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Guru Ghasidas – A Short Biography

Guru Ghasidas was a revered figure in the Satnami sect, a religious movement that emerged in the Chhattisgarh region of India. Born around 1756 in the village of Girod (now Girodhpuri) in the Bilaspur district, which is now part of Raipur district, Guru Ghasidas belonged to the chamar caste and worked as a peasant. He lived during a time marked by entrenched caste inequalities and sought to find a path towards equality and spiritual enlightenment.

Guru Ghasidas was the son of Mahangu Das and Amrautini Mata.

Legend has it that Guru Ghasidas embarked on a pilgrimage to the Jagannatha Temple in Puri, hoping to find answers to the societal injustices he witnessed. During his journey, he paused at Sarangarh, where he experienced a divine revelation. This profound experience led him to return to Girodh, where he dedicated himself to meditation atop a nearby hill. Over time, this hill became a sacred site and the location for the construction of Satnami temples.

After spending six months in deep meditation in the Sonakhan forest, Guru Ghasidas emerged with a vision for a new religious path. He established Satnami community in Chhattisgarh based on "Satnam" (meaning "Truth") and equality. Guru Ghasidas created a symbol of truth called Jai Stambh – a white painted log of wood, with a white flag on the top. The structure indicates a human being who follows the truth "Satnam" is always steadfast and is the Pillar of Truth (Satya Stambh). The white flag indicates peace.

He propagated the principles of the Satnami faith, which emphasized the worship of One God without attributes (Nirguna) and rejected caste distinctions. The Satnami doctrine also prohibited the consumption of non-vegetarian food and alcohol, and it included other dietary restrictions and guidelines for the welfare of cattle.

Guru Ghasidas' teachings resonated with many people in Chhattisgarh who were disillusioned with the rigid social hierarchy of the time. As a result, the Satnami movement gained a significant following, drawing people from various backgrounds who sought spiritual liberation and social equality.

After Guru Ghasidas, his teachings were carried on by his son, Guru Balakdas.

Through his teachings and spiritual leadership, Guru Ghasidas left a lasting legacy, not only within the Satnami community but also in the broader history of Indian spirituality and social reform. His emphasis on egalitarianism, devotion to a formless deity, and ethical living continues to inspire followers of the Satnami faith and serves as a beacon for those advocating for social justice and spiritual enlightenment.