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50. Message of the 15 Bhagats or saints (Part- 4)

Bhagat Ravidas ji Continue.....

He was not only an inhabitant of Begampur, but was also very closely connected to and in complete unison with Almighty God. He enlightens us in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji that, “Oh God, there is no difference between you and me. It is merely on the surface. As there is no difference between gold and its ornaments, water and its waves, there is no difference between you and me.” Just witness the intimacy of Bhagat Ravidas Ji with the Almighty God when he calls him with deep love, “O Infinite Lord! If we don’t commit a sin, then how could you be called a sin-eraser? My Lord, you are the master but it is certain that an Attendant is honored due to his master, and the honor of the master is revealed through his attendant.”

In the end, he demands “Oh ! Lord, have pity on me. I shall always remain in your humble meditation.”

He says in Sri Raag Ravidas Ji on Page 93 :

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 If I did not commit any sins, O Infinite Lord, how would You have acquired the name, 'Redeemer of sinners' ? 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. Grant me the wisdom to worship and adore You with my body. O Ravidaas, one who understands that the Lord is equally in all, is very rare.   

Ravidas Ji used to earn his livelihood by skinning dead animals and making shoes from it. He also worked as a cobbler, fixing up, repairing, or mending shoes. He never bothered about his financially tight position, instead, he always concentrated on deep meditation. Even the fifth Guru, Sri Guru Arjun Dev Ji has described his aloofness from maya in his bani on page 487 :

Ravidas, who used to carry dead cows every day, renounced the world of Maya.  

The writings of those times mention that once, Almighty God, in the disguise of a saint, spent the night in the hut of Ravidas Ji. Before taking his leave, that saint wanted to give a Paras Stone (a stone which has the property of turning a metal into gold) to Ravidas Ji, and he showed him its property of turning a metallic substance into gold by touching his shoemaker’s scraper and transforming it into gold. Bhagat Ravidas Ji got the stone, placed it in the alcove (a small recess in the wall of the hut), and made himself busy in his routine work and meditation. After a long time, that saint returned to Bhagat Ravidas Ji’s hut and enquired about the Paras Stone. He answered, “O Great Saint! You can take your Paras Stone from where you placed it last time. I didn’t use it, nor am I in need of it.” Such was the ascetic nature of Baba Ravidas Ji. At one time, the celebrations of “Abeech” (astronomically considered as pious in the Hindus) were going on. Millions of people took a bath in the River Ganga (Ganges) and thus assumed themselves to be purified. Some of bhagat ji’s friends persuaded him to take a holy dip since it was the time of Abeech celebration. He told them very clearly that his soul is only purified by meditating on Naam and not by water. The leader of the religious group, who was going for a holy bath in the river was given a Kaseera (a bunch of sea shells or a necklace of seashells) by Ravidas Ji. Bhagat Ravidas Ji took it from his own neck and directed the leader that it should be offered to the Ganga River. The necessary condition for offering it was that it be handed over personally to the river and not to be thrown in the water as usual. If the River Ganga does not take hold of the Kaseera by advancing its hand, then the Kaseera is to be returned home to bhagat Ravidas Ji. All the pilgrims were very surprised to hear this kind of talk from Bhagat Ravidas Ji. The whole group of pilgrims reached the River Ganga, took a bath, and threw their offerings into the water. At last, the Brahmin leader of the group took out the Kaseera of Bhagat Ravidas Ji to give to the River Ganga and as requested the Brahmin said “Bhagat Ravidas Ji has sent this offering of a Kaseera for you. Please take your hand out and accept this offering.” After the request, a mysterious hand came out of the waves of the Ganges and very respectfully accepted the offerings of Bhagat ji. Moreover, this mysterious hand gave a jewel embedded Gold bracelet to Bhagat Ravidas ji. Everybody was shocked to see this miracle. They thought that many rich people have donated so much gold, gold coins and other precious stones , but the River Ganga never accepted their offering by taking out her hand.

