Guru Ravidas Jayanti
Guru Ravidas Jayanti Date 2022
Wednesday, 16th February, 2022
Although the exact date of birth of Guru Ravidas is not known, Guru Ravidas Jayanti is celebrated on the day of Magha Purnima or the full moon day of “Magha” (a month of the Indian calendar corresponding to February).
On this day, lakhs of devotees gather to celebrate the birthday of Guru Ravi Das with great zeal and enthusiasm in different parts of the country.
What is Guru Ravidas Jayanti?
We all celebrate Magha Purnima or the full moon day of Magh as Guru Ravidas Jayanti every year.
However, how many of us know who Guru Ravi Das was and the meaning and significance behind celebrating his birth anniversary? This article will guide you through everything you need to know about the great saint and this auspicious occasion.
Who was Guru Ravidas?
Guru Ravidas, also known as, Rohidas, Raidas, and Ruhidas, is regarded as one of the greatest saint-poet of the Bhakti Movement. He is one of the rare great personalities who rose to such a high social hierarchy despite being born in a schedule caste family ( an untouchable community during that period).
Guru Ravi Das is also considered the teacher of Meera Bai, the great poetess and devotee of Krishna. Besides this, he was an active social reformer and one of the pioneers of equality in the fight against the Brahminical Caste System.
Such was his influence and ideas that he gained enormous followers spanning the geographical location of almost all of north India, including Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
Sant Ravidas was born in Seer Govardhanpur, near Varanasi, in Uttar Pradesh in 1450, during the reign of Muhammad-bin-Farid. Since childhood, he was inclined towards religious pursuits. He spent most of his time with the mystics and saints on the bank of the river Ganga, abandoning the family occupation of leatherwork.
Not much later, it is believed that he became a disciple of the bhakti-poet Ramananda, the Vaishnava devotional poet-saint, and indulged in deep spiritual pursuits under his guidance. He gave up the image or attributable( Saguna ) form of gods and adapted supreme beings’ abstract or formless( Nirguna ) form.
After that, he travelled immensely to various pilgrim sites, including Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and the Himalayas. During this travel, he gained enormous followers to his ideas and teachings. Apart from this, his hymns in the regional language spread his ideas widely to different parts of the country.
Guru Ravidas worked actively in abolishing evil practices of society like the caste system and emphasized the idea that all are the creation of God and should be treated equally. His poems depict a boundless devotion to God and show that he has found God within his soul and seeks no other testimony.
Sant Ravi Das emphasized Symbolism and non-dualism, i.e., the self is one with the divine and is inseparable. His literary works can be found in Adi Granth of Sikhs and Panchvani of Dadupanthis of the Hindu sects.
It is also believed that he met Guru Nanak, the first Sikh guru, and had such a profound impact on the followers of the Sikh religion that around 41 of his poems have been included in the Adi Granth the holy scripture of Sikhism.
Soon Guru Ravidas ideas and teachings gave birth to a new religion, known as the Ravidassia religion, also known as RavidasPanth, and he was revered as the Satguru of the Ravidassia community.
Initially, it functioned as a sub-sect of Sikhism, but later it split itself altogether and became independent of the Sikh religion. But, till today Guru Ravidas Jayanti is celebrated by both communities with great joy and enthusiasm.
After gaining many followers from different parts of the country and preaching his religious and spiritual ideas among the masses, Guru Ravidas breathed his last breath in 1520. However, there is not much evidence about the exact date and reason for his death.
Many stories and legends of Guru Ravi Das can be found in the hagiography of the Sikh tradition known as Premambodha. We also get a lot of information on his life from Nabhadas’s Bhaktamal and Anantadas’s Parcais.
Why is Guru Ravidas Jayanti Celebrated?
Guru Ravi Das was the undeterred torchbearer of the Bhakti movement and played a crucial role in Religious and Spiritual reforms in the Indian history. His impact on his followers and society is incomprehensible. He brought down the hegemony of religious groups.
He showed the untouchables a path towards spiritual enlightenment when they were prohibited from entering temples and reading holy scriptures. Hence, Guru Ravi Das Jayanti is celebrated to commemorate his teachings and principles and keep the ideals of Bhakti and equality alive for years to come.
How is Guru Ravidas Jayanti Celebrated?
“Amritbani Guru Ravidas Ji”, the holy book of the Ravidassia religion, is read in many places. A grand aarti is done, along with chants and hymns of Guru Ravi Das. Devotees take dip in the holy water and prayers are offered in the Temples, or Bhawan attributed to the mystic.
The celebration of Guru Ravidas Jayanti is done with utmost flamboyance and grandeur in Shri Guru Ravidas Janam Asthan Mandir in Varanasi. A stream of followers and devotees flow into the city on this auspicious day to mark the birth anniversary of the great saint.
The centre of attraction is the Nagar Kirtan. It is a custom usually performed in the Sikh and Hindu communities. The people acting in the Kirtan are dressed up in attires resembling Guru Ravi Das and his followers.
Songs and hymns reverberate the whole place along with chanting the name of the Holy being. And finally, a grand Langar is held in which food is provided to many people regardless of race, caste, or religious background.
Guru Ravidas Jayanti encourages us to follow the divine path shown to us by Guru Ravi Das. It unites us all under the umbrella of spiritualism and religious tolerance, breaking the evil walls of caste and religious boundaries.