Sant  Ravidas: Kranti  Jyoti  Yugpurush

Er. Prabhat Kishore

India has witnessed the birth of a number of Avtars, Sants   and powerful spiritual personalities who have illuminated this Holy land  with their succinct teachings and awakened the masses about the real essence of  Bhakti.  Satguru  Ravidas was one of the renowned  Sant of Bhakti Aandolan, who created an enduring impetus through his devotional songs and verses. He was the leading stars of Sant  Parampara or Nirgun  Sampraday and valued the worship of formless God.

Born on Maghi Purnima of Vikrami  Samvat 1433 at Shri Govardhanpur village (now renamed as Sri Guru Ravidas  Janma  Sthan) 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 downtrodden  sections of the society, although his followers are also from the upper castes like Krishna-Bhakt  Meerabai, 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 can not do well, at least do not harm others. If you can not 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 caused   us 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 sacred   hymns have been made an  integral   part of the Sikh scripture, the Shri  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  Jati  mein Jati  Hai, Jo Ketan  Ke Pat; Raidas  Manush Na Jud  Sakai, Jab Tak  Jati 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 Sant  Shiromani Guru  Ravidas 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. He holds Master in Engineering from M.N. Regional Engineering College, Allahabad/Prayagraj)


Related Articles