Bhagat Namdev Ji

Bhagat Namdev Ji

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Bhagat Namdev is one of 15 bhagats whose bani is part of Guru Granth Sahib ji. In this post we will learn about Namdev Ji and choose one of his shabads to learn about his central message.

After reading this blog post you should be able to answer:

  1. How many bhagats bani is in Guru Granth Sahib?
  2. How many of his shabads (hyms) are in GGSJ?
  3. What was Bhagat Namdev is referred to as?
  4. What was his Central message?

 

Bhagat Namdev Ji (1270 – 1350) was born on October 29, 1270 in the state of Maharashtra village of Naras-Vamani, in Satara district (presently called Narsi Namdev). His father, a calico printer/tailor, was named Damshet and his mother’s name was Gonabai. Most of the spiritual message of Bhagat Namdev, just like our gurus’, emphasized the importance of living the life of a householder (grist jeevan) and that through marriage and having a family one could attain enlightenment. He emphasized that the truest form of bandage or devotional meditation, is to enter matrimony and jointly seek the holy experience Waheguru.

God’s name was always on the lips of Bhagat Namdev Ji. He was asked by the king to show miracles. He refused to do so and was thrown before a drunk elephant to be crushed to death. God saved His own saint. When the Fifth Guru, Guru Arjan dev compiled the Guru Granth Sahib, he decided to give some recognition to the saints of the Bhakti movement. This is the reason that Guru Granth Sahib contains verses of fifteen such saints. In some cases Guru Granth Sahib is the only voice remaining for such saints over the years.

Under the influence of saint Jnanadeva, Namdev was converted to the path of bhakti. Vitthala of Pandharpur was now the object of his devotion and he spent much of his time in worship and kirtan, chanting mostly verses of his own composition. In the company of Jnanadeva and other saints, he roamed about the country and later came to the Punjab where he is said to have lived for more than twenty years at Ghuman, in Gurdaspur district, where a temple in the form of samadh still preserves his memory.

In his early fifties, Namdev settled down at Pandharpur where he gathered around himself a group of devotees. His abhangas or devotional lyrics became very popular, and people thronged to listen to his kirtan. Namdev’s songs have been collected in Namdevachi Gatha which also includes the long autobiographical poem Tirathavah.

His Hindi verse and his extended visit to the Punjab carried his fame far beyond the borders of Maharashtra. Sixty-one of his hymns in fact came to be included in the Sikh Scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib. These hymns or shabads share the common characteristic of lauding the One Supreme God distinct from his earlier verse which carries traces of idolatry and saguna bhakti. In the course of his spiritual quest, Namdev had, from being a worshipper of the Divine in the concrete form, become a devotee of the attribute-less (nirguna) Absolute.

Remembrance of God’s Name central

Bhagat Nam Dev is a pioneer of the Radical bhakti School. Though he appeared a century earlier than Kabir, his religious and social views are very much like those of Kabir. He unambiguously repudiates all the four fundamentals of Vaisnavism. Though in his devotional approach, he is clearly a monotheist, he makes many pantheistic statements too, e.g., every thing is God; there is nothing but God; consider the world and God to be one; the foam and the water are not different. His devotion was purely of the non-attributional absolute. He also considers God to be immanent, everywhere, in all hearts, and the Creator of everything. Like Kabir and the Sufis, Namdev is very other worldly. He says, “The strength of contempt of the world should be in the body an unchanging companion.


Bhagat Namdev Ji’s Shabad chosen for our discussion:

ਰਾਗੁ ਗੋਂਡ ਬਾਣੀ ਨਾਮਦੇਉ ਜੀਉ ਕੀ ਘਰੁ
Rāg gond baṇī nāmḏe▫o jī▫o kī gẖar 2

ੴ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ
Ik oaʼnkār saṯgur parsāḏ.
One Universal Creator God. By The Grace Of The True Guru:

ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਕਰਤ ਮਿਟੇ ਸਭਿ ਭਰਮਾ॥
Har har karaṯ mite sabẖ bẖarmā.
Chanting the Name of the Lord, Har, Har, all doubts are dispelled.

ਹਰਿ ਕੋ ਨਾਮੁ ਲੈ ਊਤਮ ਧਰਮਾ ॥
Har ko nām lai ūṯam ḏẖarmā.
Chanting the Name of the Lord is the highest religion.

ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਕਰਤ ਜਾਤਿ ਕੁਲ ਹਰੀ ॥
Har har karaṯ jāṯ kul harī.
Chanting the Name of the Lord, Har, Har, erases social classes and ancestral pedigrees.

