Monday, June 8, 2015

Surdas - (Sant Kavi Surdas) A 15th century blind saint, poet and musician, known for his devotional songs dedicated to Lord Krishna, Surdas is a very important person in Indian history.

Surdas - (Sant Kavi Surdas)  was a 15th-century blind saint, poet and musician, known for his devotional songs dedicated to Lord Krishna. Surdas is said to have written and composed a hundred thousand songs in his magnum opus the 'Sur Sagar' (Ocean of Melody), out of which only about 8,000 are extant. He is considered a saguna bhakti poet and so also known as Sant Surdas, a name which literally means the "servant of melody". His most famous work was charan kamal bando hari rai. There is some disagreement regarding the exact birth date of Surdas, some scholars believing it to be 1478 AD, with others claiming it to be 1479 AD. It is the same in the case of the year of his death; it is considered to be either 1581 AD or 1584 AD. According to the limited authentic life history of Surdas, it is said that he was born in 1478/79 in the village of Runakta,Mathura although some say it was Runkta near Agra. He started praising Lord Krishna when he was young. Surdas was born blind and because of this, he was neglected by his family. As a result, he left his home at the age of six. He lived in Braj (or Bhraj), near Mathura.

Surdas attains fame

Surdas' lilting music and fine poetry attracted much praise. As his fame spread far and wide, the Mughal emperor Akbar (1542–1605) became his patron. Surdas spent the last years of his life in Braj, and lived on the donations which he received in return for his bhajan singing and lecturing on religious topics, until he died in CE 1584.
Surdas also attained fame for his purity of devotion towards Lord Krishna. In one incident, Surdas falls into a well and is rescued by Lord Krishna when he calls him for help. Radha asks Krishna why he helped Surdas, to which Krishna replies it is for Surdas' devotion. Krishna also warns Radha not to go near him. She, however, does go near him, but Surdas, recognizing the divine sounds, pulls her anklets off. Radha tells him who she is but Surdas refuses to return her anklets stating that he cannot believe her as he is blind. Krishna gives Surdas vision and allows him to ask for a boon. Surdas returns the anklets saying he has already got what he wanted (the blessings of Krishna) and asks Krishna to make him blind again as he does not want to see anything else in the world after seeing Krishna. Radha is moved by his devotion and Krishna grants his wish by making him blind again thus giving him everlasting fame.

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