Knowledge ahead, knowledge behind, knowledge to the left and right. The knowledge that knows what knowledge is: that’s the knowledge that’s mine. —Bijak, sakhi 188 One of India’s greatest mystics, Kabir (1398-1448) was also a satirist and philosopher, a poet of timeless wit and wisdom. Equally immersed in theology and social thought, music and politics, his songs have won devoted followers from every walk of life through the past five centuries. He was a Muslim by name, but his ideas stand at the intersection of Hinduism and Islam, Bhakti and Yoga, religion and secularism. And his words were always marked by rhetorical boldness and conceptual subtlety. This book offers Vinay Dharwadker’s sparkling new translations of one hundred poems, drawing for the first time on major sources in half a dozen literary languages. They closely mimic the structure, voice and style of the originals, revealing Kabir’s multiple facets in historical and cultural contexts. Finely balancing simplicity and complexity, this selection opens up new forms of imagination and experience for discerning readers around the world.
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