Bhagat Ravidas

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Devotee Ravidas
Ravidas 001.jpg
Full Name : Ravidas, Raidas
Birth : 30 January 1399, Benaras, Uttar Pradesh, India
Parents : Baba Santokh Das and Mata Kalsa Devi
Spouse :
Children :
Death : Benaras, Uttar Pardesh
Other Info: 500 verses in Guru Granth Sahib.

Bhagat Ravidas Ji (Gurmukhi: ਭਗਤ ਰਵਿਦਾਸ), was a poet, devotee, and a Gurmukh, born on Maghshudhi 14 Pooranmashi in Smt.1456, i.e., 30 January, 1399 in Kashi. He was a monotheist and was a knower of Gurmat. He admired Kabir Ji and Namdev Ji. In the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, many devotional hymns of Bhagat Ravidas Ji are present. He was a devotee of the One God, and his hymns are placed under Bani Bhagatan ki. Ravidasi's treat Bhagat Ravidas Ji as their Guru and they have a seperate Sect from the mainstream Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs. He was Tanner(leather worker) by profession.

Sikhs follow the teachings of Bhagat Ravidas Ji. His teachings have the same content as Bhagat Kabir Ji, Guru Nanak Dev Ji and the Bhatts. Sikhs bow before the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji which includes the teachings of many who had similar thoughts about God.

Early Life

His parents were in the leather trade, and were very well off. He was barely five days old when Bhagat Ramanand visited his house and blessed the child. Ravidas was born in Uttar Pradesh, in the village of Sir Gobardhan, which is close to Varanasi. His birthplace is now known as Shri Guru Ravidass Janam Asthan. Mata Kalsi was his mother, and his father was Santokh Dass. His parents belonged to the untouchable Chamar caste because they worked in the leather industry.

When Ravidas reached the age of discretion his father inspired him to join the family business. But Ravidas was imbued with celestial and humane values. The money he received from his father for business, he spent in the welfare of the Saints and needy. His father was extremely perturbed and banished him from the house.

By this time Ravidas was already married. Rather than resenting his father's actions he quietly left the house, started living in a make-shift hut with his wife, and set up a small wayside shop for mending shoes.

Devotion to the Lord

He did not abandon his love for the God and built a Temple of clay-walls and thatched roof. He installed an idol made out of hide in the Temple. His extreme devotion and universal love induced hundreds of people of all castes to join him in worship. This resulted in enviousness among the Brahmin priests who raised the matter in the Court of Muslim Nawab of Kashi. The Nawab was a man of righteousness, and put the matter in a miraculous test.

Bhagat Ravidas went into meditation and recited one of his hymns (Gauri Purbi P.346) and requested Almighty, "Take pity on me that my doubts may be dispelled." His prayer was answered, and his adoration acclaimed the triumph in the miraculous test. To express his gratitude he sang his hymn (Asa P.1606), "Thou art sandal and I am the poor castor-plant, dwelling close to thee. From a mean tree I have become sublime and Thine fragrance, exquisite fragrance, now, abides in me."

By the turn of fourteenth century, Muslim rule was well established established in India. When Bhagat Ramanand (1366-1467 AD) came to Northern India and made Kashi/Benares as his home, he noted that the Muslim religion had made inroads into Hinduism as a considerable number of Hindus had been converted and had adopted Islam as their religion. Ramanand was an orthodox devotee of Ram. He was, no doubt, impressed with the Islamic belief in only One God and their talk of the equality of men; except for the Ruling Feudal Elite, the Muslims of all classes mingled in every aspect of life--living, eating, religious ceremonies, marriages, paying no head to casteism.

But he was very much distressed to observe that this was enhancing the conversion of Hindus, particularly of the low-caste, into Islam. He forsook the Shivaite austere practices endowed to him by his Guru, Ramanuj, and initiated the veneration of Universal Brotherhood. He accepted Hindus of low-castes and even invited Muslims to join him in worship, and become his followers. Among his most noted disciples were Kabir, a Muslim weaver, Sain, a barber and Dhanna, a cultivator. Each of whom became a Guru ( teacher) with his own devotees.


A rich man tried to allure him with the charm of wealth. It is said that he gave Ravidas a philosopher's stone by the touch of which one could change any article into gold. In spite of Ravidas refusing the gift the rich man left the stone hung under the ceiling. When he came back after one year the stone was still hanging there. The rich man announced to the world the indisputable godliness of Bhagat Ravidas. This episode is considered to be an ecclesiastic test to judge Bhagat Ravidas's endurance towards the worldly love. But some accounts associate this to the devious manipulation of the Brahmin priests to discredit Ravidas, which, rather, ended in the triumph of Ravidas.

