Dhrupad Singers in Pushtimarg - An Introduction to Bhakta Poet Singers in Pushtimarg

Chapter 1: Introduction to Bhakta Poet Singers

This section will enlist the different Bhakta Poets whose Kirtanas/Padas are sung before Shree Prabhu in Pushtimarg and are accepted by Shree Gusaiji (Second son of Shreemad Vallabhacharya Mahaprabhuji) to be sung as part of Kirtana Pranalika.

The number of these poets is not just limited to Pushtimarg Disciples but also other Vaishnava Bhaktas from other Sampradayas. The Kirtanas of these poets are accepted since these poets had an infinite grace of Shree Krishna and they described whatever they relished the divine sports of Shree Krishna with the grace of the Lord himself. The First section of this article will describe the Bhakta Poets from other Sampradayas whose Padas are accepted in Pushtimarg to be sung before Shree Prabhu on all types of Utsavas (Nitya, Naimittika etc).

Bhakta Jaydeva:

Shri Jayadeva Goswami was the court Pandit of Sri Lakshman Sena, the King of Bengal. Jayadeva's father was Bhojadeva, and his mother's name was Bamadevi. They lived in the Birbhum district of what is now West Bengal in a village called Kenubilva Gram. He was born at the beginning of the twelfth centrury A.D.

Jayadeva Goswami's wife was named Sri Padmavati. When he was the court pandit of Lakshman Sena, he lived on the banks of the Ganges. Approximately three hundred years before the appearance of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Jayadeva Goswami lived in Bengal. He was the author of Sri Gita Govinda, which is mentioned by Krishnadas Kaviraja Goswami in the Caitanya Caritamrita as follows (CC ML 2/11): "Day and night, in the company of Svarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu used to hear with great ecstasy the songs of Vidyapati and Chandidas, as well as a drama composed by Ramananda Raya. He also used to relish hearing the Krishna-Karnamrita and the Gita-Govinda. In his introduction, Jayadeva says that the Gita Govinda is a scripture describing the intimate pastimes of Sri Radha and Govinda. It may be worshiped and served by those who are extremely qualified in devotional piety. For those who are constantly remembering the rasik pastimes of Sri Hari within his mind, Sri Jayadeva has composed this divine poetic song glorifying the Lord's internal pastimes. He requests the topmost spiritually advanced souls to hear it with gravity and attention."

Fig. 1.1 – Shree Jaydev bowing to Shree Krishna

 Padas in Pushtimarg : The following padas by Shree Jayadevji are sung in Pushtimarg:

1. Lalita Lavanga Lataa Parishilana (Prabandh 3, Geeta Govind)

This is generally sung during Vasant Panchami in all gruhs in Vasant Raag.

2. Pralayapayodhijale Dhrutavaanasi (Prabandh 1, Geeta Govind)

This is sung on Ramnavmi, Narsimha Jayanti, and Vaman Jayanti in Malav Raag during Bhog darshan.

3. RatiSukhsaare Dhiresamire (Prabandh 11, Geet Govind)

This is sung in Trutiya Gruh on the day of Jyestha Sud Dasam during Shayan Darshan. Same is sung in the gruh of Shree Navnitlalji on the day of Jyestha Shukla 15 during Shayan darshan in Bihag Raag. Also, this is sung in Shasth Gruh ( Surat) on the day of Jyestha Shukla 11 during Rajbhog Darshan in Saarang Raag.

4. Chandancharchita Nilakalevara (Prabandh 4, Geet Govind)

This ashtapadi is sung from the day of Akshay Trutiya to Rathyatra.

5. Gangastav by Jaydevji is also sung in Shastha Gruh ( Surat) on Jyestha Shukla Dasam during Shringar Ausara in Raag Bhairav.

Sangeetacharya Shree Vidyapati:

Vidyapati (c 1374-1460)famous Vaisnava poet was born in a scholarly Shaivite Brahmin family in the village of Bisfi in the Sitamari subdivision of Mithila. His father's name was Ganapati. The family, whose title was 'Thakkar' or 'Thakur, were employed in high positions at the court of the rulers of Mithila and had made many important contributions in military matters as well as artistic and cultural areas. Vidyapati himself was a member of the court of the kings Dev Singh and Shivsing. Vidyapati studied under Sri Hari Mishra.

Vidyapati wrote in Maithili, abahattha, and sanskrit. Since he was born in a Shaivite family, he also wrote many Shaivite songs. However, the verses on Radha-Krishna that are written in brajabuli are considered his masterpieces. It is because of these Vaisnava verses, that he has gained immortality. These songs, in metrical feet and written in Maithili, gradually became popular all over Bengal. However, they were later transformed by the influences of local dialects and the singers of kirtan. From this grew a type of Vaishnava verse language known as Brajabuli.

