Nishan Sahib
of Ravidassia Dharam

Speech for House of Commons 2007, England

His Holiness Shri 108 Sant Niranjan Dass Ji, Hon’ble Members of Parliament, Members of Sri Guru Ravidass International Organisation for Human Rights, Members of Sant Sarwan Dass Charitable Trust UK, distinguished guests, ladies & gentlemen, it gives me immense pleasure on being present in this august gathering which has assembled here to celebrate birthday of our revered Guru Shri Guru Ravidass Ji. It is a matter of some pride for followers of Guru Ji throughout the world that these celebrations are being held in the parliament building of this great nation & world’s oldest democracy. I thank the members of the International Organisation for Human Rights that they have given us the opportunity to be among you on this historic occasion.

The objects stated by Sri Guru Ravidass International Organisation for Human Rights are very noble. Drawing an inspiration from the teachings of Shri Guru Ravidass Ji they are committed to help the needy & suffering people throughout the world–especially those from the most discriminated sections of Indian society.

The philosophy of Shri Guru Ravidass Ji is a vast ocean on spiritual, ethical and social thoughts. Time does not permit me to deliberate in detail on each aspect of his teachings, but for those in this gathering who may not have heard much about Guru Ji, I wish to touch briefly on some points. Shri Guru Ravidass Ji was born at Varanasi India in the year 1377 A.D. in a family which was at the lowest rung of Indian society according to the Hindu caste system. This period is known as “Bhakti Movement” in Indian history in which many Saints committed themselves to the reformation of Hindu society through their teachings. Guru Ravidass Ji is considered a Shromani Sant i.e. one of the greatest saints of this movement. His spiritual stature rose to such heights that even Kings & Queens of the time became his disciples. He believed that God can be achieved only though “Naam” i.e. meditation through recitation of His Name. Major portion of his teachings is devoted to the importance of “Naam” in our lives. He starts with as simple a thing as

Har Har Har Har Har Har Hare |
Har Simrat Jan Gaye Nistar Tare ||

that is by reciting Har Har Har Har Har Har Hareywhile meditating on God the saints & sinners achieve salvation. He further explains the futility of all religious scriptures as compared to “Naam”

Nana Khyan Puran Baid Bid Choutees Akhar Mahi |
Byas Bichar Kahyo Pramarth Ram Nam Sir Nahi ||

It means that various religious scriptures-Shastras, Puranas and the Vedas of Brahama-are made of thirty four letters of alphabet. After having thought carefully Vyaas has stated that none of the religious scriptures is equal to the name of God. His famous composition is known as Aarti

Naam Tero Aarti Majan Murarey |
Har ke Nam Bin Jhuthey Sagal Pasarey ||

In this Aarti he says that Your Name, Lord, is in my adoration and cleansing bath. Without the name of God all ostentatious displays are useless. He sees God’s name in all articles displayed for worship.

The second point which I wish to make is that Shri Guru Ravidass Ji demolished the concept of caste system which was prevailing very strongly at that time, having been given the religious sanctity as per some Hindu scriptures.

Je Kul Sadh Baishno Hoye |
Baran Abaran Rank Nahi Isar Bimal Baas Janiye Jag Soye ||
Brahman Bais Sud or Khatri Dom Chandar Malech Man Soye |
Hoye Puneet Bhagwant Bhajan Te Aap Tare Taarey Kul Doye||

That family into which a holy person is born, whether it is of high or low caste, whether rich or poor becomes meaningless. His spiritual fragrance spreads all over the world. Whether he is a Brahmin, a Vaishya, a Shudra or a Kshatriya, whether he is a poet or a filthy minded person becomes pure by meditating on the Lord God. He saves himself and families of both his parents. When he says

Aapan Bape Nahi Kisi Ko Bhawan Ke Raja |

He means that the Lord, our king, is father to no one i.e. He is not anybody’s personal property except those who love him. and further he says

Keh Ravidass Jo Japey Naam |
Tis Jat Na Janam Na Joney Kaam ||

that is one who utters the Lord’s Name, he has no concern with caste, birth and rebirth.Guru Ravidass Ji has also enunciated very clearly his philosophy about ethical values of life. He explicitly denounces ego and is of the view that a person with ego cannot achieve God.
He says

