1 Yadav, men (3) — (4) — (5) — (6) According to Kab¯ you can find God in your heart, in your body. You don’t have ır, to go anywhere else. Because God is inside every human. (7) No, neither. (8) I don’t remember any. [A friend, who has been standing by listening, gives a doha in Sanskrit:] º a [Could you explain it in simpler words?] Many people want to find out other peoples bad habits. Before finding out other bad people, see inside how bad you are. So when you realize how bad you are, you don’t want to know how bad others are.320 (9) — (9.1) — (9.2) [The respondent is again Mahavir Yadav.] I like this doha because in this doha reality has [been] written. Everyone should not think about what other are thinking and doing. They should only think about themselves. Because people are always thinking of others. But if they’d stop, the world would be very [much] nicer. (10) — (11) — D.1.3 Sri Mayaram Yadav aя яa a ei Êa aя я a uя e º Sri Mayaram Yadav, 65 years old, from Nagwa. Went to school up until tenth class. (31 October 2007) The respondent did not like the situation very much, and got more uncomfortable as the interview proceeded, and more people gathered around. It was not possible to retain Even though it wasn’t Mahavir, but a friend of his, that recited the doha, it is included here, since Mahavir was the one who continued to answer (i.e. 9.2 below). 320 71 D Interviews, transcribed D.1 Yadav, men the structure of the interview; questions answered were 1, 9.2, and 7. In that order. After which Sri Mayaram Yadav grew too impatient to continue, and left the interview. (1) Kab¯ mothers name was Urv¯si. She got a boon from Surya,321 that if she’d take ır’s a a bath before sunrise the pregnancy would be no more. But she took the bath after [sunrise]. She had Kab¯ But she was shy of what people would think. She left Kab¯ ır. ır at the pond. Some Br¯hmin people got him, and they managed his life, brought him up at their a home. Thus Kab¯ as became very nice. ırd¯ Kab¯ as became a disciple to Kina Ram Bhagwa temple. ırd¯ Guru Gorakhn¯th and Kab¯ had a competition. Kab¯ as became a tom-cat.322 a ır ırd¯ Gorakhn¯th became a fish. [Kab¯ as ] became a fish because they can stay in water. a ırd¯ Gorakhn¯th became a fish because they stay in the water. The competition was, that a if Kab¯ could find Gorakhn¯th. As a tom-cat, he caught Gorakh Nath off the water. ır a The second competition. Gorakhn¯th threw a rope in the air and climbed on it to a the sky. Kab¯ as climbed up to the sky in plain air. Gorakhn¯th took a trishul323 ırd¯ a and sat on it in the air. Kab¯ as sat in midair [without any support]. Kab¯ as was ırd¯ ırd¯ always the best in competitions. (2) — (3) — (4) — (5) — (6) — (7) I’ve been to Lahartara a million times. [Mayaram left.] (8) — (9) — (9.1) — (9.2) [Doha told (in Sanskrit) by a bystander, at a earlier stage of the interview:] 321 322 Surya is the sun. Bilar 323 ‘Trishul’, a trident. The weapon Lord Shiva wields. (‘Weapons’, in Walker 2005b, p. 591) 72 D Interviews, transcribed D.1 Yadav, men ºa a u ia яai e e a aºa Úº a e ii a a If you are very tall, there isn’t any meaning as a tree of Kajur. There is no possibility of shadow and when the fruit falls, it falls far form the trunk. Too tall, no shadow, no fruit. Very difficult to help people. So if people were rich but you are not going to give money or help poor people; there is no meaning with this. What you are, you are for yourself and not for others. Dohas meaning is to be nice to everyone. (10) — (11) — D.1.4 Muresh Yadav Muresh Yadav, 40, from Assi. (1 November 2007) (1) — (2) Kab¯ as was Hindu. ırd¯ (3) No. (4) — (5) — (6) According to Kab¯ you have to do prachand puja pat ır, . (7) No. (8) Yes, at Tulsi Ghat.324 (9) I don’t remember. (10) — (11) — My interpreter doubts that there has been a Kab¯ bhajan at Tulsi gh¯t. Perhaps it was at one of ır a the nearby gh¯ts; maybe at Assi gh¯t. a a 324 73 D Interviews, transcribed D.1 Yadav, men D.1.5 Rajan Yadav Rajan Yadav, 35, from Assi. Went to school up until ninth class. (1 November 2007) (1) Kab¯ as was a s¯dhu; [he] had no specific religion nor caste. He was a great sant.325 ırd¯ a (2) If you check by name, you can find Kab¯ in [peoples names from] both Hindu and ır Muslim religion. But I’m thinking he was Hindu. (3) At Kab¯ time he was not giving speeches of which was the right way. He was ır’s not saying there was any difference between Hindus and Muslims. Both Hindus and Muslims came to hear what Kab¯ as had to say. ırd¯ (4) At this time, if you’re going to see what is in local area how the