Vidyapati, Vidyapati poetry, Yoga / Hindu, Yoga / Hindu poetry, Vaishnava (Krishna/Rama) poetry,  poetry,  poetry

Fig. 1.2 - Shree Vidyapati

Vidyapati’s padas are full of madhurya leela of Shree Radha Krishna. His padas of Khandita, hilag, Vasant Khel are still sung in Pushtimarg. His padas generally has the chaap of ‘Vidyapati’. Some of the padas sung in pushtimarg are below:

 

  1. Khandita padas
    1. Bhali Kini Bhor Bhayee Aaye Mere Angana
  2. Hilag Padas
    1. Nayana Mai Naahin Karat Kahyo
  3. Vasant Panchami
    1. Nav Vrindavan Nav Nav Tarugana, Nav Nav Vikasat Ful
  4. Hori Dhammar (Raag JetShri)
    1. Shree Radha Naval Krishor Dole Gujarai sung in Pancham gruh on Falgun Shukla 4.

Bhakta Narsih (A.D 1416-1475) :

Bhakta Narsih’s padas are mostly not sung in Pushti Sampradaya. But the following two padas are sung in Shastha Gruh ( Surat) on day of Patotsav of Shree Bakrishnalalji during Rajbhog darshan after singing Badhai:

  1. Kunka Ne Pagale Padharo Vahala
  2. Dudhado Maih Varasya

Swami Haridasji:

 

 

Fig. 1.3-Akbar and Tansen before Swami Haridasji

Swami Haridas (1478-1573)

Fig. 1.4-Swami Haridasji

Swami Haridas was born in Rajpur near Vrindavan. His father was a Saraswat Brahmin from Multan. The family migrated to a village called Khairwali Sarak, near Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh.

He is thought to be the incarnation of Lalita Sakhi, the legendary friend who consoles Radha in her lovelorn state. He recognized the Nidhi Vana that is said to be the garden where Radha and Krishna do rasas with their friends. He made Krishna appear from the land of Nidhi vana in the form of an idol named Bankey Bihari ji, which is still worshipped in Vrindavan. Swami Haridas is said to be the follower of Nimbark sampradaya one of the major sampradaya for Bhakti.

Haridas spent some time at the Gwalior court of Raja Mansingh Tomar, whose patronage of Hindustani classical music, and particularly the dhrupad style, left an indelible mark in the period c. 1485-1510. Particularly, this was a period of a shift in the language of devotional songs from the Sanskrit to local vernacular like brijbhasha (an eastern variety related to Hindi), modelled on those of Vidyapati and others in the Bhakti tradition. Haridas was in his element at the court, and composed a large number of songs in the brajbhasha and Hindi. In Tomar's court were a galaxy of musicians such as Bakshu, Bhanu and Baiju Bawra and he was eulogised by Tansen of whom he was an early patron.

The details of Haridas's life are not well known. There are two schools of thought. According to one, he was born in 1480 in Rajpur, near Brindavan. His father's name was Gangadhar and his mother's name was Chitra Devi. At the age of twenty-five, the youth was initiated into sanyasa (a form of wandering aesceticism) by a man named Asudhir, who belonged to the Nimbarka tradition. In this version of his life story, Haridas is said to have died in 1575.

Shree Haridasji’s eight most famous disciples are

  1. Baiju
  2. Gopallal
  3. Madanrai
  4. Ramdas
  5. Diwakar Pandit
  6. Somnath Pandit
  7. Tanna Mishra (Tansen)
  8. Raja Saursen

Shree Haridasji had also 8 main religious disciples (Haridas Sampraday) known as Ashtacharyas namely:

  1. Shree Vitthal Vipul
  2. Shree Bihari Das
  3. Shree Nagaridas (This is different Nagaridas of Kishangarh and Nagaridasji of Radha Vallabh Sampraday)
  4. Sarasdas
  5. Shree Narharidas
  6. Shree Rasikdas
  7. Shree Lalit Kishoridas
  8. Shree Lalit Mohinidas

Padas in Pushtimarg by Shree Haridasji : The chaap generally found in his padas are ‘Haridas ke swami Shyama Shyam’ or “Haridas Ke Swami Shyama Kunj Bihari’ The most famous pada by Swami Haridasji is ‘Aisi Ritu Sada Sarvada Jo Rahe Bolat Morani” in Raag Malhar

  1. Suni Dhooni Murali Ban Baaje Hari Raas Rachyo’ in Kedar Raag
  2. Sarad Ujiyaari Kaisi Niki Laage’ during Rasotsav
  3. Dol Jhulat Bihari Biharini Raag Rami Rahyo’ during Dolotsav in Raag Kalyan
  4. Dol Jhulat Bihari Biharini Puhup Vrushti Hoti’ during Dolotsav in Raag Saarang in Pradhan Gruh during Khel in Rajbhog.
  5. Chalo Kyo Na Dekheri Khare Dou Kunjan Ki Parichahi’, ‘Kunj Mahal Ke Angan Dole Dou Bah Joti’ are sung during Shayan Darshan during Ushnakaal Kunj.
  6. ‘Manini Maan Nihore’ sung during Man padas after shayan

Shree Vitthal Vipul:

He appeared on this earth in 1532, in Rajpur, Vrindavan. His parents were Sri Grujan (maternal uncle of Sri Haridas ji) and Srimati Kaushalya. As per birth dates he was 5 years elder to Swami Haridasji and was his first disciple. He was a great rasik and at the age of 30 years, he left his house and lived in Vrindavan till the age of 70 years. He wrote 39 pads.

