Showing posts with label Kabir. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kabir. Show all posts

Hinduism - Who Was Ravidasi(Sant)?


Ravidas  (ca. 1500) is a sant or poet-saint who lived in Benares and is said to have been a younger contemporary of poet-saint Kabir, according to tradition.

The Sants were a loose group of poet-saints from central and northern India who shared a number of common characteristics, 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.

Ravidas is described as a leather worker (chamar) by both tradition and allusions in his poems, a social group whose interaction with dead animals and their skins left them untouchable.

His hereditary occupation is said to have sustained him, and much of his poetry deals with concerns of worldly birth and standing.

He never questioned the significance of heredity, but he finally believed that his dedication to God had enabled him to transcend his birth and given him prestige based on other factors.

His poetry, as well as his repeated reminders to his audience that life is brief and difficult, and that they should pay close attention to religious practice, reflect this strong personal conviction.

Ravidas was probably definitely uneducated, given his poor social rank.

His poetic songs were most likely passed down orally, but his personal appeal made him one of the most well-known sant poets.

The Adigranth, a scripture for the Sikh community, and the Panchvani collections, produced by the Dadupanth, are the two earliest recorded sources of his work.

Ravidas has also acted as a role model for the poor in contemporary India; his followers are known as Ravidasis.

Songs of the Saints of India, edited by John Stratton Hawley and Mark Juergensmeyer, was published in 1988, and The Life and Works of Raidas, translated by Winand M.

Callewaert and Peter Freidlander, was published in 1992.

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.

Hinduism - Who Was Kabir?

 (middle of the 15th century?) A poet is considered as one of the most important religious personalities in northern India.

Kabir belonged to the Sants, a group of poet-saints from central and northern India who shared several characteristics: an emphasis on individualized, interior religion leading to a personal experience of the divine; disdain for external ritual, particularly image worship; belief in the power of the divine Name; and a tendency to ignore caste hierarchies.

Kabir was a devout follower of these ideas, and in his works, he openly criticizes any religious practice based on habit or custom, such as asceticism, unique ways of clothing, fasting (upavasa), image worship, caste, and text.

Kabir describes himself as a weaver (julaha) in his poems, and according to legend, he supported himself via this employment.

Kabir's background makes it impossible to associate him with a certain faith.

In Arabic, the name Kabir ("Great") is one of Allah's names in the Qur'an, indicating that he is a Muslim.

His poetry, on the other hand, demonstrates his extensive understanding of Hindu religious life.

The members of Kabir's julaha society were supposed to be new converts to Islam who had not yet completely integrated.

Kabir's poetry, on the other hand, plainly demonstrates that he was neither Hindu nor Muslim.

Kabir's appeal is probably due to his forthright, impassioned assertion that true religious accomplishment can only be attained via inward, individual experiences of the divine, which he refers to as Ram.

This is a word for the incomprehensible, ultimate Supreme Reality, not the god-king who is the hero of the Ramayana.

Both of these emphasizes reflect the Nathpanthi ascetics' influence, who also emphasized inward experience and yoga.

Kabir reportedly claimed in one of his songs that he had never put pen to paper since he was so engaged in the holy.

Many of his shorter epigrams have become conventional sayings, and his songs are still popular today.

Kabir's oldest attested poetry can be found in three major collections: one in the Adigranth, the Sikh scripture also known as the "Primal Book," another compiled by the Dadupanth, the religious organization founded by the Sant poet-saint Dadu, and the Bijak, compiled by the Kabirpanth, a religious community that claimed Kabir as its guru (religious preceptor).

These collections show substantial variances, indicating that they are not all from the same source.

For more information, see Charlotte Vaudeville's Kabir (1974); Linda Hess and Shukdev Singh's The Bijak of Kabir (1983); John S.

Hawley and Mark Juergensmeyer's Songs of the Saints of India (1988); Nirmal Dass' Songs of Kabir from the Adi Granth (1991); and David Lorenzen's Kabir Legends and Ananta-Das' Kabir Parachai (1991). 

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.

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.

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.