BOOKS & PUBLICATIONS
Author: Jawahar Lal Bhat
Author: JAWAHAR LAL BHAT
Publisher: vision Creative Services, New Delhi
Price INR 595.00
Book Review by Deepak Budki
(reputed urdu writer. Quotations and their meanings have been extracted from the book)
Kashmir, often called Raesh-Vaer, has been an abode of many Rishis and Sufis. The valley has stood as an epitome of multi-cultural and multi-religious ethos foundation of which was laid by some reputed visionaries. Since time immemorial it developed into a seat of learning and discourse about human existence and purpose of life. Philosophies like Shavism, Tantra and Trika were propounded by great thinkers like Somananda, Vasugupta, Utpaldeva, Abhinav Gupta and Lakshamandeva. On the other hand Kalhana pioneered historical research in the subcontinent followed by Jonaraja, Srivara, Prajyabhatta, Shuka and the rest. With the advent of Islam in the valley, a syncretic ideology was propagated by both Hindu and Muslim seers who emphasized on worship of one God through devotion called Bakhti Marga or Sufism rather than through academic pursuit and study of scriptures called Gyana Marga. Sufis and Saints like Nund Rishi, Rupa Bhavani, Arni Maal, Parmanand and Krishen Joo Razdan came forward to guide people towards their ultimate destiny. The most outstanding among them was Lalleshwari (Lalla-Arifa) of Padmanpore (Pampore) who is revered by both Hindus and Muslims equally. The famous quatrains of this fourteenth century mystic poet, called Vaakhs in Kashmiri (Vaakh originated from Sanskrit word Vakya meaning Sentence) have ever since been filling the air with fragrance of divine and celestial lyric ever since. These short, pithy, moral aphorisms carried through word of mouth for many centuries in the past, often distorted, interpolated and mutilated, in the absence of a written word so much so that it became difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Kashmir has an age old tradition of singing and playing music in places of worship as also on personal functions of merriment like weddings etc. At the beginning of a singing or dancing session, a singer generally starts with recitation of a few Lalla-vaakhs which is regarded as a good omen. Well trained singers often sing these quatrains as a separate genre with utmost devotion.
In the recent past a good number of scholars made commendable efforts in collecting and explaining Lalla-Vaakh and various books got published from time to time. Mention of such scholars has been briefly made in the present book. Still a number of quatrains have been lost while some stand substituted. The latest collection of these quatrains has been attempted by Jawahar Lal Bhat, an English teacher by profession, who, after extensive research and verification of their genuineness, has included 244 Lalla-vaakhs in his book entitled ‘Lal-Ded Revisited’. The book stands as a testimony to his life time achievement. What gives this book an edge over others is that the book is written in English, a language read and understood all over the world; the Kashmiri vaakhs are printed in three different scripts viz Roman, Devnagri and Nastaliq for the convenience of different readers; with a bried translation at the end of each vaakh; and last but not the least, each vaakh has been further elucidated in the light of its contextual import as also its religious and spiritual background in order to make her philosophy intelligible to the reader. The foreword of the book has been penned down by an eminent Kashmiri scholar T N Dhar ‘Kundan’ who has aptly set the tone of the book with dexterity. In the introductory chapters, Jawahar Lal Bhat has discussed the life and works of the great mystic poet, Lalleshwari, who was fondly called Lal-Ded by Kashmiris. Proud of Brahmanic descent, the Yogini was revered by both Hindus and Muslims alike. Lal-Ded believes that universe is controlled by the Supreme Lord, who has no religion, caste or creed, and therefore, people should seek refuge in Him and attain the said goal through self-realization. (V111):
Shiv chuy thale thale rozaan,
(The presence of Shiva can be felt everywhere, n every object and creature. How stupid to discriminate between individualsHindus and Muslims! If you are truly sensible recognize your own self. It will help you achieve the eternal truth- the Supreme Lord)
The author has set at rest many myths related to Lallas life as false. However, he has confirmed the ill-treatment meted out to her by her husband and in-laws which she herself confirms in a few vaakhs besides the ridicule, jeering and fun poked at her by the public (V54 & 105). These acts drove her to seek peace and enlightenment through worship of Shiva, the absolute, at the feet of her Guru, Shri Sidh Srikanth known as Sedh-Mol. She strongly believes that only a good teacher (Guru) can show us the right path and one must choose the right Guru to attain salvation in life (V 202-209). In vaakh 206 she writes;
Guraey mol tay guraey maejey,
(The Guru is both mother and father to his disciple. It is he who gives his eyes the spiritual sight and clothes his bare self with celestial garments. The guru is the partaker in the returns for his good deeds and a crusader for all sins committed by him.)
Kus mari tay kasu maran,
(Who will die? Who will be killed? One who is always worried about the interests of his self , home and family and forgets entirely the name of Lord would certainly die and be killed for sure.)
Traishe bochche mo kraishnavun,
(Don’t torture your body by refusing it food and drink to appease Gods. Feed it whenever it needs. Hell with expensive clothes and delicious foods, these can’t make you better. Help others in their need, there is no better worship.)
Omai akuy achchur porum,
(I chanted repeatedly the unique divine word OM and saved it lovingly in my heart with my persistent dedication and love. I was just ash and by its divine grace got transformed to gold.)
About the Author
JAWAHAR LAL BHAT belongs originally to Peth Makahama (Magam) Kashmir. A Post-Graduate in English of 1972 and a teacher by profession he retired as a Senior Lecturer (English) from J&K Education Department in 2004.
He has to his credit six books on English Language improvement and one on Personality Development published by Vee Kumar Publications, New Delhi besides a recently self published book titled Yogiraj Swami Nand Lal Ji Maharaj --- A Biographical Study on the holy life of Swami Ji of Tikkar (Kupwara) Kashmir.
His articles mainly related to KP displacement imbroglio and Kashmir Culture get regularly published in Koshur Samachar Delhi besides Shehjar magazine. The writings of the author are also available on his web page on the following link: http://shehjar.com/jlbhat/articles.html
really a great job. Can i have a copy of the book
Added By Girija Dhar
Great job done by the author. I salute him.
Added By Chander M. Bhat