Guru Ravidas Jayanti
Guru Ravidas Jayanti is celebrated to commemorate the birth of Guru Ravidas, a poet and mystic-saint who lived in the 15thcentury. Also known as Bhagat Ravidas or Raidas, the saint belonged to the Bhakti movement, the path of devotion to the Lord. For the Ravidassias, who consider him as their master, it is the most important day of the year.The birth anniversary is observed on full Moon day (purnima) in Magh month of the Hindu calendar, which coincides with January or February month of the Western calendar. The exact year of birth of the saint is not known, though many scholars estimate it as 1450. He is believed to have passed away in 1520.Devotees across the world observe the day with religious fervour and great enthusiasm.
The main function is held at Shri Guru Ravidas Janam Asthan Mandir (birth place) at Seer Goverdhanpur in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, the city where the saint was born and lived most of his life. Apart from the Ravidassias, the day also has importance for a section of the Sikh community.Sacred OccasionOn Guru Ravidas Jayanti, the primary activities include the reading of theAmritbani Guru Ravidassji, the holy book of the community. Followers sing devotional songs and hymns and take out processions bearing a portrait of the saint, mostly around the temple. Nishaan Sahib, the holy symbol at the place of worship, is also changed with accompanying rituals.Devotees respect the sanctity of the occasion through abstinence from meat, alcohol and intoxicants, and in general refrain from outer worldly pursuits. They devote their time in satsang (holy discourse),kirtan (chanting of hymns from the scriptures by a congregation), and allied activities. As part of langar, or the meal shared during the assembly, traditional sweets are served.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday greeted the nation on the occasion of birth anniversary of Guru Ravidas Jayanti.
“On his Jayanti, tributes to Guru Ravidas ji. Guru Ravidas ji’s teachings of equality & brotherhood in society are a great inspiration for us,” he tweeted.
On his Jayanti, tributes to Guru Ravidas ji. Guru Ravidas ji’s teachings of equality & brotherhood in society are a great inspiration for us
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 3, 2015
On the eve of the Guru Ravidas Jayanti, President Pranab Mukherjee said his “noble teachings propagating universal brotherhood are of great relevance in today’s world”.
“On the occasion of the birth anniversary of Guru Ravi Dasji, I extend greetings and good wishes to all my fellow citizens,” Mukherjee said in a message.
“Guru Ravidasji’s noble teachings propagating universal brotherhood are of great relevance in today’s world. Let us derive inspiration from the struggle of Guru Ravidasji for equality in society.”
“Let us rededicate ourselves to the building of a casteless society for which Guru Ravidasji fought ceaselessly,” he added.
Gurudas was a saint of the Bhakti movement.