Gurmat Jiwan (The Sikh Way of Life), its Philosophy and Bhagat Ravidas.
Dr. Sudarshan Singh Majithia
The Bhagati Movement of medieval times in North India in a way was the revival of Indian civilization. During the 7th and 8th centuries, a sort of stagnation had seeped into Indian civilization. By then India had absorbed the teachings of many foreign religions and civilizations and given them an Indian form. But an explosive situation had emerged consequent to the advent of Islam. Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism born in India were faiths (ways of life) while Islam was a religion. It had its own principles and rituals, and even on coming to India it did not accept the process of the mingling of faiths. Islam spread far and wide politically, and in course of time, it influenced Indian lifestyle and was also influenced by it. The emergence of Sufism was, in a way, an Islamic concept given to Indian society. The Sufis made a special contribution to the Indian Bhagati Movement.
The Indian movement and its success should be seen in its entirety. From an analytical point of view, an academic and philosophic study of it can be undertaken but we may still not be able to fathom its mystery. The Indian thought process is of varied nature. We can’t do justice to it by dividing it into nirguna (attributeless) and sarguna (having attributes). The Bhagati movement was an expression of total devotion and belief in God. ‘Hari anandat Hari katha ananta’ – Every saint, in accordance with own his belief and personality, tried to meditate on God and influenced Indian life. Both Hindus and Muslims were influenced by this.
People were involved in this at the social and religious levels. Sur Das, Mira and Kabir’s hymns became popular with the people. Gurmat philosophy too was a part of this Bhagti Movement. The saints and Gurus, who believed in nirguna Bhagti, propounded such a philosophy as was good conduct oriented. Its thought process was based on the Indian philosophy, no doubt, but in very simple views was presented the code of conduct. Kabir called it Sehaj Yoga (The yoga of equipoise). This Sahej Yoga was not so easy as it was generally understood to be. Kabir says –
Sehaj sehaj sabh koyee kahe, sehaj na chinai koye.
Everyone talks of equipoise, but very few understand its true import.
Gurmat philosophy considered devotion to God as an essential part of life. Their basic concern is with one’s conduct. The death of character is the death of the person. After the death of character, the body becomes a moving corpse. Dharma is related to humanity (duty towards fellow beings). People are not born but made. The role of faith is to turn man into man. Gurmat philosophy is a way of life. It inspires people to lead a life of care for humanity. Without any external show off, without mincing matters, it presents such a philosophy of life which fills life with bliss.
The philosophy of life of Saint Ravidas and the Gurmat are one and the same thing. On this basis alone, Bhagat Ravidas found a place in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. The hymns of like minded saint-poets have been incorporated in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Saint Ravidas was a humanist and a devout person. But he did not give up the daily routine of his profession for sake of his devotion. He did not accept any kind of donation and worked to earn his living; he proved with his devotion that the virtues of a person have nothing to do with his caste or birth. Hazari Prasad Dwivedi has called Kabir a ‘dictator’ of language as he could make language express exactly what he wanted. Similarly, Saint Ravidas also expressed his ideas in his Bani most lucidly. It was a stream flowing from the heart which could not leave any listener or companion uninfluenced.
Saint Ravidas brought out the life lived by him in his hymns. He was a talented holy man of his times. We will now discuss Gurmat and Ravidas philosophy at the level of thought process and practice.
Sant Ravidas was an epitome of humility and a holy man far above the state of rejection or acceptance. He talked of truthful living in very simple words. Ravidas’s verses play an important role in lending dignity to human life. He had attained the highest state of attainment in his lifetime. People were greatly impressed by his true devotion and mild manners. He had equal regard for nirguna and sarguna devotion. Without any show off and with all humility and balanced outlook, Ravidas was a greatly revered saint of his times.
In one hymn his views about devotion can be understood. He says that in the Satyuga, it was truth, in Tretayuga it was yagya (sacrifices) and in Duaparyuga it was worship which were the main ways of attainment. But in the Kaliyuga it is His Name alone which is the basis. How can I get across? No one shows me the way by which the cycle of births and deaths can be ended. The responsibility of one’s faith can be discharged in various ways. Listening to the Vedas and the Puranas creates many doubts. The means to destroy doubts and misgivings has not being told. But if one has the good fortune of meeting a great personage and the mind gets liberated, only then are the stony doors opened (enlightenment). With a combination of devotion, yoga and knowledge, evil is driven away from mind and the shackles of illusion are removed. According to him, there is no difference between sarguna and nirguna. No means of rituals can help in getting free of the illusions. The virtue of Prema-bhagti (devotional love) is not attained, which makes him sad. He says –
Satyug sat teta jagi duapar pooja chaar.