Jab Hum Hotey Tab Tu Nahi Ab Tuhi Main Naahi |

When there was egotism in me, You were not within me. Now that You are there, there is no egotism. He denounces five vices and subtle manifestation of ego in human beings when he says

Dev Sansey Ganth Na Chuttey Kaam Krodh Maya Mad Matsar |
In Pancho Mil Luttey ||
Hum Bud Kab Kuleen Hum Pandit Jogi Sanyaasi Gyani Guni Sur Hum Datey |
Ihey Budhi Kabhi Na Naasi ||

It means “O Divine Lord, the knot of doubt cannot be untied. Lust, anger, worldly valuables, egotism and jealousy- these five have combined to plunder the world. I am a great poet and of high family, I am a religious scholar, I am a Yogi and Sanyasi, I am full of virtues, I am a warrior and a great donor-such thinking never perishes in the human beings.”
It is difficult to come across a more vivid and a higher plane of life’s philosophy.

Indian Diaspora is spread throughout the world. Quite a large number of them are in UK. Whereas they are contributing a lot towards the development of economy of this country, they have not forgotten their motherland also. They have been contributing either for some individual projects or through some charitable organisations committed to social upliftment. They have generously supported such projects being run by Dera Sant Sarwan Dass Ji in India. This support has mainly come through Sant Sarwan Dass Charitable Trust UK-a registered body with the Charities Commission for England & Wales. There have been direct contributions also. Sant Sarwan Dass Charitable Hospital Trust under the Chairmanship of Sant Niranjan Dass Ji is running a 200 bed charitable hospital, an English medium CBSE affiliated school and an exclusive eye hospital for the benefit of poor people. Similarly Shri Guru Ravidass Janam Sthan Public Charitable Trust under the Chairmanship of Sant Niranjan Dass Ji is managing the affairs of Shri Guru Ravidass Janam Sthan Mandir at Seer Goverdhanpur Varanasi-the birthplace of Guru Ji. This temple was built under the aegis of Dera Sant Sarwan Dass Ji due to the efforts of Sant Sarwan Dass Ji who had a mission to spread the teachings of Guru Ji far & wide. This temple at Varanasi has become the “Ultimate Place of Pilgrimage” for Guru Ji’s followers. They assemble in large numbers from the whole world at this temple for the birthday celebrations of Guru Ji. They feel a sense of pride in the fact that at last they have a memorial for their Guru in the city of Varanasi, considered capital of Hinduism-a religion which did not give recognition to Guru Ravidass Ji until he proved his spiritual powers. This temple at Varanasi has become a source of inspiration for Guru Ji’s followers throughout the world. During the last few years they have built Guru Ravidass temples in almost all the towns of the world wherever they happen to live even in small numbers. Now worldwide there is a strong urge among Guru Ji’s followers of establishing a separate identity of their own. But the pre-requisites for any people to establish a separate identity are- i. Common Name ii. Common Guru iii. Common Place of Pilgrimage iv. Common Religious Book v. Common Religious Symbol and a Common method of salutation. It is for the intellectuals, thinkers & various religious institutions to debate over these issues and take a well considered decision. The earlier it is done, better it will be for the community.

Before closing my comments, I wish to impress upon all of you to adopt Guru Ji’s teachings in your life. Follow the path of “Naam” to attain eternal bliss, as Guru Ji himself has said that it is only through “Naam” that we can achieve salvation. Lead a virtuous life following some good ethical values, become useful to the society and extend a helping hand to the humanity at large and poorer sections of society in particular. It is also imperative that you complement each others efforts in this direction.

In the end I wish to add that next birthday of Guru Ravidass Ji falls on 21st February 2008. I extend an invitation to all of you to come to India, travel with us by a special train to Varanasi and get Guru Ji’s blessings by participating in these celebrations at Shri Guru Ravidass Janam Sthan Mandir Varanasi.

Once again I thank the members of Shri Guru Ravidass Organisation for Human Rights for giving this opportunity of sharing with you some thoughts in brief.

May the blessings of Maharaj Ji be always with you.

Jai Gurdev.