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7-Soor Daas

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7-Mahaakavi Soor Daas

Soor Daas has been a great Kavi (poet) of all times in India. We know very little about his life. We don't even know his real name given to him by his parents, because Soor Daas is just only a title not a name. He was born in the village of Seehee near Delhi, in the house of a poor Braahman 1478 or 1479 AD. His year of death is also not certain, it is either 1581 or 1584 AD. This was Akbar's period. Some people give his birth date as Vaishaakh Shukla Panchamee of Vikram Samvat 1535. He had three brothers. Since he was born blind, he was neglected from all around so much that people forgot his name very soon and by the age of 3, he was known as Soor Daas only which means a blind man.

Childhood of Soor Daas
Soor Daas would often went hungry because his mother would not bother to feed him. His brothers would receive new clothes at Diwalee time but not Soor Daas. Soor Daas' parents thought he wouldn't be able to tell the difference anyway. It hurt his feelings. Soor Daas' outside world was not very kind either. His playmates enjoyed teasing him and when he came to his mother for sympathy, she scolded him for going out. So, unfortunate Soor Daas stayed on the porch most of the time. When Soor Daas joined his brothers to learn from their father how to read and write, his father said, "Go away. You are blind, you cannot read." His brothers also teased him as he sat and wept.

One day, a group of singers passed by his house singing in praise of the Lord. Swept up by the joy the music brought forth in him, he forgot for a moment that he was blind. "One day I will learn how to sing," he told himself. A few days later, another group of singers came by, passing through the village, begging for alms and singing in praise of the Lord. They passed by Soor Daas' house. Soor Daas followed them. At night they stopped to cook and rest near a lake. One of them came to Soor Daas and asked, "Why are you following us?" "I would like to learn to sing" answered Soor Daas. They fed him that night but didn't want to be burdened with the blind boy, so in the morning they left without telling him.

Now where could blind Soor Daas go? He sat under a tree and began singing the Lord's praise. He had a good voice and his feelings were expressed with utmost sincerity. Villagers passing by gave him food and he survived. The lake was a popular resting spot for those who were traveling to Mathuraa and Vrindaavan. Soor Daas learnt a lot about the outside world from their conversation.

By the time he was 14 years old, he had developed his sixth sense, a power and he could predict many things. People were amazed and he was called "miracle boy." If a villager lost an animal, Soor Daas could tell him where to find it, so he was consulted on an appropriate day to travel or to start any project. People from other villages traveled a long way to meet him and gave their offerings. Once he found the lost son of a wealthy man. That wealthy man waas so pleased with him and his powers that he built a cottage for him near the tree in which he lived. Since he sang very sweetly, some people bought him a string instrument. Some started coming to him regularly. Some people became his disciples. They began to write the songs he composed. The disciples loved him and served him to the best of their ability.

Soor Daas Goes for Vrindaa Van and Meets Krishn
One day he saw Krishn in his dream and people praying Him with Bhajans, so he got convinced that Krishn was calling him. Next morning he set off for Vrindaa Van. His disciples came running and were worried about him. "Why are you leaving us? Are we at fault?" People tried to stop him and staying with them but he kept moving. Soor Daas consoled all of them and continued on his way to Vrindaa Van through the jungle. Wherever he went people wanted to listen to him sing and have him stay with them. They would beg him to stay in their village. They respected him, honored him and fed him. But Soor Daas kept moving. "I am a traveling monk, I cannot stay at any one place," Soor Daas said.

One day, while he was resting at the edge of a shallow abandoned well, that he fell into the well. Blind and injured, he did not know how to get out from the well. Soor Daas stayed in the well for 7 days praying for help. Suddenly he heard a child's voice, "Hold my hands, I will take you out." He took out Soor Daas out of the well. It is said that Krishn Himself came there and took him out of the well, gave him sight and His Darshan and asked him to ask for any Var. Soor Daas Jee said - "I do not want to see any other thing of this world after seeing you, besides give me your unbroken devotion throughout my life." Krishn said - "So be it." and Soor Daas Jee became blind again.

Some say that after taking out Soor Daas out of well, the boy disappeared. Soor Daas kept searching for the little boy who rescued him but could not find him again. In his imagination, the boy was none else but Gopaal Krishn (Krishn's childhood name). People thought he was crazy. He was a devout Bhakt of the Baal Roop (child form) of Shree Krishn.

Soor Daas Meets His Guru
One day one of his disciples told Soor Daas that the great learned saint Swami Vaalabhaachaarya was going to visit Vrindaa Van. Valaabhaachaarya was famous for his writings about Krishn. Soor Daas keenly wished to see him. While Soor Daas was making arrangements to cross the river to visit Vallabhaachaarya, Valaabhaachaarya himself arrived at Soor Daas's residence. Soor Daas was overwhelmed with joy. He fell at Valaabhaachaarya' s feet and sought his blessing. Upon his request, Soor Daas sang a Bhajan about Krishn to him. Valaabhaachaarya requested Soor Daas to dedicate his life to the praise of Krishn. He taught him about Shree Krishn. Thus he became the disciple of Vallabhaachaarya. After getting education from him he never married, he subsisted on meager donations and sang Bhajans of Krishn. He became famous as a singer and a devotee. Vallabhaachaarya appointed Soor Daas as the chief singer of Shree Naath Temple in Govardhan, near Vrindaa Van. Shree Naath is another name for Krishn.

Soor Daas and Akbar
Soor Daas' reputation as a singer and devotee spread far and wide. One day Taansen sang a song of Soor Daas in Akbar's court. Akbar was charmed by that song. Taansen told him that that song and tune was of Soor Daas. Akbar was a broadminded king. He invited Soor Daas to his court, but Soor Daas politely declined his offer saying - "I sing only in my beloved Lord Krishn's court." When Akbar heard this, he gladly came to Soor Daas and listened to his prayer songs in the temple. He was very pleased and asked Soor Daas to ask for anything he wanted. Soor Daas said, "Just do not ask me to go to your court to sing." Akbar agreed.

He has written many Pad in praise of child Krishn. His works are collected in "Soor Saagar", "Saahitya Laharee", and "Soor Saaraavalee". The specialty of these poems is that being blind he has described very minute details of a child's expression in them, how? This is a wonder. His songs are sung to this day.



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Created by Sushma Gupta on January 15, 2002
Modified on 05/05/13