DADU DIAL (1544-1603), ascetic and mystic, was in the line of the saints of medieval India. In his career and teaching he relived the Kablr legend. He was born in AD 1544 in Ahmedabad .in Gujarat to a Muslim couple. He had little formal education and took to his father`s profession of cotton carding. At the age of eighteen he left home and wandered extensively all over northern India. He especially consorted with the Nath yogis whose influence left a permanent mark on him. At the age of twenty-five he renounced the world and migrated to Sambhar and spent the time wandering and preaching in the country around.

He attracted a considerable number of followers who gave themselves the designation Brahma sampradaya, later popularly designated as Dadu Panth. The core of his teaching was universal brotherhood and the worship of one God. Dadu has left religious poetry amounting to five thousand verses. Another work called Dadu Prakash which is in Punjabi has recently been discovered by a modern scholar. Dadu laid great stress on simran, the contemplation of God`s name.

Caste, image worship and pilgrimages were rejected. Towards the end of his life Dadu shifted to Narayana, near Jaipur. An anecdote is related in Sikh history. Journeying through these parts in the first decade of the seventeenth century, Guru Gobind Singh passed through Narayana. He pitched his tents near the Sant`s shrine and to test the conviction of his Sikhs he saluted the sepulchre by lifting an arrow to his forehead. The Khalsa took exception to it, and demanded a fine. One of them, Man Singh, quoted the Guru`s own verse: Gor marhi mat bhul na manai (worship not even by mistake cemeteries or places of cremation).

The Guru immediately offered to pay. The fine was fixed at Rs 5,000, but a Sikh objected that it was too big a sum and proposed to reduce it to Rs 500. Another Sikh thought it too little and said the Guru would not feel the loss of such a paltry amount. One of them said that he would not be satisfied with anything under five lakhs, but some of them argued that. though the Guru could even pay that sum^ the Khalsa would find it impossible to pay fines in proportion thereof. They at length asked the Guru to pay Rs 125 which they spent on the purchase of a kitchen tent. Dadu died in Narayana in 1603.

References :

1. Sun, Kartar Singh, Guru Arjan Dev te Sant Dadu Dial. Chandigarh, 1969
2. Bhandarkar, R.G., Vaisnavism, Saivism and Minor Religious Systems. Delhi, 1965
3. Hastings, James (ed.,), Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, vol. IV. New York, 1964
4. Oman, John Campbell, The Mystics, Ascetics and Saints of India. Delhi. 1973
5. Schomer, Karine and W.H. McLeod (eds.). The Sants: Studies in a Devotional Tradition of India. Delhi, 1987
6. Harbans Singh, Guru Gobind Singh. Delhi, 1979 Gn.S.