(Last Updated on : 19/05/2014)
Surdas was a prominent blind saint
, poet and musician
belonging to 15th century who was recognized for his devotional songs dedicated to Lord Krishna
. Also famed as Sant Kavi Surdas, he was known as the composer of about a hundred thousand songs in his literary work "Sur Sagar
". Among all about 8,000 are presently extant. He fairly lived up to his name which implies the slave of melody. 'Charan Kamal Bando Hari Rai' is the most renowned work of Surdas.
Life of Surdas
Surdas was born in the year 1478 in a village named Sihi situated in Faridabad
. However some opine that his birthplace is Runkta near Agra
. Since a young age he was a great devotee of Lord Krishna. His birth year is also a little disputed as some of the scholars state it to be 1479 AD. The year of his death also has varied views as some believe it to be in 1581 AD while others state it to be 1584 AD. It is believed that he dwelled in Braj near Mathura. He was blind by birth for which he also faced neglect from his family. Consequently he left home at the young age of six. The enchanting melodies and admirable poetries of Surdas have been praised by many scholars. He acquired immense fame throughout the country for which the Mughal Emperor Akbar
also began patronizing his work. It is said that Surdas spent the last years of his life at Braj and his livelihood was supported by donations received by him in return of his lectures on religious issues and singing Bhajans. His pure devotion for Lord Krishna was also widely known. Being the foremost disciple of guru Vallabhacharya
, Surdas was a proponent of the Shuddhadvaita school of Vaishnavism
which is also known as Pushti Marg.
Legends of Surdas
It is believed that once Surdas fell into a well and called Lord Krishna for help. Lord Krishna rescued him and when the lord was questioned by Radha
about his deed, he responded that it was for the deep devotion of Surdas. Radha was also warned by Krishna to stay away from Surdas. However when she still went near him, Surdas pulled her anklets
. When Radha revealed her identity Surdas refused to believe and return her anklets as he was blind. Thus Lord Krishna granted Surdas vision along with a chance to ask for a boon. However Surdas returned the anklets and also asked Lord Krishna to make him blind again. Surdas states that he already had what he desires, which is the blessing of Krishna, and also that after seeing Krishna he does not wish to see anything else in the world. Lord Krishna made him blind once again granting his wish and Radha was touched by his devotion.
Literary Works of Surdas
Poetic works of Surdas are immensely famed. Sur Sagar is his greatest work which depicts amazing descriptions of the childhood Lilas of Krishna. Depicting the theory of genesis and the festival of Holi
, Sur-Saravali has also been sung by him. His work Sahitya-Lahiri comprises devotional lyrics in the honour of the Supreme Absolute. It is believed that Surdas had attained a mystical union with Lord Krishna owing to which he composed such great verses about the divine love of Krishna and Radha, the description of which seems to have come from an eyewitness. Verses of Surdas have also been credited to render a pleasing tone to the Hindi literature
in addition to raising its literary value. Surdas is revered as the sun in the sky of Hindi literature. The literary works of Surdas reflects the social scenario of the medieval era. He was very much involved in the Bhakti movement
that was gaining momentum in the North India. His poetries in Braj Bhasha altered the perception of the language from a crude form to a pleasant one.