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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