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The sculpture reproduced on the endpaper depicts a scene where three soothsayers arc interpreting to King Suddhodana the dream of Queen Maya, mother of Lord Buddha. Below them is seated a scribe recording the interpretation. This is perhaps the earliest available pictorial record of the art of writing in India. From : Nagarjunakonda, 2nd century A.D. Courtesy: National Museum, New Delhi. .
Surdas, the poet, singer and devotee carries under his name several thousands of poems, in Brajbhasha. They are mostly lyrical, originally sung as an integral part of the poet’s devotion. The most well known collection is titled Sursagar i.e. the Ocean of Sur. Even if one ignores the religious aspect of Surdas, that he was a worshipper of Krishna and completely dedicated to him, body, soul and mind; or that it was a part of his committment to sing about Krishna’s life and divine sports, the fact remains that he holds a very high place in medieval Hindi poetry, based just on the literary merits of his lyrics. These lyrics, known as padas, were the most popular style for singing of devotional song? in the medieval period. Originating with Siddha poets# this poetic form was polished and honed by poets like Jayadeva and Vidyapati. The padas were always sung, mostly in tradi¬ tional Indian mode of ragas. The form slowly but steadily spread over North India, its flow getting impetus through the musicians and devout worshippers. The oral tradition, an inherent part of Indian life and religion,.also helped to keep the form and the text of the padas alive for centuries. It also attracted legends and stories and pithy sayings about the poets. The popular and most prevalent image of Surdas, in the mind of a common man in Hindi speaking area, is that of a blind, dedicated poet who was a great worshipper of Krishna, and who was rescued by Krishna himself when he fell into a well and could not get out for seven days. The most commonly quoted verse about Surdas, in the tradition of Hindi poetry is, “Sur soor, Tulsi sasi, udugan Keshavdas.” (Surdas is the sun, Tulsidas the moon, and Keshavdas a star.) thus giving him the highest ranking, even above Tulsidas, an¬ other great poet and devotee. Tansen, one of the nine gems in .