This is a festival that marks the birthday of Guru Ravidas and is celebrated on Magh Purnima, which is the full moon night of the month of Magh according to the Hindi calendar.
It pertains to the month of February in the Gregorian calendar. This day is one of the most important days of the Ravidassia religion. Guru Ravidass was the founder of Bhakti movement.
It is said that Guru Ravdas was born in Seer Govardhanpur in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. This religion going by the name ‘Rohidas’ in East India, got the most importance and popularity in the 15th century all over India.
Legends Associated With Guru Ravidas
There are various imminent personalities and legends that are associated with Guru Ravidas. His list of fond disciples also included the queen of Chittorgarh. People believed that she was actually ‘Meera” who eventually got married to the king of Chittorgarh.
The Brahmins of Kashi envied the growing popularity of Guru Ravidas and his religion and complained to the King regarding the lower echeloned position of him. An immediate program was held after that in order to honor Guru Ravidas along with a Shobha Yatra. All the details are mentioned in the Ravidas Purana. He proclaimed himself to be a strict follower of Lord Rama.
Also regarding himself as a Vaishnava Hindu, he used to describe God or Lord Rama in particular in several forms having names like Raghunath, Ram, Raja Ram Chanda, Gobind and Madho. Meera Bai, who herself was a vehement devotee of Lord Krishna regarded Guru Ravidas as her Guru. He is also acknowledged for creating an imaginary city called ‘Begumpura’ where there is no place for unhappiness, fear, lying or sins and everybody there is given equal importance and treatment.
Every year, this day is celebrated with great pomp and splendor by the devotees and followers of Guru Ravidas. The day is inaugurated with chanting of hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib. The ‘nishaan’ which is the official symbol of the religion is altered ceremoniously on this day. After that there is a special aarti which is followed by a huge gala procession through the streets in the vicinity of the temple.
The procession included a Nagar Kirtan along with a huge portrait of Guru Ravidas being taken out accompanied by music and chantings in the background. After this, the devotees are said to take a holy dip in the river Ganga to perform certain rites and rituals. A grand event takes place in the Shri Guru Ravidas Janam Ashthan Mandir every year in Seer, Govardhanpur.
Lakhs of devotees turn up at this celebration from all over the world. The place is adorned with flowers and lighting. The impactful teachings of Guru Ravidas have been complied and framed in the fom of ‘Shabds’ in the scriptures Amritbani Guru Ravidas Ji. The year 2016 had marked the 639th birth anniversary of Guru Ravidas and had taken place on the 22nd of February. The 2019 date for this occasion is 19th of February.
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