Pearls of Mystic Poetry in Kashmiri
ashmiri is the most prominent language of the J&K. state, which has a vast and a rich literature of its own. Mystic interpretation is quite evident in Kashmiri poetry, the main focus being on the realisation of the Absolute Self. The mystic poetry in Kashmiri has an indescribable spiritual charm of its own, which gives a wonderful feeling of joy and utmost exhilaration to a reader.
The book 'Mahanay Prakash' by Shatikanath is perhaps the earliest work in Kashmiri in the Sharda script. It comprises of ninety four stanzas and all of them are based on Shavite philosophy.
Chronologically speaking, after Shatikanth, Lal Ded (1339-1400 A.D.) is the first saint poetess of Kashmir; who ushered in a rich literary period in Kashmiri poetry. Lalla was a saint philosopher, who had Sidh Boi, an eminent Sanskrit scholar of that time as her Guru.
Lalleshwari, commonly known as Lal Ded is credited to be the first and supreme exponent of the mystic experience in Kashmiri poetry.
She has left an everlasting impact on the spiritual, cultural and everyday life of Kashmir. Her poetry is an excellent treatise on the indigenous Trika philosophy, which is in the form of mystic verses called 'Vakhs' (a derivation from Sanskrit 'Vakhayan').
Her 'Vakhs', which are poetic compositions of four or sometimes more than four lines, are full of mystic excellence with a spiritual depth and clarity. Lal Ded's verses usually called as 'Lalla Vakhs' are an assertion of her personal spiritual experience and divine grandeur. The Vakhs speak of her communion with the absolute truth called 'Shiva' or God, which Lal Ded says can be realised not by penance but by leading a life, which is simple and free from desire and greed.
"Passionate, with longing in my eyes, Searching wide and seeking nights and days,
Lo! I behold the Truthful one, the wise." Her poetry is replete with her total identification and rapport with the ultimate Truth and Supreme Reality, that is Shiva.
"Ardous it is to seek the Truth and God, Artificial discipline or knowledge profound suffice not, Absorbed in scriptures, very hard one may A communion one can't have, a scholar if one be."
Lal Vakhs preach equality, tolerance, universal love, harmony and brotherhood irrespective of caste, colour and creed. The following mystic verses bear testimony to her spiritual experience.
"I, Lalla, entered through the garden of my soul,
Lo! I saw Shiva and Shakti rolled in one, Overwhelmed with joy, I got immersed there itself."
"If thou art wise, get inside,
Lalla was a true Shaivite both in thought and practice. As for her, Shiva is the supreme reality beyond all conceived.
The saint poet and founder of Reshi order of saints, Sheikh Noor-Ud-Din Noorani (1376-1438. A.D.), also known as Nund Rishi or Sahajanand and Alamdar of Kashmir was a close contemporary of the saint-poetess Lal-Ded.
Rupa Bhawani, another great mystic poetess of Kashmir was born in 1624 A.D. to a spiritual scholar Pandit Madhav Joo Dhar of Mohalla Khanaqahi Sokhta (Safakadal), Srinagar. He was also her spiritual guru. She also enriched Kashmiri literature with her rich mystic poetry. Though, well-versed with both Sanskrit and Persian languages, Rupa Bhawani chose Kashmiri the common man's language as the vehicle for expressing her spiritual thoughts, pursuits and experiences in the form of 'Vakhs.'
Parmanand (real name Nand Ram), born in a village Seer near mattan, presents a refreshing contrast in Kashmiri poetry with his devotional songs and hymns. Being a highly gifted poet of Kashmir, his poetry consisting of "bhajans" and 'leelas' are recited in the marriage and religious functions of Kashmiri Pandits.
Sahib Koul, a devotional poet of seventeenth century translated 'Ram Avtar' in Kashmiri. Apart from it, he has penned down 'Janma Chareth'; in which Sahib Koul eloquently dwells upon the inportance of 'Isht-Deev' and the spiritual guru.
Pandit Govind Koul has also contributed to a large extent to the devotional poetry of Kashmir. Hailing from the village Vanpoh in Anantnag district, his poetry exhibits rich spiritual and devotional depths.
Prakash Kurgami is another outstanding devotional poet of Kashmir, who outshines as a translator of 'Ramayana' in Kashmiri verse. In it, he has enacted the entire life history of Lord Ram in poetry, taking help of local landscape of the Kashmir valley. The use of familiar places of Kashmir like Wangat, Vicharnag, Ramradhan, Narannag, Nunar, Brahmsar and Harmukh etc. invoke lofty feelings and sentiments while reading his translation.
Vasudevji was a close contemporary of Prakash Kurgami. He has written some devotional poems in 'Ram Avtar Charitar.'
Pandit Mirzakak of eighteenth century was also a great mystic poet of Kashmir, who also contributed a lot for the continuation of 'Vakh' tradition in Kashmiri poetry. He was born at the village Hangulgund, which is adjacent to the tourist resort of Kokernag in Anantnag district.
Master Zinda Koul, popularly known as Masterji is another noted mystic poet of Kashmir, who has an illustrious place in the mystic poetry of Kashmir. His poetry establisnes him as a firm believer in Karma theory. The collection of his thirty-five poems in Kashmiri entitled 'Sumran' exhibit a deep influence of Kashmir Shaivism, Vedanta and Upanishads in his poetry.
In addition to it, Thakur Manwati, who was influenced by Krishn Joo Razdan, has also contributed some 'leelas', which were published in 'Amrit Sagar'.
Many Muslim poets have also contributed to the mystic poetry of Kashmir. Sufi mysticism is quite evident in their poems. The said trend was set-in by Rahim Sahib, which was carried forward by Shah Ibrahim, Nyam Sahib, Rehman Dar, and Shams Faqeer. Shams Faqeer, the noted saint-poet initiated a new era in the Muslim mystic poetry; his poems have a synthesis of Sufism and Shavite monism. Two more mystic poets, Wahabkhar of Khrew and Asad Paray of Hajin also echo the mystic vision in their poetry. Ahmed Batwari also stands-out as a prominent poet in the realm of mystic poetry. His allergorical 'Nai' and 'Indrazun Darbar' mystic songs are also an addition to this glorious tradition.
|*The author an M.A. in Kashmiri Literature from Kashmir University is presently the Programme Executor in All India Radio, Jammu.
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Very informative write up....
Added By Chander M. Bhat
An excellent work. Please publish more of Upenderji's work.
Added By Raj Pandita