SŪRDĀS, one of the medieval Indian bhakta poets whose verses have been incorporated in the Gurū Granth Sāhib. Sūrdās, whose original name was Madan Mohan, is said to have been born in 1529, in a high-ranking Brāhmaṇ family. As he grew up, he gained proficiency in the arts of music and poetry for which he had a natural talent. He soon became a celebrated poet, singing with deep passion lyrics of Divine love. He attracted the attention of Emperor Akbar who appointed him governor of the parganah of Saṇḍīlā. But Sūrdās' heart lay elsewhere. He renounced the world and took to the company of holy men dedicating himself solely to the Lord. He died at Banāras. A shrine in the vicinity of the city honours his memory.

        The Gurū Granth Sāhib contains one hymn by Bhakta Sūrdās, in the Sāraṅg measure. In fact, it is not a complete hymn but a single line : "0 mind, abandon the company of those who turn away from God." It is believed to be the refrain of a complete hymn composed by Sūrdās in which he described one who had turned away from God as an incorrigible sinner for whom there was no hope of redemption. Gurū Arjan omitted the rest of the hymn probably because it ran counter to the Sikh belief in God's grace even for the worst of sinners. He therefore composed a hymn to explain and supplement the single line of Sūrdās. Its refrain is : "Men of God abide with the Lord".

        Sūrdās whose verse figures in the Gurū Granth Sāhib is to be differentiated from the blind poet of the same name who wrote Sūr Sāgar.


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  2. Gurdit Siṅgh, Giānī, Itihās Srī Gurū Granth Sāhib (Bhagat Bāṇī Bhāg) . Chandigarh, 1990
  3. Sāhib Siṅgh, Bhagat Bāṇī Saṭīk. Amritsar, 1959-60
  4. Chaturvedī, Parshu Rām, Uttarī Bhārat kī Sant Paramparā. Allahabad, 1964
  5. Macauliffe, Max Arthur, The Sikh Religion : Its Gurūs, Sacred Writings and Authors. Oxford, 1909

Tāran Siṅgh