world is ran [it is different from then]. At Kab¯ time, he had no trouble with Hindu and Muslim. ır’s And [thus] he had no effect on [the relations between] Hindu and Muslim. He was managing his own time. Who is going to become s¯dhu or sant does not think of religion or cast, and [they] a don’t have any effect on those things. And they don’t see any difference between cast. For example, now we are here, but we can go to the mosque and there’s no difference [between Hindu and Muslim], all we [e.g. Hindus] have to do is to be clean. Today there are many Hindu’s that go to a mosque to pray. If you go to a mosque there are maulvis, but they aren’t going to stop you if you’re clean. But if you’re unclean, then they can stop you. Same for Kab¯ as when he lived here. He saw no difference. Everyone could come. ırd¯ Kab¯ as was doing his duty, uncaring of who was Hindu, who was Muslim. ırd¯ Sant Kab¯ was a poet too. ır ºa a e a ºa a º e Blanket is going to rain and water is going to become wet.326 [Can you explain what it means?] I have no idea about the poem, but this was how Kab¯ as was. Few ırd¯ words but much meaning. Many meanings in each word. Kab¯ as , in one word, ırd¯ there are many sentances. Like ‘going’ can mean people going, like money going – it depends on what he wanted to explain. (5) Many people got effect from his words, and still people are following [his words, his way]. ‘Sant’, see note 65 on page 17. This seem to be a ulatb¯ms¯ poem, for more on ulatb¯ms¯ poems, or poems in the Upside-down . a. ı . a. ı language, see section 2.2.2 on page 32. 326 325 74 D Interviews, transcribed D.2 Yadav, women (6) It’s difficult to say how to find God according to Kab¯ If you’re going to try by ır. praying hard, you can see God within everyone; in my body, in your body. So everyone has different opinion and thinking. People see God in the way they believe. Same for Mirabai. Wherever Mirabai looks, she’s going to see Krishna. And she could find Krishna in beggars and in kings too. For her beggar and king was the same, because she was looking at Krishna, not beggar or king. She was finding Mohan in everyone – they weren’t really [Mohan], except for her. And people were calling her crazy, but she wasn’t crazy, she was a great lover. (7) No. (8) — (9) I left school some 30 years ago. The lesson on Kab¯ was in like the fourth or fifth year ır of education. I don’t even remember which year I got married in. It’s very difficult to remember a poem because it isn’t used [often]. If you don’t practice, you don’t remember it. You can write a letter, like ‘a’, but few people can write serial bai, from a to z, because of lack of practice. But this does not mean that they don’t know the alphabet. (10) At this time many people give much respect to Kab¯ as , but not everyone. It ırd¯ depends on the person, who believes in these things. The same with religion as with family. Some give much nice respect to the father and some don’t. Around 90% know of Kab¯ because around 90% have education. You know from your youth, because ır, in school there’s a lesson on Kab¯ Even those that don’t know, don’t know what ır. Kab¯ did and all his poems and such, even they know something. Everyone knows a ır little. (11) If you follow Kab¯ opinion you can become a nice person. Because he was a nice ır’s person so you can become a nice person too. Take Kalidas for example. He was the [biggest fool] from the start. He went to to cut a branch. Sat on the same branch he was cutting. But he followed Kab¯ as , and Kalidas too became a nice person. ırd¯ D.2 D.2.1 Yadav, women Pr¯ma Yadav e Pr¯ma Yadav, 32, from Nagwa. Went to school up until ninth class. (13 November 2007) e (1) I don’t know. 75 D Interviews, transcribed D.2 Yadav, women D.2.2 Kausalya Yadav Kausalya Yadav, 27, from Nagwa. Originally from Sigra, Varanasi. No education. (13 November 2007) (1) I don’t know. Though I’ve heard of him. [From where?] I don’t know. [What have you heard of him?] I’ve only heard the name of Kab¯ as . ırd¯ D.2.3 Laxmi Yadav Laxmi Yadav, 40, from Nagwa. Went to school up until tenth class. (15 November 2007) (1) He was a s¯dhu, a Sufi Sant.327 a (2) Kab¯ as had no cast, no religion. He gave the same respect to all. He got life in ırd¯ Br¯hmin family. Some Muslim family, Jul¯h¯, had managed his childhood. When a aa Kab¯ as became older, he gave knowledge to Hindu and Muslim and Shudra too. ırd¯ He saw no difference in religions or cast. So the Hindu thought he wasn’t nice, since he gave knowledge to Muslims too. And the Muslims thought likewise. Kab¯ used to ır make them