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Surdas passes the test of his transcendental vision

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Navneet Priyaji Temple, Gokul →

Braj, 2018.03.06

Blind poet Surdas, who lived in Braj in the 15th Century, proved the power of his transcendental vision time and again to all those who doubted him.

The pujaris of Navanita Priyaji temple in Gokul, where Surdas used to sing to Thakurji began to notice that Surdas was inclined to sing about  Thakurji’s poshak and ornamentation. Wondering how he managed this, the Goswamis decided to test him.

One summer day, the Goswamis decided to dress Priyaji in only pearls. Surdas began to sing about Shri Krishna’s childhood pastimes of smearing butter on his face and laughing with the gopis. The Goswamis questioned Surdas about what he was singing and Surdas replied that he was singing about the Lord’s childhood form, as He appears on the altar today.

In yet another test of his ability to ‘see’, Surdas showed that his vision was firmly fixed on the Supreme and never waved from his resolve.

Tansen once sang one of Surdas’ compositions in front of Emperor Akbar. Recognizing the beauty and power of the bhajan, Akbar instructed his officials to summon Surdas to the court. The officials found him living in Mathura.

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Surdas and Akbar meeting, P.C. Chip Level →

When Surdas was brought in, Emporer Akbar paid respects to him and asked him to sing. Surdas sang his famous “Sur Pacheesi” (25 Verses by Surdas), which greatly impressed the Emporer.

Suspecting that Surdas was a true renunciate, but wanting to test this, Emporer Akbar asked Surdas to compose a song about the glories of the royal court, an ode to Akbar. To this request, Surdas replied that he has had a glipse of the glories of Shri Krishna and everything else pales in comparison, so he would be unable to compose the  ode to the emperor.

Akbar was impressed that Surdas did not fall to temptation – despite his lack of material wealth and the difficulties he faced being blind, Surdas was not interested in material comforts.  Surdas‘ cultivation of superb verse and music had quietened the of his mind and he was able to keep his composure and make the right decision to avoid being diverted from bhakti.

We pray to Surdas that our devotional practice and austerities will be enough to keep us safe and guide us to make the right decision when we are put to the test.

Surdas’ famous bhajan in which Shri Krishna tries to quieten his mother’s anger but at the same time denies stealing butter:

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