President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday paid tributes to mystic poet-saint of the Bhakti Movement Guru Ravidas on his birth anniversary that has crossed over six centuries. "Greetings and good wishes to all fellow citizens on Guru Ravidas Jayanti. His teachings and message of equality, unity and social harmony continue to inspire our society," the President tweeted.
He said, Guru Ravidas made people aware of the evils of discrimination and urged overcoming them. The President appealed to the countryman to follow his teachings, and strive to strengthen the virtues of humanity and social equity. Venerated as a guru in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh the devotional songs by Ravidas in the 14th, 15th and 16th century have made a lasting impact.
Modi also took to Twitter saying the Guru has left an indelible message of harmony that continues to motivate us. "I bow to the Guru Ravidas on his birth anniversary. The precious and indelible message for harmony, equality and social empowerment given by him will continue to motivate us forever," Modi wrote in Hindi. Ravidas Jayanti is celebrated on the day marking the saints birth that is believed to be in the year 14th century on Maghi Purnima day. Guru Ravidas' jayanti is celebrated on Magh Purnima, a full moon day in the Hindu calendar of Magha month. On the day, people who follow the Bhakti cult, take out Nagar Kirtan processions with the saint's portrait while chanting special prayers.
Lakhs of people converge at the Shri Guru Ravidas Janam Asthan Mandir, Seer Goverdhanpur in Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi, where celebrations are held on a grand scale. So, later in the day, Modi will be visiting his parliamentary constituency Varanasi where he will visit the Sant Ravidas temple and lay foundation stone of Ravidas Janmasthali (birthplace) area development project. Belonging to an untouchable caste, Guru Ravidas suffered atrocities but he chose to focus on spiritual pursuits and penned several devotional songs which made a huge impact in the Bhakti Movement during the 14th to 16th century and also gave rise to the Ravidassia religion taht is followed bt several pockets.
Guru Ravidas spoke against the caste divisions and spoke of removing them to promote unity. His hymns are included in the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs. The Uttar Pradesh government on Monday announced a public holiday on Tuesday, February 19, marking the 'Magh Purnima' and 'Sant Ravidas Jayanti' both of which have fallen on the same day. The order has been issued by Principal Secretary of Higher Education, Jitendra Kumar.
(With inputs from agencies.)