Acharya Shri Shri 1008
Gopal Das Ji Maharaj
Dadu Dayal is one of the major representatives of the Sant traditions in India. The IGNCA,the South Asia Institute, University of Heidelberg and the Akhil Bhartiya Shri Dadu Sewak Samaj hosted a two-day seminar on Dadu Dayal and his relevance in modern times on the occasions of his 400th anniversary of Nirvana, on March 13-14, 2004.
Dadupanth is a strong movement in the entire Rajasthan and the adjoining regions of other states. Daduji belongs to the lineage of Sants and Naths like Kabir and Nanak. Born in Ahmedabad in 1544, he made Rajasthan his home and attained Samadhi in Naraina in Jaipur district in 1601. Emperor Akbar is said to have been one of his followers. The Dadupanth was established in his very lifetime.
Part of the legacy of Dadupanth are a wealth of literature and manuscripts, it produced over the centuries. This wealth includes very ancient manuscripts attributed to Kabir, Namdev and Raidas.
Through the seminar, the IGNCA sought to review and explore new avenues of bringing this rich heritage of public attention. The seminar was inaugurated by Acharya shri Shri 1008 Gopal Das Ji Maharaj who is the head of the Panth now. In his address, he said that in our development we were moving towards our destruction. The Bhakti verses of Dadu Sant and similar movements were the only means of attaining peace and stability.
He said the verses of Daduji were relevant in modern times as they were time-transcendent.
Prof. Monika Boehm-Tettelbach of Heidelberg University in her key note address said that the Dadupanth had a treasure trove of manuscripts. They reflected the entire cultural history of Rajasthan. She felt that efforts should be made to survey the manuscripts and publish unpublished works. She said that Daduji lived among the people. “The more a sandhu liberated himself the more the pople seek him. This was true of Dadjuki too.” she said.
Dr. L.M. Singhvi, the then President, IGNCA Trust in his address said the Sant vaani in Rajasthan is present like the invisible river Saraswati. The land that was watered by Mirabhai was sown by Daduji and we reap the rich harvest of their verses and words, he said.
Shri Srivats Goswami in his Presidential address said the influence of Daduji was not limited to Rajasthan. The Vraj area too came under his influence.
Dr. Kalyan Kumar Chakravarty, Member Secretary, IGNCA in his concluding remarks expressed great happiness at the topic of the seminar and hoped for greater institutional dialogue.
The academic deliberations were divided broadly into 1. Literary Heritage of Dadupanth; 2. Religion and Philosophy of the panth; 3. The organizational structure and cult practices of Dadupanthis. A film on Dadu was screened and there were Bhajan sessions of Dadu verses.