In a country where Guru is equal to God, an enlightened soul’s teaching holds relevance across eons. The literature from Sant Ravidas’ a mystic, poet and a social reformer is increasingly relevant today because of its stress on equality of human beings and spirit of service. It reveals the true nature of bhakthi and shows that every form of love and worship leads to the same source.
In contemplation of his verses, Bharat Bhavan in Bhopal is hosting a three-day concert called Sant Ravidas (Raidas) Samaroh from June 24. The event on all three days includes musical performance that features the Sants’ enlightening verses, discussions and lectures on him and his literature. In the evening of June 25, a Dhrupad Jugalbandi will be performed on his verses. On the last day of the concert, a film, Sant Ravidas ki Amar Kahani, will be screened.
The nation had celebrated the 645th birth anniversary of the renowned saint on February 15, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared his reverence for his role as a social reformer. PM Modi stated that he drew inspiration from Sant’s work to rid the society of untouchability and other evils of caste.
Sant Ravidas was born in the 14th century, to an underprivileged family in Seer Goverdhanpur, Uttar Pradesh. He was a good friend and disciple of Kabir. Around 40 of the poems accredited to Ravidas were included in the Adi Granth, the sacred scripture of Sikhism. It is believed that Ravidas met Guru Nanak, the first Guru, and founder of the Sikh tradition.
Guru Ravidas is considered the founder of the Ravidassia religion which has strong roots in Punjab. “For him who knows Hari and the sense of self, no other testimony is needed: the knower is absorbed,” sings the Sant, suggesting his mental state, that sees no inconsistency between a bhaktha and an advaitin. Perhaps this is why this mystic who believed that the only way to meet supreme is to free your mind from duality, became the founder of the Bhakti movement in North India. Also known by Raidas, Rohidas and Ruhidas – his devotional songs and verses created a lasting impact upon the Bhakti Movement. Guru Ravidas is also known as the spiritual guide of Meera Bai, an extraordinary Bhakthi poet and an eminent figure in Hindu spirituality.