The question comes close to the heels of commemoration of 500th death anniversary of Sant Kabir and examines the kind of impact he has on contemporary Indian society through his teachings. Hence it is important for mains.
The question asks us to discuss the relevance of Kabir’s teachings in today’s world. Therefore, you have to probe deeper into the topic, get into details, and find out the implications.
In the intro, give a brief biography of Sant Kabir. Kabir was the most celebrated of Ramananda’s disciples and the most liberal among medieval Indian reformers.
Discuss the key philosophies of his teachings in the first part. He considered all religions as one and same and aimed at bringing about harmony among all communities etc.
Then discuss how these influences are relavant in today’s world. Clue here is increasing communalism, intolerance, role of godmen, superstitions etc.
In the conclusion mention that Kabir influenced indian society back then and his teachings are mug required in the current climate.
Bhakti Movement which began in 13th century talked about personal devotion to god. The movement inspired many poets like Meera, Tyagraj as well as Kabir. Kabirdas was a disciple of Ramananda, and was raised by a Muslim weaver. He stood for doing away with all the unnecessary customs and rituals in both religions and bringing union between these religions. He became one of the mainstay of Bhakti movement during medieval period in India.
Key Teachings and Philosophies of Kabir:
- Kabir believed that God is uni-present .
- He did not advocated idol worship
- According to him true dedication is way to realize the one own-self & hence the supreme power called God.
- Kabir did not supported asceticism and believed that one can find God without leaving the materialistic world & its obligations.
- Kabir saw all the religions in the same light & considered religions merely different means to reach same God.
- He strictly criticized those who divides society on religious and caste grounds.
- Kabir was the first saint to reconcile Hinduism with Islam.
- Kabir took good things from all religions while filtered out orthodox practices & meaningless rituals.
- His God was a personalized God , which he can worship the way he want to.
- These ideas were basically bedrock of Bhakti cult followed by Mira bai, Raidas, Bihari etc.
Relevance of Kabir in present time:
- His dohas are still relevant today as they were when he wrote them, transcending the bounds of time.
- His secular perspective on religion is evergreen.
- It is pertinent to follow his thoughts today in these times of turmoil
- Kabir’s teaching are in perfect harmony with the social and religions needs of the present times;
- He identified himself completely with the concept of an integrated Indian society and won the hearts of millions. This is the need of the hour right now.
- Technology like social media is supposed to unite people. But we are actually using the same technology to create a divisive culture and we have been hating people we don’t know and have never met. Kabir has always advocated direct experience and this will be handy in present conditions.
- Acceptability of multiple narratives and the room for dissent are missing today. Kabir’s teaching to express themselves freely and habit to accommodate those thoughts are much needed now.
- His idea of casteless society which is based on rationality is the answer to the creeping casteism and superstitions in the modern society.
- Kabir had a clear vision and approach towards social equality. He created awareness to end discrimination in the society. Society needs that awareness even now.
- In the present communaly polarised world, Kabir’s idea of unity seems almost prophetic.
- He questioned the structures and systems of the time and always questioned the people who claimed authority in the society. In the society which is turing towards status quoist, this temperament is more necessary than ever.
Sant Kabir continues to inspire people world over even after 500 years of his death. People still find his couplet relevant in today’s context which is gradually being engulfed by consumerism, urbanization and globalization. Hence, Kabir’s dohas are rooted in basic philosophy with ability to stand the test of time. This makes the teaching of sant kabir immortal.