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Read by Laurel Lefkow, David Shaw-Parker & Ghizela Rowe (Unabridged: 1hr 44mins)
Featuring poems by Kabir, Mirabai, Guru Nanak & others.
Whilst Europe endured the Dark Ages in the 6th & 7th Centuries devotees of Shiva and Vishnu in Southern India were creating the Bhakti Movement. Some of these exponents, as in our volume, were bestowed with the title of saint but some had the additional title of sant, swami or goswami.
Broadly speaking, Bhakti poetry, as in Hinduism itself, is divided into ‘Nirguna’, the idea that the divine is formless as exampled by Kabir and ‘Saguna’ which interprets the divine as having physical form as captured by Mirabai.
The rapid spread, of the Bhakti movement, with its theme of love and devotion to God, proffered by these rebellious poet saints, did, over the following centuries, meld with much needed Hindu reforms and went to the heart of human existence. These ‘God possessing’ rather than ‘God fearing’ poets rejected hierarchies and intermediaries in their spiritual devotion and were critical of rules, regulations and ritual observances administered by Brahmin priests in the sacred but elitist court and temple Sanskrit.
Their poems, in their local language, emphasised personal devotion as a route to salvation with kind deeds and a humble life rather than ritual mediation, stretched the fabric of society. They were all from lower castes and many were women giving the movement an egalitarian spirit that helped reinforce the message that god’s love was all-encompassing for every person willing to surrender to the divine.
Furthermore, their verse was accessible, simple, innovative with new poetic forms and often expressed in songs with a fierce passion and ecstasy that demonstrated the movement’s focus on inner, mystical and authentic devotion and humility. Impromptu performances with provocative outbursts of singing and dancing in unconventional settings or public gatherings evolved into poetic presentations and community recitals as the rapid popularity of the movement spread. Although the language is every day and simple, many verses carry undercurrents of complex ideas, philosophical and psychological dilemmas, nuance and humour.
In this compilation -
|1 - The Bhakti Poet Saints - An Introduction|
|2 - His Ears Ringeth by Sambandar|
|3 - Thiruppavi (An Extract) by Andal|
|4 - Tiruvasiriyam by Nammalvar|
|5 - Navada Bhakti in An Untainted Heart by Gangasati|
|6 - Show Me Your Way Out by Akka Mahadevi|
|7 - Would A Circling Surface Vulture by Akka Mahadevi|
|8 - The True Name is Like Sandalwood by Namdev|
|9 - Amrutanubhav (An Extract) by Dnyaneshwar|
|10 - Vakh - If in the Flux of Time by Lal Ded|
|11 - Vakh - They Who Have Gained Experience by Lal Ded|
|12 - Acceptance by Janabai|
|13 - Where Shall I Go by Ramananda|
|14 - Vaishnav by Narsinh Mehta|
|15 - Pointless It Is To Lament by Narsinh Mehta|
|16 - Illusion and Reality by Kabir|
|17 - Song 6 - The Moon by Kabir|
|18 - I Laugh When I Hear That the Fish in the Water is Thirsty by Kabir|
|19 - It is the Mercy of My True Guru by Kabir|
|20 - Song 1 - Oh Servant Where Dost Thou Seek Me by Kabir|
|21 - Song 69 - If God Be Within the Mosque by Kabir|
|22 - The Light of the Sun by Kabir|
|23 - You Are Me and I Am You by Ravidas|
|24 - The Name Alone Is The Truth by Ravidas|
|25 - How to Escape by Ravidas|
|26 - Dhanasri Measure by Guru Nanak|
|27 - Gauri Dipaki Measure by Guru Nanak|
|28 - Shikshashtakam by Chaitanya|
|29 - Mine is Gopal by Mirabai|
|30 - Beloved Mohan by Mirabai|
|31 - Mira is Steadfast by Mirabai|
|32 - I Will Sing the Praises by Mirabai|
|33 - O Deluded Ones by Mirabai|
|34 - Enjoy the Company of True Saints by Mirabai|
|35 - Listen by Mirabai|
|36 - Sister Without the Lord I Cannot Carry On by Mirabai|
|37 - Hanuman Chalisa by Tulsidas|
|38 - To Arrange Words by Tukaram|
|39 - The Secret of Peace by Tukaram|
|40 - Drive Me Out of My Mind by Ramprasad Sen|