DR Ambedkar IAS Academy

Guru Ravidas

Following the demolition of Guru Ravidas temple in south Delhi’s Tughlakabad by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), the Supreme Court (SC) has asked parties to find “better land and location” for construction of new temple.

Placing it in syllabus: Great personalities in Bhakti movement (explicitly mentioned)


Ravidas periodisation

His outlook on Bhakti and his role in it:

His role in social reforms

His literary works


Ravidas periodisation:

Ravidas, also called Raidas, of 15th or 16th century, was a mystic and poet who was one of the most renowned of the saints of the North Indian bhakti movement.

He was born in Varanasi as a member of an untouchable leather-working Chamar caste.

It is said that he was born in Magha Purnima – the full moon day in the month of Magh month.

Guru Ravidas birth anniversary is celebrated as per the Hindu lunar calendar and therefore has no fixed date attached to it.

His outlook on Bhakti and his role in it:

Ravidas was a prominent figure in the bhakti movement and a renowned poet of the nirgun bhakti tradition that valued the worship of a formless God who could be envisioned without the mediation of human intermediaries.

By the turn of fourteenth century, Muslim rule was well established established in India. When Bhagat Ramanand (1366-1467 AD) came to Northern India and made Benares as his home, he noted that the Muslim religion had made inroads into Hinduism.

He initiated the veneration of Universal Brotherhood and accepted Hindus of low-castes and even invited Muslims to join him in worship, and become his followers. Among his most noted disciples were Kabir, a Muslim weaver, and Ravidas.

Kabir was another well-known poet in the bhakti movement who also belonged to the nirgun bhakti tradition. Both Ravidas and Kabir challenged upper caste hegemony. Disciples of Kabir are known as Kabir-panthis. 

Mira Bai was another prominent bhakti poet of the Vaishnava saguna tradition which proposed that the divine could best be approached through embodied form. She accepted Ravidas as her preceptor-guru. The interaction of Mira Bai and Ravidas provided a platform for dialogue between nirguna and saguna bhakti traditions.

When Nanak Dev, the first guru of Sikhs, visited Banaras he collected Ravidas’ poetry and brought it back with him to the Punjab. When the fifth Sikh guru Arjan Dev compiled in 1604 the Adi Granth, the key religious scripture of the Sikhs, he incorporated 41 verses of Bhakt Ravidas. 

The Ravidassia religion compiled a new holy book, Amritbani Guru Ravidass Ji which contains exclusive writings and teachings of Sant Ravidas. It contains 240 hymns and is used in all Ravidassias temples.

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