மத்திகிரி, மதியம், 2.45, 10-7-16
When I read another poem of Surdas@, I was struck the way he can combine bhakti with romantic love. I wonder is there such literature in any other culture around the world (one exception that I found is Songs of Solomon in Muktiveda). One can find these kind of poems almost in every regional languages of India. Particularly beginning from Tamil Sangam (classical) literature and in various other religious and poetic traditions there are so many such poems. One can see the real touch of life with humour in several Tamil folk songs, which are sing even now.
In religious tradition, particularly in the Azhvar’s poems it is difficult to separate the bhakti, eroticism, romance etc. in these songs. There are several secular poems of the past which went to the other extreme, which we can find in most of the regional languages.
When I read and think about them, I appreciate the way people in India celebrated every area and aspect of life. This stands very clearly opposite to what we see in some melancholic philosophies which depict the world in a negative way. Others may wonder why I as a single man (or a sannyasi) read or write such poems. But inspiration never thinks about our status and position in life. As I like to read (Tamil) poems, particularly religious and classical ones, I too want to celebrate the beauty of life like them than to worry about what others opinion about me.
Over and over, desire strikes inside.
Parted from the blessedness of being with her darling,
Radha stands gazing down the road.
Her eyes well with tears. Her bed brings no rest.
She never combs her hair. (p.411)
Braiding, braiding a string of campa flowers,
Absorbed, she drops it round her neck to her breasts.
The clothes she wore when once she was with Hari—
She won’t take them off even today.
Sur’s Lord, she roams about as if she were lost
And refuses to heed what others asy.— Sur’s Ocean: Poems from the Early Tradition, ed. Kenneth E. Bryant. Trns. John Stratton Hawley, Cambridge, Murty Classical Library of India, 2015, pp. 411 &14