Saturday 19 December 2020

Saint Ravidas


Saint Ravidas

India has always been the home of saints and sages. Whenever the moral or social life of people shows signs of decay, some saint or prophet appears on the scene. Ravidas was one such saint. He infused new life and vitality into the Hindu social order at a critical period in history.

Ravidas was the son of a cobbler. He was born in the year 1377.

He was born at Banaras, the holy city of the Hindus. His parents wanted to have him educated. They sent him to school. Unluckily, his stay at school proved to be very short and unhappy. It was a very painful and unpleasant experience for him. It left a deep and lasting scar on his mind. Ravidas realized that a child born in a low-caste family was not treated well in society.

In such an unfriendly atmosphere, little Ravidas could not put his heart into studies. Often he would sit alone and think deeply. It would then appear as if he were in deep samadhi. His teacher noticed that

Ravidas was no ordinary child. He was certainly destined for some higher purpose in life.

Ravidas had no interest in material things. He was interested in matters related to the spirit. He wanted to gain spiritual knowledge.

He was in search of some spiritual teacher who could show him the right path. Soon he found himself at the feet of Swami Ramanand who took him as his disciple.

Ravidas stayed with the Swami for a few months. Now there was a complete change in his life. Swami Ramanand’s sermons left a great impression on his young mind. Through these sermons, he came to understand the true meaning of life. He came to know of the ancient Indian wisdom and culture.

The field was ready,

the seed was sown, and

the crop did not take long to ripen.

When the guru was satisfied that the spiritual flame had been

kindled permanently, he asked Ravidas to return home and live the way he wanted to live. The enlightened disciple now felt that he had a divine mission to fulfil. He chose Banaras to be the venue of his future activities.

Ravidas felt that his training in spiritual life was not yet complete.

He had a desire to have more and more of spiritual knowledge. First of all, he decided to beautify an area of the forest where he could meditate in peace. One day, while meditating, he felt disturbed by a sudden movement in the bushes.

Ravidas got up and looked around. A she-deer had been caught in a net laid by a hunter. The poor animal was struggling to get free.

As the hunter approached her, she looked at him with pleading eyes.

It was as if she was begging for mercy. It was her time to feed her three young ones.

The little ones came jumping to her joyfully. But they were shocked when they saw their mother in a miserable plight. The mother and her young ones were a painful picture of misery and helplessness.

Their silent prayers and their sad eyes could have melted even a heart of stone. But the cruel hunter remained unmoved. His eyes showed no trace of pity or kindness. He stepped forward to seize the animal and her young ones.

As Ravidas looked at them, his heart melted in pity. He felt it his duty to save the poor helpless animals from death. He went up to the hunter and spoke like this:

“We are all children of the same God. He is our loving father. It is the divine essence that runs in the human heart as love. It is the divine essence that fills the rose with fragrance.

Again, it is the divine essence that fills the rainbow with beauty. It is the divine essence that fills the birds with joy, the apples with juice, and the voice with sweetness.

“Therefore, we should have love for every creature living on this earth. All forms of life are sacred. It is man’s most sacred duty to bring peace to a troubled heart. We should never cause pain, suffering or death to any living being.

We should love all things –– great or small. Even a tiny insect in grass is as sacred as a human child.”

The hunter listened to the sweet words of Saint Ravidas in deep respect. The charm of the saint’s personality and his words of deep wisdom washed away all evil thoughts from the hunter’s mind. The hunter felt as if a miracle had happened. A momentary contact with the great saint had changed him completely. A killer had become filled with love for God and all His creation. The hunter promised to lead a virtuous life and never to cause hurt to anyone.

Saint Ravidas was always very humble. He was different from most of the scholars and religious men of his time. He never boasted of his knowledge and wisdom. His divine knowledge came direct from within. He had a charming personality. His spiritual message appealed every heart. People listened to him spellbound. He spoke in a simple and clear manner. He told people that all are equal in the eyes of

God. The distinctions of caste, colour and creed are meaningless. They are all man-made.

Saint Ravidas brought great hope for those who were poor, weak and backward. He filled them with hope, courage and confidence.

He inspired them not to bow to the unjust demands of the highcaste people. He inspired them to recognize the strength of the spirit within them. He asked them to throw all weak thoughts out of their minds. He always said, “Untouchability is a sin against humanity.”

We can call Saint Ravidas a forerunner of Gandhiji.

Saint Ravidas continued to guide and reform the society of his time all his life. Even in his old age, he had the divine glow on his face.

All his mental faculties remained as strong as ever. His spirit remained untouched by the storms and stresses of the material world.

His end was peaceful. One great soul on this earth became mixed with the eternal soul. One heavenly light on the earth became blended with the immortal light.