Ravidas's selfless devotion and casteless love for humanity spread far and wide. Maharani Jhally of Chitaur' was a noble woman of benevolence and piety. Her ardency brought her to Benares on a pilgrimage. In spite of the disapproval of the Brahmin priests, she straight-away went to the Temple of Ravidas who was in his ecclesiastic benediction at the time, reciting his hymns (Rag Sorath P.658-59). The Maharani was captivated. Eventually she became his disciple and abandoned all her luxurious trappings. Her husband, the Maharana, had been turned against her, over her adopting a cobbler as her Guru. He was full of rage when she returned. He was pacified by listening to some of the hymns of Bhagat Ravidas but still wanted to put her new Guru through a test to invalidate the allegations of the Brahmins. Ravidas (who remained a cobbler) was invited to Chitaur and requested to participate in an oblation. The Brahmin priests, of course, refused to eat while a cobbler was seated in the same column of rows. Ravidas voluntarily moved away. But miraculously every person distributing food appeared to look just like Bhagat Ravidas to the Brahmins. (Another account states when the Brahmins sat down to eat, they saw Ravidas seated between every two of them). They complained to the Maharana who perceived the hidden meaning of this marvel, and became an ardent devotee. Ravidas remained in Chitaur for a long time. It is said that Mira Bai became his disciple as well during that period. As per some accounts he died at a ripe old age of nearly 120 years in Benares.

Guru Arjan decided to include the works of Ravidas in the Shri Guru Granth Sahib, there are 41 verses of Ravidas, who the Sikhs refer to as Bhagat Ravidas in the Sikh holy book, most of which are in very clear Hindi. His poetry is brimming with ardent love for God, Universe, Nature, Guru, and the Name. His sarcasm and pique shows his closeness with God.


He was the first to motivate his followers to challenge discrimination on the grounds of caste. Because of his charismatic deeds, he has become an important figure in the Whole World, his followers who call themselves Ravidasis refer to him as their Guru, a term still used across India today. He was the first to motivate his followers to make/call them untouchables who make/call them so. By his deeds he proved that he was closer to God than those who were calling him ' low caste'. He was the first to attack the Hindu caste system.

Devotional songs

His devotional songs and verses made a lasting impact in the Bhakti movement.

अब कैसे छूटे राम, नाम रट लागी |
पढ़रभढ़जी तढ़म चनढ़दन हम पानी, जाकी अंग अंग बास समानि |
पढ़रभढ़जी तढ़म घन बन हम मोरा, जैसे चितवत चनढ़द चकोरा |
पढ़रभढ़जी तढ़म दीपक हम बाती, जाकी जोति बरै दिन राती |
पढ़रभढ़जी तढ़म मोती हम धागा, जैसे सोने मिलत सढ़हागा |
पढ़रभढ़जी तढ़म सढ़वामी हम दासा, झसी भकढ़ति करै रैदासा |

Translation: How to escape? I recite the name Ram.
Lord, if you are sandalwood, I am water;
with the fragrance in all parts of my body.
Lord, if you are a cloud, I am a peacock;
looking for you like a chakora for the moon.
Lord, if you are a lamp, I am the wick (bAti);
with the light burning day and night.
Lord, if you are a pearl, I am the thread;
together like gold and suhaga.
Lord, you are the master and I servant;
thus is the devotion of Raidas.

Forty-one of his writings have been included in the Sikh Holy Book Guru Granth Sahib. There is also a larger body of hymns passed on independently of the Guru Granth Sahib.

Guru Ravidas is venerated in northern India, and in the Indian state of Maharashtra, in particular by the Ravidasi religion. The movement gained an extra impetus in 1920 in Punjab, due to Sikh members formerly of the Chamar caste rebelling against the continued caste oppression aimed at them by other Sikhs who, despite the teachings of the 10 Sikh Gurus, still apparently believed themselves superior to their brothers. Apparently the idea of Pahul (Amrit first drank from a common iron bowl by 5 men of differing castes) as intended by Guru Gobind Singh to wipe out once and for all any trace of casteism was continuing to be a little hard for some sikhs to swallow.

This group split from the Sikh community and joined the Ravidasi faith en-masse. Today, former Chamars from the Punjab are the largest visible ethnic group in the Ravidasi community. Punjabi Ravidasis have a number of Gurdwaras in the United Kingdom, especially in the Midlands. The Ravidasians however still consider themselves Sikhs.

