Rev. Julia Hamilton | November 12 , 2017
Clouds heavy with love
Showered me with wild abundance.
Inside me, my soul was drenched.
Around me, even the desert grew green.
Kabir was a 15th century poet and mystic from India. Raised in a Muslim family, he later became a Hindu, or perhaps it is better to say that he became someone who integrated both a Hindu and a Muslim worldview into his work. Either way, he was a mystic who cast off any rigid and formal religious constraints, appealing instead to an intimate, experiential understanding of the Divine. Not much is known about his life, although there are plenty of
stories handed down. The real Kabir is lost to history, but his songs live on.
I picked up some of Kabir’s poetry this week because I was interested in the idea of heaven and paradise represented as a place of abundance. After all, the idea of Paradise as a garden is a familiar one. In the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions, the Garden of Eden is right there as the place of origin of humankind, a paradise where everything you could ever want was provided to you, at least until Adam and Eve messed it up and got cast out. Ever since then, trying to get back to that garden, back to that paradise of abundance, has been part of the religious landscape.
The Islamic scholar Farid Esack was the one who introduced me to the beauty of the imagery in the Qu’ran surrounding concepts of paradise – of the gardens, the Jannat, that are overflowing with good and beautiful things.
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