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In the month of Magh (January) the birthday of Guru Ravidass is celebrated on Magh Purnima on the full moon day. He was born to a lower caste family so the exact detail of his early life is not well known because the lower caste people’s records are not recorded by the writers of the upper caste. But many scholars state that he was born around fifteen century 1450, and died in the year 1520. During that time he was a mystic poet-sant of the bhakti movement. The guru in front of his name is used to indicate a teacher and he was called as Guru Ravidass in the region of Rajasthan, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and also in many parts of Maharashtra. He used to write songs on god and religion and his song made a lasting impact upon the bhakti movement.
On his Jyanti a huge ceremonial is taken out and it is used to be an annual focal point for the Ravidassia religion. There is also a Nagar Kirtan and music through the streets of the temple locality. The devotees take a holy dip in the river Ganga to perform rites. In many bhawans of Punjab and Maharashtra, his image is worshiped. Millions of devotees from all around the world come to visit the temple in Varanasi where Guru Ravidas was born. The Amritbani Guru Ravidass Ji is also read and a special aarti is performed. The 2019 date for Guru Ravidas Jayanti is February 19.
Early Life of Guru Ravidas Jayanti:
Guru Ravidas was born in Uttar Pradesh near Varanasi in the village of Seer Goverdhanpur. He was born to Mata Ghubinia his mother and his father was Raghuram. They were of lower caste family. The occupation of his father was a leather worker of the Chamar community and during those time people believed in caste and religion and this Chamar community was untouchable caste at that time. Right from the young age, he was very much interested in god and spiritual pursuits and he used to spend most of his time alone at the bank of the river Ganga. Most of his younger life is spent in the company of sadhus, Sufi saints and ascetics. It is said that in his previous life he was born to Brahmin family and used to follow the scriptures and Vedas but he used to eat meat. He does everything but also he used to eat meat. So he was born to the lower caste family. The birthplace where he was born is now known as Shri Guru Ravidas Janam Asthan. In one of the earliest surviving biographies of Bhakti movement Anantadas Parchai, introduces the birth of Ravidas as follows
In Banaras, that best of cities, no evil visits men.
No one who dies ever goes to hell, Shankar himself comes with the Name of Ram.
Where Sruti and Smriti have authority, there Raidas was reborn,
in the home of a low-caste Shakta, his father and mother were both Chamars.
In his previous birth, he was a Brahmin,
he listened all the time to religious recitation but did not give up meat.
For this sin, he was born into a low-caste family,
but he remembered his previous birth.
During that time there used to be a lot of differences between upper caste and lower caste and too many times the upper caste people take advantage of their position by troubling the lower caste people. The upper caste people were quite jealous of these lower caste people. Belonging to the Chamar community which is a lower caste the work of Guru Ravidass was victimized. His all work is in a Sggs and the people of upper caste tried to remove all his work and due to some miracle, all his sggs were disappeared. Many people believed that it was a miracle of Waheguru. The work of Ravidas was included in many holy scriptures. Within Hinduism Panch Vani text of the Dadupanthi tradition includes various poems of Ravidas. In the Sikh Scriptures, Guru Granth Sahib also his work is included. Ravidas teaching was to unite humanism as a whole and to remove all the social divisions of caste and gender and in the pursuit of personal spiritual freedom to promote unity among the people. A new religion called Ravidassia religion was formed in the 21st century. Many groups of people follow this religion. These people were previously associated with Sikhism.
This religion is founded in the 21st century out of Sikhism. It is based on the 14th-century Indian guru Ravidas which is reversed as a satguru. The devotees of these religions are known as Ravidassia Sikhs.
As described by a post made by Shri Guru Ravidass Temple in Ontario there is a difference between the Sikhism and Ravidassia religion. The post was as follows: “We, as Ravidassias, have different traditions. We are not Sikhs. Even though we give utmost respect to 10 gurus and Guru Granth Sahib, Guru Ravidass Ji is our supreme. There is no command for us to follow the declaration that there is no Guru after Guru Granth Sahib. We respect Guru Granth Sahib because it has our Guru Ji’s teachings and teachings of other religious figures who have spoken against the caste system, spread the message of NAAM and equality. As per our traditions, we give utmost respect to contemporary gurus also who are carrying forward the message of Guru Ravidass Ji.”
The people of this religion follow a new holy book based on the teaching and the writings of Ravidas. The holy book which they follow is “Amritbani Guru Ravidass Ji”. There are total 240 hymns written in it. The community of Ravidassia Sikhs began to take cohesion in the 20th century. It began to take it’s deeper root after the death of their cleric Ramanand Dass in the year 2009 in Vienna. And the movement arouses to be a religion fully separated from Sikhism. The separation of Sikhism and Ravidassia religion summarizes in the Kathryn Lum and its focus on Ravidas as follows: “Ravidasia believes that the best way forward for Chamars is to claim and assert their own identity. For this more independent camp, Sikhism is viewed as obstructing the full development of the Chamar community as a quam (separate religion and nation), as envisioned by the Ad Dharm (original people) movement. According to these separatist Ravidasias, the only way for Chamars to progress is to pursue an independent religious path focused exclusively on the figure of Guru Ravidas.”
Raidas says, what shall I sing?
Singing, singing I am defeated.
How long shall I consider and proclaim:
Absorb the self into the Self?
This experience is such,
That it defies all description.
I have met the Lord,
Who can cause me harm?
Hari in everything, everything in Hari
For him who knows Hari and the sense of self,
no other testimony is needed:
the knower is absorbed.
There are many more writings of the Guru Ravidas Ji through which he had described that the god is only one and all the religion are different ways to reach to the supreme power of the universe.
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