Friday, May 02, 2008


Guru Ravidas (or Raidas) (1398? - 1448?) is believed to be a younger contemporary of Sant Kabir. His occupation involved dealing with leather - dead animal matter - which made him a so-called 'untouchable', yet today he is revered - as is Kabir - by Hindus as well as Muslims, and his poetry is included in the Sikh Holy Book, the Guru Granth Sahib.

Here is one of his devotional poems:

When I existed,
You did not.
Now You exist
and I do not:

As a storm lifts waves from water -
still they are water
within water.

O Madho,
how can we describe this illusion?
What we believe in
does not exist.

A mighty king sleeps on his throne
and in his dream becomes a beggar.
Seeing his kingdom vanish before him
he greatly mourns -
such is our condition.

Like the tale of the serpent and the rope -
I know a little of the secret.
Seeing many bracelets
we think gold has many forms -
but it is always forever gold.

In all things exists the Lord,
assuming countless shapes;
in each pore He plays and sports.
Ravidas says: He is nearer than my hand.
All that comes to pass is by His will alone.

Enormous copy of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib

1 comment:

John Noyce said...

it is traditionally stated that Ravidas and Kabir were both disciples of Ramanand.