Author Tags: Religion
Das Jagessar was born on September 10, 1931 in Guyana, South America, where he attended primary and high school. He attended university in London, arrived in B.C. in 1955, and completed a medical undergraduate from UBC in 1962. He has since worked as a doctor in North Delta and Surrey. In 1999 and 2000, on invitation from Trinidad, he delivered 8-day sermons on the teachings of Guru Kabir, a fifteenth century mystic saint of India who lived from 1398 to 1518.
Since 1984, Das has been the president of the Guru Kabir Association of Canada. He produces a 10-page monthly journal called The Kabir Voice. In 1995, he produced a 13-part series titled Religious Horizons, in which he interviewed leaders from Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, Kabir Path, Unitarianism, Baha'i Faith and Judaism. He has also produced three television programs celebrating Guru Kabir, and is a founding member of Clergy for Compassion and Harmony.
As a medical student at UBC, Das Jagessar became fascinated with Guru Kabir. "Although I had some exposure to Kabir's teachings from my late father, I had nothing in English, my first language," says Das. "Can you imagine the thrill I felt when a friend lent me a book of one hundred poems of Kabir in English? The book was a translation by the late Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. I had the whole book typed on a small manual typewriter so that I could have a copy."
Jagessar's book The Bijak of Guru Kabir is a 231 page hard cover with a glossary and pronunciation key. It contains eighty-four of Guru Kabir's poems in their original Hindi, with translations.
"The word Bijak means a key to hidden treasure, or a document containing instructions on how to obtain that treasure," says Das. "This derives from the fact that in olden times people used to bury or hide their money or other valuables, then leave instructions to their heirs on how to get to the treasure. The Bijak similarly leads to the hidden spiritual treasure so that we may enrich our spiritual lives."
Kabir: Songs of the Divine
The Bijak of Guru Kabir (Surrey: Kabir Association of Canada, 1998)
Path of Spiritual Realization (Surrey: Kabir Association of Canada)
[BCBW 2006] "India" "Religion"