Bahut Janam Bichre thae madho Ehh janam tumare lekhe.
Keh Ravidaas asa lag jeevo, chirr payo darsan dekhe.
Bhagat Ravidas ji was a true and vehement devotee of Waheguru whose devotion and ardent divine love poured out in the form of spiritual poetry. His compositions expressed deep love and strong passion for Waheguru and Guru Arjan Dev ji decided to include his compositions in Shri Guru Granth Sahib ji. The divine ditties of Bhagat Ravi Das ji in the form of 41 shabads in different raags are included in Shri Guru Granth Sahib ji Maharaj as Bani Bhagat de.
Bhagat Ravi Das ji was an inhabitant of Benaras. He belonged to a lower Chamaar class and his profession of making and repairing shoes was considered inferior in the society and his work was considered menial in those times.
Bhagat Ravi Das ji was connected with Almighty Waheguru from his childhood only. He was an ardent devotee of Waheguru. He used to spend his lot of time in the company of holy people and he also used to spend his money to fulfill the needs of holy saints and poor people.
Bhagat Ravi Das ji expressed his passion and love for Waheguru through his divine poetry and music. Poetry and music both are a form of art and art is very close and dear to Waheguru as Waheguru is himself an adroit artist and we can witness his skillful and breathtaking art in nature and in his creation.
He told the society of that time that a human being is recognized by his good deeds and not by his caste. He raised his voice against the wave of untouchability and caste system which was prevalent at that time. He advised his fellows that every human has the right to love and serve Waheguru. Devotion and service to Waheguru is done by pure heart and not by rituals.
By true love and devotion for Waheguru Bhagat Ravi Das ji got elevated. By praising the virtues of Waheguru and keeping the company of holy saints his status was uplifted in the society. By keeping Waheguru in his heart he was revered by the people from other castes too and he became pious and was emancipated.
Tohee mohee mohee tohee antar kaisaa.
Kanak katik jal trang jaisaa
In this verse he is expressing his indelible relationship he has with his creator. He is saying I am in you and you are in me. We are a part of each other and absorbed into each other. He compares his nexus with Waheguru to gold and bangle and then to water and tide.
By being immersed in devotion to Waheguru he becomes a denizen of Begampura. By devoting his life and soul to Almighty Waheguru he attains a blissful state of mind and in that state of mind he always feel happy and in euphoric state. This state of his mind is evident in his bani as
baegam puraa sehar ko naao
dhookh a(n)dhohu nehee thihi t(h)aao
naa(n) thasavees khiraaj n maal
khouf n khathaa n tharas javaal
ab mohi khoob vathan geh paaee
oohaa(n) khair sadhaa maerae bhaaee
In Shri Guru Granth Sahib ji Guru Ram Das ji Maharaj, the fourth Nanak praises Bhagat Ravi Das ji and writes
Ravidas Chamar Ustat Kare Har Kirat Nimakh Ik Gai
Patit Jat Uttam Bhaya Char Varan Pai Pag Aye
Shri Guru Arjan Dev ji has also expressed about the great spiritual achievement of Bhagat Ravi Das ji as
Ravidas Dhiaaay Prabh Anoop
Guru Nanak Dev Gobind Roop
The pivotal message we get from Bhagat Ravidas ji’s life is that a human being is recognized by his deeds and not by his caste from birth. Bhagat Ravi das ji was a cobbler by profession but he was connected to Almighty Waheguru. He was not entangled and engrossed in the vagaries of human life but was ahead and beyond the petty things of human life. His intellect was way more than a normal human being and he could realize the divine presence and his bond with his creator in his life.
Sachi preet ham ṯum sio jori
Tum sio jor avar sang tori
We should also try to connect with our creator and love our creator like Bhagat Ravidas ji. We should practice and make usage of music and poetry to connect with Waheguru as Bhagat Ravidas ji did. We should have utmost and unwavering faith in our creator. During dark times this faith should give solace to our heart and strength to come out of darkness. We should accept his Hukam gracefully, keep full faith in his graciousness and live life in high spirits. This should be the way of life of a Gursikh and Bhagat Ravi Das ji’s life is an impeccable example of that.
Author: Dr. Ramneet Kaur