Gurudwaras across the country are adorned with colorful lights on an auspicious day. Nagar Kirtan is a special feature of the festival
a portrait of Guru Ravidas
A mystic poet of the bhakti movement:
Having originated in the 7th century CE in the south, the movement emphasized the love of a devotee towards a personal god and vice versa. The term bhakti means devotion. The movement had its imprints in the Tamil poems of the alvars and the nayanars. Gradually it spread to north India in the 10th century as reflected in Bhagavata Purana. The movement reached its peak in the 15th century. It was during his phase that the bhakti saints stood up against the harsh austerities set up by the upper-class brahmans, Buddhists, and Jains. They emphasized that the ultimate devotion to God was the means to salvation.
Guru Ravidas was one such mystic poet and saint of the bhakti movement.
A disciple of the bhakti – saint-poet Ramanand and the guru of Meerabai:
His devotional songs left a lasting impact on the movement. Around forty of his poems are included in the Adi Granth ( the sacred scripture of Sikhism). Meera Bai was a disciple of guru ravidas and he was himself a disciple of the Bhakti saint-poet Ramanand who was a contemporary of Kabir. It is said that he was also the founder of the ravidassia religion.
The well-recognized saint is also known by other names like Raidas, Rohidas, and Rubidas.
He was born in a cobbler’s family at Seer Goverdhanpur village in Uttar Pradesh and advocated human rights. The message of equality is reflected in his poems and all his teachings are based on spirituality. Guru Ravidas dedicated his entire life to the abolition of the caste system. The notion of a Brahmanical society was openly despised by him.
His literary works include the Adi Granth of Sikhs and Panchvani. He advocated equality and emphasized the omnipresence of God. he completely discarded the idea that the lower caste people cannot meet god. He believed that the way to meet God was to free the mind from duality.
Begumpura – the idea of a place with no pain:
Guru Ravi Dass had envisioned an ideal society – a city that knew no sorrows – the Begumpura. The notion of an ideal society was described as one where caste and class do not matter.
The Festival: Nagar Kirtan – holy dip – langar and special aarti:
The Jayanti of Guru Ravidas is celebrated on Magh Purnima in the north Indian states of Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, and Punjab. On an auspicious day, gurudwaras across the country make special arrangements for the festivals. They are adorned with bright lights and a special aarti is performed. The Shri guru ravidass Janam sthan mandir at seer govardhanpur, Varanasi records a high number of footfalls on this day. Devotees from all over the country flock to this place on this occasion. The Amritwani – holy book of ravidassia religion is recited and the official symbol of the religion is changed on the occasion.
Nagar Kirtan is a special feature of the grand celebration. The devotees take a dip in the holy river and a few people dress up as Guru Ravidas and his supporters as a part of the procession.