India is considered to be the land of saints and sages. One such saint was Sant Kabir. Infact, he is regarded by many as a spiritual giant among saints.
Sant Kabir appeared in the year 1398. Around that time, India was passing through a difficult period in her history. His arrival heralded a new era.
There are different accounts describing his birth. According to some of them, we are told that one day, a small child was found lying under a tree, sucking his thumb. His eyes shone brightly, and a beatific smile was spread across his face. Others say that a small child was found atop a lotus leaf in a lake in Banaras. Nobody really knows where and how he was born.
There is only one common ground of agreement that, during his childhood, he was brought up in a poor Muslim family. The father's name was Niru, and the mother was Nima. Both were illiterate and poor and belonged to the underprivileged class. They were childless, and having discovered the abandoned baby, they took him home and brought him up as their own child.
A Kazi— Muslim priest— was called for the naming ceremony. When the Kazi opened the Holy Quran, the first word spotted by him was Kabir. The Kazi closed his eyes, said his prayers and opened the Quran again. Again, his gaze fell on the word Kabir. Kabir is a name of God. How could a child coming from this lowly background, be named after God? The meaning of the word Kabir is the Almighty One, the Highest One. The Kazi thought that it was inappropriate for this child to be given this name. So once again, he closed his eyes, offered a prayer and opened the Quran Sharif. His eyes fell on the word Akbar. Now Akbar is also another name of God. He felt that he could not, should not, give a child of a backward class, a name like Akbar.
In the meantime, Niru and Nima got impatient and did not want to wait anymore. They decided to name their child Kabir. His shining eyes and pleasant face attracted all. His heart was full of mercy and compassion. He could not bear to see the pain and suffering of others.
Kabir’s teaching to all was to abstain from meat and fish, treat all creatures with mercy and compassion.
(Dada J.P. Vaswani is humanitarian, philosopher, educator, acclaimed writer, powerful orator, messiah of ahimsa, and non-sectarian spiritual leader.)