Showing posts with label Bijak. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bijak. Show all posts

Hinduism - Who Are The Kabirpanth?

Followers of the northern Indian poet-saint Kabir form a religious group.

Some Kabirpanthis are ascetics, while others live in houses.

The group's most prominent center, which houses an austere community, is at Benares (where Kabir is said to have resided).

Although Kabir opposes ceremony, worship, and dependence on anything other than one's own unmediated experience in his poetry—a background that suggests yoga practice—the Kabirpanth has adopted all of these traditional religious trappings.

The Bijak, a collection of poetry and epigrams ascribed to Kabir, is the community's holy scripture.

Kabir, who has become an object of adoration, is depicted in its holy centers.

On particular days, elaborate rites are carried out.

This is odd since many of the activities that Kabir criticized seem to have been accepted by the group that claims to follow his teachings.

Given Kabir's constant emphasis on the necessity for direct, intimate encounters with the divine, the idea of his being regarded as the founder of a sect would have been absurd to him.

See David Lorenzen, “Traditions of Non-Caste Hinduism: The Kabir Panth,” Contributions to Indian Sociology, Vol. 21, No. 2, 1987, for more information.

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Hinduism - What Is Bijak?

Bijak means "inventory." 

The Adigranth and the manuscripts of the religious institution Dadupanth include the other two major collections of poetry attributed to the poet-saint Kabir (mid-15th century?). 

  • Kabir is the most well-known of the sants, a group of poet-saints from central and northern India who share several concepts, including a focus on individualized, interior religion leading to a personal experience of the divine, a dislike for external ritual, particularly image worship, faith in the power of the divine Name, and a tendency to disregard traditional caste distinctions. 
  • In terms of established religious rituals and authority, Kabir is the most iconoclastic of all the sants. 
  • He always stresses the need of personal seeking and fulfillment. 

The Bijak is the scripture of the Kabirpanth, a religious group claiming to be Kabir's followers, which is noteworthy given the nature of Kabir's message. 

  • Certainly, the idea of declaring Kabir the founder of anything, or of his words acquiring the authority of a scripture, would have been rejected by him. 
  • The Bijak includes a variety of poems, including brief epigrams that have become proverbial wisdom, lengthier chaupai stanzas, and shorter two-line poetry (doha). 
  • The Bijak has linguistic characteristics that place it in the eastern portion of the Hindi language area, thus its popular moniker of "eastern" recension. 

Linda Hess and Shukdev Singh (trans. ), The Bijak of Kabir, 1983, contains translations of the text itself.

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.