Bhagat Sain

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Bhagat Sain was a disciple of God and lived in the end of the fourteenth and the beginning of the fifteenth century. He was a barber at the court of Raja Ram, king of Rewa, then called Bandhavgarh. The tendency of the age was towards devotion and religious composition, and Sain found leisure in the midst of duties to study the hymns of Ramanand, shape his life on the principles inculcated in them, and successfully imitate their spirit and devotional fervour.

The accomplishments and duties of an Indian court barber at the time of Sain were and are still of a miscellaneous character. He is something of a surgeon and ordinarily a marriage or match-maker, he oils the king’s body, shampoos his limbs, pares his nails, shaves his face and head, if he be a Hindu, and clips his moustaches, if he be a Muslim; amuses him with gossip and tales; often plays the rebeck and sings his own compositions, which deftly combine flattery of his master with social satire or pleasentry.

God is said by the Hindu chronicler to have cherished Sian as a cow her calf. He frequented the society of holy men and was very happy in their company. He performed for them all menial officies, for he believed that serving saints was equivalent to serving God himself.

The Bhagat Mal contains a legend which at once illustrates Sain’s devotion to saints and the estimation in which he was held for his piety. When going one day to perform his usual ministrations for King Raja Ram, he met some holy men on the way. He...
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