Dadu Dayal: A Compassionate Mystic of ‘Nirguna Bhakti’ Tradition in Rajasthan
| Pranav Khullar, IAS - DG, National Archives of India - 08 Oct 2018

Dadu Dayal: A Compassionate Mystic of ‘Nirguna Bhakti’ Tradition in Rajasthan

 

By Pranav Khullar

New Delhi, Oct 8, 2018: Advaita proposes the path of jnana or knowledge as a means of knowing the Self the bhakti tradition on the other hand relies on the devotional approach to achieve a similar goal. Chanting the names of God, for instance, is one aspect of ‘bhakti’ and this is what Swami Sivananda would describe as Namapathy, a cure for all ills. At the heart of ‘bhakti’ is simran or remembrance. The chanting of God’s name is therefore considered greater even than the goal of attaining ‘moksha’. The willful surrender to God’s will through the recitation of his name and the discipline of trying to still the mind by tuning into the inner ‘anahat shabdcharacterises the Sant Vaani parampara, from Kabir and Guru Nanak to Dadu Dayal.

Dadu Dayal, the compassionate mystic, 
epitomises the ‘nirguna bhakti’ spirit which is a living tradition in Rajasthan Much like his mentor Kabir. Dadu was found orphaned and was adopted by a Muslim family that made its living by spinning cotton his panth, called Dadu Panth, is considered a part of the Vaishnava lineage as well In Brijbhasha, he composed poetry infused with the essence of compassionate brotherhood The path of love and devotion to the inner God-Self, translating itself into a bonding and compassion for all in the outer world, has been at the centre of the great Indian secular tradition.

 

The path is open to all those who wish to experience unconditional love, transcending barriers and differences of caste and religion, for instance The mystic poetry of Dadu expresses deep philosophic tenets in simple language, exhorting all to be “Committed to God, while the body has vigour, else when the body and mind are worn out, thou shalt repentWho is that preaching some other means? Without the name where can one find a foothold?” The Dadu Anubhav Vani was compiled by his disciple.Rajjab.

The Vani records 5,000 verses of Dadu alluding to bhakti or devotion,
simran or remembrance, and ‘vairagya’ or detachment He calls the bliss of realisation of Self as Sahaja Dadu also cautions people to discern the difference between a saint and a mimic, saying “ that while the saint is completely absorbed in the name of God, the mimic puts his hopes on the world ” A later disciple in the Dadu Panth, Gopaldas, made an extraordinary classification of 1,600 ‘bhakti’ songs according to.ragas much like the Guru Granth Saheb.

This included compositions of Dadu, Kabir, Namdev, Guru Nanak and Gorakh among others The very exercise of compiling these verses revealed the significance of the unique composite culture that inspired Kabir and Dadu And it was in the realm of the mystical that Kabir and Dadu found the universal truth that all men actually strive to reach that same One God behind all names and forms As Dadu says: “My brother, we have become one when united in bewilderment, the true word has entered. Our minds when we have found the secret of Malaygiri, all false notions of family and caste will have vanished.

 (This article was first published in - www.speakingtree.in in 2010 and is reproduced with the consent of the writer.)  

(The writer is a senior IAS officer in the Govt. of India)


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