Journey of Life
Forty-one years ago, in August of 1979, I was a new father at the tender age of twenty six with an infant son named Kabir. At that time, my life journey led me to move with my two week old son, his mother and his three year old sister from Colville, WA to California. Our destination was Davis, CA, a city billed at the time as the “bicycle capitol of the world.”
A Mystical Poet named Kabir
During the mid 1970’s while living in Denver, I heard Robert Bly read the poetry of Kabir, the 15th century mystical Indian poet/saint and I was duly enchanted. In the next few years, I obtained a copy of Bly’s poetry translations titled, The Kabir Book. And, I still have that same copy on my bookshelf today.
An Inspired Child Naming
By the late 1970s, I had met and married my first wife. Within a short time, we learned we were going to have a child. So, when the time came for naming our son, I had the perfect inspiration already residing in my book collection. I connected deeply with the spiritual literary reference and was happy to know that the name of Kabir means “The Great” in English.
Hindu-Muslim-Sikh: Who Am I?
According to my research, Kabir (also known as Kabir Das and Kabira) is widely accepted to have brought up in a family of Muslim weavers. Along with being a mystic poet and musician, he is considered one of the important saints of Hinduism and was also considered a Sufi by Muslims. Apparently, he is respected by Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs. According to some scholars, his writings influenced Hinduism’s Bhakti movement. Kabir’s verses are even found in Sikhism’s scripture.
However, Kabir was known for being critical of both Hinduism and Islam. And, during his lifetime, he was threatened by both Hindus and Muslims for his views. When he died, however, both Hindus and Muslims had claimed him as their own. He was never formally educated and was almost completely illiterate. According to legend, the only word that he ever learned how to write was “Rama”. -Source: Wikipedia-
A Most Auspicious Occasion
Back in 1995, I wrote a poem for my son in honor of his namesake, Kabir Das, titled Kabir Weaves Cloth. For a long time, I’ve wanted to transform it into a song.
Finally, in the summer of 2019, as Kabir McKitrick’s 40th birthday approached, I knew it was an auspicious time to honor him in a special way. During the month of August, I sang the song or read the poem at various gigs and gatherings. And, of course, I sang it one day for my son while sitting with him in the shade on a park bench. It was a very heartfelt gift; the kind that only happens once. And, it was received well.
To hear Kabir Weaves Cloth, click here.
Gratitude to My Teachers
So, I express my deep gratitude to my son, Kabir, one of the great teachers in my life. And, I send my blessings to the spirit of Kabir Das whose mystical message has been carried down through the centuries.
Kabir says this:
Just throw away all thoughts of imaginary things
and stand firm in that which you are.
My Favorite Kabir Poem
The Time Before Death
(Translated by Robert Bly from the Rabindranath Tagore translation)
Friend, hope for
the Guest while you are alive
experience while you are alive
think while you are alive
What you call
salvation belongs to the time before death
If you don’t
break your ropes while you’re alive,
do you think ghosts will do it after?
The idea that the
soul will join with the ecstatic
just because the body is rotten ?
That is all
What is found now
is found then
If you find
you will simply
end up with an apartment
in the City of Death
If you make love
with the divine now,
in the next life
you will have the
face of satisfied desire
So, plunge into
the truth, find out who the Teacher is,
Believe in the Great Sound!
Kabir says this:
When the Guest is
being searched for,
it is the intensity of the longing
for the Guest that does all the work
Look at me, and
you will see a slave of that intensity