ONE KABIR, TWO KABIR, THREE KABIR, WIN.
“There are no saints anymore. Only cockroaches”.
– Taxi driver.
I have this little game I play with myself – Rule of Three.
It works like this: if I hear something relatively obscure mentioned three or more times in a short period of time, I research it (‘cos I’m thorough like that). Over many years the game has led me to people like George Santayama, Christopher Hitchens, George Monbiot, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ayn Rand, Saul Alinski, and concepts like the cartesian split, among many others. It had been several weeks since I last played the game, but this week, it was back on! Viva la game!!!
Wednesday night: reference number three came during a conversation with a taxi driver. After a bizarrely comforting and profound exchange about my screenwriting goals, writing, politics, economics and life, Mr Driver delivered my game cue: “Have you ever heard of Kabir?”
The bell went off (in my head).
“Twice since Monday, actually” said I. “But I don’t really know who or what it is”.
Mr Driver then schooled me on the Man, the mystic.
Kabir was a Mystic Poet, a saint of India, and a weaver. He had a very simple message:
All of life is an interplay of two spiritual principles: the personal soul or individual self (Jivatma) and God (Paramatma). Salvation is therefore the process of bringing these two divine principles into union.
Vehemently opposed to dogma in both Hinduism and Islam, Kabir advocated a non-dogmatic, simple path to oneness in God (Sahaja).
And his greatest work, the Bijak, is a collection of poems that explains his universal view of spirituality.
But one particular facet of Kabir’s life is intriguing to me: though a “saint”, he lived a regular, worldly life – he got married, had children, had a regular job. He wasn’t a hermit, never became a sadhu.
If he was as great as those who revere him say, that’s amazing: it’s very easy to be saintly if you are shut off from society, immune to the tensions and aggravations and upsets that modern life and human relationships inevitably bring. The path of the mystic is a hard one. Those who are drawn or born to do it are few. But it is possible to reconcile all those opposing forces within you and see the inherent universality in everything.
The benefits of doing so extend far beyond your own individual life. The mystic’s responsibility is to make sure they do.
I don’t know why Mr Driver introduced Kabir into the conversation – it was an odd detour, as we had been talking about his former law career and the pros and cons of capitalism. But I’m glad he did. Kabir was the motherfucking man.
Mr Driver’s parting gift to me – a text message later:
“It was a great pleasure to know you…a bit!”
Random fleeting connections… gotta love them.
P.S. Sorry I didn’t post during the week – I have a cold at the moment, and limited energy (bloody weather!). Plus many practical considerations that I am prioritising at this time (health, bills, etc).