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Dhanna Bhagat – Saint Poet Of 15th Century

Dhanna Bhagat, believed to be born in 1415 CE, and a contemporary of the saint-poet Kabir, is considered as one of the twelve disciples of Guru Ramananda. He was a devotee of Vishnu.

In one of his compositions included in Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs, Dhanna mentions Namadeva, Kabir, Raidasa and Sen, acknowledging his debt to them for inspiring him to take to the path of bhakti.

Dhanna Bhagat appears to be one of the later disciples of Ramananda. Mira’s reference to Dhanna in her compositions suggests that he was alive in the early 16th century CE.

Dhanna lived in the Tok region of Rajasthan. An ordinary farmer, he lived a life of piety and devotion to God. Many miraculous incidents have been attributed to him. Once while on way to his field to sow seeds, some holy men (sadhus) persuaded him to part with the seeds. Later, however, he found that the land had yielded a good crop. The following words from Guru Granth Sahib are quoted in support of this incident: “Praise is to the devotion of Dhanna that caused seedlings to grow without seeds.”

Once he was ploughing his fields, a large number of sanyasis came to him hungry and sought food. Dhanna Bhagat gave them all the seeds he had kept for sowing his fields, and ploughed the fields without sowing seeds. The fields produced no food grains, but gourds. When the land owner came to collect the levy, Dhanna Bhagat offered two gourds. In anger, the Jagirdar broke the gourds only to find that they were full of pearls.

Apart from a couple of verses included in Guru Granth Sahib, none of his compositions seems to have survived. Whatever little we know of his life and philosophy is based entirely on these verses. These verses suggest that the strong devotional fervor that marked Dhanna’s later life was the result of his association with saints and sages.