The Bold Voice of J&K

Satguru Ravidas: Mystic saint of Bhakti Aandolan

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Er. Prabhat Kishore

India has witnessed the birth of a number of Avtars, Santsand powerful spiritual personalities who have illuminated this Holy land with their succinct teachings and awakened the masses about the real essence of Bhakti.SatguruRavidas was one of the renownedSant of Bhakti Aandolan, who created an enduring impetus through his devotional songs and verses. He was the leading stars of SantParampara or NirgunSampraday and valued the worship of formless God.
Born on Maghi Purnima of VikramiSamvat 1433 at Shri Govardhanpur village (now renamed as Sri Guru Ravidas JanmaSthan) in Kashi in a Dalit family, Guruji was the backbone of the Bhakti Aandolan. He fought against discrimination based on caste, creed and colour and taught lesson of universal brotherhood. Because of his untouchable social status, he has now become an important figure for downtroddensections of the society, although his followers are also from the upper castes like Krishna-BhaktMeerabai, the Rajput queen of Chittoor. He is considered to be spiritual Guru of Meerabai, which she had expressed through her verse ” Guru Milya Ravidas Ji, Dini Gyan Ki Gutki; Chot Lagi Nijnam Hari Ki, Mharey Hivrey Khatki”.
Guru ji was a great follower of Lord Ram and Krishna and his writings are full of names like Ram, Raja Ramchandra, Krishna, Govind, Raghunath, Hari etc. He was the true messenger of God. He took birth on earth to save the true Dharma, as at that time the social as well religious pattern was distressed due to several man-made discriminations over social beliefs, castes, colour etc. He taught that one is not identified by his caste or beliefs in God, but is known for his Karma (great work). “Ravidas Janma Ke Karnai, Hot Na Kou Neech; Nar Kun Neech Kari Dari Hai, Ochhe Karam Ki Keech” (No one is inferior by birth, but his doings make him inferior. So, always focus on great deeds). On the tune of Bhagwad Gita, he preached in his own version as “Karam Bandhan Mein Bandh Rahiyo, Phal Ki Na Tajjiyo Aas; Karma Manush Ka Dharma Hai, Sat Bhakhai Ravidas”. (i.e. Always perform your duty and do not desire its fruit, because duty is our Dharma and Fruit is our destiny)”
Regarding untouchability and discrimination, he spread the message that God has created man and not man has created the God. So, every human being has equal right on this earth. “Tohi Mohi, Mohi Tohi, Antar Kaisa; Kanak Katik Jal Tarang Jaisa”, i.e. There is no difference between you (God) and me as there is no difference between the Gold & its ornament, and water & its ripples. He expressed his feeling as “Let us make this world without any discrimination and race like colour.”
Sant Ravidas had given a variety of spiritual and social messages through his writings.He said “If you cannot do well, at least do not harm others. If you cannot live like a flower, at least do not live like a thorn”. He gave emphasis for education by saying “Avidya Ahit Keen, Taatay Vivek Deep Bhava Maleen” (i.e. Lack of education has causedus great harm and it has eclipsed our rationale).
Sant Ravidas is revered by both Hindus and Sikhs. He expressed his passion and love for Waheguru through his poetry and music. Nearly 40 of his sacredhymns have been made an integralpart of the Sikh scripture, theShri Guru Granth Sahib Ji by the 5th Guru Arjun Dev Ji.He is known as the inventor of Gurumukhi Lipi (script) and entire Sikh Vani is written in Gurumukhi. Although, after some untoward incidents, the Ravidasia Samaj has parted itself from Sikhism and replaced Guru Granth Sahib with Amritvani having nearly 240 hymns of Ravidas. The Panch Vaani text of the Hindu Warrior-ascetic group of Dadupanthi tradition within Hinduism also includes numerous poems of Ravidas.
Ravidasji was a great saint and preferred to live as a common man. Guruji’s teachings of equality and brotherhood in the society are the greatest inspiration to us. There will not be unity among human beings, without abolishing the caste system. “Jati Jatimein Jati Hai, Jo Ketan Ke Pat; Raidas Manush Na Jud Sakai, Jab TakJati Na Jat”. He had propounded and advocated the concept of Begumpura (Be-Gum-Pura) or a city without sorrow (Gum), which would be stateless, classless, casteless and where there would be no discrimination. “Begam Pura Sahar Ko Nao, Dukh Andohu Nahi Tihi Thao”. He expressed his pivotal message as “Aisa Chahun Raj Main, Jahan Milai Saban Ko Anna. Chhote Bade Sab Sam Base, Ravidas Rahe Prasanna.”
He cautioned the people against unwanted customs and beliefs. In one of his hymn he pointed out “Man Changa To Kathauti Mein Ganga” (i.e. If your heart is pious, then the Holy river is right in your tub and you need not go anywhere else to take a dip).
The teaching of Guru never fails and his word never goes wrong. He is the true source of light in life.The valuable teachings of SantShiromani GuruRavidas are a great treasure for those who are heading on the divine path of Bhakti to get liberated from all the shackles.
(The author is a technocrat & academician).

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