At the time of Kabir Saheb’s appearance, India was under Islamic rule; the current Sultan of Delhi was the Emperor, Sikandar Lodi (historically the son of Bahlul Khan Lodi and father of Ibrahim Lodi, Sultan of Delhi 1489 - 1517). He was known to be a cruel and arrogant ruler by his subjects, he was especially discriminatory towards his Hindu subjects; there have been many accounts of the atrocities he had committed against the Hindus under his rule.
The Pundits and Mullahs became fed up with Kabir Saheb’s comments and accusations against them; they eventually went to complain to the Emperor along with their followers. The Emperor assured the angry crowds that he would rid them of this problem and sent a procession to acquire Kabir Saheb so that he would be brought to the royal court.
When the procession arrived at Kabir Saheb’s hut, the Emperor’s dignitaries asked him to come outside so that they could bring him to the Emperor’s court. Kabir Saheb came out and inquired on the reason for which he was summoned, he was informed of the complaints lodged against him and threatened to take him forcibly if he would resist. Kabir Saheb then went along with his followers to the Emperor’s court. On reaching the court, the Emperor asked Kabir Saheb to identify himself, Kabir Saheb replied:
Hindoo Turuk Ke Beech Men, Meraa Naam Kabeer;
Jeev Muktaawan Kaarane, Avigat Dharaa Shareer. Both Hindus and Muslims know me by the name ‘Kabir;’
To liberate souls I have come in a celestial body.
Meraa Naam Kabeer Ho, Sakal Jag Jaaharaa Ho.(Chorus) My name is ‘Kabir,’ the whole world knows.
Teen Lok Men Naam Hamaaraa, Aanand Hain Asthaanaa;
Paanee Pavan Sumer Samaanaa, Yah Vidhi Rachyo Jahaanaa… I am known in all the three worlds, bliss is my abode;
Using water and air as mighty as the mountain ‘Sumeru,’ I have brought the world to existence.
Anahad Lahar Gagan Men Garaje, Gaajai Baaj Sohantalee;
Brahmabeej Hamaheen Parakaashaa, Hamaheen Ajab Khayaalee… Infinite surges roar in the skies generating the Primal Sound (Soham);
I have, myself, conceived and generated the Seed of Creation.
Yam Bandhan Te Lewau Ladaaee, Nirmal Karau Shareeraa;
Sur Nar Muni Koee Ant Na Paihain, Aise Sant Gambheeraa… I sever the Bondage with ‘Yama’ (Lord of Death) by sanctifying living beings;
Saints, Sages and the Wise have not been able to fathom my secret, I am such a mysterious Sant.
Ved Kiteb Koee Paar Na Paihain, Aise Mati Ke Dheeraa;
Kahai Kabeer Suno Sikandar, Donon Din Kee Peeraa… I am endowed with such wisdom that I can reveal what neither the Vedas nor the Holy Scriptures have not;
Kabir says to the Emperor, Sikandar Lodi: “I am the Master of both the Hindus and Muslims.”
Kabir Saheb’s followers then threatened the Emperor that he was making a great mistake by insulting a great fakir. The Emperor’s religious minister, Sheikh Taqqi, advised Sikandar Lodi to test Kabir Saheb to see if he truly was a Fakir. It was then that Kabir Saheb was put through fifty-two tests by Emperor Sikandar Lodi and his religious minister, Sheikh Taqqi, called the ‘Baawan Kasni’ meaning fifty-two trials/tests. In the end, Kabir Saheb was able to pass all 52 trials and both Emperor Sikandar Lodi and his minster, Sheikh Taqqi, became his disciples. Below are only a few of the 52 tests of Kabir Saheb.
Haaraa Hai Shaah So Dai Anek Peeraa, Naaheen Faqeeraa Yah Hai Aap Peeraa;
Jaanaa So Narnaah Saranaah Gahure, Kabeer Kabeer Kabeer Kahure. The Emperor accepted defeat after Kabir Saheb passed all his trials realizing that he was not but a mere Saint but in fact a Master;
He therefore took refuge in his shelter, recite ‘Kabir, Kabir, Kabir.’
Khoone Aneke Jo Shaah Ne Keenhaa, Jaanaa Jo Apne So Chit Men Na Deenhaa;
Jimi Taatsoot Kare Avaguna Na Gahure, Kabeer Kabeer Kabeer Kahure. Although Kabir Saheb knew that the Emperor was guilty of many crimes;
Still he accepted him just as a father forgives the wrong-doings of his son, recite ‘Kabir, Kabir, Kabir.’
(Kabeer Chaaleesaa 22-23)
Immersion in the Ganges
Infuriated by Kabir Saheb’s success of overcoming his previous attempts to harm him and also having been humiliated, the Emperor, Sikandar Lodi, had ordered Kabir Saheb to be tied up in iron chains and thrown into the Ganges to drown to death. The Emperor and his men bound Kabir Saheb in heavy iron chains, brought him onto a boat then submersed him in the Ganges River. Reassured of his victory, they returned to the river shore only to find Kabir Saheb sitting peacefully in meditation.
Shaah Sikandar Su Andar Men Lekhaa, Kaisaa Faqeeree Yeh Chahiye So Dekhaa;
Kar Baandh Pag Baandh Bora Su Dahure, Kabeer Kabeer Kabeer Kahure. The Emperor declared: “Let me see for myself what kind of an ascetic He is;”
He ordered for Kabir Saheb’s hands and feet to be bound in chains and dumped in the river, recite ‘Kabir, Kabir, Kabir.’
