Guru Ravidas

Guru Ravidas was a mystic poet-sant and belonged to the reformist Bhakti movement. Thought to have been born circ. 1450 CE and a contemporary of Guru Nanak (founder of the Sikh faith); some scholars think the two even met. He is revered as a Guru/Bhagat/Sant and is well-known and respected as a social reformer who was keen to see the erasure of caste and gender inequalities. He was born a Chamar (untouchable/dalit) and his fight against social oppression has elevated him as an icon for the Dalit community in contemporary society. His devotional versus are also included in the Guru Granth Sahib but his influence is wide-ranging, spanning across much of northern and central India.

I tired hard to find an English translation of ‘Guru Ravidas’ by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan but so far I haven’t been successful. It was recorded under the Oriental Star Agency label, circ. 1992 If anyone knows of a translation, please do share it because I think the lyrics, sentiments are just heart rendering. They deserve a much wider audience. While I can follow most of the qawwali myself, I am not able to translate it and do justice to the lyrics. Two lines near the end provide a good sense of the what is being conveyed. The translation is difficult because the word “prayer” does not capture the sentiment sufficiently, because Pooja is performed by Hindus, paath is associated with Sikhs and the azaan with Muslims. There is no direct translation.

na pooja paath azaanan vich (the Lord does not reside in the prayer [of Hindus, Sikhs, Muslim])
rabb wasda e insaanan vich (the Lord resides in humanity)

It is sentiments like these that make Nusrat completely transnational and appealing to people across all faiths.

Source for the lyrics: http://lyricification.blogspot.com/2015/08/ravidas-guru.html

ravidaas bhagwaan da roop laike
aaya jag de dukh niwaarne nu
gote khaandi sansaar di aap bedi
bhawsaagar ton paar utaarne nu
unch neech da fark mitaun khaatir
ravidas insaaf da pakad daaman
kasam rabb di rabb da roop laike
aaya satgur sach satkaarne nu

ravidas guru ravidas guru
ravidas guru ravidas guru

dukhiyan di sunne ardaas guru
kar sab di poori ardaas guru
ravidas guru ravidas guru

kite raajeyan anni paayi si
har paase machi duhayi si
kite kambdi payi khudayi si
kite jaan laban te aayi si
insaan si dushman insaan da
har dil vich peerh sawaayi si
panditan di puththiyan reetan ne
sagon hor chavati naayi si
oh daur si zaalim kehran da
mee wareya pyasi zehran da
amrit baani naal jadon
si sab di bujhaayi pyas guru
ravidas guru ravidas guru

eh raaja ki te parja ki
hath bandi wala darja ki
eh mandir ki te masjid ki
eh puja ki te sharda ki
bhala es khuda di dharti te
bandeyan da jhutha kabja ki
sabb os khuda de bande ne
eh wadda ki te chchota ki
eh dharm karam da jhagda ki
eh deen dharam da jhagda ki
hai raazik sabhda oh khaalik
nukta samjhaaya khaas guru
ravidas guru ravidas guru

us daur di ajab kahaani si
har paase daur shaitaani si
haq sach te kalme di kidre
na kadar kise ne jaani si
sab kojiyan bharman di
ravidas ne ramz pachchani si
harbhajan dillan vich dard bade
koi meera sur di rani si
oh rahbar kaamal akmal si
dil andar naal koi wal chchal si
inj hoka de sacheyayi da
sab kite kaaraj raas guru
ravidas guru ravidas guru

gaya murshid kaamil ki aakhan
os swarg bana ke duniya nu
bedaar banake duniya nu
gulzaar banake duniya nu
paigaam sunake amlan da
gaflat chon jaga ke duniya nu
ujdi hoyi sunji dharti te
khud aap wasa ke duniya nu
na pooja paath azaanan vich
rabb wasda e insaanan vich
chauhaan khuda nu yaad karo
oh har dam wasda paas guru
ravidas guru ravidas guru

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