Sometimes it happens that some nearby village…Varanasi is costly, it is available only for rich people to live there to die; the poor people live in nearby villages. Naturally it happens that they die in their villages, but immediately their friends and their relatives take their dead bodies to the Ganges. It doesn’t matter, just a few minutes or half an hour or one hour…God cannot be so cruel. He will forgive even these people also.
Kabir lived all his life in Varanasi, the holiest city of the Hindus. Just on the other side of the Ganges, there is a small village called Maghar. I don’t know how the idea became prevalent that anybody who dies in Varanasi goes to paradise and anybody who dies in Maghar becomes a donkey. And Maghar is just on the other side of the Ganges.
Before Kabir felt that now his time had come, he told his friends, “Take me to Maghar.”
They said, “Are you mad? Nobody wants to die in Maghar. People who are living there are continuously afraid – before death they have to escape from there. And you have lived your whole life in Varanasi and now, when the right moment has come, you want to go to Maghar? You know perfectly well that people who die in Maghar become donkeys.”
Kabir said, “If you don’t listen to me, I will have to walk down to Maghar. But I don’t want any obligation, either to the Ganges or to any God. If I am enlightened, I am enlightened in Varanasi; I am enlightened in Maghar. Let me set the precedent, because the poor people of Maghar have been condemned for centuries. Let me die in Maghar, because after me it will be difficult for anybody to say that anybody who dies in Maghar becomes a donkey. At least about Kabir that cannot be said.”
Kabir died in Maghar. He changed it; now nobody says that if you die in Maghar you will become a donkey. On the contrary, many people who love Kabir live in Maghar; Maghar has become a holy place for the followers of Kabir.
It happened that Meera, another woman mystic, had come to Varanasi just on a pilgrimage. And Varanasi has the highest council of Hindu scholars, the so-called wise, and the saints. There was trouble because many of those people wanted Kabir to be invited to their annual conference but Kabir was a weaver; not only that, it was suspicious whether he was a Hindu or a Mohammedan. His name was Mohammedan – Kabir in Arabic means Allah, another name of God. And he was found on the bank of the Ganges by a Hindu monk, Ramananda – left by his parents, a small child. And the story is very beautiful….
It was dark, early morning, when Hindus take their bath before their worship of the sun. As Ramananda was coming down the steps, the small child took hold of his robe. Surprised – who is there? – he looked: a small child, not more than four years old, sitting on the steps. What to do with this child? There was nobody else around; the parents had abandoned the child there.