Lal Ded

Lal Ded

Kashmir has produced many saints, poets and mystics. Among them, Lal Ded is very prominent. In Kashmir, some people consider her a poet, some consider her a holywoman and some consider her a sufi, a yogi, or a devotee of Shiva. Some even consider her an avtar. But every Kashmiri considers her a wise woman. Every Kashmiri has some sayings of Lalla on the tip of his tongue. The Kashmiri language is full of her sayings.

Lal Ded

Kashmiri Hindus and Muslims affectionately call her "Mother Lalla" or "Granny Lalla". She is also called "Lallayogeshwari". Some people call her Lalla, the mystic.

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Granny Lalla

by Braj B. Kachru

Braj B. KachruKashmir has produced many saints, poets and mystics. Among them, Lal Ded is very prominent. In Kashmir, some people consider her a poet, some consider her a holywoman and some consider her a sufi, a yogi, or a devotee of Shiva. Sume even consider her an avtar. But every Kashmiri considers her a wise woman. Every Kashmiri has some sayings of Lalla on the tip of his tongue. The Kashmiri language is full of her sayings. 

Kashmiri Hindus and Muslims affectionately call her "Mother Lalla" or "Granny Lalla". She is also called "Lallayogeshwari". Some people call her Lalla, the mystic. 

It is said that Lal Ded was born in 1355 in Pandrethan to a Kashmiri Pandit family. Even as a child, Lalla was wise and religious-minded. When Lalla was twelve years old, she was married. Her in-laws lived in Pampur. The in-laws gave her the name Padmavati. Her mother-in-law was very cruel. She never gave her any peace. It is claimed that her mother-in-law used to put a stone on Lalla's plate (tha:l). She would then cover the stone with rice so that people would get the impression that Lalla had a plateful of rice. Lalla would remain half fed, but would never complain about her mother-in-law. Her father-in-law was a good man and he was kind to her, but her mother-in-law made her miserable. She would even speak ill of Lalla to her husband. Poor Lalla knew no happiness either with her husband or with her mother-in-law. 

When Lalla was twenty-six she renounced the family and became a devoteeLal Ded
of Shiva. Like a mad person, she would go around naked. 

She became a disciple of Sidh Srikanth. She would only keep the company of sadhus and pi:rs. She did not think in terms of men and women. She would claim that she had yet to encounter a man, and that is why she went about naked. But when she saw Shah Hamdan, she hid herself saying: "I saw a man, I saw a man." 

Why is Lalla so famous in Kashmir? She was illiterate, but she was wise. Her sayings are full of wisdom. In these sayings, she dealt with everything from life, yoga, and God to dharma and a:tma:. Her riddles are on the lips of every Kashmiri. 

The exact date of Lalla's death is not known. It is claimed that she died in Bijbehara (vejibro:r). People like Granny Lalla do not really die. Lal Ded is alive in her sayings and in the hearts of Kashmiris. 

The sayings of Lalla number around two hundred.

Five Sayings of Lal Ded


By a way I came, but I went not by the way.
While I was yet on the midst of the embankment
with its crazy bridges, the day failed for me.
I looked within my poke, and not a cowry came to hand
(or, atI, was there).
What shall I give for the ferry-fee?
(Translated by G. Grierson)


Passionate, with longing in mine eyes,
Searching wide, and seeking nights and days,
Lo' I beheld the Truthful One, the Wise,
Here in mine own House to fill my gaze.
(Translated by R.C. Temple)


Holy books will disappear, and then only the mystic formula will remain.
When the mystic formula departed, naught but mind was left.
When the mind disappeared naught was left anywhere,
And a voice became merged within the Void.
(Translated by G. Grierson)


You are the heaven and You are the earth,
You are the day and You are the night,
You are all pervading air,
You are the sacred offering of rice and flowers and of water;
You are Yourself all in all,
What can I offer You?


