Heaven & Paradise: Story of Bhagat Kabeer Ji

Manvir Singh Khalsa

One day a Jehavoh Witness came to our house. He was very keen to sell his religion to me. “Are you happy with the world?” I said, “Yes, I am.” “Really? But there is war, crime and destruction. Jesus has promised us Paradise and Heaven. The Kingdom of God is to come soon.” I thought about what he had said and asked him, “Whose kingdom are you living in now? Is this your Kingdom? No. We are already living in God’s Kingdom, but you have not realised this, because you too busy selling Heaven and Paradise to others, rather than making your own life like Heaven by cherishing and enjoying the Presence of God.” This idea of selling a ticket to Heaven and luring people with the hope of Paradise is used by many religions, in particular the Semitic religions like Christianity and Islam.

surg mukiq bYkuMT siB bWCih iniq Awsw Aws krIjY ] hir drsn ky jn mukiq n mWgih imil drsn iqRpiq mnu DIjY ]1]

Everyone longs for paradise, liberation and heaven; all place their hopes in them. The humble long for the Blessed Vision of His Darshan; they do not ask for liberation. Their minds are satisfied and comforted by His Darshan. ||1||
(Ang 1324, SGGS)


I thought why not consult my Guru (literally meaning ‘Enlightener’ who dispels the darkness of ignorance) about Heaven and Paradise. Reading Gurbani, I came across a shabad, which if you read carefully, it appears as if a Muslim person is trying to persuade Baba Kabeer Ji to convert to Islam, and says that if he accepts being a Muslim he will receive Paradise (Heaven). I thought “Waheguru!!” (Wondrous Lord). It is amazing how what the Shabd Guru (the Divine Infinite Wisdom recorded in Gurbani) does not offer just a philosophy but actual experience and reality. Gurbani is real and offers reality. Ninety percent of Gurbani is first hand experience of the Divine and reality. Guru Nanak Sahib Ji and the Bhagats of Sri Guru Granth Shaib Ji don’t show experience, as Sants, Babé and self-proclaimed Satgurus do, rather Eternal True Guru shows a person how they can have an experience. For this reason Gurbani many times follows the style of asking questions and provoking people to think and reflect rather than tell them x,y,z without making the person contemplate on the Ultimate reality and Truth.   

Baba Kabeer Ji’s shabad is on ang 1161 of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Gurbani is the living and speaking light of Guru Nanak Ji. Just as a person communicates with someone with different emotions and feelings which illustrate the mood and message conveyed when someone is saying something, similarly Guru Sahib has used Raag to indicate the mood and emotion of a shabad, which the shabad is to be sung in. This particular shabad is in Raag Bhairo.  The raag Bhairo embodies the soul’s faith and heartfelt devotion towards the Creator. It is a kind of fanaticism, where there is a feeling of not being aware or caring about anything else. The emotions conveyed are those of contentment and of being absorbed in a steadfast belief or faith. In this Raag, the soul is relaying the happiness that the mind could potentially experience if it joined in with this devotion.

The Muslim describes the greatness of his God that he has seven thousand angels, one hundred and twenty five thousand Prophets, etc; and that God lives in the Seventh Sky above Earth. In this shabad Baba Kabeer Ji offers a reply that I am a Weaver by background, even if I become a Muslim, I will remain poor. You say that your God’s Court is in the Seventh Sky; no-one will bother to notice me there and nor can I travel that far. Instead Baba Kabeer Ji says that he prefers to remain drawn and in the presence of Waheguru’s Lotus Feet, which for him Heaven.

sqir sYie slwr hY jw ky ] svw lwKu pYkwbr qw ky ] syK ju khIAih koit ATwsI ] Cpn koit jw ky Kyl KwsI ]1]
(O person!) The God (you say) has 7,000 commanders, and (you say) has one hundred and twenty-five thousand prophets serving Him; He is said to have 88,000,000 old sheikhs (living at His door), and who (you say) has 56,000,000 attendants (up to His court). ||1||

mo grIb kI, ko gujrwvY ] mjlis dUir, mhlu ko pwvY ]1] rhwau ]

I am meek and poor - what chance do I have of being heard there? (Then you say that) His Court is so far away (in the seventh sky); (I am a poor Weaver,) who will find God’s House? ||1||Pause||

qyqIs kroVI hY Kyl Kwnw ] caurwsI lK iPrY idvwnW ] bwbw Awdm kau ikCu ndir idKweI ] auin BI iBsiq GnyrI pweI ]2]
(The people who talk of Heaven also say that) He has 33,000,000 angels as His servants (how will they even listen to me?). His beings (separated and lost) wander insanely through 8.4 million incarnations. (O person! You say that God kept ‘Adam’ (the supposed father of Mankind) in Paradise, but according to you) when God (according to His Will) glanced his eye of Grace on Adam, then that Adam only enjoyed Paradise for a short while (because he was removed from there, so if people like Adam have been removed, then tell me, how long will someone like me be allowed to last there?) ||2||

idl Klhlu jw kY, jrd rU bwnI ] Coif kqyb krY sYqwnI ] dunIAw dosu, rosu hY loeI ] Apnw kIAw pwvY soeI ]3]

Those who have forsaken (the path shown in) their religious-books and turn to follow bad practices, their hearts are disturbed (with wickedness and corruption), and their faces turn pale (i.e. he or she get pushed away from Waheguru’s Door). A person receives the fruits of one’s own action, but (in ignorance) one blames others, and gets angry with the world. ||3||

Here the conversation is with a Muslim, for this reason the word used for religious-books is “Kateb”.

qum dwqy hm sdw iBKwrI ] dyau jbwbu, hoie bjgwrI ] dwsu kbIru qyrI pnh smwnW ] iBsqu, njIik rwKu rhmwnw ]4]7]15]

(O my Lord! I have no need for any Paradise or Heaven) You are my Great Giver, I am forever a beggar at Your Door (whatever You are giving me that is fine). If I were to deny You, then I would be a wretched sinner. Slave Kabeer has entered Your Shelter. O Merciful Lord Waheguru! Keep me near You Feet – that is heaven for me. ||4||7||15||

The use of the word ‘Daas’ highlights that Baba Kabeer Ji was born and brought up in a Hindu household, and was not a Muslim.

Following on from this shabad talking about the issue of Muslim concept of Heaven, the next shabad focuses on the Hindu concept of Heaven, which will I discuss next week.



To be continued.



Manvir Singh Khalsa can be reached at manvir_singh_khalsa@yahoo.co.uk