By: Mahant Jay Jaggessur, June 16th, 2019 - Kabir Jayanti
As we commemorate the 621st anniversary of the appearance of Satguru Kabir Saheb, it is important that we reflect on His teachings. He taught us how to live our life in the proper way so that we can fulfill the purpose for which we took birth as a human being in this world. Unless we discriminate between what is Truth and what is Illusion, we can easily fall in the trap and get carried away in a way that we are stuck in the cycle of births and re-births. One of the main reason why Satguru Kabir Saheb came in this world is specifically to teach us the Truth and relieve us from deceitful and misleading practices.
When we are born in this world, we are exposed to lots of hypocrisies. People pursuing worldly enjoyments, thinking that happiness is what we can experience in the world by satisfying our physical senses, mislead us to follow paths which deviate us from our true goal in life. A spiritual path is one which is absorbed in knowledge about God, about Truth, and has the tools to allow the seeker to realise his true Self. He who embarks on such a path becomes aware of the distinction between worldly experiences of happiness and the true experience of bliss. Only a Satguru can enlighten us to discriminate between Truth an Illusion.
“Bhoole The Sansaar Men, Maayaa Ke Sang Aay;
Sataguru Raah Bataaiyaa, Pheri Mile Tihi Jaay.” I was lost in this world, trapped in the clutches of Illusion. When Satguru showed me the way, taught me how to discriminate between Truth and Falsehood, then I was able to realise my true Self.
(see transliteration and pronunciation guide here)
At the time Satguru Kabir Saheb was preaching in India, many Kings, Emperors, and wealthy merchants were touched by His teachings and surrendered themselves to His holy feet. Until they met with Him, they were blindly following superstitious traditions. When they realised what the truth was, then they lived a spiritual life, and rejected all hypocrisies. It is indeed unfortunate that even today, there are so many people who still give in to false beliefs, superstitions and hypocrisies. The world needs Satguru Kabir Saheb’s teachings more and more to get rid of religious conflicts, violence and social degradation. His saakhees and shabads urge us to understand that we are all equal and that we have to live in peace and harmony. Knowledge is key, and that knowledge can only be acquired from a Master. Blind faith, which was so prevalent at that time, misled people, and had it not been for His teachings, people would not have known the Truth. The resurgence of blind faith which is afflicting so many people and creating divisions and disharmony today is calling for more of Satguru Kabir Saheb’s teachings to be spread.
The following story illustrates very well how people easily become prey to blind faith and lead others as well. And this is what Satguru Kabir Saheb was totally against. There once was a Sage in a village who had his hermit beside a mausoleum. Everyday people came to him and paid respects to him on the mausoleum, doing their prayers and making their wishes. Devotees believed that the mausoleum was one of a great Saint, and therefore thought that by praying there, their wishes will come true. There was one poor trader, who used to go to the marketplace with his load of clothes, who also visited the mausoleum regularly. He wished that he become more successful in his trade. After some time, the Sage gave him his donkey, knowing that the trader would use it to carry his clothes to the marketplace, and prosper in his business. The trader was very happy and started using the donkey the very next day. He started to do better business, as he could carry more clothes and reach the marketplace quicker and be less tired. However, after a few days, the donkey died. The trader was very sad and also embarrassed because the donkey was given to him by the Sage. He made provisions to bury the donkey, and as he was so grateful for how the donkey helped him, he made a nice grave for it. After burying and decking the grave with lots of flowers, he just sat there, crying over his loss. At the same time, someone was passing by and saw the trader. He thought that this must be a great saint’s mausoleum and that the trader became very emotional in his prayers. The next day, that person came with flowers and also prayed at that grave. After a few days, whatever he wished for came true. He was overjoyed and shared his good news to everyone in the village. Little by little, people started to come to that grave and pray, offering money, flowers and other things. The trader who was there, mourning his loss saw money coming in in abundance. People stopped going to the other Sage’s hermit and mausoleum. One day, the Sage came by where the trader had made the grave. As soon as the trader saw him, he rushed to him to pay his respects and thank him for all he had done for him. He told him how he didn’t have to work now as he was earning enough just by people visiting him at the grave. He was grateful to the Sage and said that it was all because of his devotion to the mausoleum he had been regularly going to that he is so successful now. Then the sage asked him : “Do you know whose mausoleum you had been visiting and praying at?” The trader said it must be your Guru, a great Saint. The sage then told him that it was the donkey’s mother’s tomb.
This illustrates perfectly well how people blindly follow things and get distracted from their actual goal. Satguru Kabir Saheb taught the world that without a competent Guru, people will stay in ignorance and waste their lives without fulfilling the purpose for which they came. “Guru Bin Bharam Na Jaasee”. In other words, without a Guru, your confusion will not go away (see full bhajan here).