Shri Guru Ravidass Janam Asthan Mandir at Seer Goverdhanpur in Varanasi is revered place for the followers of Guru Ravidass all across the world. Guru Ravidass had lived in the city of Varanasi for most of his life but no place of reverence was created in his honour till as late as the 60s.
Before proceeding any further a few words must be said about the Chaturavarna-system in Hindu religion. It is supposed to be based on the ‘Purush Sukta’ shloka in the Rig Veda. According to this system Hindu society is divided in four castes. Originally decided by one’s profession it later on became based entirely on ones birth. According to this system, the people belonging to the top Varna, the Brahmins alone had the right to worship while those of the fourth Varna, the Shudras were strictly prohibited from performing any kind of worship. It was under such prevailing circumstances that some great saints belonging to the fourth Varna revolted against the prevailing system. They proved with their devotion that God is pleased with those who have true faith in Him and worship Him from their hearts. Saints of this era such as Satgur Namdev, Satgur Kabir Sahib and Guru Ravidass all had to face the anger of higher caste Brahmins for their devotion to God but they all eventually overcame this hatred in their lifetimes itself.
The two great saints of the Bhakti Movement namely Satguru Kabir and Shri Guru Ravidass were born here in Varanasi. Shri Guru Ravidass began life by taking up his ancestral profession of making leather shoes and by propagating his spiritual ideas among the people. As his popularity increased over time and not only the poor and backward but even Kings and Queens of different princely states became his disciples. Guru Ravidass devoted his attention to preaching equality among all and the cherished brotherhood of humankind. His efforts were strengthened by his contemporary saint in Varanasi - Satguru Kabir.
Shri 108 Sant Sarwan Dass of Dera Sachkhand Ballan took it upon himself to keep alive the memory of Guru Ravidass and also to erect a memorial befitting his greatness at Varanasi. Sarwan Dass made every effort to make the Bani or sacred writings of Guru Ravidass popular among the socially backward and downtrodden people. He thought his job would be incomplete if the place where Guru Ravidass was born as well as the place where he gave the sermon of Begumpura was not located and a suitable monument built there. To this end Swami Sarwan Dass assigned this task to a selected group of people under the guidance of Sant Hari Dass. The group scoured Varanasi and narrowed down on the area near the Banaras Hindu University. Based on the signs that they were looking out for they eventually found the actual location at Seer Goverdhanpur on the outskirts of the city.
The foundation stone of this Mandir was laid on the 14th of June 1965 by Sant Hari Dass along with a large number of devotees of Dera Bal. A large number of sewadars worked tirelessly under the leadership of Sant Garib Dass to complete the construction which was a Herculean task in itself given the physical circumstances associated with the place. Aid for the project came from all over the world and the first phase of the temple was completed in 1972.
The mandir is currently run by a trust namely the ‘Shri Guru Ravidass Janam Asthan Public Charitable Trust’. Additional construction work at the Mandir was taken up in the year 1993 and the mandir was finally completed in 1994.
The trust also built the monumental gate dedicated to Guru Ravidass at Lanka Crossing in the city.
Today the Trust has a new four-storey building that has 11 rooms to cater to the growing presence of devotees. There is also a huge Langar hall for serving free food.
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