With a thin rope of untwisted thread
Tow I ever my boat o'er the sea.
Will God hear the prayers that I have said?
Will he safely over carry me?
Water in a cup of unbaked clay,
Whirling and wasting, my dizzy soul
Slowly is filling to melt away.
Oh, how fain would I reach my goal.
(Translated by R.C. Temple)

A Tribute to Lalla Yogeshwari - Pride and Soul of Kashmir

Pride and Soul of Kashmir

by P.K. Kaul

Man's preoccupation with acquiring and adding to his material comforts has assumed such proportions that his belief in God and his native divinity are dismissed as primitive, irrational and unscientific sentiments. He marches through life deeply committed to his material well-being and as deeply indifferent to and ignorant of his spiritual needs. Through its continual contact with the phenomenal world the mind, thus, keeps our consciousness tethered to the physical plane, identifying the material world outside, instead of the Self within, as the main focus of attention. We identify ourselves as mortal bodies with great gusto and, unfortunately, ignore the immortal Life-Force, which brings this otherwise corpse of a body alive and gives it meaning, with extreme neglect. In spite of being the repositories of the priceless gem, we masquerade as beggars, unable to keep pace with our desires, associating ourselves with death rather than life and seeking tinsel and trash in the ever changing material world which is never likely to give us anything better than decay and death. This is typical of life in the current Kali age which is characterised by the decline in morality, prevalence of falsehood and upsurge of selfishness, greed and hatred.

Whilst going through the literature available on the life and times of Lalla Yogeshwari, one of the greatest apostles of light and love that Kashmir has known, who was equally revered by Hindus and Muslims alike, I was deeply touched by the profundity of the spiritual truths enshrined in her wise sayings urging mankind to recognise its divine heritage, to give up the frivolities of material existence and rise above hypocrisy and sectarian bigotry. Marvelling at the sweetness and sublimity of her timeless utterances suffused with great tenderness and love, and reflecting upon how she would have reacted to the quality of life today, I was inspired to pen down, following in her style, the following eight verses as a tribute to the memory of that great yogini:

        1. Yottaani pozz pazzay, tottaani aalam dazzay,
             Pazzarich pritchagaar kaansi no wannay;
            Apazuk vodbav gatchaan hani hannay,
            Pazzaruk moll na-ba chhui kuni kannay.

What a great pity that we wake up to the Truth only when it is too late! No one seems to be the least bit inclined or disposed towards acknowledging the Reality or seeking the Truth in time. As falsehood and untruth appear to flourish by and by, Reality and Truth, as surely, recede beyond reach and recognition.

         2. Assalichi ropayi no chhui kanh ti pritchaan,
             Khotchi ropayi ho bisyaar sood meilaan;
             Pozz chhonaan apuz yasla vopdaan,
             Buthi buthi dith-ti-no paayas pyavaan.

Recognising the Truth (immortality of Atma, the Life-Force) has gone out of fashion; the blind worship of untruth (identity with the body-mind complex) is seen to reap rich dividends. As the Truth gets devalued, falsehood gets up-valued exponentially. Even though it brings us nothing but grief and unhappiness yet, strangely, we seem unable or unwilling to alter our course towards self- destruction!

        3. Choora akh wuchhum watta paanchh meinaan,
            Khevaan chavaan ta taav taav karaan;
            Dalimati magazav watti watti pheiraan,
            Hairaan ta wairaan, saar na-kenh soaraan.

A thief I saw roaming the five streets. Mind which is nothing but a bundle of thoughts and desires is the thief referred to. It reaches out, makes contact with and enjoys the objects of the world, through the five senses of touch, taste, sight, sound and smell. It gathers unto itself the impressions from these objects forming veil upon veil of ignorance. Since the objects are not permanent, the impressions gathered therefrom cannot be lasting either. They are but passing shadows without any substance and are therefore referred to as ignorance. Having lost its marbles, this thief (mind) bis wallowing in sense pleasures, completely baffled and bewildered and utterly ruined with nothing to show for its troubles.

        4. Beni-boay maij-ta-mole yem thov na vannay,
            Assalich wath su-no vuchhi kuni kannay;
            Dara dara darbadar pheri kanni kannay,
            Sahaz kar vechaar nata kyah bannay.

He who does not heed the counsel of wisdom (from his well-wishers), he who does not respond to the prompting of his inner conscience and use his powers of discrimination, he will never find himself treading the path of Truth. From door to door and pillar to post (enjoying one desire after another, yet never satiating the hunger) will he find himself wandering aimlessly and unfulfilled. Contemplate this truth with due diligence, otherwise you might as well give up any notion of redemption.

