Kabir das was the Indian Enlightened mystic of 15th century, well known for his beautiful poems. His poems are filled with the taste of devotion and ecstasy of oneness with existence. His writings influenced Hinduism’s Bhakti movement and his verses are found in Sikhism’s scripture Guru Granth Sahib also. Kabir was born in the Indian city of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh in a muslim family but later on he got influenced by Ramananda, who himself was an enlightened master on the path of devotion.
Osho really loved Kabir and has spoken on Him a lot. There are many discourse series dedicated to Him in Hindi as well as in English such as Suno Bhai Saadho, Kahe Kabir Deewana, Kahe Kabir Mai Poora Paya, The Path of Love, Fish in the sea is not Thirsty, The Divine Melody, Ecstasy the Forgotten Language and many more. Apart from these, Osho also quotes Kabir in his discourses, telling his stories or explains something using Kabir’s verse. Osho highly appreciated Kabir as a mystic as well as enlightened master.
Osho says Kabir is one of the greatest revolutionaries who has ever walked on the earth. His insight is of tremendous value. If you can fall en rapport with his vision you will be enriched — you will be enriched beyond all your expectations
Osho explains a talk of Kabir and says, Kabir has said: I was searching and searching and searching, and then I got lost, and then happened the miracle of miracles. When I was not there you were standing before me. And when I was there and searching and searching, you were so far away — not even a glimpse. And now, look… I have disappeared. Searching, searching, I got lost, completely lost; my whole search absorbed me, destroyed me completely. Now I am no more… and my Lord, you are standing before me. Kabir has said that the seeker never reaches to the sought. Man never confronts God — because unless you disappear he cannot appear, so there is no meeting-point. When you are, he is not; when he is, you are not — so how can you claim that “I know?” You are not — only then, he is. When the knower disappears, the knowledge appears; it cannot be just a wish-fulfillment.
Remember one thing: all ideologies are dangerous. They divide people. You become a Hindu, you become a Mohammedan, you become a Jaina, a Christian: you are divided. All ideologies create conflict. All ideologies are violent. A real man of understanding has no ideology; then he is undivided, then he is one with the whole of humanity. Not only that, he is one with the whole of existence. A real man of understanding is a flowering. This flowering we will be discussing.
These songs of Kabir are tremendously beautiful. He is a poet; he is not a philosopher. He has not created a system. He is not a theoretician or a theologian. He is not interested in doctrines, in scriptures. His whole interest is in how to flower and become a god. His whole effort is how to make you more loving, more alert.
It is not a question of learning much. On the contrary, it is a question of unlearning much. In that way he is very rare. Buddha, Mahavir, Krishna, Ram, they are very special people. They were all kings, and they were well-educated, well-cultured. Kabir is a nobody, a man of the masses, very poor, very ordinary, with no education at all, with no culture. And that is his rarity. Why do I call it his rarity? Because to be ordinary in the world is the most extraordinary thing. He was very ordinary — and he remained ordinary. The natural desire of the human mind is to become special — to become special in the ways of the world, to have many degrees, to have much political power, to have money, wealth — to be special. The mind is always ready to go on some ego trip. And if you are fed up with the world, then again the ego starts finding new ways and new means to enhance itself — it becomes spiritual. You become a great mahatma, a great sage, a great scholar, a man of knowledge, a man of renunciation; again you are special.
Unless the desire to be special disappears, you will never be special. Unless you relax into your ordinariness, you will never relax.
The really spiritual person is one who is absolutely ordinary. Kabir is very normal. You would not have been able to find him in a crowd. His speciality is not outward. You cannot just find him by looking at his face. It is difficult. Buddha was special, a very beautiful man, a charismatic personality. Jesus is very special, throbbing with revolution, rebellion. But Kabir? Kabir is absolutely ordinary, a normal person. Remember, when I say normal, I don’t mean the average. The average is not the normal. The average is only “normally” abnormal; he is “as mad” as all others are. In fact, in the world, normal persons don’t exist.
I have heard:
A famous psychiatrist conducting a university course in psychopathology was asked by a student, “Doctor, you have told us about the abnormal person and his behavior, but what about the normal person?”
The doctor was a little puzzled, and then he said, “In my whole life I have never come across a normal person. But if we ever find him, we will cure him!”
