"Where there is Shyam, there is Surdas, Where there is Surdas, there is Shyam. I salute again and again the love that they have for each other." Sri Suradasji is probably the most well known composer in North Indian literature. His works are so varied and so expert in their composition that they immediately attract the attentive reader.
They stir up emotions in the heart and transport devotees to Sri Thakurji and Sri Svaminijis presence through their detailed accuracy in description. They also warn the reader against wasting their life to sensual pleasures and bring them round to the way of devotion by leading them through the process of first listening, then repeating, whereby developing affection for the Divine Beloveds followed by loving attachment and then addiction to that Love.
Sri Surdas was an extremely simple man and is a fit teacher of the principles of the Path of Grace of his Guru Sri Vallabhacharyaji which he brings straight into the hearts of his followers through his delightful way with words and melodies that touch and even melt the heart and mind of the reader.
And all of this from someone who was born blind perhaps to his advantage: nothing was expected of him in his family or society. He excelled his birth through the Grace of his Guru who enabled him to see the inner truth and message of all that he learnt. He was also divinely blessed to have the clear Holy Sight of The Divine Beloveds with his hearts eye., He brings us to the land of Vraja, to close proximity to the Gurus Feet and instruction with succinct and deeply penetrating verse. He was only around 20 when he began to produce his poetry although he had composed a lot before he met Sri Vallabhacharyaji, and was a bard who attracted many followers with his sweet voice, possibly enhanced by his blindness.
Sri Surdasji is the first and foremost Poet disciple [out of the 8 Poets Bards-Ashtacap -associated with him] of Sri Vallabhacharyaji. His literary works are well known and studied throughout the whole world.
His complete biography has already been presented in the "84 Vaishnavon ki Varta" in Varta number 81. 'Surdasji'.
He writes under the four seals, [capa] : Sur, Surdas, Surajdas and Surshyam and first encountered Sri Vallabhacharyaji at Goghat in Vraja.
Sri Vallabhacharya remarked, at the end of Sri Surdasjis life, that he was the "Pustijahaja" : the ship of the Path of Grace, in that he not only carried many devotees with him to liberation from worldly bondage, but that he was the vessel to carry this Path in its entirety.
All the Daily Sevas and Yearly Festivals of the Sri Pustimarga, the Path of Grace, are depicted by the poetical compositions of the 8 Poet bard disciples of Sri Vallabhacharyaji and Sri Gusainji known as the Astacapa along with some of their contemporaries. These times and events are infused with Bhava through their realizations expressed in their works and inspired by their Gurus. Seva of a devotees worshipable Sri Thakurji at home is accompanied by traditional foodstuffs and adornments [Bhoga and Srngara] but first and foremost through Raga: the musical renditions of the Bhava of that time and day.
This little sample of Surdasjis poems thus opens a window of discovery through sharing in Surdasjis Grace- given divine sentiments and the listeners subsequent "Bhavabhavana" - ponderance on the mood and mode of the Love of the Vraja Bhaktas, the ultimate Gurus of the Path of Grace.
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