        5. Hess ta hoash dallimit, annigatti wallimit,
            Bar mandinen ho choor chiiy farimit;
            Kaam kroodh loobh mooh chovaapaerfalirnit,
            Zinda paanas chhiy morada jaama gandimit.

You seem to have taken complete leave of your senses and allowed yourself to be enveloped by darkness (of ignorance). Under the cloak of this darkness with which you have chosen to wrap yourself, you have enabled the robbers to gain entry even in broad day-light! In consequence, desire, anger, greed, attachment, pride and jealousy, the six deadly foes, are enjoying the freedom of the house with absolute impunity and robbing you of your peace and tranquillity. Remember! The Life-Force (Atma) never dies, the body-mind complex, no better than a piece of meat in a butcher's shop, is never alive; what a pity then that you should parade the precious immortal Self as the lifeless mortal body!

        6. Tchu kus ta ba kus, hu kyah ta yi kyah,
            Apazui aalam rozavun kati kyah;
            Fungaryomut chhukh, taaras dikh kyah,
            Swopna-maay chain maali, gaj gah chhu kyah.

Who are you and who am I? What is that and what is this? Questions such as these only underline the apparent diversity and manifoldness of the manifested universe and ignore the all important underlying unity and oneness. Since the universe is changing, inconstant and transitory, how can it possibly fit the definition of the unchanging and eternal Truth? Ask yourself, what aspect of the universe composed of the five primordial elements will endure and last? Having squandered all powers of discrimination in subservience to the unruly mind, you have rendered yourself bankrupt and become destitute; what O what fee will you render to redeem yourself with? Wake up to the real isation before it is too late that what you behold through the five senses is nothing but a grand illusion, a dream, however well designed, well laid out and real it may appear to be.

        7. Azapa Gayatri manas laya annay,
            Mana choor dalli-bhramma teli hani hannay;
            Catta chali gaash yiya, pozz ada nunnay,
            Soo-Ham dui chalith akui AUM sunnay.

Let your life breath dance to the tune of He am (So-Hum) and I am He (Hum-Sah). Only taming it thus can the flippant mind be trained to gradually rid itself of its delusion, and only thereafter will the dark clouds of ignorance lift, letting in the light of wisdom and experiencing the effulgence of theAtma. And then, in time, will even the duality of He and I dissolve, yielding place to AUM, one Truth, One God.

        8. Woth zuva beh traav, praan mo raavraav,
            Somana maali huend mokhta mo chhakaraav;
            Bhakhti-bhaav praavith agyaan chalaraav,
           Aham gaal, Meuon traav, sahaz prakaash praav.

Wake up therefore and stir into action O slothful ignoramus! Squander not the precious gift of life, cast away not before the swine tne pearls of wisdom, waste not your breath and effort; seek out and secure the lamp of faith and devotion and with the help of its light dispel the darkness of ignorance. Get rid of the notion of 'I and Mine' and, through the dissolution of the thinking and the calculating mind in the supreme effulgence of the Atma, earn the right to proclaim the victory of Truth over falsehood, of Light over darkness, of Life over death. As a tribute to our beloved mother Lalla, it is my earnest hope that, in spite of the trying times we find ourselves in, we do not lose the true perspective on life, but live upto her ideals and make our sojourn on earth a worthwhile pilgrimage.

Key to the Understanding of Lal Ded

by R. N. Kaul

Part 1

R.N. KaulIt is common knowledge that Lalla Ded (1320-1389) lived in the fourteenth century. This was the most unfavourable time for the cultivation of mystical powers lying dormant in our beings. The Happy Valley was passing through traumatic events of political and religious turmoil. Sandwiched between the two extremes of orthodox Brahmanism and aggressive Islam (due to some fanatics) there emerged a tradition or 'cult' engendered by Hindu mystics and Muslim sufis of the time. It was in reality the resurgence of an indigenous tradition of the unique Kashmiri psyche known for its tolerance, secularism, universal brotherhood and love, in short, of humanism. In this synthesis of cultures Lalla Ded was destined to play a leading role. Her special contribution to this synthetization was to give it a mystical content. She was closely followed by Sheikh- Noor-ud-din (1376-1438). Both, she in her vaakh and he in his srukh emphasized the importance of over-coming the senses and the wavering mind and concentrating on Sadhana (meditation) as a means to attain salvation, the merging of individual soul with the Universal Consciousness. It really meant the realizing of the Divine in one's own being. This tradition of mystic ecstasy was continued, enriched and strengthened by later mystic poets and poetesses like Rupa Bhawani, Parmanand (1791-1874), Shams Fakir (1834-1904), Abdul Ahad Zargar and a host of others.