Kabir is really that normal person that you never come across in life, with no desire to be special. When he became enlightened, then too he remained in his ordinary life. He was a weaver; he continued to weave. His disciples started growing in numbers — hundreds, and then thousands, and then many more thousands were coming to him. And they will always ask him to stop weaving clothes — “There is no need. We will take care of you.” But he will laugh and he will say, “It is better to continue as God has willed me. I have no desire to be anything else. Let me be whatsoever I am, whatsoever God wants me to be. If he wants me to be a weaver, that’s why I am a weaver. I was born a weaver, and I will die as a weaver.”
He continued in his ordinary way. He will go to the marketplace to sell his goods. He will carry water from the well. He lived very, very ordinarily. That is one of the most significant things to be understood. He never claimed that he is a man of knowledge — because no man of knowledge ever claims it.
To know is to know that to know is not to know and that not to know is to know. A real man of understanding knows that he does not know at all.
His ignorance is profound. And out of this ignorance arises innocence. When you know, you become cunning. When you know, you become clever. When you know, you lose that innocence of childhood.
Kabir says he is ignorant, he does not know anything. And this has to be understood, because this will make the background in your mind for his poetry. From where is this poetry coming? It is coming out of his innocence, flowering out of his innocence. He says he does not know.
Have you ever observed the fact that in life we go on claiming that we know, but we don’t know? What do you know? Have you known anything, ever? If I ask why the trees are green, will you be able to answer it? Yes, the best answer that I have heard is from D.H. Lawrence. A small child was walking with him in a garden and the child asked — as children are prone to ask — “Why are the trees green?” D.H. Lawrence looked at the trees, looked into the eyes of the child, and said, “They are green because they are green.” That’s the truest answer ever given. What else can you say? Whatsoever else you say will be foolish; it will not make any sense. You can say trees are green because of chlorophyll, but why is chlorophyll green? The question remains the same. I ask you one question, you give me an answer, but the question is not really answered…The ultimate remains irreducible to knowledge. The ultimate remains a mystery. If the ultimate is a mystery, then life becomes a life of wonder. If the ultimate is not known, then poetry arises. If the ultimate is known — or you THINK that it is known — then philosophy arises. That is the difference between philosophy and poetry.
And Kabir’s approach is that of a poet, of a lover, of one who is absolutely wondering what it is all about. Not knowing it, he sings a song. Not knowing it, he becomes prayerful. Not knowing it, he bows down. The poet’s approach is not that of explanation. It is that of exclamation. He says, “Aha, Aha! So here is the mystery.” And wherever you find mystery there is God. The more you know, the less you will be aware of God; the less you know, the closer God will be to you. If you don’t know anything, if you can say with absolute confidence, “I don’t know,” if this “I don’t know” comes from the deepest core of your being, then God will be in your very core, in the very beat of your heart. And then poetry arises…then one falls in love with this tremendous mystery that surrounds you. That love is religion. Religion is not after any explanations. Religion is not a quest for the explanation. Rather, it is an exploration of love, a nonending journey into love. I invite you to come with me into the innermost realm of this madman Kabir. Yes, he was a madman — all religious people are. Mad, because they don’t trust reason. Mad, because they love life. Mad, because they can dance and they can sing. Mad, because to them life is not a question, not a problem to be solved but a mystery into which one has to dissolve oneself.
One thing more about Kabir’s approach. He is life-affirmative. That too is an indication of a real man of understanding. There are two types of people in the world: the people who indulge and the people who renounce. They Look opposite to each other but they are not. They are two aspects of the same coin. The people who indulge are continuously frustrated because no indulgence brings you to joy. You can indulge — you can waste your life, you can waste your opportunity, your energy — but no enjoyment ever comes out of indulgence. If indulgence could have given joy, then nobody would ever have renounced. People renounce because indulgence fails — but then they are moving to the other extreme. Thinking that indulgence has not helped, they move to the opposite. They become against life, they become anti life, they become life-negative. They start destroying their being; they become suicidal. These are the two types of people you will find. In the market you will find the people who indulge, and in the monasteries you will find the people who renounce.
Kabir belongs to neither.
