Bhagat Ravidas ji in Chitaur
An important aspect of the universality of Guru Granth Sahib is its inclusion of verses of fifteen Bhagats, or mystics, belonging to different traditions, times and territories. The only yardstick for selection was their belief and practice based on the oneness of God and equality of humanity. Their philosophy of rejecting futile rituals and relying solely on devotional love, or Nam Simran, to merge with the formless, uncreated Creator was similar to that of the Gurus.
One of these Bhagats is Bhagat Ravidas ji,
Ravidas ji’s selfless devotion and casteless love for humanity spread far and wide. In the course of his spiritual quest, he reached a stage when he discarded images and idols and turned to the worship of the one supreme being.
rivdwsu cmwru ausiqq kry hir kIriq inmK iek gwie ] (733-9, sUhI, mhlw 4)
Ravi Das, the leather-worker, praised the Lord, and sang the Kirtan of His Praises each and every instant.
piqq jwiq auqmu BieAw cwir vrn pey pig Awie ]2] (733-9, sUhI, mhlw 4)
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||
Maharani Jhally of Chitaur was a noble woman of benevolence and piety. Her ardency brought her to Benares on a pilgrimage. In spite of the disapproval of the Brahmin priests, she straight-away went to the Bhagat Ravidas ji. Ravidas ji was in his ecclesiastic benediction at the time, and was reciting hymns (Rag Sorath ( Ang.658-59).
Maharani was captivated. Eventually she became his disciple and abandoned all her luxurious set up. Her husband, the Maharana, had been instigated against her adopting a cobble as her Guru. He was full of rage when she returned. He was pacified by listening to some of the hymns of Bhagat Ravidas ji but still wanted to put the Bhagat ji through a test to invalidate the allegations of the Brahmins. The Bhagat was invited to Chitaur and requested to participate in an oblation(an offering). The Brahmin priests refused to eat while a cobbler (person form lower caste) was seated in the same column of rows.
Bhagat Ravidas ji voluntarily moved away. But, miraculously every person distributing food looked like Bhagat Ravidas ji to the Brahmins (Another account states when the Brahmins sat down to eat, they saw Ravidas ji seated between every two of them). They complained to Maharaja. Maharaja comprehended the hidden meaning of this marvel, and himself became an ardent devotee.
“The milk has been contaminated by the suckling calf
The flower has been defiled by the bumblebee,
The fish have polluted the water
O mother, from where should I get clean offerings to worship God?”
“Let me offer my body and mind in worship
By the grace of Guru shall I attain immaculate God.” (GGS ji, Ang.525)