Tino jug tino dirhai kewal Naam adhar.
Paar kaisi payebo re. Mo sau kou na kahai samjhaye.
Ja tey avagavan bilaye. Rahau.
Bahu bidhi dharam nirupiai karta disai sabh loye.
Kavan karam tey chhootiai jih sadhai sabh sidhi hoye.2
Karam akarm bichariai sanka sun beid puraan.
Sansa sad hirdai basai kaun hirai abhimaan….
Param paras gur bhetiai poorab likhit lilaat.
Unman man hi milai chhutkat bajar kapaat.6
Bhagat jugat mat sat kahi bhram bandhan kaat bikaar.
Soyee bas ras man milai gun nirgun eik bichaar.7
Anik jatan nigreha kiai taari na tari bhram phaas.
Prem bhagat nahi upjai taa te Ravidas udaas.8
(SGGS, 346) (Explained above)
Description of the Divine:
Implicit description of the Divine has been made in Gurbani everywhere. The physical attributes of Rama and Krishna are also referred to sometimes. Ravidas has described the Divine in his emotional words. He describes the Divine experience in very sweet words. Of course in Ravidas Bani the nirguna and sarguna forms of the Divine have been referred to but basically Ravidas follows the nirguna Divine only. He knows that it is difficult to describe the attributeless. He says:
Boley bole, abol koon-pakrai, bole bole koon khayee
The above line picturizes the Divine in zero state and as being unaffected by the soot of illusion. He is beyond description. He can be experienced through devotion, but according to him, He is beyond reach, beyond sight, beyond knowledge and faultless. His saying so is worthy of note:
Agam agochar achhar atrak, nirgun ati ananda.
Sada atit gyan vivarjit, nirvikar avinashi.
In Nanakbani is found the mixed form of nirguna and sarguna Brahm. It is not possible to describe the nirguna Brahm. That is why Guru Nanak says:
Ta kiya gallan kathiya na jahe.
Je ko kahai pichhai pachhtaye (SGGS, 1)
Nothing can be said about Almighty God, He is above description, He is beyond mind, intellect and words. If one tries to describe Him, he has to repent later on because not even an iota of the Mighty and Infinite can be described. In the portrayal of Brahm’s concept by Guru Nanak, the sarguna form becomes discerned in a wonderful way. Describing His Vastness, Guru Nanak says:
Gagan mahi thaal ravi chand Deepak baney
tarika mandal janak moti.
Dhoop manialnlo pavan chavro karai
Sagal banrai phoolant joti. 1 (SGGS, 1292)
God Himself is moon, air, water and the celestial bodies. God Himself makes them move.
He Himself is sun and moon.
He himself is the cause of joy, He is tree and He Himself is the fruit thereof.
Gurmat philosophy and Ravidas’s concept of Brahm have accepted Him in the same form. He is regarded as Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Benevolent and Sustainer of His children (devotees), Most kind, All embracing, Friend of friends, Mother and Father, Master, Giver of shelter, and various other names. Guru Nanak’s ‘House’ regards Bhagat Ravidas with utmost reverence:
Ravidas dhiaye Prabhu anoop (43))
Guru Nanak Dev Govind anoop (1292)
Some learned ones regard this as a figment of imagination. According to Ravidas and Gurmat, Rama is not the son of Dasratha but is symbolic of nirguna. Gurmat and the Saints believed in nirguna but they have made use of words of sarguna form also, like Ram, Govind, Prabhu, Krishna, Madhav, Niranjan, Mukand, Murari, Keshva, Hari, Kamlapati, etc. The most adorable name of these is Rama. Both Gurmat philosophy and Ravidas thinking believe in the worship of nirguna Brahma.
The View of Life:
According to Indian philosophy, the soul is regarded as an integral part of body. The soul is immortal, ever peaceful, unborn, formless, all pervading, etc. Emphasis has been laid on the oneness of the soul and the supersoul. Vedanta seems to have influenced the Gurmat view about the soul. According to Gurmat, there is unity between Brahm and the soul. The soul is a part of supersoul. Ravidas has also expressed this belief in these words:
Tohi mohi mohi tohi antar kaisa.