A real man of understanding is a great synthesis. He knows that it is not a question of indulgence or renunciation; it is a question of awareness. Be in the world, but be with awareness. Don’t go anywhere, don’t have antagonistic attitudes towards life. Kabir is tremendously life-affirmative. He loved, he had a wife, he had two children, and he lived the life of a householder… and yet was one of the greatest seers of the world. He lived in the world and remained untouched. That’s his beauty. He is a lotus flower. If you go to your so-called mahatmas, they create antagonism towards life; they make you life-negative. They teach you that life is the enemy, it is evil. They make you feel as if God and life are contraries, you can’t have both. Kabir says you can have both, because life and God are not enemies. Life is God manifest; God is life unmanifest. God and life are one force, one energy, one movement. When God is not visible he is God; when he becomes visible he is Life. And this goes on continuously — he becomes visible, he becomes invisible. It is like breathing: you breathe out, you breathe in.
The old Indian scriptures say that existence is when God breathes out, and when God breathes in there is nonexistence. The whole of existence disappears when he breathes in; when he breathes out, the whole of existence appears. It is one breath going in and out. When God breathes out, you are born; when he breathes in, you disappear in death. But you never leave God. The outgoing breath is as much his as the ingoing breath. And one has to understand this dynamism, this dialectics. Kabir is neither for the world nor for renunciation. And his assertions are very simple, down to earth. He is not dramatic. He is not a preacher. And he is not worried whether you are impressed by him or not. He simply relates whatsoever he has experienced. He never exaggerates. He never proves his assertions through any logic. He simply asserts; they are pure statements…Kabir is not dramatic at all. His assertions are simple. His assertions are just from his heart. He is not scholarly either. His poetry is pure, uncontaminated by scripture. His poetry can be understood by anyone who is innocent enough.
So in the beginning of the journey I would like to say to you, be innocent; only then will you be able to understand Kabir. Don’t bring your mind in, don’t start arguing with him, because he is not a logician. When you go to see a painting you don’t argue with the painting. You enjoy it. When you go to listen to a musician playing on his guitar you don’t argue. When you go to a poet you don’t argue. You listen to the poetry; there is no argument in your head. But about religion, there is difficulty. When you come to listen to a religious person you argue. And the responsibility lies with the so-called religious people themselves because they have been arguing. There have been foolish people who have even tried to prove God through argument. As if God depends on your argument. As if, if you cannot argue, he will not be able to be there; he will become nonexistential. As if God is a syllogism.
Kabir is not going to give you any argument. His assertions are just like the Upanishads’ or Mohammed’s assertions in the Koran or Jesus’ assertions in the Bible — just statements. He feels… he sings about his feeling. Please feel him. There is no question of your head. Put your heads aside. There are people for whom it is very difficult to put their head aside. They have completely forgotten how to put it aside. It is always on top of them — chattering, arguing, choosing, rejecting, accepting, valuing, judging, condemning — “Yes, this is according to me, and this is not according to me.” There is no need for God to be according to you. He is not obliged to be according to you. If you want to understand, you will have to silence your mind.
Listen to Kabir as one listens to poetry; he is a poet…So don’t listen to the words. Listen to the silence that surrounds the words. Don’t listen to the words. Listen to the poetry that surrounds the words, listen to the rhythm, the song. Listen to Kabir’s celebration. He is not here to preach anything to you. He is like a cherry tree. In the fullmoon night the cherry tree has blossomed. Flowers have no arguments; they are simply there. This is an explosion. Kabir has burst into songs.
And these are the two possibilities: whenever enlightenment happens, either a person becomes absolutely silent or he bursts into song. These are the two possibilities. When Meher Baba attained he became silent. Then his whole life he remained silent. When Meera attained she started dancing and singing. These are the two possibilities: either one becomes absolutely silent or one’s whole life becomes a song. Kabir’s life is that of song. But remember, in his song there is silence. And always remember also, in Meher Baba or people like that there is song in their silence. If you listen attentively to Meher Baba’s silence, you will be full of a song, you will feel it showering on you. And if you listen to Kabir silently, you will see that his song is nothing but a message for silence.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: Ecstasy – The Forgotten Language
Chapter title: Now or never
11 December 1976 am in Buddha Hall
Osho has spoken on Mystics like Sai Baba, Dadu, Farid, Gurdjieff, J. Krishnamurti, Kabir, Nanak, Patanjali, Rumi, Sahajo, Saraha, Socrates, Tilopa, Valmiki, Zarathustra and many more in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses: