“Lord, if you are sandalwood, I am water;
with the fragrance in all parts of my body.
Lord, if you are a cloud, I am a peacock;
looking for you like the Chakor bird for the moon.
Lord, if you are a lamp, I am the wick;
with the light burning day and night.
Lord, if you are a pearl, I am the thread;
together like gold and suhaga.
Lord, you are the master and I servant;
thus is the devotion of Ravidas.”
“The company I keep is wretched and low,
and I am anxious day and night;
my actions are crooked,
and I am of lowly birth”
~ Saint Ravidas
Isn’t it strange? Saints and Gurus have, on the one hand, called themselves as inseparable from the Lord, the Truth. On the other hand, they have called themselves as reckless, stupid, impetuous, unfortunate and lowly. Obviously their lives are so pure and serene that there is no one as fortunate, supreme and enlightened like them, yet they often refer to themselves in a totally opposite way. Why?
Well, they are saints, that is why. They know that man exists at two levels: on one hand man is the venerable urge to merge in the Ultimate, on the other hand man is the completely conditioned system of bodily tendencies. The saints clearly see the mechanism of the body and mind, and they honestly accept that at the level of the body, all are lowly.
When Saint Ravidas says that he is crooked and of lowly birth, he isn’t really referring to his caste. Saints are above all class and caste distinctions. They do not take the born body as their Truth. So, in calling birth as lowly, he is referring to the bodily condition of the entire mankind. He is saying that only those who clearly see the tendency of the body to stick to its old rut will be able to get away from the rut. The one who takes great pride in his self and knowledge, and is full of erudition, won’t be able to walk towards the Truth. The one with humility, the one who is ready to sit at the lowermost level, the one who is ready to stand the last in the line, can get there.