Knowing Kabir : Maya Maha Thugni… माया महाठगिनी हम जानी…

Knowing Kabir…

Maya Maha Thugni… माया महाठगिनी हम जानी…

No it is not about our son, but about that amazing people’s Poet of 15th century India who was the inspiration for our son’s name. In this beautiful work Kabir talks about those moments when we focus ourselves completely in search of the supreme power (Brahmna/ God) without any distraction. “It frees us”, he says,  “But when we get too much involved in worldly affairs, the Maya binds and entices us.”

Aim at the salvation, through meditation, through loving one and all; Devote the life to the absolute Brahmn (God); and live a pious, meaningful life – opposed folly, see the futility of social practices, carried out mindlessly in the name of traditions or religion.

This, in nutshell, is all that Kabir said in his lifetime – Live a happy, content life, peacefully and you will find all the answers within yourself.

Sant Kabir : 1440 - 1518
Sant Kabir : 1440 – 1518

माया महाठगिनी हम जानी।
निरगुन फांस लिए कर डोलै, बोलै मधुरी बानी।
केसव के कमला होइ बैठी, सिव के भवन भवानी।
पंडा के मूरत होइ बैठी, तीरथ हू में पानी।
जोगि के जोगिन होइ बैठी, राजा के घर रानी।
काहू के हीरा होइ बैठी, काहू के कौड़ी कानी।
भक्तन के भक्ति होउ बैठी, ब्रह्मा के बह्मानी।
कहै कबीर सुनो भाई साधो, वह सब अकथ कहानी।

Maya Maha Thugni Hum Jaani

Tirgun Phans Liye Kar Dole, Bole Madhuri Bani

Kesav Ke Kamla Ve Baithi , Shiv Ki Bhavan Bhavani

Punda Ke Murat Ve Baithi, Tirath Mein Bhai Pani

Yogi Ke Yogin Ve Baithi, Raja Ke Ghar Rani

Kahu Ke Hira Ve Baithi, Kahu Ke Kodi Kani

Bhaktan Ke Bhaktin Veh Baithi, Brahma Ke Brahmani

Kahe Kabir Suno Bhai Sadho, Yeh Sab Akath Kahani

Maya (1) is biggest Thug (2), I have come to know the illusory power of the great Thug.

Her hands Sway Holding a Web-like Trap, She Speaks in a Sweet Voice

Along with Kesava (3) she manifests herself as embodiment of abundance

With Shiva (4) , she is the empress of the worlds

For Priest she is seated as the idol of worship, and at pilgrimages she manifests herself as the holy water

For Yogis (hermits) she takes form of a spiritual goal, In the King’s palace she becomes the Queen

For some she appears as a priceless diamond, while for some others she is worth-less

For Devotees she’s object of Devotion, With Brahma (5) she becomes his consort

Kabir says listen oh practicing aspirant, all this is an untold story, which everybody knows.

(1) Maya – Illusion, the material world that we live in and its physical characteristics

(2) Thug – Deceptive force, referring to a cruel, vicious ruffian/ robber who attracts pretending to be a friend, and then robs

(3) Keshava – Krishna/Vishnu – the sustainer of this world as per Hindu religion

(4) Shiva – God of destruction in Hinduism

(5) Brahma – God of Creation in Hinduism

  • Who is Kabir?
Kabir - 15th Century people's poet and philosopher of India
Kabir – 15th Century people’s poet and philosopher of India

Kabir was a mystic, Kabir was a myth, Kabir was a poet, Kabir was a Yogi, Kabir was a super clever mind, Kabir was just a village simpleton. We can keep fighting to put a label on him, like his contemporary Hindu and Muslim who wanted to disown him when he was alive but were very quick to fight in order to claim his dead body  for carrying out the last rites using their respective religious procedures. But in the end, like the mysterious birth of Kabir, his body transformed itself into flowers, half of which was buried in a grave by Muslims and the other half cremated as per Hindu religion.

As there is no absolute documentary proof about the birth and death of Kabir. He himself could very well be just a illusion, like the poem above, one of the many poems attributed to him, suggest about this world –  just a creation of fertile Indian minds. Even in terms of his work, there no authenticated records of what are truly his words and what is added by some other people contemporary to him or by his fans after he passed away. But as far as the common knowledge goes, without any supporting documentary proof and with conflicting accounts, Kabir was born to a Brahmin widow at Lahartara near Kashi (Varanasi). The widow abandoned Kabir to escape dishonor associated with births outside a marriage – which even today, after 100s of year, is still considered a taboo here in India. . He was brought up in a family of poor Muslim weavers Niru and Nima. Vaishnava saint Ramananda accepted Kabir as his disciple; when Ramananda died, Kabir was 13 years old. It is not known in detail what sort of spiritual training Kabir may have received. He did not become a sadhu, nor did he ever abandon worldly life. Kabir chose instead to live the balanced life of a householder and mystic, a tradesman and contemplative. Kabir’s family is believed to have lived in the locality of Kabir Chaura in Varanasi. Kabir maṭha, a maṭha located in the back alleys of Kabir Chaura, celebrates his life and times. Accompanying the property is a house named Nirutila which houses Niru and Nima’s graves. The house also accommodates students and scholars who live there and study Kabir’s work.

Kabir composed in a pithy and earthy style, replete with surprise and inventive imagery. His poems resonate with praise for the true guru who reveals the divine through direct experience, and denounce more usual ways of attempting god-union such as chanting, austerities, etc. Kabir, being illiterate, expressed his poems orally in vernacular Hindi, borrowing from various dialects including Avadhi, Braj, and Bhojpuri. His verses often began with some strongly worded insult to get the attention of passers-by. Though his vocabulary is replete with Hindu spiritual concepts, such as Brahman, Karma and reincarnation, he vehemently opposed dogmas, in Hinduism as well as in Islam. His Hindi was a vernacular, straightforward kind, much like his philosophies. He often advocated leaving aside the Qur’an and Vedas and simply following Sahaja path, or the Simple/Natural Way to oneness in God. He believed in the Vedantic concept of Atman/Parmatman, but unlike earlier orthodox Vedantins, he spurned the Hindu societal caste system and murti-pujan (idol worship), showing clear belief in both bhakti and Sufi ideas.

Kabir is definitely one of the most favorite of the intellectual Indians among the sages, saints, poets, writers and thinkers who have shaped, molded and refined the inner self and influenced the life of both the Hindus and Muslims. With the clarity in vision, simple and balanced philosophy, practical ideas for a healthy, happy and pleasant life, strong opposition to everything unworthy for human beings Kabir became a legend and a common familiar name for poor and rich, literate and illiterate, and foolish, wise or enlightened during his life-time. The life of Kabir is both worldly and spiritual. He saw, felt, experienced, conjured up and boldly expressed all that happened around him. He meditated on the eternal truth, devoted himself to the supreme power (Brahman), got revelation, collected these spiritual experiences and expressed all that happened in the divine world of his inner self. Kabir is treated as a Mystic of the highest order; a perfect living saint, as a great preceptor capable of initiating others to spiritual world. Without any doubt he is the greatest and most outstanding devotee, mystic poet and a common people’s Saint – and for the more evolved people, he is a profound philosopher who had the gift to explain deep philosophical thoughts in a simple everyday language.

One comment

  1. Nice commentary and translation. One major topographical error in हिंदी though. It’s तिर्गुण not निर्गुण in the second line. Thanks!

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