ਸੋ ਹਰਿ ਅੰਧੁਲੇ ਕੀ ਲਾਕਰੀ ॥੧॥
So har anḏẖule kī lākrī. ||1||
The Lord is the walking stick of the blind. ||1||

ਹਰਏ ਨਮਸਤੇ ਹਰਏ ਨਮਹ ॥
Har▫e namasṯe har▫e namah.
I bow to the Lord, I humbly bow to the Lord.

ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਕਰਤ ਨਹੀ ਦੁਖੁ ਜਮਹ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
Har har karaṯ nahī ḏukẖ jamah. ||1|| rahā▫o.
Chanting the Name of the Lord, Har, Har, you will not be tormented by the Messenger of Death. ||1||Pause||

ਹਰਿ ਹਰਨਾਕਸ ਹਰੇ ਪਰਾਨ ॥
Har harnākẖas hare parān.
The Lord took the life of Harnaakhash,

ਅਜੈਮਲ ਕੀਓ ਬੈਕੁੰਠਹਿ ਥਾਨ ॥
Ajaimal kī▫o baikunṯẖėh thān.
and gave Ajaamal a place in heaven.

ਸੂਆ ਪੜਾਵਤ ਗਨਿਕਾ ਤਰੀ ॥
Sū▫ā paṛāvaṯ ganikā ṯarī.
Teaching a parrot to speak the Lord’s Name, Ganika the prostitute was saved.

ਸੋ ਹਰਿ ਨੈਨਹੁ ਕੀ ਪੂਤਰੀ ॥੨॥
So har nainhu kī pūṯrī. ||2||
That Lord is the light of my eyes. ||2||

ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਕਰਤ ਪੂਤਨਾ ਤਰੀ ॥
Har har karaṯ pūṯnā ṯarī.
Chanting the Name of the Lord, Har, Har, Pootna was saved,

ਬਾਲ ਘਾਤਨੀ ਕਪਟਹਿ ਭਰੀ ॥
Bāl gẖāṯnī kaptahi bẖarī.
even though she was a deceitful child-killer.

ਸਿਮਰਨ ਦ੍ਰੋਪਦ ਸੁਤ ਉਧਰੀ ॥
Simran ḏaropaḏ suṯ uḏẖrī.
Contemplating the Lord, Dropadi was saved.

ਗਊਤਮ ਸਤੀ ਸਿਲਾ ਨਿਸਤਰੀ ॥੩॥
Ga▫ūṯam saṯī silā nisṯarī. ||3||
Gautam’s wife, turned to stone, was saved. ||3||

ਕੇਸੀ ਕੰਸ ਮਥਨੁ ਜਿਨਿ ਕੀਆ ॥
Kesī kans mathan jin kī▫ā.
The Lord, who killed Kaysee and Kans,

ਜੀਅ ਦਾਨੁ ਕਾਲੀ ਕਉ ਦੀਆ ॥
Jī▫a ḏān kālī ka▫o ḏī▫ā.
gave the gift of life to Kali.

ਪ੍ਰਣਵੈ ਨਾਮਾ ਐਸੋ ਹਰੀ ॥
Paraṇvai nāmā aiso harī.
Prays Naam Dayv, such is my Lord;

ਜਾਸੁ ਜਪਤ ਭੈ ਅਪਦਾ ਟਰੀ ॥੪॥੧॥੫॥
Jās japaṯ bẖai apḏā tarī. ||4||1||5||
meditating on Him, fear and suffering are dispelled. ||4||1||5||


Questions with Answers:

  1. How many bhagats bani is in Guru Granth Sahib:  15
  2. How many of his hyms are in GGSJ:  61
  3. What was Bhagat Namdev is referred to as ? Chhimba – Bhagat ji’s profession as a printer of cloth.
  4. What was his Central message?

Bhagat Namdev Ji, in the course of his spiritual quest from being a worshipper of the Divine in the concrete form, become a devotee of the attribute-less (nirguna) Absolute. He unambiguously repudiated all the four fundamentals of Vaisnavism. Though in his devotional approach, he was clearly a monotheist and made many pantheistic statements too, e.g., every thing is God;  there is nothing but God; consider the world and God to be one;

 

Sources:

Bhagat Namdev Ji:  http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Bhagat_Namdev

Shabad: http://www.srigranth.org/servlet/gurbani.gurbani?Action=KeertanPage&K=874&L=7

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