Brief notes on the Dadu & his teachings

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The most famous of the followers of Kabir’s ideals was Dadu, he was born of Brahmana parents in Ahmadabad in A.D. 1544 and died in 1603 in the village of Narana or Narayana in Rajasthan, where his followers (Dadu-panthis) have now their chief centre.

The great dream of his life was to unite all the divergent faiths in one bond of love and comradeship, and he founded the Brahma- sampradaya or Parabrahma-sampradaya to give effect to this great ideal. His sayings possess great depth and liberality and show clear traces of the influence of Kabir.

Dadu believed not in the authority of scriptures, but in the value of self-realization. To attain this realization, we must divest ourselves of all sense of the ego and surrender our lives entirely to God.

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All men and women are as brothers and sisters in the presence of God. He resides within the hearts of men, and it is there that we must meditate on Him. Union with God is possible only through love and devotion, and it is deepened not by prayers, but by joining our service to His service of the universe. We are united with God when, shedding all sins and impurities, we sincerely surrender ourselves to the divine will.

Dadu taught:

‘Be humble and free from egotism; be compassionate and devoted in service; be a hero, fearless and energetic; free your mind from sectari­anism, and from all the meaningless forms and semblances of religion; be forgiving by nature and firm in your faith. The path of realization becomes easier, if you can find a true teacher.’

He himself was very simple by nature and strong in his faith, and his prayers were full of depth and sweetness. He was a householder, and he believed that, the natural life of a householder was best suited for spiritual realization.

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At the request of Dadu, his disciples made a collection of the devotional writings of all the differ­ent sects, calculated to help men in their striving towards God. Such an anthology of the religious literature of different sects was perhaps the first of its kind in the world for the Granth Sahib was first compiled in A.D. 1604, while this anthology was completed some years before A.D. 1600. This collection includes many sayings of Muslim saints like Kazi Kadam, Shaikh Farid, Kazi Mohammed, Shaikh Bahawad, and Bakhna.

Among the many disciples of Dadu, Sundaradasa (A.D. 1597-1689), Rajjab, and others were distinguished personalities. Dadu persuaded his disciples to render into simple Hindi from Sanskrit the abstruse philosophical truths. He also made it a practice among them to write in Hindi, prose and verse.

Dadu admitted both Hindus and Muslims to his discipleship and there have been many gurus in his discipleship, and there have been many gurus in his sect who came from the Muslim families.

Even today, in Rajjab’s branch of Dadu’s sect, anyone who attains to the height of spiritual realization is accepted as the head of the order, whether he be a Hindu or a Muslim. The songs and prayers of Rajjab are universal in appeal and superb for their spirit of devotion.

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