Friday, June 15, 2012

Kabir Jayanti

Today, June 15, is Kabir Jayanti, the birthday of the mystic poet Kabir. It’s an official holiday in the state of Himachal Pradesh in India. Kabir was born in 1440 and brought up in a family of Musalman weavers. Stories about his upbringing abound, some claiming that he was born from a bouquet of flowers, and some that say he was born from a boil on his mother's hand. However he came into the world the child was named Kabir and was known to have all manner of mysterious powers. Upon his death in 1518, his body turned back into flowers. Kabir is best known as a poet, and is generally celebrated as a literary, than a religious celebrity. His writings remain well known and widely taught among Sikh educated classes. The Kabir Panth ("Path of Kabir"), a religious community that recognizes him as its founder, numbers nearly 10 million people over north and central India.
Go read some Kabir poems! Why not? Or, you could always listen to Paul Auster read them to you.  

Friend, Wake Up! Why Do You Go On Sleeping?

Friend, wake up! Why do you go on sleeping?
The night is over— do you want to lose the day
the same way? Other women
who managed to get up early have
already found an elephant or a jewel...
so much was lost already while you slept... and that was so unnecessary!

The one who loves you understood, but you did not.
You forgot to make a place in your bed next to you.
Instead you spent your life playing.
In your twenties you did not grow because you did not know who your Lord was.
Wake up! Wake up! There's no one in your bed— 
He left you during the long night.

Kabir says: The only woman awake is the woman
who has heard the flute!