Bhagat Soor Das ji
Bani registered in Sri Guru Granth Sahib : one line on page 1253
Principal Teachings : One must not keep company of an atheist. Almighty God can be met through surrender Bhagat Soor Das ji was born in the year 1529 at Kashi(Banaras) in the house of Brahmin Pandit Ravidas ji. His family named him Madan Mohan out of love. He was very intelligent ever since he was a child. His father arranged better and higher education for him. He became a great scholar of Sanskrit, Hindi, Sant Bhakha and Persian in a very short period of time. He also used to write poetry, which he turned into beautiful composition of devotional music and sang. When he used to sing devotional hymns in a deep ascetic mood, the listeners were spell bound. His reputation as a scholar spread everywhere very quickly. The emperor Akbar appointed him on a good post in his royal court keeping in mind his good reputation. His honesty and modesty pleased the King, who promoted him to be the ruler of Sandila after a short period of time. Bhagat ji got spiritual education from Swami Valabhacharya. He was a disciple of Lord Krishna. He started his meditation with the worship of Lord Krishna, but with passing of the time, as his meditation became more intense and deeper, his realization became introverted. He started to worship all-pervading Almighty and merged with him. The omnipresent God of Bhagat Soor Das ji can be well imagined from one of the incidences of his life. When Bhagat ji became blind and had difficulty in his activities, God Almighty always stood by him. Whenever he traveled, he always felt that someone was holding his hand and guiding him. Once he was going to Mathura, when that invisible force took his hand from Bhagat ji’s grip and stood at a distance. Bhagat Soor Das ji felt that someone who let go Bhagat ji’s grip was standing at a distance and smiling. Bhagat ji made a touching remark,”No doubt you have taken your hand back and let go of my grip, but can you go out of my heart?”. Such was the love and firm belief of Bhagat ji for his Lord. When he was the ruler of Sandila, he ran his administration with deep understanding and honesty. He always helped the deserving needy. General public also thought of him as their Messiah(helper at every place). But as we know there are always some evil and awful people who can’t tolerate the thriving reputation of a noble personality and don’t want to help the poor people. These evil people are always seeking an opportunity to harm and defame the noble person’s achievements. Some of these evil people started complaining to the King. They instigated the complaint that Soor Das ji was trying to misuse and spend the royal treasure for personal gain. They wanted the king to check his accounts and fire him from his job. The king sent a message to Bhagat ji to check his accounts with the royal officers. His account did not match with the royal treasury, so it was suspected that he caused a loss to the royal treasury. So he was put in jail. While spending his time in jail, he didn’t loose his mental well-being. He considered sorrows and pleasures as same, which meant none of them bothered him nor pleased him. He continued his meditation of God as usual. He would sing the devotional hymns with deep concentration in his melodious voice. Once Emperor Akbar happened to pass by his cell in the prison and he overheard his melodious, melancholic voice drenched in dedication and devotion. He ordered the release of Bhagat ji immediately and ordered him to come to the royal court next day. The king offered to include him in his royal poets in the court but Bhagat ji requested,” O King of kings ! Now I would never be in the service of another human being. Almighty God, who has given me this beautiful body and so many blessings, I will only serve Him now” Akbar was pleased and granted him leave. Bhagat ji left his home, village, area and everything and went to the forest. He would write songs in praise of Lord Krishna and sing them all day long. He would go to the village or some city to satisfy his need for food and other things. Time kept passing by smoothly. As God, the creator is the strongest, so is His maya. Only a rare lucky person can save himself with the grace of Almighty God from the sensual sphere of maya. Once Bhagat ji went to a village for food and he saw the beautiful lady of the house. The beauty of that lady fascinated Bhagat ji. He was about to do something foolish when God Almighty saved him from the effect of maya. Guru Arjun Dev ji has stated on page 403 :
For a moment of sexual pleasure, you shall suffer in pain for millions of days. For an instant, you may savor pleasure, but afterwards, you shall regret it, again and again.
The results of short-term pleasures overpowered his mind and saved him from committing a sin. When he was totally free from the influence of Maya, then he thought about the incidence about the lady and said,” Today the beauty of this lady has influenced me to do bad deeds, in the future some more beautiful ladies can influence me with their dazzling beauty to commit a crime. Why don’t I shut the doors (eyes) through which these beautiful sights come and make me do evil deeds?” Under the influence of these ideals, he pushed red-hot iron rods into his eyes so that he became blind and was unable to see the outside world. Thus he became Soor Das or ‘Blind’. Now he always recited and meditated God’s name from the core of his heart. His exceptionally sad couplets are preserved in the famous book”Sur-Sagar Granth” but in Guru Granth Sahib ji Guru Arjun Dev ji entered only one line on page 1253 and the rest of the Shabad is completed by Guru Arjun Dev ji and dedicated as a token of love to Bhagat Sur Das ji as a Siropa. On page 1253 it states as :
O mind, do not even associate with those who have turned their backs on the Lord. The people of the Lord dwell with the Lord. They dedicate their minds and bodies to Him; they dedicate everything to Him. They are intoxicated with the celestial melody of intuitive ecstasy. Gazing upon the Blessed Vision of the Lord's Darshan, they are cleansed of corruption. They obtain absolutely everything. They have nothing to do with anything else; they gaze on the beauteous Face of God. But one who forsakes the elegantly beautiful Lord, and harbors desire for anything else, is like a leech on the body of a leper. Says Sur Daas, God has taken my mind in His Hands. He has blessed me with the world beyond.
The Shabad stated by Bhagat Soor Das ji is written in Sur Sagar Granth as :
Shaad mun Har bimukhan ko sang Ja kay milay kbudh upjut parat bhajan mobhang Kanga kaha kapoor charavat suan navavay gung Khar kao kaha Agurja laypun markut bhookhan ang Patat pakhan baan nahi baydhay retay bh-ay nikhang
Soor Das ji closed his external eyes but Almighty God with his grace opened his internal eyes. The one line written in Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji is constantly inspiring the curious learners to avoid the company of an atheist. To what extent can a person who turns away from God be dirty and despicable can be asked from Bhai Gurdas ji who wrote in his vaar 34 pauri 16 as :
(It is said that) The killing of brahmin, cow and the man of one's own family is a deadly sin. The drunkards gamble and look at the wives of others. The thieves and decoits loot other's wealth. These all are treacherous, ungrateful, sinners and killers. If such persons are gathered in infinite number; even they all are not equal to the single hair of the apostate
Sri Guru Arjun Dev ji has directed us to save ourselves from the company of an Apostate with prayers to God only. As he states on page 535 :
I beg this blessing of You, O Merciful Lord, ocean of mercy - please, don't bring me face to face with the faithless cynics.
Singing the praise of Lord, enshrined God in his heart, Bhagat Soor Das ji left this mortal world and became an inhabitant of Lord’s palace. His last memorial is near Kashi in the form of a Samadhi (burial place). Due to the Bani and meditation of God Almighty Bhagat ji is immortal.