ਬਹੁਤ ਜਨਮ ਬਿਛੁਰੇ ਥੇ ਮਾਧਉ ਇਹੁ ਜਨਮੁ ਤੁਮ੍ਹ੍ਹਾਰੇ ਲੇਖੇ ॥
बहुत जनम बिछुरे थे माधउ इहु जनमु तुम्हारे लेखे ॥
Bahuṯ janam bicẖẖure the māḏẖa▫o ih janam ṯumĥāre lekẖe.
For many births, have I been separated from Thee, O Lord.
This life, I now dedicate unto Thee.
ਕਹਿ ਰਵਿਦਾਸ ਆਸ ਲਗਿ ਜੀਵਉ ਚਿਰ ਭਇਓ ਦਰਸਨੁ ਦੇਖੇ ॥੨॥੧॥
कहि रविदास आस लगि जीवउ चिर भइओ दरसनु देखे ॥२॥१॥
Kahi Raviḏās ās lag jīva▫o cẖir bẖa▫i▫o ḏarsan ḏekẖe. ||2||1||
Says Ravi Dass, pinning my hope in Thee, I live,
It is long since I has seen Thy vision. ~ Ang 694
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….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.
ਤੋਹੀ ਮੋਹੀ ਮੋਹੀ ਤੋਹੀ ਅੰਤਰੁ ਕੈਸਾ ॥
तोही मोही मोही तोही अंतरु कैसा ॥
Ŧohī mohī mohī ṯohī anṯar kaisā.
Thou art me, I am Thou, What is the difference.
ਕਨਕ ਕਟਿਕ ਜਲ ਤਰੰਗ ਜੈਸਾ ॥੧॥
कनक कटिक जल तरंग जैसा ॥१॥
Kanak katik jal ṯarang jaisā. ||1||
The same as between gold and its bracelet and
between water and its ripples. ~ Ang 93
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:
ਬੇਗਮ ਪੁਰਾ ਸਹਰ ਕੋ ਨਾਉ ॥
बेगम पुरा सहर को नाउ ॥
Begam purā sahar ko nā▫o.
Begampura is the name of the town.
ਦੂਖੁ ਅੰਦੋਹੁ ਨਹੀ ਤਿਹਿ ਠਾਉ ॥
दूखु अंदोहु नही तिहि ठाउ ॥
Ḏūkẖ anḏohu nahī ṯihi ṯẖā▫o.
At that place there is no pain or worry.
ਨਾਂ ਤਸਵੀਸ ਖਿਰਾਜੁ ਨ ਮਾਲੁ ॥
नां तसवीस खिराजु न मालु ॥
Nāŉ ṯasvīs kẖirāj na māl.
There is no fear of tax of goods there.
ਖਉਫੁ ਨ ਖਤਾ ਨ ਤਰਸੁ ਜਵਾਲੁ ॥੧॥
खउफु न खता न तरसु जवालु ॥१॥
Kẖa▫uf na kẖaṯā na ṯaras javāl. ||1||
Neither awe, nor error, nor dread nor decline is there.
ਅਬ ਮੋਹਿ ਖੂਬ ਵਤਨ ਗਹ ਪਾਈ ॥
अब मोहि खूब वतन गह पाई ॥
Ab mohi kẖūb vaṯan gah pā▫ī.
I have now found an excellent abode.
ਊਹਾਂ ਖੈਰਿ ਸਦਾ ਮੇਰੇ ਭਾਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
ऊहां खैरि सदा मेरे भाई ॥१॥ रहाउ ॥
Ūhāŉ kẖair saḏā mere bẖā▫ī. ||1|| rahā▫o.
My brethren there is ever-lasting safety there. Pause. ~ Ang 345
In Shri Guru Granth Sahib ji, Guru Ram Das ji Maharaj, the fourth Nanak, praises Bhagat Ravi Das ji and writes:
ਰਵਿਦਾਸੁ ਚਮਾਰੁ ਉਸਤਤਿ ਕਰੇ ਹਰਿ ਕੀਰਤਿ ਨਿਮਖ ਇਕ ਗਾਇ ॥
रविदासु चमारु उसतति करे हरि कीरति निमख इक गाइ ॥
Raviḏās cẖamār usṯaṯ kare har kīraṯ nimakẖ ik gā▫e.
Ravidas, the tanner, glorified God and every moment sang His praise.
ਪਤਿਤ ਜਾਤਿ ਉਤਮੁ ਭਇਆ ਚਾਰਿ ਵਰਨ ਪਏ ਪਗਿ ਆਇ ॥੨॥
पतित जाति उतमु भइआ चारि वरन पए पगि आइ ॥२॥
Paṯiṯ jāṯ uṯam bẖa▫i▫ā cẖār varan pa▫e pag ā▫e. ||2||
Though of fallen caste, he become sublime and the four
castes came and fell at his feet. ~ Ang 733
Shri Guru Arjan Dev ji has also expressed about the great spiritual achievement of Bhagat Ravi Das ji as
ਰਵਿਦਾਸ ਧਿਆਏ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਅਨੂਪ ॥
रविदास धिआए प्रभ अनूप ॥
Raviḏās ḏẖi▫ā▫e parabẖ anūp.
Ravidass meditated on the beauteous Lord.
ਗੁਰ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੇਵ ਗੋਵਿੰਦ ਰੂਪ ॥੮॥੧॥
गुर नानक देव गोविंद रूप ॥८॥१॥
Gur Nānak ḏev govinḏ rūp. ||8||1||
Guru Nanak Dev is the very embodiment of
the Master of the universe. ~ Ang 1192
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 Ravidas 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.
ਸਾਚੀ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਹਮ ਤੁਮ ਸਿਉ ਜੋਰੀ ॥
साची प्रीति हम तुम सिउ जोरी ॥
Sācẖī parīṯ ham ṯum si▫o jorī.
True love I have joined with Thee, O Lord.
ਤੁਮ ਸਿਉ ਜੋਰਿ ਅਵਰ ਸੰਗਿ ਤੋਰੀ ॥੩॥
तुम सिउ जोरि अवर संगि तोरी ॥३॥
Ŧum si▫o jor avar sang ṯorī. ||3||
Attaching myself to Thee, I have broken with all others. ~ Ang 659