Fig. 1.5-Shree Vitthal Vipulji Maharaj

Padas in Pushtimarg: The Chaap used by Shree Vitthal Vipulji is ‘Shree Vitthal Vipul

1. Aavat Ladili Lal phoole,
Kunj keli nav rang Bihari surati hindore jhule.
Nishi jaage alsaat ragmage pat palte gati bhule,
Sri Vitthal Vipul pulki Lalitadik din dekhat drum bhule

The above pada is sung in pushtimarg during Mangala darshan during Hindola days

Aavat Kunjan Te Piya Pyaari

It is in Nitya Pada Sangrah sung during Ushnakaal during mangala darshan

Goswami Shree Hit Harivanshji:

The proclaimar of Radha-Vallabh Sampraday, Shree Hit Harivansh ji was born in the year 1559 in a well to do family of Deoband, Distt, Saharanpur. His father was Shri Vyas Misra and his mother was Tara Rani.

Shri Vyas Misra was court astrologer and he accompanied the Emperor Sikandar Lodi when he was on tour.

Due to the blessings of Misra’s brother a son was born to him fulfilling his long desire. In blessing Tara Rani, the sanyasi prophesied that her son would be an extraordinary devotee and would establish a new system of Prema Bhakti.

During one of his visits to Agra accompanying the Emperor, Shri Misra took his wife as she was pregnant and was accepting delivery. One the way Tara Rani developed labour pains and delivered a boy near Baad village on Monday which happened to be Ekadasi of Vaishakh.

Shri Misra came back to Deoband along with his family and Shri Hitharivansh Soswami spent 30 years in Deoband. He was married to Rukmani and had four sons and a daughter.

Shri Goswami Poorna-Bhakti towards Shri Radha was such that between Shri Radha and Sri Krishna he gave the prime place to Shri Radha. This Sampradaya founded by Shri Goswami has been so eloquently described in Bhaktamala composed by Nabha ji. In his commentary comprising 16,000 verses Shri Hari Lal Vya opens it with a verse in salutation to Shri Hitharivansh, as the uploder of the supremacy of Shri Radha and who holds Shri Radha as his particularly worshipped deity, who is his Guru and who is his sole mantra.

 

Fig. 1.6-Shree Hit Harivanshji

Padas in Pushtimarg by Shree Hit Harivanshji : Some of them are listed below:

 

  1. Jhulat Dou Naval Kishor – Raag Degandhar – Sung during the darshan of Dol.
  2. Aaj Van Niko Raas Banayo – Sung in raag Nat and Gauri during the days of Raas.
  3. Benu Mai Baaje Ri Banshi Vat : Raag Gauri sung during Raas days during Bhog Sandhya Aarti.
  4. Dekho Mai Abala Ke Bal Ram : Sung during days of monsoon in Raag Malhar.
  5. Dekho Mai Sundarta Ki Siva : Sung during days of monsoon in Raag Malhar.

The total padas should be around 15 that are sung in Pushtimarg.

Disciples of Hit Harivanshji:  

The disciples of Shree Hit Harivanshji includes following:

  1. Sevakji Shree Damodardasji
  2. Shree Hariram – Vyas (Vyasji)
  3. Chaturbhujdasji
  4. Shree Druvdasji
  5. Nehi Nagaridas
  6. Ananya Aliji
  7. Shree Rasikdasji
  8. Shree Vrindavandasji (chachaji)

Sevakji – Damodardasji:

Shree Damodardasji was the sevak and disciple of Shree Hit Harivanshji. He was scholar in sangeet. He also composed many padas with the chaap of ‘Hit Mangal’, ‘Hit Damodar’ and ‘Damodar Hit’.

Some of the padas sung in Pushtimarg are as below:

 

  1. Bhado Sudi Aathe Ujiyaari : Sung during the badhai of Radhastami in Raag Kanhada
  2. Nachat Prem Magan NarNaari : Sung during badhai of Radhastami.
Shree Hariram – Vyas (Vyasji) :

Shree Hariramji was again the disciple of Shree Hit Harivanshji. He was born in V.S. 1567. He was a great scholar of Sanskrit and had knowledge of all shastras especially Shreemad Bhagwat Mahapuran and other puranas. Thus he was also known as “Vyasji”. Vyasji also composed many padas of Radha Krishna some of them are still being sung in Pushtimarg. Some of the padas are listed below:

  1. Nagari Nat Naraayan Gaayo – Sung during Raas.
  2. Syaam Sanehi Gaayiye – Sung during Sanjhi
  3. Aaj Badhai Baajat Ravali – Sung during Radhastami Badhai.
  4. Nachat Gaavat Dhadhin Ke Sang – Dhadhi Pad.

He composed padas with the chaap of ‘Vyas’, ‘Vyas Swamini’ etc.

Shree Vrindavandasji (Chachaji) :

Shree Vrindavandasji was again the disciple of Shree Hit Harivanshji. He was born in V.S. 1750. He also composed many padas of Radha Krishna. His padas contains the chaap of ‘Vrindavan Hit’, ‘Vrindavan Hit Rupa, and ‘Vrindavan’.