ENVIRONMENT ACCORDING TO SANT KABIR’S PHILOSOPHY
Sant Kabir accepted the doctrine of the creation as Lila, the play or sport of God. The forms so produced are actual. He felt that the concept of Lila brought out the idea of creation as springing not from necessity but in perfect joy from God’s free creative act. Sant Kabir felt that God’s nature was love, which pervades the whole creation. No one, neither Pir, Murid, Kazi, Musalman, deity, Sur, Nar, Gan, Gandharwa, Brahma, Dev nor Maheshwar, has ever unwrapped the mystery of His ‘Trigunatmak’ and ‘Panchmahabhutak’ creation.
In his Gyan Gudadi Kabir Saheb states:
alakh purush jab kiyā bichārā, lakh chowrāsī dhāgā dārā,
pānch tattva kī gudadī bīnī, tīn gunan se thādhi kīnhī;
When the Invisible Lord decided to create the world, He cast forth 8.4 million threads (species of life). Using the five gross elements, he wove the quilt-like body, and placed the three inherent qualities (gunas) in it.
tāme jīv brahm owr māyā, samrath aiso khel banāyā;
jivan pānch pachīso lāge, kām krodh mohh mad pāge;
In the body he placed the soul, Brahm and Maya. The Almighty made quite a play of creation.)
In a special context relating to the earth, Sant Kabir said that the earth is the property of ‘Sadhus’- the holy people and not of thieves. Thieves are a burden on the earth, and earth is for the holy people who receive the blessings of God. He describes the qualities of a Sadhu in many ways, but the one we need is that a ‘Sadhu’ is not only ‘Gurumukhi’ but also ‘aparighrahi’ (un-hoarding) who does not store more than needed. This is because he is always in communion with God, and trusts in His providence.
NATURE – HUMAN RELATION
In Sant Kabir’s Bani, he describes various human relationships with the environment. According to him, the mortal has exalted from the earth. After death some humans are cremated (turning into ashes) and some are buried in the earth. Sant Kabir states, not only humans but also all 8.4 millions of species will become soil and get mixed with the earth. He believes that encroaching on environment is the same as disrespecting God, because God dwells in each and every part of the environment. Sant Kabir said that some religious people pull out their hair as part of their important ritual, and they offer flowers of champa, darva to the idol of their God. Pulling out the hair is symbolic of damaging the earth and this way they waste their life. He does not portray the environment as God, but instructs us to have respect for the environment.
As stated before, we have multiple relationships with the environment that can be understood by living with it, and created out of it. According to Sant Kabir’s philosophy, I would like to discuss how humans are related with the environment. According to him, the relationship is not Animism (worshiping nature as God). He said, “Worshiping the idol of stone as the ‘Creator’ of the world, and having faith in it, will drown in ‘Kali-dhar’ i.e. in worldly things.” Rather, he says, “Instead of seeing God in the Shaligram (‘Shaligram’ i.e. round stone worshiped as Lord Krishna), see God in every ‘Jivatma’ (the soul) and consider ‘Sadhus’ (i.e. real disciples of God) as gods on earth. It is better to see God in every ‘Jivatma’ than to see god in ‘Shaligram’ i.e. stones as a worshiped entity.’ Using a metaphor of a gardener he said, “You tear off the leaves, O gardener, but in each and every leaf, there is life. That stone idol, for which you tear off those leaves, is lifeless. In this way, you are mistaken, O gardener. The True Guru is the Living Lord. In this way the philosophy of Sant Kabir is not Animism.
Article by Sudha J. Pandit
(To be continued)