Kanak katik jal tarang jaisa. (SGGS, 93)
There is no difference
between thee and me and me and thee.
It’s just as an ornament is gold in itself
Just as a wave is nothing but water only.
Kabir also holds similar views in this regard:
Jal te kumbh, kumbh mai jal hai,
Bahar bheetar paani.
Phoota kumbh jal jalhi samana
Yeh tat katho gyani.
The pitcher is in water, water in the pitcher
There is water inside and outside.
When the pitcher breaks, water joins water
This is the truth, O knowledgeable ones!
Ravidas has described the soul as light, mind and bliss. According to Saint Ravidas and Gurmat, the soul is a part of the supersoul. This soul, when it comes under the influence of illusion, moves as a separate entity; it is given the name of a living one. The soul is immortal; though it abides in the body. The body is perishable. After getting free of the influence of illusion, the part mingles with the whole.
Maya has been described from ancient times in Indian philosophy in one form or another. It is regarded as God’s power but also as a hindrance to attainment of God. According to Gurmat also it is an obstacle in the way of a seeker. Namdev and Kabir are also of the same view. It has been repeatedly said in Gurmat as to how one should get rid of the influence of maya. Ravidas says that it is the most powerful. Its enchanting power has inflicted pain on the entire world. It has taken the entire universe in its grip. Gods, human beings and sages are all under its sway:
Barj ho barj beech ley maya sab jag khaiya.
Maha prabal sabhi san, yeh sur nar muni bharmaya. (explained above)
Right from ordinary creatures to the gods, all have been affected by it. It is for the devotee to conquer it to attain Him. The Bhagats have called it a falsehood. It is full of deceit and complexity. It has no independent existence. Its effect can be removed only by devotion to Him:
Jhoothi maya jag dehkaya, to tino taap dahe rey.
Kahi Ravidas Ram jap rasna, maya kaise sang rahe rey. (explained above)
Both the micro and macro forms of maya are an illusion. To get rid of it, one has to seek God’s shelter. Only devotion can show the true path. Guru Nanak has presented the Vedantic view in his new style. Talking of the oneness of a creature and the creator, he has talked of gyan (knowledge) and agyan (ignorance). Maya leads one to illusion, away from the right path and throws one in the well of ignorance. Guru Nanak describes this form of maya in this way:
Trisna maya mohini sut bandhap ghar naar.
Dhan joban jag thagya lab lobh ahankaar.
Moh thagauli hou muyee saa vartai sansaar.
Craving is maya; the enchantress.
Sons, relations, home and woman
Wealth, youth, have all cheated the world
Through greed, desires and arrogance.
According to Gurmat, maya and attachment are closely related. From maya is born pride. Because of the shroud of illusion, it is difficult to know the reality of maya. Maya has assumed the form of attachment, passion, anger and arrogance. Maya is the cause of the world’s destruction. This maya is ignorance and this ignorance stands in the way of self-realization. Guru Nanak has not regarded the universe as false. The universe does exist but it is not the ultimate truth. Thinking independently, Guru Nanak describes the universe. There is no difference between Sant Ravidas’s philosophy and Gurmat.
Guru Nanak regarded the world as illusory but had also said that it is the school of life. Many voices are heard through all the doors thereof. A seeker can decide through his own intellect as to which one he should listen to or not listen to. Saint Ravidas has regarded this world as a dream. He describes the mental state of a king through his famous lines. He says that a king became a beggar in his dream and he is pained at having lost his kingdom, but at dawn he gets back his lost kingdom and he regards the pain of loss of kingdom as a falsehood, untrue and non-existent. In the same way, on the attainment of God, the world appears to be like a dream and having no meaning:
Narpat eik singhasan soeya, supnai bhaya bhikhari.
Achhat raj bichhrat dukh paiya, so gati bhayee hamari. (SGGS, 657) (Explained above)
Having regarded the world as illusory, nowhere has it been suggested by Gurmat or Bhagat Ravidas that one ought to renounce it. Ravidas says that this world is a game played by God. The game is illusory but the players in it are real.
Bajigar soon raach rahiai, baazi koon marm ini jaana.
Baji jhooth, sach bajigar, jana man patiyana.
