When Lodhi Met Saint Ravidas
The story of a personal encounter of Guru Ravidas with Sultan Sikander Lodhi is recorded in Ravidas Ramayan, a 16th-century text written by Dalit followers of Guru Ravidas. It all began in the court of Lodhi. A Sufi Pir told Sikander Lodhi a Hindu named Ravidas in Varanasi insulted Islam by saying that “Vedas are old and eternal, Islam is new”.
This aroused the fury of Lodhi, and he ordered Ravidas to present himself in the Sultan’s court in Delhi. In his court, Lodhi told Ravidas- “Ravidas, God is not obtained by Vedic Dharma. Vedic Dharma preaches reincarnation, which is the ideology of scoundrels. Vedic Dharma is a crooked path. It has many sects and is very confusing. Vedic Dharma is just a delusion of Kafir Hindus. Vedic Dharma is the religion of crooks. It will not give you Paradise. Only Islam leads to Paradise. Anybody who refuses Islam enters hell. Vedic Dharma is like fetters. It is a disease. It only gives misery. It is not religion. It is madness”.
Hearing these words of Sultan, Ravidas responded-“Vedic Dharma is the greatest religion on earth. Great people bow their heads in reverence to it. Vedic hymns are Ambrosia. They purify a million sins. Veda is revealed by Brahma himself. Veda is the sun that dispels darkness. Vedic Dharma is complete and eternal. Only a crook insults Vedic Dharma. Those who have no knowledge of Veda are unfortunate. Quran asks for the killing of living beings. It is a violent faith that only gives misery. But Vedic religion says “ahimsa paramo dharma. Our Vedic Dharma is the greatest faith. I will give up my life but not Vedic Dharma. You can behead me but you can’t separate me from Veda. Vedic mantras lead to moksha. I don’t want your paradise which has alcohol and a thousand Hoors. I won’t leave my dharma.”
After Ravidas publicly refused to accept Islam, Sultan Sikander imprisoned him and began torturing him. What subsequently happened to Ravidas is unknown. While some sources narrate his miraculous escape, others like Sukhasagar say he died of torture in prison.