Many states of India, mainly (Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra) are observing 639th birth anniversary of Sant Ravidas today (Monday, Feb, 22).
Guru Ravidas was born during 1377 C.E. at Mandhuadhe in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. However, some scholars claim that he was born year 1399. Let us know more about who was Sant Ravidas.
Who was Sant Ravidas?
- He was a mystic saint-poet, philosopher, poet, social reformer of the North Indian Bhakti movement.
- He was born in a Hrijan family, to his mother Smt Kalsa Devi Ji and his father Shri Santokh Dass Ji. His wife's name was Smt Lona Ji and he had a son Vijay Dass Ji.
- He is said to be the founder of 21st centuary Ravidassia religion. He wrote various devotional songs and verses. 41 of his popular songs and poems are also written in Guru Granth Sahib.
- His birthplace is now known as Shri Guru Ravidas Janam Asthan and it is a major place of pilgrimage for the followers of Guru Ravidas.
- He played a pivotal role in preaching social harmony and stood against caste discrimination and social injustice. Ravidas is also known as Raidas, Rohidas and Ruhidas.
- Sant Guru Ravidas Ji is considered as a spiritual Guru of the Meera Bai who was the queen of Chittoor and daughter of Rajasthan king. He was also blessed with natural powers to treat Leprosy. Even, Babur, the first king in Mughal was influenced by his teachings.
- He passed away in 1540 AD in Varanasi. There are various memorials in his name like: Sri Guru Ravidas Park in Varanasi, Guru Ravidas Ghat, Sant Ravidas Nagar (Bhadohi), Shri Guru Ravidas Janam Asthan Mandir Varanasi and Shri Guru Ravidas Memorial Gate.
- In 1983, a devotional movie-- 'Sant Ravidas Ki Amar Kahani', was made on the basis of his life.
How is Ravidas Jayanti celebrated?
- Every year, the birth anniversary of Ravidas Jayanti is celebrated on Magh Purnima (on Full Moon night).
- On this day, devotees take holy dip in the river to perform rites.
- In Varanasi, lakhs of devotees (including from foreign) mark the grand celebrations.
- The flag of Sikhs called nishan sahib is exchanged ceremonially. Special payers are also held in gurudwaras.
- A special arti and nagar kirtan is also performed. Procession is taken out carrying the portrait of the guru.
- Political parties like BJP, Congress, SP and BSP also celebrate Ravidas Jatyanti with great fervour and enthusiasm.