(Last Updated on : 19-10-2013)
Dehbicarar Geets comprise a category of folk poems in Assamese literature
. In terms of their attitude and tone, they are quite different from the other prevailing tradition of folk poems.
The prime theme of Dehbicarar Geets is spiritual absorption and mystical experiences about man's life and experiences in this world. They speak about the futility of man's life and the presence of a higher impulse that guides man's destiny. Because of this marked spiritual bias, it is very believed that these metaphysical lyrics have been inspired in their composition by Vaishnava
thought and belief. This belief is even more strongly re-enforced by the fact that that more often than not these songs are found interspersed with 'Bhanitas' that go in the name of Madhavadeva
, the sixteenth-century Vaishnava saint-poet. Also, a number of them have the Ghosa-Pada arrangement in the manner of Vaishnava poetry; these might be later-day interpolations.
In this connection, it must not be forgotten that Buddhist Tantrism
prevailed in Assam
even before the rationalised thought-system of Vaishnavism
emerged. Apart from its other aspects, Tantrism is also full of certain metaphysical ideas and tenets of a similar nature. It had several denominational creeds and cults codified into systems like Ratikhowa, Purana-seva, Ritia, Karanipatia, etc. These creeds are known for their erotic and Baccanalian symbolism. They comprise a sort of nihilistic doctrine which the Buddhist Siddhas
, except Gorakhshapa, taught. To put it in a nutshell, they constitute a religion of sexual promiscuity.
Judged in this context, Dehbicarar Geets seem to draw their inspiration from these metaphysical sources rather than from Vaishnavism. The Vairagis, a class of wandering minstrels like the Bauls of Bengal, sing these lyrics; they are a mysterious sect whose avowed aim is to deny the common way of life and see the maze of creation in the light of their own spiritual insight and conscience. More often than not, the inner understanding of these lyrics is veiled in inexplicable mystery. The lyrics of a certain Dehbicarar Geet iks as follows:
'The soul is the sure signature of life, That is how creation is understood; Devotion to votaries and absorption in God, and this is how life gets liberated.'