Articles

Kabir and the Experience of God
'Kabir and His Followers', pages 78-79
F. E. Keay

Kabir believed that man can approach God, but the great hindrance to this is moral. Only when sin is subdued can man arrive at a knowledge of God. But until this knowledge of God is acquired, men cannot rightly understand the thing around them. Kabir speaks of God as an illusionist; but when he recognized Him, the illusion vanished. God is all-pervading, and must not be regarded as dwelling in any confined locality. It is useless therefore to seek Him specially in temple or mosque. Everywhere He may be found, whatever name is given to Him. Kabir taught men to look within their hearts to find God, but this can only be when the heart is purified from sin. Sin in the heart prevents men from recognizing God. Kabir had nothing but condemnation for those who performed ceremonial ablutions and cleansings, and went through elaborate ritual to find God, but paid no attention to the purification of heart. What is the use of all this ceremonial and ritual, when men harbor deceit within, and practice fraud under the guise of holiness?  The Hindu pandits are proud of their learning and ceremonial, and despise those who are of lower caste than themselves. The Mumammadan mullas are equally puffed up with their vain knowledge of Quran and traditions, and are punctilious about details; but unless these get rid of pride from their hearts, they cannot find God. The Yogi, too, is proud of his ascetic practices, and the hermit of his giving up all the dwell in the forest; but these things cannot in themselves expel evil, and wherever man is, his heart is full of wickedness. Birth as a human being gives to man a great opportunity to obtain release from the chains of transmigration, and that man is foolish indeed who does not seize his opportunity.

Kabir himself greatly desires this knowledge of God, and therefore frequently confesses his sin to God and asks for cleansing. When God is known, man realizes his union with Him, a union which brings great joy and peace. Kabir fully submits himself to God and believes that he has attained this union. Although men revile him and speak against him, he is therefore at peace.