Bhaktavijaya: Stories of Indian Saints

by Justin E. Abbott | 1933

This is the English translation of Bhaktavijaya which is a Marathi poem written by Mahipati in 40,000 lines. The text documents the legends of Indian saints from various backgrounds and extensively covers figures like Ekanath, Tukaram, and Ramadasa, highlighting their contributions to scholarship, philosophy, poetry, and social reform. The Bhaktavi...

6.7: Kabir and Kamal as robbers

89. It now happened on a certain occasion, that a large company of saints who lived at sacred places came to Kabir’s house.

90. It was at the first watch of the night that these saints came to Kabir’s house. Both father and son came forward and prostrated themselves on the ground.

91. Kamal hastened to bring a woollen blanket for them to sit upon, and he said to the saints, ‘O Swamis, seat yourselves on it.’

92. When the saints saw what was being done, the three parties felt joy, just as Indra felt joy when he saw Sanak [Sanaka] and the others;

93. or just as after many days of drought, a great number of clouds should pour down rain, making men happy, so Kabir felt joy;

94. or it was as if one should give to a sick person nectar to drink; or as when a Chatak [Chataka] bird drinks nectar from the moon; or as when wick and oil are placed in the lamp, it is seen to give bright light;

95. or as when the God-loving bhaktas full of joy, nod their heads in gladness while listening to a kirtan [kirtana]; or as when the daughter of Janaka (Sita) was full of joy when she met Maruti in the forest of Ashoka;

96. so Kabir felt great joy as he saw these great saints. Going aside he said to his wife, ‘We must give these saints something to eat.

97. These bhaktas of Vishnu who reside at sacred places have come to our home. If we permit them to sleep here hungry, our reputation for goodness will be lost.’

98. Now there was not the least bit of food in the house, so the distress of the couple was intense; but now listen to what the wife said, when she heard her husband’s remark.

99. She said to Kabir, ‘O lord of my life, I do not see what is to be done. If we go to our neighbours to borrow, they will give us nothing whatever

100. We could go into the bazaar and buy, but we have no money. So take your son with you and go and steal something.

101. Break open the shop of the merchants who seem to have an abundance of materials for food and bring back the food which you steal, and serve a meal to these saints.’

102. The bhakta Kabir assented to this. He took a sword, and the bhakta Kamal took a crowbar, and they hastened to go.

103. They came into the bazaar, and broke open the shop of the merchant. He put the son. inside the shop, and, he himself remained outside.

104. It was now midnight, and the merchant was in heavy sleep. Kabir called to his son from outside that he should hasten in what he had to do.

105. When Kamal looked into the shop he saw piles of money, garments and ornaments. Seeing them he felt a sense of disgust.

106. The son brought out of the shop flour, rice, sugar, split peas, melted butter, crystallized sugar, and gave them to Kabir.

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