Hare Krishna Bhajan

6 02 2009
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6 02 2009
Leyla Jagiella

A note on language that some mind find interesting:

In Northern India a large corpus of Krishna bhajans and Krishna poetry in general was, an to a certain extent up to this day still is, written in a peculiar dialect/language called Braaj or Breej.
This used to be the rural common folks language of the area in which little Krishna was supposed to have grown up amongst cowherds and milkmaids.
It is a dialect with a particular earthy tone, reminiscent of the simple rural environment that the people generally associated with Krishna.

With time, however, its constant use in Krishna poetry and its subsequent artistic sublimation made it appear a bit archaic and not too easily comprehensible.

I could imagine the Koine Greek of the Gospels (lingua franca of the common people in the ancient eastern Roman Empire) and the “vulgar” influences in Church Latin once also might have had a similar earthy tone and might have reminded the people of Jesus humble birth before it started to seem archaic and unintelligible to some.

This particular Bhajan here is, however, not in Braaj but in Bengali, the “common folks language” of the medieval Chaitanya movement, out of which grew the modern ISKCON.
But the importance of the at the same time rural and sacred flavour of the Braaj dialect was so big in Northern India that Bengali Krishna bhajans received a considerable amount of influences from this dialect.
With time the Chaitanya movement created some sort of artistic creole language, called Braajbuli, which carried the scent of Krishna┬┤s childhood environment while at the same time still being intelligible to medieval Bengalis.

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