fight with his speeches. From both religions there were people who didn’t like him, [who] caused trouble. So he had to move from Lahartara to Kab¯ Chaura. ır ‘Chaura’ comes from ‘chabutra’, meaning platform. He continued to to teach at Kab¯ ır Chaura. (3) Yes, for both religions. For all religions. I’ve had history until class ten, which is why I remember so much. Both religions is the same according to Kab¯ ır. (3.1) — (3.2) — (3.3) Kab¯ as had no education. He was not educated and he was not forwarding ırd¯ anyone elses words. He was always following his own opinion, his own words. And when he was giving speeches, he was not supporting Hindus or Muslims, regardless of the audience. Still they follow his opinion. Still his branch is running many places. If you visit his place in guru punnima there is a big m¯la. e It is in July. They celebrate his birthday in July. He tried to change, watching not only Hindu and Muslim, but all religions. And tried to say to everyone that all of us are a gift from God, like sons of God. We have to do our work and keep distance from fighting. 327 For Sufism, see section 2.1.4 on page 17; for Sants, see section 2.1.3 on page 17. 76 D Interviews, transcribed D.2 Yadav, women (4) For that time, Hindu and Muslim were fighting but both people from both religions came to visit him. And Ravidas became his disciple. Kab¯ as was bigger than ırd¯ Ravidas. Ravidas went to Tulsidas, asked “Can I become disciple.” Tulsidas replied “You’re Chamar, I’m Br¯hmin, so this is not possible.” Then Kab¯ as came early a ırd¯ morning and slept in the stairs on the riverside. Tulsidas came and stepped on Kab¯ as ; exclaimed “Ram Ram Ram.” From that time on, Kab¯ was the disciple ırd¯ ır 328 of Tulsidas. (5) Yes. (6) According to Kab¯ you can find God everywhere. You have to work; [you] can’t just ır leave [work] for temple. When you have time, work and pray. Do both. Kab¯ was a ır Jul¯h¯ as a child so he had to work. He was working and praying too. aa (7) I’ve been many times to Lahartara, Kab¯ birthplace. Kab¯ as got life in Lahartara. ır’s ırd¯ His mother was a widow, she had a baby but didn’t know how she’d manage his life. She saw a lotus flower, many lotus flowers, in the pond. [She] put Kab¯ on a lotus ır flower and left. From pond husband and wife N¯ and N¯ ıru ıma Jul¯h¯ took him. And aa he spent his childhood in Lahartara Math. And he made Kab¯ Math when he had ır . . to move, as a place to stay. He made only [the] chabutra, but now there’s a math. . It grew slowly, slowly. There’s also a Kab¯ gh¯t, near Gadwa gh¯t. They haven’t ır a a 329 finished it it, it’s a katcha gh¯t. a If you can go inside Kab¯ Math, there’s a tunnel, a silver bed. There are four jinda ır . 330 samadhi. Before, when my grandmother lived, she saw one do this. I grew up behind Kab¯ Math. If you want to go there, I can come along and you can ır . get any books you want. (8) I have attended bhajan, since I grew up there I’ve attended many times. If I had a book with Kab¯ bhajans I would give, but I don’t have. I will go with you to Kab¯ ır ır Math and you can get any book you want, take any picture you want. . (9) Right now I can’t remember any doha or bhajan. (9.1) [Mrs. Yadav recites a song] [. . . ] [Can you explain what it means?] I can’t explain the meaning.331 It is obviously the legend of Kab¯ initiation by R¯m¯nanda that Laxmi is telling — even though ır’s aa she has confused R¯m¯nanda by Tulsidas. (For the legend, see section 2.2.1 on page 21.) aa 329 ‘Katcha gh¯t’, an unfinished gh¯t; a clay-gh¯t with no stairs. a a a 330 People that have willingly been buried alive, sitting in a pose of prayer. (According to Mr. Ashish.) 331 According to Mr. Ashish it is a modern song, which contains information on the biography of Kab¯ ır, as he supposedly had sung himself while weaving. 328 77 D Interviews, transcribed D.2 Yadav, women (9.2) In this doha you can see his life. You can find what he has done in his life. This is the story of his life, like a sheat [ie. told in a simple way]. When he was weaving, he was singing this doha. (10) Today there are many people who follow Kab¯ as . And at the villageside you will ırd¯ find more Sufi Sants. In [the] whole country you can find his people, who follow his words. From Lahartara to Delhi, Mumbai [and] Calcutta, you can find his branch. (11) Still if you go to Kab¯ Math they are doing all work following Kab¯ rule. There is ır ır’s . farmer who grow vegetables, they do all work by themselves. So people are following his rule. They are accepting his rule and are going to follow it. From