“I learnt Kabir from a donkey-cart man,” says Fariduddin Ayaz


This English word ‘fan’
(of a famous person)… ..it lacks the sanctity
or reverence… …the quality of faith and
feeling that… ..a lover has for his beloved,
or the beloved for his lover… …a disciple has for his guru,
a seeker for the mentor… …this word ‘fan’ doesn’t
evoke that quality at all. To describe that relationship,
one could say ‘devotion’ or ‘love’… ..’longing’, ‘passion’, ‘yearning’…
…so many facets to the feeling. In my view, Kabir Das
(may Allah’s mercy be with him)… Kabir Das – may Allah’s
blessings be with him! Thank you, son It’s an Arabic word –
‘Rahmatullahi Alaih’ (RA)… ..which means, may Allah
shower him with grace. Kabir Das is in himself
an entire culture… ..in himself an
entire university… ..a philosopher… ..a complete human being… ..a complete teacher… ..with a style of instruction
that is entirely his own… ..a style of teaching
that is all his own. He makes the most ordinary
things into examples… …to instruct his disciples
very lovingly. Kabir, at the pinnacle
of his truth… …does not even believe
in the name of religion. I didn’t say ‘religion’. He doesn’t believe in
the ‘name’ of religion. There is one thing that is religion,
and then there is its symbol or name. Kabir says….I found nothing in your chants
Nothing in the holy texts
Devotional songs, chants,
fasts, scriptures… …holy books, the Qur’an, Gita,
Yajur Veda, Atharva Veda, Sama Veda, etc… ..if we go further,
the Bible… …he sweeps them all into one
small metaphor, when he says…I found nothing in your chantsNothing in the holy textsKabir says, listen seekers
I found everything in a piece of bread
Kabir says, listen seekers
I found everything in a piece of bread
As you know, there is no
place in the world… Who’s doing this? There is no place in the world
where bread isn’t found or eaten. In some form or the other. By ‘bread’ he is signalling
our day to day. He doesn’t mean the
literal bread! When our basic needs confront
us, then religion takes a back seat. In that era, in almost
every region…. …a Kabir was born! ‘Kabir’ is the name of a symbol,
a character. Over here, you find him in
Sachal Sarmast (RA)… ..in Hazrat Baba
Bulleh Shah (RA)… ..Hazrat Ghulam Fareed (RA)… ..Hazrat Khwaja Fareed (RA)… …in Peshawar, Khattak (RA)… ..Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai (RA)… ..and I am seeing this clearly… Oh, this is quite apt!
Oh, this is perfect! Son, open the door. Shabnamji, since we
are in darkness… ..please keep making
listening sounds! You and I are trying to find
Kabir in words and languages. But Kabir is not wearing
the mantle of language! Because the name ‘Kabir’
represents a theme…a concept… ..which is heard in different places
by different names! My respected father used
to say, that knowledge… …if it reaches a particular
station, when it needs safeguarding… …it is deliberately dispersed,
distributed into different areas. One piece may fall in south India,
another in central India, Europe, USA… When a seeker arrives,
a student is born… …a worthy deserving person… ..then they gather all the pieces
from different places… ..and give rise to
Kabir once again! Knowledge is never
lost from the world. Students or seekers or
scholars may disappear… ..they may die, but
knowledge never dies. To keep it safe guarded,
is the way of nature itself. Now this is a piece of wood
in front of you…it’s wood! A craftsman
brought it together. Drove in the nails,
shaped the planks… ..brought the brass plates,
seasoned them, made reeds… ..created the mechanism
for wind to come in… …and it finally came
together as this instrument. When it has to fall apart… ..it’s body will scatter. The body may scatter, but
the music never will. Shamsher! He used to ply
a donkey cart. To earn a living
he plied a donkey cart. But he had such a treasure
of Kabir’s poems! One time, I heard him… ..down the lane,
he’d lit a small bonfire… ..10-15 people had
gathered around him. He played a
small dholak. And then he began to sing Kabir! I was very young then,
around 10-11 years old. But when I heard Kabir from him,
I started to weep! Then, a love for Kabir
was awakened. At that naive age,
I began to fill myself with Kabir! I took Kabir from him into my heart,
listened, learnt, memorized him… ..and understood him,
from such a man… ..who in the eyes of the world
was a mere donkey-cart man! A donkey-cart man! You won’t find the knowledge
of Kabir in universities. His insights you cannot get
from universities, scholars or professors! For that you will have to go
to Kabir himself! Strip yourself of all
your shackles before you go! In order to reach Kabir,
you need a visa given by him! And you’ll be eligible for it
when he himself feels you’re ready! – It’s not something the Pakistan
or Indian government can give!? – Oh no! Kabir is beyond
both of them! What they call the
‘country to country visa’… ..it is for those people who are
citizens of one country… …and seeking to go
to another country. But that person who belongs to
some other land…. …and is going to
such a country… – which has no
borders… – No one can stop him!
Do birds need visas? In full view of the
immigration officials… ..you see birds, dogs and cats
crossing the border, no one stops them! To reach Kabir,
you need his visa! You will be stopped at
Kabir’s border if you don’t have it! These borders
are quite useless! I am recalling a poem
by Zaheen Shah.They became their
own destination
‘Maqsood’ means? ‘Required’…
‘required destination’. The place where you
seek to arrive… ..if you become that
destination yourself!They became their
own destination
Who got lost
searching for the beloved
Those who set out
in search of the beloved… …all paths come and end
on that seeker! Because he becomes
the beloved himself!Did the shore move
or did the boat?
Did the shore move
or did the boat?
To each as
they perceive
When you’re standing
on the shore, you say… …the banks of a river
or the sea… ..then you say,
“The boat is arriving.” But the person standing
in the boat… …says, ”The shore is arriving.” However, if some persona,
some soul is above both of them… …for him no one’s coming,
and no one going anywhere. Coming and going is the
reality for those down there! Kabir is that persona
who’s above them all. His theme, his knowledge
is seeing from above. And what a
way to see! Zaheen Shah Tajisahab(RA)
says… I’ll quote his poem…Oh friends, I
recognize Zaheen
‘Zaheen’ is his pen nameOh friends, I
recognize Zaheen
Standing apart
Yet mingling with all, that’s him!
He is speaking about himself
in the voice of his friends… Oh friends, you haven’t
understood Zaheen at all! Let me give you a
small tip to spot him. That one whose knowledge,
actions and persona makes him… ..stand apart from the rest,
that’s Zaheen. That’s him! And yet his knowledge,
actions and persona make him… …mingle with everybody! He is to be found everywhere,
in the mosque, the temple, the church… …the one you spot everywhere,
that’s Zaheen! Nowthatis
Zaheen! I often quote the poems
of Zaheen Shah, because… …his poetry seems
as though someone… …translated into
the Urdu language… …the poems of Kabir. Kabir in Urdu and that too,
beautifully translated! – This poem makes me
recall one by Kabir…I connected to the One,
the One permeated all
All are mine, I am in all
There is no Other there
I found nothing in your chants
Nothing in the holy texts
Kabir says, listen seekers
I found everything in a piece of bread

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *