Jai Gurudev! Shri Guru Ravidass Maharaj Ki Jai! Gali Gali Se Ayi Awaaz, Jai Ravidass, Jai Ravidass!

Posts tagged “Nagar Kiirtan

Shri Guru Ravidass Ji

Shri Guru Ravidass Ji is the founder of the Ravidassi faith by his followers. Satguru Ravidass has become a very popular Guru in the Ad dharmi/Ravidassia community. Bangaru Laxman (Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Scheduled Caste Morcha president) accused the slandering of Hinduism for treatment of backward castes as a “disrespect to [Dalit] saints like Satguru Ravidas, Satyakam Jabali, Sadhna Kasai, Banka Mahar, Dhanna Chamar and others who protected Hindus against foreign onslaughts.”[3]

His hymns are recorded in the Guru Granth Sahib, a quotation being: “My caste is low, my lineage is low, and mean is my birth. I have sought God’s refuge, says Ravidas the cobbler.”[4]

Shri Guru Ravidass Ji was also the guru of the Vaishnava Sant Mira Bai.



Chamars in the Punjab

The most politically and socially influential Chamars are from the state of Punjab (India), where they form 11% of the population with Dalits comprising 27% of the population. In the Punjab they are divided into various groups, such as ”Ad-Dharm” and  ”Ravidassia”. In Majha area they share the same Gotras as Saraswati and Mohyal Brahmins, in Doaba and Malwa area they share family names with Jats and Rajputs. Where as in Malwa most of the Chamars turned to Sikhism . In Majha they are being called  Ravidasia, in Doaba they are being called Adi -Dharmi . They are highly concentrated in the Doaba of Punjab. In Malwa Region Chamars have a faith in Sikhisim.

Chamars in Rajasthan

Chamar denotes profession but nowadays misunderstood with caste.The castes which were involved in leather work in past ( before independence )were termed as Chamar in general.Chamars in Rajasthan can only be identified in the districts adjoining to the states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. The districts of Bikaner, Shriganganagar,Hanumangarh, Churu, Jhunjhunu, Alwar, Bharatpur and Dhaulpur  are inhabited by Chamars..Now a days.Raigar (leather tanners ) and Mochi (Shoe-makers) are other two predominant castes related with leather profession.

Chamars in Uttar Pardesh & Bihar

In U.P. chamars are being called Jatav, Kureels,Dohrey,Dhusia etc. Jatavs are mainly concentrated in the Western part of U.P and also in Delhi and Haryana.Famous freedom fighter Banke Chamarwas also from Village Kurarpur, Dist. Jaunpur ,Uttar Pradesh.This Brave Revolutionary laid down his life for the country and was hanged by britishers for his active role in freedom struggle of 1857.

Nagar Kirtan

The birthday of Shri Guru Ravidass Ji (Shri Guru Ravidass Jayanti)on February 16 is celebrated every year. It is the annual focal point for Ravidasis. On the day the Amritbani is read, the Nishan Sahib is changed ceremonially, and there is a special arti and aNagar Kirtan procession bearing his portrait are taken out to the accompaniment of music through the streets of the temple locality.

Ultimate Place of Pilgrimage

It has become a cherished dream of followers of Guru Ravidass Ji from the world over to pay their obeisance at Shri Guru Ravidass Janam Asthan Mandir at Seer Goverdhanpur Varanasi at least once in their life. They now view this Mandir as their religious headquarters. Although Guru Ravidass Ji lived in the city of Varanasi for more than 151 years, there did not exist any place devoted to his memory untill the sixties of the twentieth century. The reasons were more of a social nature than the historical or religious ones. Varanasi is known to be the city of Lord Shiva. It was this city where two great saints of Bhakti Movement i.e. Satguru Kabir & Shri Guru Ravidass Ji were born. Shri Guru Ravidass Ji was born in the year 1377 AD i.e. Bikrami Samvat 1433 (widely accepted by most scholars & institutions) to father Shri Santokh Dass Ji and Mother Kalsa Devi Ji in a humble family. Guru Ravidass Ji exhibited spiritual traits from childhood itself. His father married him at any early age. He started doing his ancestral profession i.e. making leather shoes. He started propagating these spiritual ideas among the people. His popularity increased day by day. Soon Kings and Queens of different princely states became his disciples. Raja Nagar Mal of Banaras (Varanasi), Rani Jhalanbai and Miranbai of Chittaur were some of the well-known disciples of Guru Ji. Guru Ravidass Ji devoted his attention to preaching equality and brotherhood of humankind. His efforts were coupled by his contemporary saint in Banaras (Varanasi) Satguru Kabir Ji.

There is a detailed account of the kind of beautiful palaces in which Shri Guru Ravidass Ji used to live in the book “Anant Dass ki Parchayan” when Rani Jhalanbai came to meet Guru Ji. But after the life of Guru Ji no trace of any place accredited to the memory of Guru Ji was found in Varanasi where he is believed to have lived for about 151 years. This remains a mystery of history.The sacred task of perpetuating the memory of Guru Ji at Varanasi and giving a befitting memorial in his name was undertaken by the spiritual, visionary & revolutionary saint Shri 108 Sant Sarwan Dass Ji of Dera Sachkhand Ballan. He made strenuous efforts to make Bani (sacred writings) of Guru Ravidass Ji popular among the socially backward and downtrodden people. He thought his job to be incomplete until the place where Guru Ravidass Ji gave the sermon of Begumpura was traced out and a suitable monument built there. Swami Sarwan Dass Ji assigned this task to a selected group of people under the guidance of Sant Hari Dass Ji. The group went to Varanasi and surveyed the area near the Banaras Hindu University. The imlee tree and other indicators confirmed a location in village Seer Goverdhanpur, in the outskirts of Varanasi near BHU (Banaras Hindu University), as the birthplace of Guru Ravidass Ji. The plot of land was purchased and no time was lost to start construction of an impressive temple. The foundation stone of this Mandir was laid on Monday the 14th June 1965 on Ashad Sankranti day by Sant Hari Dass Ji, along with a large number of devotees of Dera Bal, specially deputed by Sant Sarwan Dass Ji for the purpose.

With the growing popularity of this Mandir and also keeping in view the increasing number of pilgrims, the U.P. Government also thought of raising suitable memorials for Guru Ravidass Ji in the city of Banaras. It has built a beautiful Shri Guru Ravidass park and stone sculpture of Guru Ravidass Ji at a prominent place at the river “Ganga”. A large Guru Ravidass Ghat has also been built at this place. The new bridge over Ganga near the Mandir has been named Shri Guru Ravidass Setu. All the followers of Guru Ravidass Ji throughout the world will remain indebted to Sant Sarwan Dass Ji and his successor Saints of Dera Sachkhand Ballan for giving them this place of pilgrimage. People visit this temple throughout the year, but they consider it a privilege if they can make this pilgrimage on the occasion of Birthday celebrations of Guru Ji. People in very large number from all states of India as well as from many foreign countries assemble on this occasion to pay their obeisance. A special train is run from Jalandhar to Varanasi on the occasion.

The Janam Asthan Mandir of Guru Ji at Seer Goverdhanpur, Varanasi has now acquired the status of Begumpura (serenity) for Guru Ji’s followers and has become an Ultimate Place of Pilgrimage for them.