April 30, 2017: To commemorate the birth anniversary of one of the greatest poet and musician, Surdas Jayanti is celebrated every year in India. The Hindu saint was born blind but his immense devotion towards Lord Krishna resulted in melodious devotional songs and some of the finest poems. These timeless songs and poems are still sung by people.
This year, in 2017, Surdas Jayanti will be celebrated on April 30. Sant Surdas (1478-1581 C.E.) was born blind, and therefore, he was always neglected by his family. Due to this, one day, he left his home at the tender age of six and found his refuge in Lord Krishna at a very young age.
Historians believe that he was born in village Sihi, Faridabad, Haryana. However, some claim that he was born at Runkta near Agra. The birth anniversary of Sant Surdas is observed as per Hindu lunar calendar and falls on Shukla Paksha, Panchami in Vaishakha month.
Due to his dedication and inclination towards music and fine poetry, the Mughal emperor Akbar became his patron.
It is said that Surdas spent the last years of his life in Braj and lived on the donations from other people, which he received in return for singing Bhajans and lecturing on religious topics.
He 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 exist today. He is considered a saint by many and so also known as Sant Surdas, a name which means the “slave of melody”. ‘Charan kamal bando hari rai’ is considered as one of his famous works.
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Here are a few interesting facts about the Surdas Jayanti :
- An Indian postal department released a postage stamp on the great poet which indicates that Surdas was born in 1479 AD and his soul departed in 1586.
- There are different types of musical competitions and musical nights held in some of the places. However, his birthday is celebrated with great love and enthusiasm in Vrindavan, where he dreamt of Lord Krishna.
- There are groups in India comprising of blind singers who sing Bhajans, to commemorate him.
- To remember him, devotees across the world chant the manuscripts that were written by Saint Surdas.
- Braj is filled with excitement and enthusiasm on this holy occasion of Surdas Jayanti and is celebrated with zeal and fervour every year. Different types of music competitions and musical nights are also set for the day.
- Through his work, he transformed the lives of many people who were looking for solace and peace. Even in today’s time, seminars and discourses are conducted to teach about the preaching and life of Surdas.
- Devotees fast on this day and pray to Lord Krishna on this occasion. There is a tradition of feeding the Brahmans too.
Surdas also created a feeling of nationalism among the Indians and many of his works helped in the easy spreading of the Bhakti movement in the country. He not only united the people with a feeling of nationalism but he also developed a hope for millions of handicapped people. He touched the hearts of the people with devotional and spiritual songs. The devotional songs of Lord Krishna’s Childhood sung by him can never be taken away from the hearts of millions of Lord Krishna’s devotees all across the world.
A Poem by Surdas: ‘The Deeds Of Kanha’
There is no end to the deeds of Kanha:
true to his promise, he tended the cows in Gokula;
Lord of the gods and compassionate to his devotees, as poor
he came as Nrisingha
and tore apart Hiranyakashipa.
When Bali spread his dominion
over the three worlds,
he begged three paces of land from him
to uphold the majesty of the gods,
and stepped over his entire domain:
here too he rescued the captive elephant.
Countless such deeds figure in the Vedas and the Puranas,
hearing which Suradasa
humbly bows before that Lord.
– by Nikita Tayal of NewsGram Twitter @NikitaTayal6