The Satguru Kabir Panth (Hindi: कबीर-पंथ, Path of Kabir) is a philosophy and religious community of India encompassing a wide spectrum of beliefs, traditions and practices based on the teachings of Kabir. Its adherents are of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain ancestry (with majority being Hindu). Kabir Panthis or "followers of the path of Kabir" are numerous throughout all parts of India and are also found in Indian communities in large numbers in Africa, particularly Eastern Africa in Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda and the island of Mauritius as well as in Nepal, Tibet, Sri Lanka, Guyana, Fiji, Suriname, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, New Zealand, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada and the United States.
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (April 2015)|
Kabir is said to have appeared on a lotus in the Hindu holy city of Varanasi, also known as Kashi, he was born in the year 1440 AD and died in 1518 AD. According to some people he was initiated by Ramananda, a famous Hindu guru and community leader at that time. Using poignant language, Kabir criticized caste ideology and declared the equality of all human beings. He employed a Socratic method of teaching, pleading with all human beings regardless of their gender, status, caste, color, race, religion or occupation to think critically about their lives and pursuits and the salvation of their soul.
Kabir Saheb was a poet whose works were written down by others. His lyrics have flourished for more than 600 years, producing music, and classical, in countless local dialects and regional styles. Thousands of poems are attributed to him. Kabir strove to create a spirit of harmony between the Hindus and Muslims. His early life is shrouded in mystery. He lived either towards the close of the 14th century or in the beginning of the 15th. It is said that he was born of a Hindu widow, who left him on the embankment of a tank in Benaras, and that he was then found and adopted by a Muslim weaver named Niru. When he grew up, he became disciple of Ramananda Swami (Religious Teacher). He did not leave his home, but was a pious householder and used to earn his livelihood by weaving clothes.
The central teachings of Kabir were:
(1) He laid stress upon 'Bhakti'. (2) He said that through Bhakti, or devotion, one would come nearer to God; one could be released from the cycle of birth and death only by sincere love and devotion to God, whom he called Bhakti.
(3) He sincerely tried to emphasise the unity of Islam and Hinduism by preaching those virtues which were common to both religions.
(4) He made no distinction between Hindus and Muslims.
(5) To Kabir, Allah and Rama were but different names for the same supreme being. To him, Hindus and Muslims were "pots of the same clay".
(6) According to Kabir, salvation could be attained by doing good deeds, or by means of Bhakti, or sincere devotion to God.
Against idol worship:
He did not believe in idol worship. He was also against the performance of rituals and superstitions or pilgrimage to the so-called holy places.
Against the caste system:
Kabir denounced the caste system. He said that there should be no discrimination on the basis of caste, and rejected the authority of both the Veda and the Koran. He laid great emphasis on the equality of men. He preached a religion of love which aimed at promoting unity amongst all castes and creeds.
He was full of humility and was the first saint to reconcile Hinduism and Islam. Kabir's teachings are contained in his Dohas, the devotional songs or 'bhajans' of Kabir called Kabir Doha. These Dohas are in the form of short poems in the Bijaka, sacred book of the Kabir Panthis, the followers of Kabir.
Kabir was a firm believer in the unity of God. He preached his teachings among the people in Hindi. His devotional bhajans or Dohas appealed most to the common men, Hindus as well Muslims.
The message and the teachings of Kabir can be easily gathered from his 'Dohas', which criticise rituals, superstitions and idol worship. Kabir said: "If by worshipping stones one can find God, I shall worship a mountain. If by immersion in the water salvation be attained, the frogs who bathe continually would attain it. As the frogs, so are these men, again and again fall into the womb".
He was a bold preacher. He said this to the Hindus and Muslims :
"If God be within the mosque, then to whom does this world belong ?"
To Kabir, Hari does not exist in the east and nor Allah in the west. They are one and reside inside the human heart. He advised everyone to seek truth within their own hearts.
Kabir condemned pride and selfishness. He wanted man to give up pride, anger, enmity and ego. He appreciated brotherhood, which ultimately directed towards reaching the main objectives : "Love of God" and "Love of humanity".
Practices and beliefs
Kabir Panthis can follow the ethical and social customs of the day according to tradition without hindrance. Lay persons can be cremated according to Hindu law and priests can be buried or cremated depending upon which tradition one wishes to follow . In the West Indies and across Canada and North America, Kabir Panthis may opt for burning or burial. Modern Kabir Panthis do not seem to be different from orthodox Vaishanavites; they worship the idol of Kabir, wear sacred thread and sandalwood paste.
Kabir Panthis observe sanctity and purity in their daily lives and behavior. The foundation of their belief and practice is Dharma, or "the natural Law of life", Satya, or "The primordial and eternal truth", Ahimsa, or "Non-violence towards all beings through word and deed", Bhakti, or "Devotional love for god and a higher spiritual reality", Sraddha, or "Faith and unswerving loyalty", Asteya, or "Neither hoarding nor coveting", Kshama, or "Forgiveness and patience", Daya, or "Compassion, mercy, and conquering feelings of cruelty and insensitivity towards all beings", Shaucha or "Purity in body, mind and speech", Aparigraha, or "Limiting possessions to what is necessary and being non-materialistic", Anekantvada, or "Acceptance of different beliefs and the multiplicity of viewpoints", Vishwa Bandhutva, or "The universal brotherhood of all beings" and Atma Gyan or "The awareness of ones true self, which is no different from the one true reality which pervades in everyone, thus making everyone the one and only true reality". These basic set of guidelines gives Kabir Panthis an all-encompassing formula for Love, Humility, Compassion and Unity. A Kabir Panthi lay person is called a Bhakt and priests are addressed with the honorific title of Mahant. Spiritual leaders are called Acharya or Guru. Monks who are more ascetic in nature, who do not marry and engage in more severe spiritual pursuits while never living in one place, constantly moving from monastery to monastery are called Brahmachari Sadhus, whereas those monks who do marry, have children and live a more relaxed spiritual life are Grihasta Sadhus. Similarly, women who have chosen to be Nuns are called Sadhvis. God is called by an infinite array of names but some of the more common names are "Satya Purush", "Soham Sadguru", "Adi Guru, Param Satyeshwar", or simply "Sadguru Kabir Saheb". During their religious ceremonies Kabir Panthis sing the songs, bhajans and Sakhis of Kabir to the music of cymbals, drums and other Indian instruments. The Guru recites various prayers and Mantras, all of which remind devotees to remember God in all that they do.