The ”Kaseera” of Bhagat Ji was personally accepted by the River Ganga through her hand. Money-minded people measure everything with money because they lacked the pious feelings of love. This is the reason that Bhagats (holy people) and worldly materialistic people can’t go hand in hand. The Brahmin leader reached his house but dishonesty of owning the bracelet overpowered him. He became greedy and thought,” How can Bhagat Ravidas know about it? If I present this kangan to the king, He will be pleased to see it’s beauty and he will reward me heavily.” So with this feeling of greed, he gave the bracelet to the king. Now the king, after seeing the bracelet, demanded the second bracelet to make it a pair. Brahmin was called to produce the second bracelet. At last the Brahmin had to tell the truth. The King went to meet Ravidas ji along with the Brahmin to learn the truth. Ravidas ji picked up the stone seat on which he used to sit to work as a cobbler and showed the King that the River Ganges was flowing under it and countless Kangans(Bracelets) of the type the King wanted were floating in the waves of that river. Many Kangans including the one the King wanted were picked up from the waves and given to King and the Brahmin. They were totally pleased. The King and his courtiers bowed deeply and respectfully to Bhagat ji and became true followers of him. Now the reputation of Bhagat Ravidas ji spread more than before. So many stories and incidents concerning Bhagat Ravidas ji are available in Bhagat Mall Granth and in other historical records. The jealous Brahmins generally complained to the king against Bhagat Ji. One complaint was,” Ravidas is a shoodar(low-caste), but he worships Thakur( stone idol of God) and turning people away from believing in caste-system. The king in order to calm the situation asked both the parties to bring their respective Thakurs. These idols were placed across the river. The Brahmins were asked to call the Thakurs loudly. They were told that who ever is a true, honest and loyal worshipper of Thakur would succeed in bringing their Thakur to come over the river to him. The Brahmins read so many mantras(prayer) and called loudly to Thakurs but it didn’t work. Thakurs never came to the Brahmins. Now it was the turn of Bhagat Ravidas ji. He prayed to Almighty God from the core of his heart, with honest devotion and love, to help him. Loving prayers of Ravidas ji were heard because a miracle happened. Thakur( The stone ideal of God) swam across the river and came into the lap of Bhagat Ravidas ji. His glory echoed in every corner of the land. In the end, the Brahmins had to bow and submit to Bhagat ji. He tells us in Guru Granth Sahib ji on page 1293 as :

It is my occupation to prepare and cut leather; each day, I carry the carcasses out of the city. Now, the important Brahmins of the city bow down before me; Ravidas, Your slave, seeks the Sanctuary of Your Name.   

There are many more true life stories of Bhagat Ravidas ji. Every time high caste Brahmins tried to humiliate him, God protected him and Bhagat ji’s status in society became even higher than before. Thus, every time his glory magnified, and every time Bhagat ji thanked the Almighty by singing his praise and becoming a true servant of God. He orders this on page 1106 :

O Love, who else but You could do such a thing ? O Patron of the poor, Lord of the World, You have put the canopy of Your Grace over my head. Only You can grant Mercy to that person whose touch pollutes the world. You exalt and elevate the lowly, O my Lord of the Universe; You are not afraid of anyone. Naam Dayv, Kabeer, Trilochan, Sadhana and Sain crossed over. Says Ravidas, listen, O Saints, through the Dear Lord, all is accomplished.   

Bhagat Ravidas ji wrote 40 shabads on different topics. For example; Non-attachment, Renunciation, Politeness, love of God, Shelter of God and Abode of God etc. These shabads are preserved and found entered in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji by the Great Guru Sri Guru Arjun Dev ji for the guidance of humanity. Bhagat ji’s Bani gives comfort, patience and contentment to strayed minds. God protects the honor of those devotees who completely surrender to Him and have full faith in him. God Almighty raises the status of his devotees. Sri Bhagat Ravidas ji left for his heavenly abode in 1529 after laying foot prints of God’s meditation, expressing his opinion about the caste-system, preaching the true path of Naam simran(pray), condemning the false and hollow rituals. Bhagat ji mingled with the Almighty as a wave of water mingles with water. His true and pious teachings are working as a light house for people to follow and stand for the truth even today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
     
     
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