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Sri Garib Das: Haryana's Saint of Humanity

K.C. Gupta (Author)
Synopsis About fifty years ago medieval saints were dismissed by Indian pundits as illiterate poets whose writings were not worth studying from the point of view of literature. But the translation of Kabir’s poems by Rabindra Nath Tagore suddenly aroused a deep academic interest in the writings of these saint poets. “Garib Das of Rohtak District founder of the Garib Dasi sect”, writes Dr. Mohan Singh, “may be considered as the last of the Hindu Raj Yogis and Bhakta Poets who had as great a mastery of popular poetic language and style as Ghulam Farid had, but whose knowledge of other Indian languages was greater than that of any other poet of medieval India, the only poet who comes near to him being Shah Qayam Din Chisti of Kari Goan in Bombay “. His padas, according to Dr. Ram Kumar Verma, Exceed 17,000. According to Swami Chetan Das the total number of his padas is about 18,500. No other saint poet of medieval India has written in such abundance and on so many facets of spiritual life. Shri Garib Das was a true saint in the sense that he never tried to win favour of kings and rulers. He never sought the patronage of any court. During his life-time, many invasions and upheavals took place. One king after another was toppled. But we do not find a single reference to events to which he was almost an eye-witness. This is the first authentic and critical work, ever published, on the life and works of Sri Garib Das. The author, Dr. K.C. Gupta, was attracted towards Garib Das when he attended some satsangas in the company of his father who was a great devotee of the Saint. His literary interest in the writings of Garib Das was aroused after he had passed his M.A. in Punjabi from the Punjab University in the year 1951. In the author’s own words: “I started collecting and studying all his writings, some of which were available in Gurumukhi script and others in Devanagari. Finding that there was a great difference in the text of printed versions, I tried to search some original manuscripts. I found some and even acquired one or two manuscripts. I, however, collected all the printed versions and found that the older the printed version, the clearer the text”. This book discusses in depth and detail not only the mysticism and philosophy of Garib Das but also his language and poetry in all their richness and range. Chapters on the broad stream of the Bhakti Movement and the social and political conditions of Garib Das’ life-time, place and saint in a proper spiritual as well as historical context. We have described him as Haryana’s Saint of Humanity because although he was born in a Hindu family and lived his whole life in Haryana in the eighteenth century, his songs transcend all sectarian, spatial and temporal bounds and express Man’s eternal seeking for the Divine.
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About the author

K.C. Gupta

Dr. K.C. Gupta B.com M.A. D.L. Sc. Ph.D. (b. 1940) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Postgraduate studies and research in Economic in N.R.E.C. College. Khurja, U.P. and is actively engaged in research work.

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Bibliographic information

Title Sri Garib Das: Haryana's Saint of Humanity
Author K.C. Gupta
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2004
Edition Reprint
Publisher Aditya Prakashan
Language: English
isbn 8177420577
length xx+216p., Bibliography; Index; 23cm.