The secret of Lalla Ded's perennial appeal lies in her power to translate into

Photo Courtesy: Anjali Kaul, Austin

metaphors and symbols the longing of man to know ('the burthen and the mystery'), to feel, at least vicariously, one with the infinite, the supreme power that inheres in all things. Her outbursts are clothed in her verse-sayings so succinctly and yet so communicatively that these have continued to hold us as if under a spell. That charm and that appeal are like Keats's "magic casements" to make the Solider- Scholar Temple utter:

Thine is a- song that enslaveth me,
Son of an alien kin and clime.

Shiekh Noor-ud Din wrote:

The Lalla of padmanpur-
She drank her fill of divine nectar,
She was indeed an avatar of ours,
Oh God, grant me the self-same boon.

Shamas Fakir has this to say:

 Lalla merged her prana in the Transcendent.
While she went to bathe
At the sacred shrine of shurahyar bank,
With a leap into the water
She swam across to meet her God.

Lalla Ded's perennial appeal stems from the fact that she spoke in the idiom of the masses, the vernacular kashmiri and not in Sanskrit. She in fact, became the founder of modern Kashmiri, the Kashmiri that with slight changes down the years, continues to retain the infrastructure of Lalla's making.

But the essentiality of Lalla Ded's appeal lies in her mystical experience or anubhav clothed in nearly intelligible languages. Thoughshe did not give rise to any order as such and did not present any systematized philosophy, yet the direction of her sayings in unmistakable, an ethico-mystical message is inescapable. There is a method in her 'madness' or personal ecstasy. She lays down a moral code and prescribes rules for attaining spiritual salvation.

The present article is an attempt to explain, in as simple a manner as humanly possible, the technique Lalla Ded followed to reach her destination: discovering the Supreme residing in the depths of her own soul. She adopted the theory and practice of Trika 'Sastra' called Kashmir Shaivism, The technique has a physiological mystical content. It adopts the Laya Yoga though other yogas exist like Hatta Yoga, Mantra Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Bakhti Yoga. In kashmiri the Laya Yoga is called the kundalini Yoga. According to this yoga there are six Cakras (Chakras) or centres of Cosmic power in the human body. The Kundalini Sakti is supposed to lie coiled round the svayambhu (the genital part) at the muladhara Cakra. This Sakti is roused through yogis exercises or mantras and brought up through the six circles to the highest centre, the Sahasrara, the abode of Siva. A kind of mystical bridge is established to help the Kundalini Shakti to reach this highest point. There exists a nadi (in the abstract) called Sushumna nadi which enables the practiser to reach this seat of Siva and enjoy the mystical taste of nectar oozing from Shashikala, Digit of the Moon. To understand it better one has to become more familiar with Kashmir Sahivism. Parmasiva is the highest metaphysical principle of this system. It has two aspects: one, the static, the eternal changeless and Pure Consciousness, two, the dynamic, the one in constant flux. The first is named Siva, the second Shakti, the two being one and the same. Man's spiritual goal is to establish identity of the two in his own being. This effort is obstructed by the power of the senses and the waywardness of the mind over our higher existence. The world is like a magnetic illusion and the bold ofthe senses is so strong that man lives many lives to seek their satisfaction. And the most formidable task for the seeker of the Infinite according to the Laya yoga is that he has to die (control his/her senses) and know the Supreme Self while alive. The mind can be controlled through the vital energy of consciousness centered in the body in the form of Susumna nadi, the uneven movement of prana and apana is brought to a uniform rhythm by breath control. The Susumna nadi extends from the muladhara at the base near the rectum right up to Sahasrara in the crown of the head along the spinal cord. It is through this subtle mystical corridor that Kundalini Sakti rises upwards to meet her consort Siva in that thousand-petalled lotus of Sahasrara Within these two extremes are six centres of energy cilled cakras or lotuses. These are:

