Bhagat Ravidas and 2 Paise
Once, a Brahmin was about to set out for Haridwar ( as per Hindu rites) to have a ritual purificatory bath there. Bhagat Ravidas approached him with a two-pese (small Indian coin) that he had saved from his righteous earnings and requested him that he may offer this coin to mother Ganges only when she stretches out her hands seeking the offer. The Brahmin took it as a joke, but still he accepted the coin and left for Haridwar. It is said that as the Brahmin was having his bath, mother Ganges stretched out her hands and sought the offering her devotee Ravidas had sent. The Brahmin was wonderstruck, but still he put the coin on her hands. Mother Ganges was immensely pleased on receiving an offering from her devotee, and in return she gave for Ravidas, a golden bangle to the Brahmin who was tempted by this beautiful and costly object. On his return he did not give the bangle to Ravidas, but instead gave it to a King and earned considerable wealth in lieu of it. The Kings’ wife was pleased beyond words on receiving such a wondrous gift. Still she requested her husband that he should order the Brahmin to bring another similar bangle for her so that she has at least a pair of such bangles. The King ordered the Brahmin to bring one more bangle of the same quality and beauty.
The Brahmin now found himself in a tight corner. When he could not think of a way out, he at last went to Ravidas ji. He admitted his deceit and narrated the whole incident to him. He further told Ravidas ji that his life could only be spared if Bhagat Ravidas helps him get another bangle for the queen. He fell prostrate before Ravidas and made a humble request with folded hands that he should be kind enough to help him out and thus save his life. Ravidas ji asked him to have patience, and then asked him to look into the bowl which was full of water used to dip the leather in to make it soft, in the shoe-making process. The Brahmin looked intently into the bowl. He saw the Ganges flowing therein and many, many such bangles also lying on the bottom. The Brahmin was puzzled. Ravidas told him to put his hands into the bowl and take out a bangle to fulfil his need. Thus, he came to know the spiritual position of Ravidas. Those were the intellectually blind and ego-ridden who looked upon him as a low-caste man.
Guru Ram Das has also said about the spiritual greatness of Bhagat Ravidas ji that people from all four varnas (castes) – ie everybody fell on his feet because of his spiritual attainment. An extract from this hymn is given below:
Ravi Das, the leather-worker, praised the Lord, and sang the Kirtan of His Praises each and every instant.
Although he was of low social status, he was exalted and elevated, and people of all four castes came and bowed at his feet. ||2||