Toote Hai Janjeer Baithe Hai Teeraa, Bola So Shaah Yah Saanchaa Fakeeraa;
Phir Bol Bole Kee Gajamast Ahure, Kabeer Kabeer Kabeer Kahure. The chains were severed and He (Kabir Saheb) was sitting on the bank of the river, the Emperor thought to himself “He must be a true Saint;”
He then ordered for a drunk elephant to be brought, recite ‘Kabir, Kabir, Kabir.
(Kabeer Chaaleesaa 15-16)
Attack by Drunken Wild Elephant
The Emperor Sikandar Lodi was very upset at Kabir Saheb’s numerous victories over him and so, he prepared yet another test for him. He ordered to have Kabir Saheb to be put in a chamber with a drunken wild elephant, the ministers and emperors were watching from atop. The elephant began to charge towards Kabir Saheb when suddenly, two lions appeared by each side of Kabir Saheb. The elephant then decide to move back as he did not want to be attacked by the lions.
Maatang Maate Na Jaate Dhige Hai, Lakhi Roop Singhe Su Chikkar Bhage Hai;
De Shaah Ajamat Swaamee Su Bahure, Kabeer Kabeer Kabeer Kahure. The drunk elephant refused to charge and seeing the form of a lion it receded;
The Emperor thought to himself: “He must be a great Master,” recite ‘Kabir, Kabir, Kabir.’
(Kabeer Chaaleesaa 17)
Death by Canon
As the Emperor, Sikandar Lodi, realized that the more he had Kabir Saheb tested, the more it was proven that he was no ordinary Fakir; he became infuriated. He came up with more plans to have Kabir Saheb killed. The Emperor called upon the court’s best cannon master and told him to prepare a cannon, filling it up completely with cannon balls. He then had Kabir Saheb stand in front of the cannon and ordered the cannon master to fire. The cannon master was in shock when he found that all the cannon balls and gun powder that he had loaded into the cannon had turned into water.
Dekho Sab Kaam Karataa Khijookaa, Bhar Top Golaa Su Ropaa Bijookaa;
Jimi Deha Gajatool Golee Na Lahure, Kabeer Kabeer Kabeer Kahure. The Emperor saw that all of his attempts were futile, he ordered for ammunition to be loaded into a cannon;
None of the cannon-balls were able to harm His body, recite ‘Kabir, Kabir, Kabir.’
(Kabeer Chaaleesaa 18)
As the Emperor Sikandar Lodi’s procession was on their way to the court in Delhi with Kabir Saheb, they decided to make a stop at Allahabad to rest. They stopped at the bank of the river so that everyone could take a bath and drink water. Meanwhile, Sheikh Taqqi, the emperor's minister, became very jealous of Kabir Saheb because of his good reputation. Seeing the dead body of an infant boy in the river, he approached the Emperor and told him:
“If Kabir really is a great Fakir, let him revive this dead boy”
The Emperor had no objection and called upon Kabir Saheb to revive the boy. Kabir Saheb placed his hand on the boy’s head and instantly he was revived. The Emperor exclaimed:
“Kamaal!” – meaning “Amazing”
And so the boy came to be named ‘Kamaal’ and became a very ardent disciple of Kabir Saheb.
Muradaason Jindaa Kiyaa, Dilason Deen Malaal;
Shaah Parateet Dikhaaeeyaan, Utpan Daas Kamaal. Bringing a corpse back to life, the onlookers were stunned;
As Kamaal came back to life, the Emperor was awestruck.
Despite the fact that some sources indicate that Kamaal Saheb was the son of Kabir Saheb, this is very unlikely as Kabir Saheb was celibate (see: Loi Mata). Although in Kamaal Saheb’s works, he refers to himself as ‘the child of Kabir,’ and even many Kabir Panthi texts refer to Kamaal as a son of Kabir, this is not interpreted literally but rather in the figurative sense as Kabir Saheb, had given life to Kamaal Saheb (though not physically/biologically) and as such is regared as his son.
One day, Sheikh Taqqi came up with a new test for Kabir Saheb. He decided to have his daughter, who had been dead for only a few days, dug up from her grave and have Kabir Saheb attempt to revive her. Kabir Saheb, his disciples and the Emperor and his men all went to the grave and Sheikh Taqqi had his daughter dug up. When it was the time for testing, Kabir Saheb placed his hand on the forehead of the young girl and instantly she her heart started to beat and she was breathing. When she had been restored to life, the onlookers had said ‘Kamaal’ (Hindi: Kamaal, amazing) and so she was henceforth named Kamaali. As she had been resurrected, Kamaali sang the following shabd:
(Shabd) Kamaali Ji Ke
Hansaa Nikal Gayaa Main Na Ladeesee.(Chorus) My Soul has left and I did not resist (stop it).
Paanch Sahelee Sang Mailee, Paanchon Main Akelee Khadeesee… I was tainted in this body controlled by the five senses, I now stand alone and have become pure.
Nau Darvaaje Bandakarleene, Dashveen Moree Khulaa Jo Padeesee… They have closed my nine orifices to perform my death rites but the tenth (Daswen Dwaar) remained open as I left.
Na Main Bolee Na Main Chaalee, Audh Dopattah Kinaare Khadeesee… I did not speak nor go with them; as they covered my body with a shroud, I stood at the edge of the nether-regions to watch.
Kahat Kamaalee Kabeer Kee Baalakee, Saadee Se Main Kumaaree Bhaleesee… Kamaali, the daughter of Kabir, says, a simple girl like me has been blessed (resurrected).
It is said that Kamaali became a disciple of Kabir Saheb and was married off when she reached a mature age. Although some say she might have been the biological daughter of Kabir Saheb, there are no such records which indicate this. She is, however, regarded (figuratively), in Kabir Panth tradition, as a daughter of Kabir Saheb as he had brought her back to life. The fact remains though, that no records indicate that Kabir Saheb ever had a biological daughter since he was celibate (see: Loi Mata).