Showing posts with label Surdas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Surdas. Show all posts

Hinduism - What Is The Sursagar?

 

 

 ("Sur Ocean") Surdas, a northern Indian poet-saint, is credited with a corpus of poetry in the Braj Bhasha language known as the Sursagar.

The Sursagar is traditionally split into twelve sections to reflect the organization of the Bhagavata Purana, which is the most significant Sanskrit source for Krishna mythology.

Surdas was a Krishna devotee (bhakta), and this arrangement gives vernacular religious poetry the glitter of an official Sanskrit book.

The Sursagar is most usually connected with verses painting personal and adoring portraits of Krishna's boyhood, much as the Bhagavata Purana lavishly portrays Krishna's juvenile escapades.

Although Surdas' poetry is attributed to him in Sursagar publications, the most of it is undoubtedly pseudonymous.

Surdas's poetry has at best a few hundred verses in the earliest manuscripts, and the corpus nearly increases every century, reaching the five thousand poems in the current Sursagar.

The tone of the early poems is also markedly different in terms of topic content.

Although they feature Krishna's boyhood, the poet's sufferings of separation (viraha) from Krishna or complaint (vinaya) about his spiritual woes are expressed in a significantly bigger percentage.

Even the oldest manuscripts indicate no common body of poetry, and it is probable that the "Surdas" literary tradition was derived from the songs of roaming singers from the beginning, a description that fits well with the poet's persona.

For further detail, read John Stratton Hawley's Krishna: The Butter Thief (1983) and Surdas: Poet, Singer, Saint (1984); also check John Stratton Hawley and Mark Juergensmeyer's Songs of the Saints of India (1988).


You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.



Hinduism - Who Was Surdas Among The Ashtachap?

 

 

 (early sixteenth century) One of the ashtachap, a group of eight bhakti (devotional) poets from northern India.

The Pushti Marg, a religious society whose members are Krishna devotees (bhakta), utilized the works of these eight poets for liturgical reasons.

All eight poets are also identified as members of the community and colleagues of either the community's founder, Vallabhacharya, or his successor, Vitthalnath, in the Pushti Marg's sectarian literature.

Surdas started writing songs about Krishna's lila, his humorous interactions with the universe, and his followers at Vallabhacharya's instruction, according to the Chaurasi Vaishnavan ki Varta ("Lives of eighty-four Vaishnavas").

He subsequently went on to write the Sursagar's 5,000-odd poems.

Surdas is shown in a very different light in the earliest manuscripts, since most of them only include a few hundred verses, most of which are relatively brief.

Supplication (vinaya) and separation (viraha) are the most essential topics in early poetry, and although Surdas is best known for his descriptions of Krishna's boyhood, these themes are more prominent later in the poetic tradition.

Surdas' poetry covers a broad variety of topics, from his personal spiritual life to devout "glimpses" of Krishna, the latter of which often explores the religious conflict between Krishna's image as a cute kid and his alter ego as master of the world.

Surdas wrote these poems to draw his listeners into Krishna's realm, as he does in most Vaishnava devotional poetry.

The disparity between these images casts doubt on Surdas' and Vallabhacharya's relationship.

Surdas, unlike the other ashtachap poets, did not produce poetry in honor of Vallabhacharya, despite his songs being included into the Pushti Marg's ceremonies.

It's just as probable that, as Surdas' poetry rose in popularity, the Pushti Marg "claimed" him as a fellow Krishna lover.

In truth, very little is known for certain about him, including whether or not he was indeed blind, as is often assumed.

Only two of the earliest poems address blindness; one is obviously allegorical, and the other is part of a litany of old age's ills.

One knows a lot more about the poetry than the poet, as is the case with many bhakti poets.

For further detail, read John Stratton Hawley's Krishna: The Butter Thief (1983) and Surdas: Poet, Singer, Saint (1984); also check John Stratton Hawley and Mark Juergensmeyer's Songs of the Saints of India (1988).


You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.