It is untrue because it is perishable. Ravidas has described the world as the field of action. It has been accepted as the field of action in one’s behaviour. That is why, while exhorting us to lead the life of a householder, emphasis has been laid on devotion to God. Accordingly, life is to be lived in a state of equipoise; it is easy to remain aloof in the midst of maya and it is not difficult to run away to the jungles to seek Him but living in the world and remaining above the impact of maya is real equipoise. Guru Tegh Bahadur has said:
Kahe re ban khojan jayee.
Sarab nivasi sada alepa tohi sang samayee.
Why should you run to the woods to see Him?
He abides in all and still remains aloof
He lives in you also.
In principle, according to Gurmat and Sant Ravidas’s philosophy, the world has been likened to a dream but practically it has been accepted as the field of action. It is here only that one can attain God even while discharging ones responsibilities.
Importance of the Guru:
It is not important here to say as to who was the guru of Guru Nanak or Ravidas. The need of a guru has been stressed in Gurmat and Ravidasbani. In the entire Bhagati tradition, importance of the guru has been made clear in some form or the other. Kabir sees no difference between the guru and God. According to Bhajanamitra, the guru should be worshipped. One can please God by pleasing the guru. If God gets angry with one, the guru can remedy the situation:
Haro rushto guru tata gurau rushtai na kashchany.
Gurau tushtey Hari tushtai: (Bhajanmitra)
But what happened in reality was that gradually the praise of the guru began to assume a divine form as a result of which the praise of guru began to be surrounded by blind faith and the priests took advantage of this. A mediator has been accepted as the need for attaining God in Gurmat philosophy but the conduct of the guru has also been emphasized upon. The reverence in which Sikh Gurus are held has been due to their high moral character. Importance of the guru is stressed again and again in Guru Nanak’s hymns and God has been given the name of Satguru. He says, ‘My friend, I have attained the light of His Name; the path laid by my guru has been the companion of my breaths. Singing His praise has been my true path:
Merai meet mokau Ram Nam pargaas
Gurmat Naam mera pran sakhayee,
Hari kirat hamri rahiraas. (SGGS, 61)
Ravidas too has sung the praises of the guru. He says that the guru has given him the lamp of concentration along with the wick and this life has become a success because of the recitation of His Name. How can the web of illusion be removed without the guru’s teachings? Hardly anyone can do without the guru’s teachings:
Gur gyan Deepak diya, baati deyi jalai.
Ravidas Hari bhagti karan, janam janam bilmaye.
…. Ravidas Guru gyan chakhu bina, kim mitye bhram phand.
Maya deepak pekh kari, nar patang andhyaye.
Ravidas Guru gyan bin, birla ko bach jaiye.
It can thus be seen that the importance of the guru is stressed both in Gurmat and Bhagat Ravidas’s philosophy.
Recitation of His Name:
Remembering His Name is an important part of the Gurmat way of life. His name has been regarded as the guru. Sri Guru Granth Sahib is full of praise of God. Countless names have been given to God by the devotees. This recitation of names is meditating on Him. Every religion lays emphasis on this. Guru Nanak says: ‘Thy names are countless, Thy abodes too are countless, and Thy inaccessible realms too are countless. Repeating ‘countless’ seems to place a burden on the mind. We can sing Thy praises through words only. We utter and write Bani in words. We describe our relationship with Thee only in words. From words do we have an idea of Thy Name. But Who wrote these words is beyond the scope of these words. Like Thy creation Thy Name too is Great. Is there any place without Thy Name? How can I be capable of singing the greatness of Thy Name?’
The importance of His Name has been stressed by Ravidas also in his Bani. He has regarded Name as everything. He says:
Naam tero aarti majan murarai.
Hari ke naam bnin jhoothai sagal pasarai.
Naam tero asno naam tero ursa,
Naam tero kesro lai chhitkarai.
Naam tera ambhula Naam tero chandan
Ghas japai Naam lai tujahe kau charai.1
Naam tero diva naam tero baati
Naam tero tel lai mahi pasarai.
Naam terai ki joti lagayee
Bhaiyo ujyaar bhavan saglarai.2
Naam tero taga Naam phool mala
Bhaar athareh sagal jutharai.
Tero kiya tujahi kya arpau
Naam tera toohi chavar dhularai.3
Das atha ath sathai charai khaani
Ehai vartan hai sagal sansarai.
Kahe Ravidas Naam tero aarati
Sat Naam hai Hari bhog tuharo. 4.3.
My prayer is Thy Name alone, O killer of ego.
