Sunday, January 17, 2010

BABA RAMDEVPIR-Ramshah Pir

BABA RAMDEVPIR

Ramdevji is a folk–deity of Rajasthan in India. He was a saint of the fourteenth century who devoted his life to the upliftment of the downtrodden.

The story, as derived from folklore, is thus. King Ajmal was the king of Pokaran. His wife, Rani Mainade, was the daughter of the king of Jaisalmer. The couple was issueless for many years. Once day the king was on a tour of his kingdom. It was monsoon, yet the kingdom had not received any rainfall. On his tour, the king met a few farmers who were on their way to their farms to sow seeds. On seeing the king, they begun to return back to their homes. Surprised at this act, the king asked farmers the reason for their behaviour. When assured that no harm would come to them if they told the truth, the farmers told the king that they believed that seeing a barren king's face while on their way to their fields may cause their crops to fail, and therefore they wanted to return to their homes. King Ajmal was very sad on hearing this. Being a devotee of Shri Krishna, the king decided to go to the Lord's palace in Dwarika.

King Ajmal arrived at Dwarika and prayed for many days. Ultimately, in sheer disappointment, he asked Krisna's idol the reason for deserving such sorrow. The idol did not respond to the king's repeated queries. Angered and raged at this, the king threw a dried laddu at the head of the idol. The priest of the temple, considering the king to be mad, asked the king to go to the mystic Dwarika to speak to the Lord. The mystic Dwarika swallowed by the sea many centuries ago, lay at the bed of the Arabian sea. The unfearing king dived into the sea to meet the Lord. Pleased at the king's dedication and faith, the Lord granted him a boon. The king asked for Lord Krishna to be born as his son. The Lord promised to take birth in the king's house. Soon thereafter, the royal couple were blessed with children.JAY BABA RAMDEVPIR

Ramdevji is considered to be an incarnation of Krishna.

As mentioned above, King Ajamal (Ajaishinh) married Queen Mainade, the daughter of Pamji Bhati of Chhahan Baru village. The childless king went to Dwarika and pled with the Lord about his wish to have child like him. They had two sons, Viramdev and the younger Ramdev. Ramdev was born on Chaitra Shukla Panchami in V.S. 1409 at a place called Ramdevra or Runicha (Ranuja), some nine miles from Pokharan. Ramdevji was a Tanwar Rajput. He is considered to be the 72nd descendant of the Pandav King Arjun.

Muslims venerate Ramdevji as 'Ramshah Pir'. He was said to have had miraculous powers, and his fame reached far and wide. Legend has it that five Pirs (saints) from Mecca came to test Ramdevji's powers. After being convinced of his abilities, they paid their homage to him. Since then he is venerated by Muslims also as Ram Shah Pir or Rama Peer.

Ramdevji believed in the equality of all human beings, be they high or low, rich or poor. He helped the down-trodden by granting them their wishes. Baba Ramdev is often depicted on horseback. His worship crosses the Hindu-Muslim divide as well as the distinctions of caste. His followers include caste Hindus and the Dalits in modern-day Rajasthan, Gujarat and [[Madhya Pradesh, Mumbai,Delhi] and also in Sindh in Pakistan. Several Rajasthani melas (fairs or festivals) are held to commemorate him.

Ramdevji took samadhi on Bhadrapada Shukla Ekadashi in V.S. 1442 at the age of 33 years. Dalibai, his ardent follower, is also buried near his grave.

One day, young Ramdevji wanted to play with a toy horse. His father asked a toy maker to make one wooden horse, and for the purpose, gave him sandalwood and new cloth. The toy maker, however, stole most of the new cloth for his wife, and made the wodden horse from a piece of old cloth, with only a cover from new cloth. When Ramdev sat on the horse it began to fly and disappeared into the sky along with the child. Ramdev’s parents got angry with the toy maker and imprisoned him. Shortly afterwards, Ramdev came back along with the horse and accused the toymaker of cheating. The toy maker confessed his crime and begged for forgiveness. Ramdevji forgave him and accepted the horse. Wooden toy horses covered with cloth are among the most popular offerings at the temple dedicated to him.

“24 Banis” are considered as famous literature composed by Ramdevji. Many poets and followers like Harji Bhati, Raja Mansinh, Likhmauji Mali, Vijoji Sani, Hiranand Mali, Devshi Mali and Rani Rupande had composed Falk lores on Ramdevji which are still sung by his followers.

Apart from Rajasthan, Baba Ramdevji or Ram Dev Pir has a strong Hindu following in Kathiawar, Gujarat. There are many temples dedicated to him. People from all stratas of society worship him. A mystical festival, called Mandap, is also held in villages across Kathiawar to worship him. The whole affair is funded by the villagers. The highlight of the festival is an event in which a long (almost 60 feet or more in height) wooden log, called the Sthambh, is decorated and laid on the ground with a loose base, with eight ropes tied to it from eight directions. Several rites and rituals are performed for about a month. At a certain time and date, the Sthambh stands up. Very mysteriously and strangely, the Sthambh stands up on its own, without any support. The eight ropes are loosely tied in eight nails that are driven in the ground. Lakhs of devotees flock this mandap to have a darshan of the event. The Sthambh stand erect for exactly a day, and returns back to its position 24 hours later in the same fashion. It is believed that RamDev Pir himself appears in the Sthambh.


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