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ShreeNathji´s Aasht Chap Kavi
ShreeNathji´s Aasht Chap
Kavi Bhakt, eight in number, who wrote the 'rachanas' which are sung even today
ShreeNathji´s Kirtankar
ShreeNathji´s present eight Kirtankar who sing at every darshan

With Shri Gusainji’s kripa the 8 friends of Shree Krishn from the incarnation 5000 years ago, appeared in this period of Shreeji’s appearance as great eight singer poets; known as the “Aasht chaap kavi”. They wrote various poem- bhajans describing the Baal-Leela of Thakurjee from the Nand Rai days.

All the eight Jhankis (darshans) of Thakurjee have a special mood attached to It. Accordingly a particular poet from this Aasht Chaap group has been selected and till today their bhajans are sung in the Haveli in Shreeji’s sewa. These bhajans were also written according to various seasons, feastivals, bhao. In this way music and raag were included in the daily sewa of Shreeji which is followed till today perfectly in Nathdwara, as established by Shri Gusainji at Govardhan Mandir.

These Aasht chaap Kavi and gayak bhakts, as they are called were from every where; not limited to the Vallabh sampradai. With divine prerna (motivation) they were granted sakshat (direct) darshans of Thakurjee and His Divine Leelas on this earth. With the divyata (divineness) granted by Shreeji Himself they were able to compose perfectly whatever Thakurjee desired and enjoyed. This particular sangeet has come to be known as Haveli sangeet and is sung only for the Thakurjee’s pleasure.
At certain darshans, we sit within the Kirtaniya galli, where His musicians play for Shreeji. Though I am not able to understand the compositions, it does take me deep in bhao.

Once when listening deeply, I mentioned to gurushree how pure and deep this sangeet feels. I wanted to know from him if it was possible to find recordings for listening to it later. Gurushree said no, this music is only for Thakurjee, so when ever we are here you can take the anand of listening to it. At least it is Shreeji’s kripa that we are able to be here and enjoy His sangeet along with Him.

Suddenly I again heard this very, very sweet voice telling me in a very proud tone, “Tum log to player mein sangeet sunte ho jo purana hota hai. Mujhe to live music sunaate hain. Yeh mere live kirtaniya hain jo roj alag alag geet gaate hain”. (“You’ll listen to music which is recorded. I have my own Live singers who sing for me all through the day”).
Shreeji can be full of jokes in the smallest of situations.

The names of the Aasht chaap kavi as the original Krishn’s friends in the earlier incarnation 5000 years ago are-
Krishna Rishabha Arjuna Bhoj
Tok Subala Vishala Shri Dhama

These same gwal friends took birth later in Shreeji leela in Mathura, and were known as the Aasht chaap kavi -

Surdas Kumbhan das
Parmanand das Chatrabhuj das
Krishna das Nand das
Chettar swami Govind das

Today in Shreeji’s Haveli the generations of His Live musicians are as follows –
Tolaramji – chief Kirtankar; sewa from last 52 years  
Krishndasji – Kirtankar; sewa from last 52 years
Shyamji – Pakhavji; sewa from last 52 years
Pramod – Harmonium vadak
Navinchandra – kirtankar; sewa from last 13 years
Amratlalji – Sarangi vadak
Bhanvarlalji – Kirtankar; sewa from last 13 years
Brajeshji – Kirtankar; sewa from last 12 years
Chandrakantji – Vina vadak – Shreeji’s lullyby player

Author : Abha Shahra Shyama

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