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|Number of Pages||335 Pages|
The Brahmans of Benares about 500 years ago were shocked when a low caste cobbler Raidās attracted huge crowds of bhakts. His message was clear and simple, and without arrogance or self-interest. Raidās still remains in contemporary times, a catalyst for all who yearn for the ‘Uplifter of the Fallen, the Master of the Meek.’
Raidās’s fame earned him a place of honour in the prestigious Påc-vānī of Rajasthan. Several performers, at the same time around 1600, brought together in one repertoire, the popular padas and sākhīs of the Bhaktas who were then on the top of the list in each performance of Nirgun Bhakti devotion including Dādū, Kabir, Nāmdev, Raidās and Hardās. In the Punjab too, when Guru Arjan compiled the Ādi-Granth, Raidās was quoted as an inspirer along with Nāmdev, Kabir and several other Bhaktas.
On the basis of the earliest manuscripts containing the songs of Raidās, the authors have prepared a critical edition, with English translations of his verses. At the same time they have examined the sources about the life of Raidās. Even if the hagioraphical elements common in both ‘Punjabi’ and ‘Hindi’ sources are few, one fact stands for certain: the low born Raidās in Benares was very popular and he excelled in all debates with the local Brahmans.