his opinion we learn not to ever speak any bad words to anyone. And try not to follow the things, like money and such. What God has given you, you should be happy with. D.2.4 M¯ Yadav ıra M¯ Yadav, 45, from Assi. Went to school up until tenth class. (15 November 2007) ıra (1) He was (a) Sant. (2) He was giving respect to, accepting, both religions. [Kab¯ as was] born in Hindu ırd¯ family, but Muslim Jul¯h¯ managed his childhood. aa (3) Yes. (3.1) He was teaching. Both Hindu and Muslim were affected by his dohas and bhajans. (3.2) Yes, they still follow. At this time there is cassette too. People didn’t use to know, but thanks to this cassette, many do.332 Both Hindu and Muslim used to play that cassette. (3.3) He was trying to teach hindu and Muslim by doha in Satsang. By doha and bhajan he tried to bring them all together. (4) At that time, there was a woman condition which was not nice. People were feeling caste and religious differences too. They were separate. Kab¯ tried to get them all ır together. (5) Yes. 332 According to my assistant, the cassette to which Mira Yadav refers to, Kab¯ Amritvani, was made ır some two and a half years ago. It came to be quite popular. 78 D Interviews, transcribed D.2 Yadav, women (6) According to Kab¯ you have to do worship very deeply. (º a ua ır (7) No [not to Lahartara]. Yes[, to Kab¯ Chaura]. ır e i a) (8) I’ve attended a few times, at Kab¯ Chaura. There is one platform and everyone use ır to make bhajan there at that platform. (9) ºa яa u a u a яai e e a ea iÚ aяa a a я Kajurtree, long like a coconut-tree. Too high. When compared to any other tree, it’s higher than all, but of no use to anyone. No one can get any profit. Few leaves; no shadow; and fruit fall far away too. Respect is dependent on the work not on age or some such. I used to know many. I like many, and know a few. But now at this time I’m only remembering one. (9.1) — (9.2) The meaning of the doha is like real life. It’s reality. When you experience it in life, you know it to be true. What he has written is the real things. Sometimes local poeople speak these words. (10) Many people have chosen Kab¯ as as their gurumantra. Some chose Glava gh¯t ırd¯ a baba, some Kab¯ as . It depends on the people, on their family. Still people go to ırd¯ Kab¯ as place to visit him as their gurumantra. In my grandmothers family, they ırd¯ have chosen Kab¯ as as their gurumantra. ırd¯ (11) Some people, when they feel unwell, they go visit Kab¯ Math, and wish. And their ır . problems use to go away if they kept visiting Kab¯ Math. ır . For Kab¯ thinking, Hindu and Muslim belong is the same religion. That’s why he ır’s made doha too. And in Kab¯ doha is very important and every doha has a meaning. ır And Kab¯ and Rahim [are] both poets [who] have poems. In schoolbooks there’s a ır story about Kab¯ and Rahim, and poems too. ır ia a Úiяi º e uÚu a u я a e ai º Someone is missing to God. Saying I don’t need many things. Only what I need to live and so I can give the beggar that might come asking. 79 D Interviews, transcribed D.3 Muslim weavers, men D.2.5 Parm¯ Yadav ıra Parm¯ Yadav, 28, from Nagwa. No education. (17 November 2007) ıra (1) I don’t really care. I have too much to do. Food to make, home to take care of. I don’t have time to care about these things. D.3 D.3.1 Muslim weavers, men Abdul Bari Abdul Bari, 35, from Shivala. Went to school until he was 16, stopped at grade four. (25 November 2007) (1) I don’t know. Those who have read his story can tell. [. . . ] He was a singer. He was a good person. He had good company, never had any problem with anyone. (2) He was alltogether, both Hindu and Muslim. And he was born in Muslim family. (3) Both religions got effect from his words. (3.1) For that time he was managing both. When festivals or sadness in family, he used to attend both Hindu and Muslim. (3.2) Yes, still people give him the same respect as at that time. (3.3) He was managing both religions, and he had a good thinking. That is why both Hindu and Muslim got effect from his words. (4) — (5) — (6) In your heart there is God. So if you look into your heart, you can find God. If you ask with your heart how to find God, you will find God. (7) No [not to Lahartara]; Yes, I’ve been to Kab¯ Chaura. ır (8) No (9) No (10) For today also he has as much respect as when he was living. (11) If you’re going to compare Kab¯ time and today, there is much difference between ır’s religion and all things. What we can learn from him is to be all together [for all of us to be together]. 