Saint Surdas also known as Surdasji, was a blind poet and singer of Hinduism and a prominent figure in the Bhakti Movement of India. He was a poet, musician, and saint who composed devotional songs in praise of Lord Krishna, the greatest deity in the 16th century. Surdas was a famous Vaishnava and is regarded as one of the revered devotees. In this blog, we will know more about this great saint of the 15th century.
Life of Saint Surdas
There are many speculations about the birth and early life of Surdas. According to some scholars and limited resources –
- Some believe he was born in the village of Renuka near Agra while some believe Surdas was born in the village of Sihi, near Mathura, in the year 1478 of the 15th century
- He was born into a Brahmin family and was blind from birth.
- He left his home at the age of 6 years and lived near Braj, Mathura.
- Being visually impaired, Surdas faced many challenges and had limited access to education.
- However, his unparalleled talent for poetry and music soon became apparent.
- He started playing the Ektara instrument and practised singing.
- Guru Vallabhacharya was the guru of Surdas. Vallabhacharya was the propounder of the philosophy of Suddhadvaita (Pure Non-Dualism) and preached about the Pushti Marg.
- Surdas met Vallabhcharya at the age of 18 years and got the purpose of his life from his guru.
- On the guru’s advice, Surdas started singing Bhagavad Lila and many other creative plays about Lord Krishna.
- Some believe he was a contemporary of Goswami Tulsidas and Mughal Emperor Akbar.
Also Read – Goswami Tulsidas: Life, Works and Ramacharitmana
Literary Works of Surdas
- Surdas’ most famous work is the “Sur Sagar” or “Surdas Ke Pad,” a collection of nearly 1,00,000 verses dedicated to Lord Krishna. These verses are considered to be some of the most famous expressions of love and devotion in Hindi literature.
- His compositions are primarily written in Braj Bhasha, a dialect of Hindi, making them accessible to the common people of his time.
- Surdas’ poetry depicts various aspects of Lord Krishna’s life, his divine love, and the devotion of his devotees.
- His verses explore the divine relationship between Radha and Krishna, portraying them as the embodiment of pure love and spiritual union.
- He composed Sur-Saravali, a poem based on the Indian festival of Holi. The poetry outlines Lord Krishna as the ultimate creator.
- Sahitya Lahiri is another poem written by Surdas and talks about his devotion towards his divine god.
- Preserving Cultural Heritage: Surdas’ compositions helped in preserving and propagating Hindu mythology and traditions. His poetry immortalized the stories and teachings of Lord Krishna, ensuring that they would be passed down through the generations.
- Promoting Bhakti: Surdas popularized the concept of Bhakti, or devotion, as a means to attain union with the divine. His heartfelt verses inspired countless individuals to embark on a spiritual path and establish a personal connection with God.
- Socio-Religious Impact: Surdas’ works passed the barriers of caste, creed, and social status and bridged the gap between different sections of society. His teachings emphasized the equality and universality of devotion, promoting social harmony.
- Influence on Music and Arts: Surdas’ compositions have had an imminent impact on classical music and the performing arts. His bhajans (devotional songs) and padas (lyrical verses) continue to be cherished and performed by musicians and artists worldwide through the centuries.
- Literary Legacy: Surdas’ poetry remains a significant part of the Indian literary canon. His verses have inspired countless poets and writers, influencing the development of Hindi literature. His work in Braj language led to the status of a literary language to Braj.
Also Read – Saint Kabir Das: A Short Note with Dohe
Historians believe he died in the year 1579 at the age of 101 years, but still, there are speculations about the same. Saint Surdas was an extraordinary poet, musician, and devotee. His devotion, talent, and loving connection with Lord Krishna continue to inspire and uplift countless hearts. Through his immortal poetry and music, Surdas has travelled the boundaries of time and touched the souls of millions, reminding us of the eternal power of love and the beauty of devotion.
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