Thursday, December 8, 2011

Poems of Kabir I

Saint Kabir was the original Rebel. At a time when Hindu Muslim unity and tolerance was at its lowest, Kabir spoke about the one true God and gave the wisdom of Advaita in his own way. He wrote poems which an ordinary villager could understand and yet today the same poems are the subject of study of the highest philosophers and thinkers. Was Kabir way ahead of his time? I think He was beyond time.

Living in this mundane existence when sooner or later we find nothing makes any sense and we are searching for a string to hold on to, the poems of Kabir provide that solace and guide us. His words are sharp like an axe which cuts religion, dogmas, rituals and all ideas that we have created about truth into pieces. When temples are destroyed Hindus get angry. When Muslim rituals are criticised, they don't like it. But Kabir doesn't care. He will state that which he experienced. The truth and truth alone.

Some time back I was fortunate to have attended the first ever Kabir Fest here in Bangalore. The organiser Shabnam Virmani and team had done a terrific job. A Festival entirely dedicated to the work of Kabir. So there were concerts and documentaries and it was marvellous. The atmosphere in the concerts were similar to an Art of Living Satsang. People dancing and singing and "MAST" in their own self..
Two of the best finds in the Fest were Folk singer Prahlad Tipanya  and  Pakistani Sufi Singer Farid Ayaz.

Prahlad Tipanya is one of the most compelling folk voices of Kabir in India today who combines singing and exposition of Kabir in the Malwi folk style from Madhya Pradesh. He has toured the US, and in Feb 2008 was felicitated with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award.
In 1978, at the age of 24, Prahladji first heard and was captivated by the sound of the tambura, a 5-string plucked instrument. He was a village schoolteacher, and singing was not a family tradition. But this became a defining moment for his life. Through the tambura, Prahladji encountered the world of Kabir. The words of this fifteenth-century saint-poet are sung in village after village by hundreds of bhajan mandalis, whose members have kept alive an unbroken oral tradition of singing Kabir’s poetry for 600 years. Prahladji entered this world of all-night bhajan sessions as a learner. Over three decades later he is a household name, his cassettes and CDs heard in countless public and private places. Many acknowledge him as having powerfully contributed to a resurgence of Kabir oral traditions and music in Malwa.

"Kahaan se Aaya".  In this poem, Kabir speaks about awareness, breath, body and Guru.
Beautifully he puts the importance of being aware of the body and the breath.
Fearless as he is, Kabir tears apart Hipocrisy in spirituality. First he talks about the Kazi who talks about God but after sometime without showing any compassion goes and smashes the chicken's head on the rock. In another paragraph, he talks about the 
Pundit who wears the garland , Tilak and does fasts and pilgrimages. But lost in the outer rituals he is not aware of his own body.

And how can I miss him saying "Satguru mile to Bhed Batave, Khul Jave Antar Khidki" ( When you get a Satguru, He will tell you the secret and the inner window opens up )

So has the inner window opened yet ? :)

About Ustad Farid Ayaz in the next post...