Ravidassia, a religion started by an Indian saint of the 14th-15th century, Guru Ravidass, has grown around his spiritual belief and lessons of universal brotherhood, tolerance, and message of loving your neighbour as a force for creating a just and humane society. In the Amritbani, which many Ravidassia's call the Amritbani Guru Ravidass Ji, contains 240 hymns by Guru Ravidass from the teachings of Guru Ravidas along with his teachings have been included. A common belief in the Ravidassia community is that Guru Ravidass disappeared from the world, leaving behind only his footprints.
In 14th century India, Guru Ravidass, a Dalit by birth, taught monotheistic spirituality and spread the message of equality through emancipation from the Indian caste system. He devoted his life to the service of India's suffering and sought to eradicate social inequalities, preaching love, compassion, mutual tolerance, universal brotherhood and oneness of mankind through his life and philosophy and working to bring social equality through the spiritual or Bhakti way. "Guru Ravidass was one of the greatest saints of the Bhakti movement whose teachings focused on equality of mankind and universal brotherhood," said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Begumpura is a term coined by Shri Guru Ravidass Ji, in the 15th Century, Banaras, India; “Begampura”, Be-gam-pura, or the land without sorrow. The spirit of the verse is this: Begampura is the name of the city where there is no suffering or anxiety, no fear or downfall/ Begampura is the city where there is sovereignty of god/ Where there is lasting peace and safety for all/ All are equal, no one is second or third. In the end, Guru Ravidas' bhajans reflect both a sense of poverty and caste humiliation and a desire to find a utopia without suffering, taxes or property; one that is, in the hymn “Begumpura” Guru Ravidass Ji postulates the world of his dreams. There will be no distress, no tax, no restriction from going and coming, no fear in the world. It will be an ideal place to live in. The preamble of the The Human Rights Charter of the United Nations has been prepared inconformity with theme of this hymn of Sri Guru Ravidass Ji. above all, a Begumpura or 'Queen City' of companionship:
The regal realm with the sorrowless name they call it Begumpura, a place with no pain, no taxes or cares, none owns property there, no wrongdoing, worry, terror, or torture. Oh my brother, I've come to take it as my own, my distant home, where everything is right... They do this or that, they walk where they wish, they stroll through fabled palaces unchallenged. Oh, says Ravidas, a tanner now set free, those who walk beside me are my friends
The details of Guru Ravidas' life are controversial. According to some he was born in 1376/7 or else 1399 CE but many scholars offer later dates. Schaller estimates his lifespan as 1450-1520 while the Encyclopædia Britannica contents itself with a floreat of 15th-16th century CE. Partly this is due to traditions that make him, on one hand, like his contemporary Kabir the disciple of Ramananda (he is mentioned as such c.1600 CE in Nabhadas' Bhaktamal) but also, on the other, the guru of Meera (according to a song attributed to her: "guru miliyaa raidasjee"). However, as Schaller points out, the importance of such claims lies in their establishing the authority of a lineage of gurus (parampara). One may count oneself a disciple of a master without having actually met him.
His origin and parents are also given differently. According to history he was born in a village named Seer Govardhanpur, near Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, India: his father Baba Santokh Das was a leather merchant (chamar) and Mata Kalsa Devi was his mother. His father got him married to Mata Lona Devi at early age and according to the Ravidas Purana he had a son named Vijaydas. A region between Ahmednagar and Benares is named after him.
The queen of Chittorgarh is said to have been a disciple (this may be connected with Meera, who was married to the ruler of Chittorgarh). It is said that the conservative Brahmins of Kashi could not stand the popularity of this "untouchable saint". A complaint was made to the king that he was working against age-old norms of social order (varnashrama dharma) - a cobbler was not supposed to talk of God or do work of advising or teaching. The ruler arranged for an assembly of learned men. Ravidas was also invited and was felicitated publicly. A procession was arranged (shobha yatra) and the king himself participated.
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