Thy Name is the bath at holy places and
Without Thy Name everything is false.
Thy Name is the seat of prayer and Thy Name
Is the grinding stone (for sandal) as also
The sprinkling of saffron water.
Thy Name is the nectar and sandalwood
Grinding and the offerings before Thee
Are all Thy Name, O my Lord. 1
Thy Name is the lamp and its wick too.
It is the oil also in it for spreading light.
Thy name is the thread and flower garland
While the entire vegetation is transient
And the fragrance spoiled by the wasps.
Everything is given by Thee and
What can I offer Thee, my Lord?
It is Thy Name, O Lord, which waves the whisk.
All the sixty eight Puranas and the same number
Of holy places, also those born in different ways
Are all engaged in reciting Thy Name in prayers.
Ravidas says Thy Name is Thy prayer and
Thy True Name is my obeisance before thee.
The Gurmat way of life and Ravidas philosophy are basically humanistic in nature and behaviour. The meaninglessness of caste division and outward show off have been opposed by all the saints. They opposed the outer garbs of Hindus and Muslims. However, Kabir’s opposition in this regard was the most vehement and biting. Opposition is there in Gurbani and Ravidasbani too but not so strong and biting that a listener may writhe in anger.
Rama is not the son of Dasratha in Gurbani and in Ravidasbani. Both of them are opposed to the concept of incarnation. Why would God like to assume a human form? They have described the sarguna form of God when He came to rescue His devotees but they have not accepted the concept of incarnation. Kabir says Rama was neither born as Dasratha’s son, nor had any Ravana troubled him; even Yashoda had not caressed him in her lap nor had he played the games of love with the gopis. He had not even lifted the Govardhan (a hill). He had not assumed the form of a dwarf to cheat the king. He had not incarnated as a fish or a tortoise. He had not gone to meditate at Badrinath nor had he incarnated as Parsuram to destroy the khatris nor had he died at Dwarka.
Kabir na Dasrath ghar autar aana, na lanka ka rana satana.
Devai poos koondhas na autriyana, na jannai na gode khilanai
Na gavalan ke sang phirya, govardhan le na kar dharya.
Bawan hoye nehi bal chhalya, dharni ved na udharya.
Gandak sailgram na kola, machh kachh huvai jaleh na dola.
Bari bais dhyan nahi lava, Parasram huvai chhatri na Santana.
Dwarmati sarir na chhoda, Amarnath lai pind na goda.
This faith was based on knowledge and intellect. According to this, the meaninglessness of temple or mosque and uselessness of idol worship was emphasized.
In the hymns of these great men, great stress was laid on purity of conduct. They opposed ill-will and ego and exhorted people to imbibe human values. The main object of their writing was spiritual and religious but to reach that level, purity of conduct is most essential. Gurmat and Ravidasbani do not preach renunciation; they favour a householder’s life. The society of those days was divided between Hindus and Muslims. There was a deep gulf between them. Because of their blind faith, both of them hated each other. Both the religions had a stranglehold of the priests over them and mob mentality. Ravidas felt the need of their mutual amity and fraternity. He told them that Ram and Rahim or Krishna or Karim were the same:
Krishna karim Ram Hari apna, jab lag eik eik na pekhya
Beid kateb quran puran sahej eik nahi vekhya.
They expressed their belief in the basic unity of religions. They laid stress on the meaninglessness of the caste system. Gurmat did not at all accept the caste division. Guru Gobind Singh said, ‘Manas ki jati sabai eikay pehchanbo.’ Ravidasbani instilled the spirit of self confidence among the lower castes and exhorted the people to lead a pious life. He attached no importance to lineage or caste-based superiority. He asserted that those of low castes had the right to worship God. For the purpose of social reform, he exhorted people to bridge the gap between their word and deed, to give up ill feeling towards others and to imbibe a spirit of humility instead of arrogance. He also exhorted them to live in society and live on honest earning. He himself was a living example of this. He talks of a social set up where there is no consideration of high and low. He believes in the equality of all faiths. He gave due importance to equality and aesthetics. According to Gurmat, the basis of social reform is the personal conduct of the individual.
Humanism is the essence of teachings of these great personages. The touchstone of a man’s greatness is his devotion to God, according to Ravidas. He says that the caste difference is meaningless. God is the Creator of all:
Janam jati mat poochhiai, na jati ar paat.
