The Bhakti Poet Saints (Audiobook)
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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