80 D Interviews, transcribed D.3 Muslim weavers, men D.3.2 Ansaru Din Ansaru Din, 34, from Shivala. No education, “but my kids used to go to school.” (25 November 2007) (1) He was a Muslim, but childhood [was] managed in Hindu family. His family had the weaving business; he was a weaver. He used to make saree, the design to sarees. And write poems too, while he was doing his work. From Kab¯ we have gotten this ır family. Before we only made clothes. Kab¯ taught designing, sarees and things. And ır business improved much. (2) He was giving respect to both religions. But he was brought up in Muslim country, by a Hindu family. When he died, Hindu said he was hindu, so he should burn, but Muslim said he was Muslim, and wanted to bury. There were no [body], only two flowers, rose. Hindu took one; Muslims took the other. (3) No (4) — (5) There was no problem between Hindus and Muslims because Kab¯ was managing ır both. They were as brothers. (6) For me, I used to go to mosque, because I’m Muslim. It depends on the person, to which religion one belongs. If you’re Hindu, go to temple to find God; and if you’re Muslim, you should find God in mosque. (7) No [not to Lahartara]; No [not to Kab¯ Math ]. But I’ve been to Kab¯ hospital ır ır . [which is in Kab¯ Chaura]. ır (8) I haven’t been to Kab¯ Chaura so how could I have attended bhajan? How could I ır know when there’s program, I’m always busy. (9) — (10) Still people follow. Follow his words. (11) In all [of] India we have learned how to stay all together from Kab¯ Still we are ır. managing same things. Same conditions, same business. There is no difference in business between caste. And all business belong to someone. 81 D Interviews, transcribed D.3 Muslim weavers, men D.3.3 Mustaka Ahmad Ansari Mustaka Ahmad Ansari, 42, from Shivala. Attended school until fifth class. “I was very poor when I was a student. Used to go to attend class, then start weaving with father. I started weaving as 10 years old. Stopped school around 12 years old.” (25 November 2007) (1) We know Kab¯ as as a poet. He was a quite popular poet. ırd¯ (2) I don’t know if he was born in a Hindu or Muslim family. Nobody has figured that out. But he was giving respect for both religions. Kab¯ as was born, but was a face ırd¯ of God. [He was like a God.] His childhood was managed by a bundhkar family.333 Kab¯ as was staying in temple and mosque too. So hard to say to which religion he ırd¯ was born. (3) Hindu and Muslim religions both were affected by him. He gave nice speeches to both [groups], so both Hindu and Muslim were affected by his words. People got effect from his words; that’s why he became this popular. (3.1) — (3.2) — (3.3) He used to call people and give a speech for them. And that time all weren’t following, but was opposing. Kab¯ as tried to teach them too. And he tried ırd¯ [to get] people to stop hims¯ and become ahims¯.334 He was telling them by his ˙a ˙a voice, his poems. (4) According to that time, he wrote poems, dohas, about the situation of that time. He wanted to change the situation. a 333 334 ae я a a яa ae я ae aº335, 336 A family of weavers. Hims¯, means killing; the meaning of ahims¯ is non-harming or non-injury. It is one of the highest ˙a ˙a virtues in Hindu ethics. Taken to its peak, ahims¯ is to live one’s life in such a way that no harm — ˙a physical or psychological — comes to any living being. (‘Ahims¯’, in Walker 2005a, p. 16) ˙a 335 According to my assistant, the following is a part of the poem, but not quoted by Mr. Ansari: aº a e aº Translation: What you’re going to do tomorrow, do today, and what you’re going to do today, do right now. 336 82 D Interviews, transcribed D.3 Muslim weavers, men Êi e Êa a aaa ae a e Úu a aeÚ aº e 337 a e a e If you’re going to see today as well you can see there’s no difference between Hindu and Muslim, but somebody still feel a difference between Hindu and Muslim. So when Kab¯ was here, there was also people who felt there was difference, and people who ır felt there weren’t. And those who felt there wasn’t went to hear his speeches. And he was all the time speaking true and he was supporting the right things. So people were affected. And today too there are people who live the right way, who supports him too. So people weren’t supporting one religion or the other, but that which was true. There is much difference between giving a speach and to do. Kab¯ was not only ır giving speeches, but was doing true too. (5) Kab¯ was going to change what was bad and weak in society. Kab¯ as was weaving. ır ırd¯ That job is really thruthful work because what you earn is 100 percent true, because in