Ravidas poot sabh Prabhu ke, kou nahi jat kujaat.
Ravidas viewed everyone equally. That is why he removed the difference between Ram and Rahim and talked of the unity of man. This feeling of equality and similarity of views in this regard in Gurmat and Santbani show total concern for the entire humanity.
Gurmat and Bhagatbani was the consequence of the spiritual, cultural and social needs of the times. On the one hand, foreigners had lain waste the entire country. The bigotry and mob mentality of some elements in Islam had totally disregarded the revolutionary teachings of the Quran. Ritualism had taken the place of the true spirit of the faith. On the other side was the preaching of the Shastras about the path of renunciation. Anarchy prevailed all over and the social structure had crumbled. There was despair and sadness on all sides. The foreigners through their cruel behaviour had trampled the people underfoot. On one side was the monotheism of Islam, and on the other, the pantheism of the Hindus. The saints had helped society in their own way to come out of their dual mindedness. They exhorted people to have a detached view of life by remaining in society as householders. This was the path of action based on enlightenment. To lead a good life without renouncing the world and while performing the duties of a householder was the essence of their exhortation. They saw salvation in family life. Instead of many gods, they preached the Oneness of God and His worship and presented a revolutionary lead wherein there was no importance of castes or rituals. Man, animal and birds were the children of One God, according to them. As a result of this, a social culture was born which, in a way, was the renaissance of Indian civilization. Keeping their religious values intact, the Muslims also became a part of this cultural wave. This was the need of the hour. The Sant-mat stood the test of time.
At such a time in the north west of India, Guru Nanak was the symbol of new awareness. He infused the spirit of confidence and hope among the people through his preaching. He preached a life of being in equipoise even while performing ones duties. He has unbreakable faith in the unity of God. He had an unshakable spirit of submission before His Will. He considered his preaching as inspired by God. He exhorted people to get rid of their ego. He believed in worship of the Formless Brahm. He preached Name form of Ram. His Ram was not the son of Dasratha. His hymns were full of God’s praise. Combining knowledge with devotion, he rejected the caste system and rituals. He conceived a casteless and classless social order. This became the pivot of Gurmat philosophy. This thought process continued till the martyrdom of Sri Guru Arjan Dev. But after Guru Arjan Dev’s martyrdom, when Jehangiri injustice was exposed, Guru Hargobind had to take recourse to Miri-Piri. The need for self-defence arose at that time. When Guru Tegh Bahadur was done to death very cruelly, Guru Gobind Singh had to hold the sword. The Sikhs did not want to fight, it was forced on them. Gurmat philosophy was based on good conduct. Therefore to defend the helpless masses, Guruji initiated a revolutionary process whereby honourable death was preferred to the life of dishonour. Gurmat philosophy and revolutionary ideology became the need of the hour.
There is emotional oneness between Gurmat and Ravidas philosophy. Some difference is there only about Guru Gobind Singh’s new approach. Guru Gobind Singh did not include his own Bani in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. He had finalized Sri Guru Granth Sahib but he kept his views within the confines of his own literature. He himself wrote the Dasam Granth. The Bani of Sant Ravidas and other saints and that of Gurus is spiritual and non-violent in nature. That non-violence should remain non-violent and should not turn into cowardice was the guiding spirit with which Guru Gobind Singh confronted the cruel rulers with his sword.
The Gurmat way of life and Ravidas philosophy enriched medieval life. Its essence was humanism and equal respect for all religions. They are still the most important part of mainstream Punjab and Indian society. The Sant-movement was full of human love and identified itself with the common people. By removing the bondage of caste and creeds, it accepted the unity of human race. Instead of the predominance of book learning, they won the hearts of the people with a sense of belonging. They did not have the backing of wealth, high learning or political power. They had with them the equipoise of devotion. This movement laid emphasis on the purity of the thought process. It has been preparing the ground for today’s progressive thinking. On this basis they tried to bring in cohesion between Hindu and Muslim ideology. Gurmat way of life and Ravidas philosophy, with their all embracing outlook, presented a lasting solution to the complex religious problems faced by Indian society.
Basically they were saints; their becoming poets and social reformers was the secondary aspect of their lives. They did not believe in going into seclusion or running away from family obligations. They saw to it that in the context of social needs, their writings should not fail the people.
In today’s era of intellectual resurgence, Gurmat philosophy and Ravidasbani seem to be all the more relevant.