What the Sikh Gurus says

In the Guru Granth Sahib, the fourth [{Sikh Guru]], Guru Ram Das says how by remembering the Lord all the time, Bhagat Ravidas came to be recognised and respected by all the people despite his low caste; the Guru tells us how people of all the four caste came and bowed to Bhagat Ravidas. Ravidas was honoured in the Court of the Lord.

ਰਵਿਦਾਸ੝ ਚਮਾਰ੝ ਉਸਤਤਿ ਕਰੇ ਹਰਿ ਕੀਰਤਿ ਨਿਮਖ ਇਕ ਗਾਇ ॥ ਪਤਿਤ ਜਾਤਿ ਉਤਮ੝ ਭਇਆ ਚਾਰਿ ਵਰਨ ਪਝ ਪਗਿ ਆਇ ॥੨॥

रविदासढ़ चमारढ़ उसतति करे हरि कीरति निमख इक गाइ ॥ पतित जाति उतमढ़ भइआ चारि वरन पझ पगि आइ ॥२॥

Raviḝĝs cẖamĝr usṯaṯ kare har kīraṯ nimakẖ ik gĝ▫e. Paṯiṯ jĝṯ uṯam bẖa▫i▫ĝ cẖĝr varan pa▫e pag ĝ▫e. (2)
Ravi Daas, the leather-worker, praised the Lord, and sang the Kirtan of His Praises each and every instant.

Although he was of low social status, he was exalted and elevated, and people of all four castes came and bowed at his feet. (2)

In the shabad (hymn) below, Guru Nanak explains how the injustice of discrimination has no place in the Court of the Lord and how everyone has the same "light of God" within them and so should be treated equally without any bias. The holy Granth includes the Bani of Bhagats from different castes and religions.

Main article: Caste
ਜਾਣਹ੝ ਜੋਤਿ ਨ ਪੂਛਹ੝ ਜਾਤੀ ਆਗੈ ਜਾਤਿ ਨ ਹੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥

जाणहढ़ जोति न पूछहढ़ जाती आगै जाति न हे ॥१॥ रहाउ ॥

Jĝṇhu joṯ na pūcẖẖahu jĝṯī ĝgai jĝṯ na he. (1) rahĝ▫o.
Recognize the Lord's Light within all, and do not consider social class or status;
there are no classes or castes in the world hereafter. (1)(Pause)

Bani in Guru Granth Sahib

ਸਿਰੀਰਾਗ੝ ॥

ਤੋਹੀ ਮੋਹੀ ਮੋਹੀ ਤੋਹੀ ਅੰਤਰ੝ ਕੈਸਾ ॥ ਕਨਕ ਕਟਿਕ ਜਲ ਤਰੰਗ ਜੈਸਾ ॥੧॥ ਜਉ ਪੈ ਹਮ ਨ ਪਾਪ ਕਰੰਤਾ ਅਹੇ ਅਨੰਤਾ ॥ ਪਤਿਤ ਪਾਵਨ ਨਾਮ੝ ਕੈਸੇ ਹ੝ੰਤਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਤ੝ਮ੝ਹ੝ਹ ਜ੝ ਨਾਇਕ ਆਛਹ੝ ਅੰਤਰਜਾਮੀ ॥ ਪ੝ਰਭ ਤੇ ਜਨ੝ ਜਾਨੀਜੈ ਜਨ ਤੇ ਸ੝ਆਮੀ ॥੨॥ ਸਰੀਰ੝ ਆਰਾਧੈ ਮੋ ਕਉ ਬੀਚਾਰ੝ ਦੇਹੂ ॥ ਰਵਿਦਾਸ ਸਮ ਦਲ ਸਮਝਾਵੈ ਕੋਊ ॥੩॥

सिरीरागढ़ ॥ तोही मोही मोही तोही अंतरढ़ कैसा ॥ कनक कटिक जल तरंग जैसा ॥१॥ जउ पै हम न पाप करंता अहे अनंता ॥ पतित पावन नामढ़ कैसे हढ़ंता ॥१॥ रहाउ ॥ तढ़मढ़ह जढ़ नाइक आछहढ़ अंतरजामी ॥ पढ़रभ ते जनढ़ जानीजै जन ते सढ़आमी ॥२॥ सरीरढ़ आराधै मो कउ बीचारढ़ देहू ॥ रविदास सम दल समझावै कोऊ ॥३॥


Ŧohī mohī mohī ṯohī anṯar kaisĝ. Kanak katik jal ṯarang jaisĝ. ॥1॥ Ja­o pai ham na pĝp karanṯĝ ahė ananṯĝ. Paṯiṯ pĝvan nĝm kaisė hunṯĝ. ॥1॥ rahĝ­o. Ŧumĥ jo nĝ­ik ĝcẖẖahu anṯarjĝmī. Parabẖ ṯė jan jĝnījai jan ṯė su­ĝmī. ॥2॥ Sarīr ĝrĝḝẖai mo ka­o bīcẖĝr ḝėhū. Raviḝĝs sam ḝal samjẖĝvai ko­ū. ॥3॥