this job there is no bad things, cheating and such. If you want more information about Kab¯ as you should go to Lahartara. ırd¯ (6) You can get [to God] form inside, from heart. But we need to be clean first. We can get ishvar khuda,338 everyone, if we are clean. From inside what is bad, we have to take out; then we can get anything. Great people like Kab¯ as , and so on, had ırd¯ to fight first, to become clean. And then they became great persons. People always wish something, so first you have to stop wishing all these tings. You have to see inside, to be clean, and then you can get to God form the inside. You don’t have to go somewhere. (7) I’ve been to Lahartara, many times, because I have the saree business. To give some things and to get some things. I’ve been in Kab¯ Math too. A lot of changes there. ır . I saw last time, and the time before that, a lot of changes. (8) Sometimes when we gossip at the riverside, someone can start singing bhajan or doha. I’ve done that. [How many times?] The purpose was not to do bhajan. The discussion The meaning, according to my assistant: If you’re going to be in sad way, you’re not going to earn money (because Laksmi can’t come there. If you’re going to think a lot you’re going to loose your cleverness. If you are sad at all times, you are going to become weak. Mr Ansari did not explain the poem at this point – however he later talked about the meaning of it. See below, answering question (9.2). 338 Used synonymous to Bhagav¯n, e.g. God, according to Mr. Ashish. Also see ‘God’, in Walker 2005a, a pp. 394–395; ‘Bhakti’, in Walker 2005a, p. 138. 337 83 D Interviews, transcribed D.3 Muslim weavers, men goes from matter to matter. But if [the topic of] Kab¯ comes up, some might sing ır a doha or bhajan, and some others join in. If someone comes, they join. But at this time it’s not possible, because everything is changing, so no one is talking about those things. For this time there aren’t many people interested in Kab¯ They want to talk about ır. Bollywood movies, about cricket. But some [young] people, they are interested, so they talk, and want to know more. (9) You can get doha or bhajan from my uncle. [Gives the second doha, from above, again.] The meaning of this doha is that Kab¯ wanted to tell people to try anyhow, ır to be happy. (9.1) — (9.2) In this poem you can see all things true. You can see whole life in this poem. That’s why I like this poem a lot. (10) We have already gotten effected from Kab¯ as . But if you’re going to see how fast ırd¯ the world is running so one day it will stop. One day people will forget Kab¯ as , ırd¯ Ravidas, everyone. Government give gifts to different people but we don’t get [any]. If you have the contacts but otherwise not possible. Kab¯ as has his limit. You can ırd¯ find him only in books. So if you’re going to limit him there’s no meaning. Like Ganga Mahotsava.339 You cannot start a program like that in Kab¯ as name. But in any ırd¯ program you can talk about Kab¯ as . Not two hours, but ten minutes. Someone ırd¯ can give speech, because many people [that attend the concert] are beggars and have not been to school, and so haven’t heard of Kab¯ as . So those people will also be ırd¯ there because it’s a festival so [then] they can get knowledge of Kab¯ as too. ırd¯ (11) You can see the way, get it, from Kab¯ as . For that, in foreign country, everyone has ırd¯ a lot of facility. In foreign country they talk about person too, they give knowledge. If you compare with foreign country we need to get more information, knowledge. Then young people will know about Kab¯ If you give limit for one person, then ır. what can you learn? Otherwise they’re just going to read from the book that he was a nice person who always used to speak true and then in next class stop [thinking of/remembering him]. It is not in Lohta [e.g. Lahartara], where he was born, but in Varanasi, [that] the government can make some program about him. So we can attend the program and learn about Kab¯ as . And we can give knowledge to the ırd¯ next generation about Kab¯ as too. ırd¯ 339 A yearly music-festival at Ganges riverside. 