Women Seer-saints of India and Their Songs

  • By Dr. Subhadra Desai
  • May 2014
  • 2160 views
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Editor – This article  was published in the May 2014 issue of Prabuddha Bharata.

Excerpts from article

In  India, as elsewhere in the world, music and literature have often  converged since the earliest times. In hymns, songs, and intonations  India has inherited, through millennia, a remarkable legacy in which  exceptional literature finds an inspiring voice. And this tradition  of the synthesis of literature and music that germinated in the Vedic  Age has remained alive and vibrant since then.

Seer-saint-poets  of India such as Kabir, Surdas, Tulasidas, Mirabai, Gorakhnath, and  others adopted music as a medium to express their devotion as well as  their realization of Truth. In this tradition of saint-composers  there was a considerable presence of women who were spiritual  seekers, saint poetesses, ascetics, mendicants, and devotees. They  recorded their spiritual experiences and realizations in the form of  songs, which not only bear the distinctive impression of their  personal journeys but also illustrate the social and cultural milieu  of their times, their achievements and failures. They were often not  only seers but spirited women who dared to question parochial social  structures of their times and faced innumerable personal hardships  and challenges. Their single-minded devotion and intense love for God  transformed them into spiritual heroines of their times.

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This  article is courtesy and copyright Prabuddha Bharata  (www.advaitaashrama.org).  I have been reading the Prabuddha Bharata for years and found it  enlightening. You can subscribe online at www.advaitaashrama.org.  Cost is Rs 100/ for one year, Rs 280/ for three years, Rs 1,200/ for  twenty years and Rs 2,000 for twenty five years.

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