Sree Raag:

You are me, and I am You-what is the difference between us? We are like gold and the bracelet, or water and the waves. ॥1॥ If I did not commit any sins, O Infinite Lord, how would You have acquired the name, 'Redeemer of sinners'? ॥1॥Pause॥ You are my Master, the Inner-knower, Searcher of hearts. The servant is known by his God, and the Lord and Master is known by His servant. ॥2॥ Grant me the wisdom to worship and adore You with my body. O Ravi Daas, one who understands that the Lord is equally in all, is very rare. ॥3॥

This section spans pages 345 through to 346 beginning with this Shabad:

ਰਾਗ੝ ਗਉੜੀ ਰਵਿਦਾਸ ਜੀ ਕੇ ਪਦੇ ਗਉੜੀ ਗ੝ਆਰੇਰੀ

ੴ ਸਤਿਨਾਮ੝ ਕਰਤਾ ਪ੝ਰਖ੝ ਗ੝ਰਪ੝ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥ ਮੇਰੀ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਪੋਚ ਸੋਚ ਦਿਨ੝ ਰਾਤੀ ॥ ਮੇਰਾ ਕਰਮ੝ ਕ੝ਟਿਲਤਾ ਜਨਮ੝ ਕ੝ਭਾਂਤੀ ॥੧॥

रागढ़ गउड़ी रविदास जी के पदे गउड़ी गढ़आरेरी
ੴ सतिनामढ़ करता पढ़रखढ़ गढ़रपढ़रसादि ॥ मेरी संगति पोच सोच दिनढ़ राती ॥ मेरा करमढ़ कढ़टिलता जनमढ़ कढ़भांती ॥१॥

Rĝg ga­oṛī Raviḝĝs jī kė paḝė ga­oṛī gu­ĝrėrī

Ik­oaʼnkĝr saṯnĝm karṯĝ purakẖ gurparsĝḝ. Mėrī sangaṯ pocẖ socẖ ḝin rĝṯī. Mėrĝ karam kutilṯĝ janam kubẖĝʼnṯī. ॥1॥

Raag Gauree, Padas Of Ravi Daas Jee, Gauree Gwaarayree:

One Universal Creator God. Truth Is The Name. Creative Being Personified. By Guru's Grace: The company I keep is wretched and low, and I am anxious day and night; my actions are crooked, and I am of lowly birth.॥1॥

More Bani

Vyakhya of Bani

Legend of Ravidas Today

Today, Bhagat Ravidas is very respected Hindu reformers. BJP Scheduled Caste Morcha president Bangaru Laxman (Organiser, 6-8-1995) accused Congress leader Sitaram Kesri, who had bracketed the Dalits with the minorities as "sufferers of Hindu oppression", of thereby showing "disrespect to Dalit saints like Ravidas, Satyakam Jabali, Sadhna Kasai, Banka Mahar, Dhanna Chamar and others who protected Hindus against foreign onslaughts."

Bhagat Ravidas Bani

The following ANGs (pages) in Guru Granth Sahib have recorded Bhagat Ravidas ji's bani:

  • Bhagat Ravi Das, pg. 93
  • Bhagat Ravi Das, pg. 345 to 346
  • Bhagat Ravi Das, pg. 486 to 487
  • Bhagat Ravidas, pg. 525
  • Bhagat Ravidas, pg. 657 to 659
  • Bhagat Ravidas, pg. 694
  • Bhagat Ravidas, pg. 710
  • Bhagat Ravidas, pg. 793 to 794
  • Bhagat Ravidas, pg. 858
  • Bhagat Ravidas, pg. 875
  • Bhagat Ravidas, pg. 973 to 974
  • Bhagat Ravidas, pg. 1106
  • Bhagat Ravidas, pg. 1124
  • Bhagat Ravidas, pg. 1167
  • Bhagat Ravidas, pg. 1196
  • Bhagat Ravidas, pg. 1293

See also


External links

These are the 15 Bhagats of Sikhism

Bhagat Beni | Bhagat Bhikhan | Bhagat Dhanna | Sheikh Farid | Bhagat Jaidev | Bhagat Kabir | Bhagat Namdev | Bhagat Parmanand | Bhagat Pipa | Bhagat Ramanand | Bhagat Ravidas | Bhagat Sadhna | Bhagat Sain | Bhagat Surdas | Bhagat Trilochan