84 D Interviews, transcribed D.3 Muslim weavers, men D.3.4 Abdul Kabis Abdul Kabis, 30, from Shivala. Went to school until the tenth class. (26 November 2007) (1) I don’t know. (2) — (3) — (4) — (5) — (6) — (7) I’ve been to Lahartara, but not to Kab¯ as ’s birthplace. ırd¯ (8) No. (9) No. (10) — (11) — D.3.5 Gani Kha Gani Kha, 26, from Shivala. Graduated from class 12 + 3. (26 November 2007) (1) Kab¯ as was a writer. He write dohas and poetry. ırd¯ (2) N¯ and N¯ ıru ıma were Jul¯h¯. They managed his childhood. They were of course aa Muslim, so he was Muslim. (3) — (4) I don’t have that kind of deep knowledge about Kab¯ as . ırd¯ (5) — (6) Inside your heart. (7) No [not to either]. (8) No. 85 D Interviews, transcribed D.4 Muslim weavers, women (9) No. (10) — (11) From Kab¯ as we can learn respect and truthness. And we should follow true way. ırd¯ We should support poor people. If you could ask about Tulsidas, we’d know more. a aa uaa Ê a au a 340 a a a a e ºa D.4 D.4.1 Muslim weavers, women Nazbul Nazbul, 60, from Saket Nagar. Education up to fifth class. (8 December 2007) (1) Kab¯ as was a Mahant,341 a Sant. In reality, he belonged to a very lowest cast. He ırd¯ was doing ceremony and became popular. So then he became mahant. (2) [He was] born in Lahur [near Punjab]. I have no idea in which religion he was born. [. . . ] Born in Hindu family. But used to always walk around the city, especially at Dashaswamedha gh¯t at the riverside. a He was Hindu. (3) — (4) Both Hindu and Muslim got effect from his words. When Hindu and Muslim became his disciples, they were following his words. (5) At that time [there was] no problem. Everyone was following his words. His story and thinking everyone was liking so there wasn’t ever any trouble. (6) According to Kab¯ you can find God in your heart. Kab¯ knew that we can get to ır ır God from inside his body. That’s why he was always talking from body to God. Like Hanuman, who knew Ram and Sita to be in his heart. (7) [I have] heard he was born in Lahartara, but I haven’t been there. Been in Kab¯ ır Chaura, seen Kab¯ Math from outside, but have not been inside. ır . In 1680, near Asi, at Ganga he (i.e. Tulsidas) left his body. ‘Mahant’, the head of a monastary or math. (‘Hierophant’, in Walker 2005a, p. 438) For ‘math’, see . . note 317 on page 67. 341 340 86 D Interviews, transcribed D.4 Muslim weavers, women (8) No. (9) No idea. When I was a student I knew, but now I don’t. (10) There’s still people who love him, who follow his words. (11) We can learn from him doha and how to do worship [bhakti]. D.4.2 Johara Begam Johara Begam, 35, from Saket Nagar. No education (8 December 2007) (1) He was born in Lahartara in Kashi. Got left in Hindu family but Muslim family took care of him. Family put him into lake and threw away. Found and taken home by Muslim family. (2) He was giving same respect to both religions because he knew he was born in Hindu family but spent childhood in Muslim family. (3) From Kab¯ words Hindu and Muslim disciples became as brothers. [There was] no ır’s fighting eachother. (4) — (5) — (6) Go to temple or mosque, depending on which religion you belong to. If you try to find God with your heart you will get it anywhere. At your home too. You’re going to do the lighting in the temple and in the mosque, if you light and try with heart you can get [it] at home too. (7) [I have] been to Lahartara because my brother used to visit there. Been in Kab¯ ır Chaura but not with the purpose to see Kab¯ Math. ır . (8) No. (9) No. (10) The same respect Kab¯ had he has now too. For example God and Goddess is not ır going to change and we all are going to continue to give them respect. Same with Kab¯ as too for us. ırd¯ (11) aa aa aÚ aa aa aÚ ai Kab¯ tried so that Hindu and Muslim wouldn’t fight but stay together always. ır 87 D Interviews, transcribed D.4 Muslim weavers, women D.4.3 Nurjaha Nurjaha, 30, from Saket Nagar. Went to school up to class eight. (8 December 2007) (1) [Kab¯ ] was a poet. Born in Lahartara in 1398, died in 1518. [He was] born in Hindu ır family but childhood managed by Jul¯h¯ family. aa (2) Giving same respect to both religions. (3) Muslim got more effect, if you’re going to compare with Hindus. (4) At that time [he] was giving same respect to both religions, to both younger and older, younger and older cast. (5) For his thinking it was nice if people got effected. (6) According to Kab¯ anywhere if you do ceremony with heart you can get to God. You ır don’t need to be in temple or mosque. (7) Lahartara, yes. I used to live there. I saw his birthplace and a samadhi. I don’t know whose. People staying there used to do ceremony at [the] samadhi. (8) No. (9) u uu i Ú ÚÚ e i Ú Úi ae ºa e u ºa iÚ a Guru and Govind are both standing; what to do, whose feet to touch. Many thanks guru for telling me. The preceptor saw way what to do at this condition. Felt attracted to guru because he had actually helped at that time. So he touched feet of preceptor, not God. (10) From his opinion we try to change our