Ra(v)i Dās

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Ra(v)i Dās or Raidas (14th–15th cent.). Indian saint-poet. Nothing is known of his life except that he was a Banāras leatherworker and reputedly, but implausibly, a disciple of Rāmānanda. The Ādi Granth contains forty of his hymns. For the 20th-cent. Ād Dharm or Ravidāsī movement, Ravi Dās, venerated as Gurū, is a focal, cohesive symbol.

Ravi Dāsʾ poetry advocates total surrender to an absolute God beyond all attributes (nirguna), whose grace and love save all kinds of beings, not just those who practise austerities (tapas) and repetition (japa). This grace comes through the guru or saint.