New Words / Phrases and their Use

1. vitality (energy and enthusiasm) – The youth are full of vitality.

2. critical (very serious) – The patient’s condition is critical.

3. scar (mark left by a wound) – She has a scar on her left cheek.

4. impression (effect) – My words had no impression on him.

5. meditate (think deeply) – Religious men love to meditate on God.

6. plight (sad situation) – The plight of the poor moved me to tears.

7. essence (the most important quality) – Love is the essence of all true religions.

8. charm (attraction) – Flowers have a charm of their own.

9. virtuous (morally very good) – She has been leading a virtuous life.

10. distinction (difference) – I make no distinction between boys and girls.

11. eternal (living for ever) – Material things are not eternal.

12. immortal (never dying) – The human soul is immortal.

Textual Comprehension

Answer the following questions:

1. When do saints and sages appear on the earth?

2. How did Ravidas influence the Hindu society?

3. When and where was Ravidas born?

4. What desire of his parents remained unfulfilled?

5. Why could Ravidas not continue with his studies?

6. What was it that left a deep scar on his mind?

7. What did Ravidas’s teacher notice about him?

8. Who was Ravidas in search of and why?

9. What did Swami Ramanand do for Ravidas?

10. When did Swami Ramanand ask Ravidas to go back home?

11. What place did Saint Ravidas choose for his meditation?

12. How did Saint Ravidas save the deer family from the hunter?

13. What change came in the hunter after his contact with Saint Ravidas?

14. What were the main points of Saint Ravidas’s teachings?

15. How did Saint Ravidas pass the last days of his life?


Vocabulary Enrichment

The sufflxes -er, -or, -ian and -ist mean ‘the person who’; as––

cobbler’ means the person who cobbles (mends shoes).

historian’ means the person who studies history.

I. Complete these words using the right suffixes :

(You may have to add a vowel or a consonant to complete the spellings.)

1. act 11. scient

2. pot 12. music

3. run 13. sculpt

4. pian 14. operat

5. vend 15. physic (doctor)

6. optic 16. report

7. paint 17. drama

8. chem 18. electric

9. drum 19. industrial

10. librar 20. philosoph

II. There are sixteen parts of

the human body hidden in

this square. Can you find

them all ?

e i b h e a d e n o x

o y f o o t c d a t s

t o e o u b i f i s t

a e z o m t f i l o o

n c a u s c h n p e m

k e h i e t h g a i a

l t r i o a e e l o c

e w a o n r e r m e h

u l t o e m l n o s e

a i b a c k h i p i e

e p a i k n e e t e k


Grammar in Use

I. Choose the right word to fill in the blanks:

• between –– used for two people.

• among –– used for more than two.

1. The property was divided the two brothers.

2. The four girls shared the chocolates themselves.

3. This is a secret you and me.

• it’s –– the short form of ‘it is’.

• its –– shows possession.

1. I believe going to rain.

2. The elephant drinks with trunk.

3. My cat does not let anyone come near kittens.

• farther –– at or to a greater distance.

• further –– more, in addition.

1. I can swim than you.

2. Have you any information?

3. I could not run than that.

• this kind and that kind –– go together because ‘kind’ is singular.

• these kind and those kinds –– go together because ‘kinds’ is singular.

1. I eat only this of chocolate.

2. Those of animals are found in Africa.

3. I collect only those of stamps.

• amount –– used for uncountables.

• number –– used for countables.

1. We bought a large of food.

2. The of accidents has increased.

3. A large of birds settled in the tree.

• beside –– at the side of.

• besides –– in addition to.

1. She came and sat me.

2. tea, we had some biscuits.

3. The bus stopped the post office.


II. Rewrite the following in the Past tense:

His parents decide to send him to a school. His stay at school is short

and unhappy. It proves painful and unpleasant. It leaves an unpleasant

impression on his mind. He realises that a child of low caste is not treated

well. He cannot put his heart into his studies. He stops going to school.

Soon he finds himself at the feet of a spiritual guru.

Pronunciation Practice

Read each sentence. Underline each word with a long ‘a’ sound. Then

write the words on the lines below the sentence :

1. Blake was late for the final game.

2. I pray she may never fail in her life.

3. They arrived late and paid at the gate.

4. She says she lost her chain on the train.

5. The prince ate from a plate made of gold.

6. They say an egg a day keeps the doctor away.

Composition Writing

I. Suppose you have a holy man living in your town or village.

Write what you know about his life and daily activities.

II. Imagine this is a picture of your granny. She lives with you in the same house. She remained cheerful and is very fond of growing plants. She spends most of her time praying to God. Write a brief description of her telling how she looks and what she does all day.