life. (11) He was Jul¯h¯, he was weaving. We can learn good things from him. He tried to aa walk around in city and give people speech. From his speech they were affected and were changed. We can learn from him good things. We don’t use to do bad words. D.4.4 Monima Monima, 40, from Saket Nagar. Went to school up until fifth class. (8 December 2007) (1) I don’t know him. 88 D Interviews, transcribed D.5 Additional interviews D.4.5 Sadika Fatur Sadika Fatur, 38, from Saket Nagar. Studied BSI at Banaras Hindu University. (8 December 2007) (1) He was poet. (2) Giving same respect to both religions. (3) Yes, in our thinking. (4) He didn’t see any difference between Hindu and Muslim, (5) Yes, that time people got affected. Because people are using one doha for educating children. Otherwise no[, they wouldn’t]. (6) According to Kab¯ I have no idea where to find God. But Kab¯ has given more ır– ır respect to guru than to God, if you’re going to compare. (7) No[, not to either]. (8) I haven’t been to Lahartara or to Kab¯ Math, so how could I have attended? If I ır . had been to Lahartara or Kab¯ Math, then I could have attended. ır . (9) u uu i Ú ÚÚ e i Ú Úi ae ºa e u ºa iÚ a Guru and God are both standing. The duty of the disciple is to touch the feet of the guru first, not the God. According to this poem, guru used to get more respect than God. (10) — (11) We can learn from Kab¯ to give respect to guru. It is true, according to this poem, ır that we use to give respect first to guru, but at this time only a few people are following this. Because too many things are changing. [It is] almost impossible to do it. Only a few people are following. D.5 D.5.1 Additional interviews 11 students 11 students, all girls, between the age of 14 to 15 (class 9 and 10), from the Muslim school Zintul Islam Girls’ School in the area of Reori Talab, Ban¯ras. Class 9-10 is when they a study the “main class of Kab¯ (12 December 2007) ır.” 89 D Interviews, transcribed D.5 Additional interviews (1) Kab¯ was a poet and a social reformer. He didn’t believe in superstition. Kab¯ ır ır wanted unity. He was a very simple man. (2) Kab¯ didn’t believe in any religion. [Into what family was he born?] Kab¯ was born ır ır in Hindu family. N¯ and N¯ ıru ımu, a Muslim couple, adopted him. Near Lahartara lake. Kab¯ was a illiterate person. He believed in simple life and high thinking. ır (3) He didn’t believe in any religion. (4) Kab¯ believed all religions are one. There should be brotherhood between the reliır gions. He did not believe in superstitions. He did not believe in cast-system. [He thought that] all are equal in front of God. (5) — (6) In the soul of men; of human beings. a Ú Úe ai º ai ai ee яaÚ ai e ai e Where are you trying to find me? I’m inside, not in kaba not in masjid not in Kailash.342 Where to find God is not in Qaba not Kailash, but in persons heart. (7) No [no-one had been to either place]. (8) No. u º яi u a u Try to use those words other people can be happy (and not cursed) [from]. When you speak anything rather than being rude you should speak so softly even you feel better (after speaking the words). (9) aя ºa ºa aº a u º ºa aº Whatever could be done tomorrow do it today. (10) — This is probably a fragment of the bhajan “Moko kah¯m dh¯ndhe re bande”, see appendix B.2 on a . . u. . page 62. 342 90 D Interviews, transcribed D.5 Additional interviews (11) Don’t leave things for later; do it today. (12) [Anything you’d like to add?] You only learn [about Kab¯ ] in school, from books. ır He had two children: Kamal and Kamali. Kab¯ was a weaver. The name of his wife was Loi. ır He was born 1398, died 1518 120 years old. A Br¯hmin widow gets Kab¯ due to a blessing of swami Ramananda. a ır His language was pankhmil kijni and sadukari, a mix. He died in Magahar 1518. He was found in Lahartara. Kab¯ could not read or write; his students wrote. ır Books of Kab¯ are Sikhi Sabhd and Ramaini. ır The language of Kab¯ was vija. Very mixed up language. ır Kab¯ is a Muslim name. ır He died in Magahar. (13) [Could you say something about his personality?] He enjoyed life. D.5.2 Mohammad Toha Mohammad Toha, a important figure of the administration of the Zintul Muslim Girls’ School. (12 December 2007) Why do you teach (about) Kab¯ We follow the central plan, a part of the national ır? program. What is the goal of teaching (about) Kab¯ [What do you wish to achieve with ır? it?] Whatever is in the book, we have to teach. Kab¯ comes with Hindi studies, which is from class 6-7 and onwards. ır The language of Kab¯ was the spoken language of the time. ır 91