One's mind and body must be kept pure by contemplation and avoiding gross and complicated behaviour. Such practice will allow one to attain salvation while living no matter what ones religion or other personal endeavour may be. A mark of initiation into the Kabir Panth is given in the form of a Kanthi Mala. It is a necklace made from the sacred Tulsi beads. It is also made out of holy Rudraksha beads and can also be made using yagyopaveet string with just one large Tulsi or Rudraksha bead. It is worn by choice and is typically given to one who has committed to avoiding lust, anger, greed, attachment to perishable things, and ego. Sahaja Yoga involves remembering God by repeating Satyanaam. Kabir Panthis believe in simplicity of life; simple food, clothing and belongings. One should only acquire what is needed for sustenance. Kabir Panthis are strictly vegetarian and avoid the use of alcohol and tobacco.
Separate organizations have formed over the years. One of the largest groups of Kabir Panthis outside India is in Trinidad and Tobago: three smaller active groups exist in Guyana, Suriname and also in Canada. The Kabir Panth Association in Trinidad and Tobago operates two primary schools and was one of the first religious denominational schools founded in the region. Recently, other groups have been formed in Trinidad and Tobago [like Kabir Chaura Math, Satya Kabir Nidhi], each with their own emphasis on the teachings of Kabir Saheb and with their own affiliations in Trinidad and Tobago, Bhaarat and elsewhere in the World.
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (April 2015)|
- The Bijak : The most sacred books of the Kabir Panth sect are the Bijak, many passages from which are presented in the Guru Granth Sahib and the Anuraag Saagar. In a blunt and uncompromising style, the Bijak exhorts its readers to shed their delusions, pretensions, and orthodoxies in favor of a direct experience of truth. It satirizes hypocrisy, greed, and violence, especially among the religious.
The Bījak includes three main sections (called Ramainī, Shabda and Sākhī) and a fourth section containing miscellaneous folksongs. Most of Kabir's material has been popularized through the song form known as Shabda (or pada) and through the aphoristic two-line sākhī (or doha) that serves throughout north India as a vehicle for popular wisdom. In the Anurag Sagar, the story of creation is told to Dharamdas [one of Kabir Saheb's disciples], and the Maan Sarowaris another collection of teachings of Kabir Saheb from the Dharamdasi branch of the Kabir panth.
- Anurag Sagar
- Kabir Bani
- Kabir Granthawali
- Sakhi Granth
Kabir Manshur of Paramanandadas
Pictures of Kabir
The centres of major branches of Kabir Panthis are the 
- Kabir Dharamnagar Damakheda seat at Raipur, Chattisgah.
- Kabir Chaura based in Varanasi with a branch at Maghar.
- Biddupur seat founded by Jagu Sahib.
- Dhanuati (Chhapra, Bihar) founded by Bhagvan Sahib, the scribe of Bijak
- Chhatisgarh seat at Kudurmal, founded by Muktamani Sahib (Vikram Samvat 1570-1630). They belong to the line of Dharmadas Sahib.
- "WeDissent, protest, and reform in Indian civilization. Indian Institute of Advanced Study, 1977
- Malik, Subhash Chandra (1977). Dissent ,protest and reform in Indian Civilization. Indian Institute of Advanced Studies.
- भारत में कबीर-पंथ की प्रमुख शाखाएं http://tdil.mit.gov.in/coilnet/ignca/kabir026.htm#005
- "About: Vansh Gaddi". Sadguru Kabir Dharamdas Vanshawali. 2015-05-05. Retrieved 2015-05-05.
- list of Acharyas of the Moolgadi http://www.kabirchaura.com/lineage/lineage.html
- Essays and lectures on the religions of the Hindus, Volume 1 By Horace Hayman Wilson, Reinhold Rost
- Website of Kabir Dharamdas Vanshawali
- Website of the Kabir Chaura, monastery of the Kabir Panthis
- Website for Sadguru Prakatya Dham, Kabir Bagh. Lahartara .Varanasi
- Kabir : Truth Beyond Legends and Miracles
- Website for Kabir Association Canada. Includes Sakhis, Ramaini and Bhajans
- Website of the Kabir Ashram Jamnagar
- Website dedicated to Kabir Ashrams
- Mandir in the capital of India, New Delhi
- website of the Kabirpanthi's in the Netherlands and Surinam
- Information about Kabir Panth
- website of the Sahib Bandgi in India
- Website for Kabir Ashram Limdi
- Bhagat Mahasabha's Efforts to Unite Kabirpanthi In India
- Website of Kabir Panthi Satgur Isherdas Ji Maharaj
- Satguru Kabir GuruSaheb Foundation