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Guru Jambheshwar Of Bishnoi Community – Jambhoji – Short Biography

Guru Jambheshwar, also known as Jambhoji, stands as a pivotal figure in the spiritual landscape of India, particularly revered as the founder of the Bishnoi community. Born in 1451 CE in Pipasar, Rajasthan, to parents Lohat and Hamsa (also known as Kesar), Jambhoji's early life was intertwined with the pastoral care of cattle. However, his innate spiritual inclination set him apart, and he chose a life of celibacy, never marrying.

After the passing of his parents in 1483 CE, Jambhoji embarked on a profound spiritual journey. In 1485 CE, he established the Bishnoi Sampradaya at Sambharthal, a significant milestone that would shape the ethos of the Bishnoi community for centuries to come.

Central to Jambhoji's teachings was the profound principle of compassion and the sanctity of all life forms, including plants and animals. His spiritual wisdom found expression not only in his discourses but also in his compositions of numerous poems, which reflected his deep insights into the human condition and the divine.

His disciple Vilhoji (1532 – 1616 CE) meticulously preserved Jambhoji's teachings, compiling his shabads or sayings, which encapsulated the essence of his spiritual philosophy. These shabads, numbering over a hundred, continue to serve as guiding principles for the Bishnoi community, emphasizing the importance of protection and compassion towards all living beings.

The Bishnoi sect, inspired by Jambhoji's teachings, encompasses 29 tenets that underscore the significance of environmental conservation and harmonious coexistence. Remarkably inclusive, the sect welcomes individuals from all castes and communities, fostering a sense of unity and spiritual harmony.

Jambhoji's physical existence concluded in 1536 CE at Lalasar, where he was laid to rest. His final resting place, marked by his samadhi at Sambharthal, became a site of pilgrimage and reverence for his followers.

The legacy of Guru Jambheshwar extended far beyond his lifetime, as his teachings permeated across various regions. His spiritual lineage included other saint poets such as Teloji Charan, Kanhoji Barhat, and Udoji Nain, among others, who continued to propagate his message of compassion and spiritual awakening.

The travels of Guru Jambheshwar and his followers led to the establishment of sacred sites known as satharis, which hold deep significance for the Bishnoi community. These sites, including locations like Bhiyamsar, Jambholav, and Lohavat, serve as reminders of the profound spiritual journey initiated by Jambhoji and perpetuated by his devoted disciples.

Few lines from one of the poems of Guru Jambheshwar

There was then no air or water,
No earth or firmament;
There was no sun and no moon,
Nor any stars in the sky.
There were no cows and no cowherd;
No friendship, no love, no illusion;
There was no mother or father, sister or brother;
No kith and kin or family.

The poem ends with these beautiful verses:

But even then, I was, just as I am now,
And as I will be, unto eternity.