1. Muladhar - at the base of the spinal cord.
2. Suadhishsthana - at the base of the reproductive organ
3. Manipur - in the region of the navel
4. Anahata - in the region of the heart
5. Visudha - near the throat
6. Ajna - between the two eyebrow

There are two other nadis running parallel to the Susmna. These are ida and pingla. Prana flows through the former while apana flows through the latter. The two breaths are kept in perfect balance through the practice of yoga. All the channels (nadis) join at the two eyebrows' junction; this point is called Triveni, symbolic confluence of Ganga, Jamuna and Saraswati. The Rundalini Sakti which normally lies dormant is awakened by yogic exercises and it then cuts its way through the six cakras to meet 'her' consort Shiva in Sahasrara, Prana goes upwards while apana downwards. To attain spiritual goal, man has to control five pranas, ten indriyas and their controller, the wavering mind. This is done through abhyas or yoga practice. Prana rises at the heart and ends at a distance of twelve fingers from the nose. To attain absolute control, the mystic syllable OM is repeated with rise and fall of breath as it travels through - subtle channels another mantra is called hamsah. This mantra enables the yogis to concentrate. At each of these points there occurs a split second in which prana remains still. It is this interval which brings the seeker to the abode of Siva. The unstuck sound of anahata or OM coincides with hamsa. There is complete merger of man's soul with Universal Soul; then there is an ecstatic revelation that the two are in reality one:

Through the central channel of Susumna
I reached the sanctum sanctorum of my own soul
And lo! I beheld Siva and Sakti sealed in one.
Feeling ecstatic I reached the nectar-lake of the mystic moon
Apparently dead, I am now really alive.

The same anubhawa is expressed in another telling vaakh:

I held firm the reins of the horse, my mind,
I controlled well the pranas coursing through the ten nadis;
Then did the nectar of the mystic moon
Melt and flow, suffusing my whole being,
The mind thus curved,
My void merged with the void of pure consciousness.

Thus Lalla Ded, without rejecting the flesh altogether but accepting it only as a necessary evil, found her spiritual salvation within her own self.

I discovered the Lord
Within the walls of my own soul.

Note: The author has consulted many books written on Lalleshwari especially those of Jaya Lal Koul and Nil Kanth-Kotru.

Part 2

'Lali me nilavath tchol no zah'

Life and Legend

It is not only natural but almost imperative to blend fact with legend when dealing with the lives of saints or mystics. Miracles become integral parts of their messages or of their personal experiences. Even if no miracles occur, it is sometimes necessary to invent some in order to brighten the halos round their heads and then great saints, mystics and prophets become God's instruments to bring under discipline the moral and spiritual and even secular lives of men and women living on this planet of ours. These miracles become proofs of their spiritual powers or of their powers of endurance and self-restraint. Divested of these their lives become dull studies and their messages fail to convince the masses.

Little is historically known about Lalla's life. She lived in the fourteenth century (1320? to 1389?) as the oral tradition declares. She was born and brought up in the reign of Alau-ud-Din (1344-55) and died in the reign of Sultan Shihabud Din (1355-73). Her name is first mentioned in 1654 by Baba Dawud Mushkati in his Asrarul-Abrar (The secret of the Pious). Then followed her mention in Waqiate Kashmir completed in 1746. Some names testify to her life and to her miracles. Her vaakhs too furnish some internal evidence to her existence and to some of the hardships she had to undergo. That her immediate successor, the mystic Sheikh Noorud Din Noorani (1377-1438) should mention Lalla's name in one of his outbursts confirms her existence. It is said that she fed the newly born babe (Sheikh Noorud Din) at her motherly breast and that he became her disciple in the mystic lore and experience.

Hence it follows that the legends that are associated with her name are things taken for granted by the people. In all hagiologies, whether written or handed down through tradition, it is that the miracles associated with a saint assume greater significance. In fact though never verified these miracles establish the greatness of these aints in peoples' hearts. In this no rational analysis can be offered. The 'bluish something' as Gandhi called Lord Krishna lifted the hill Goverdhan on His little finger; Hanumana brought an entire mountain from the Himalayan ranges to the southern shores of Bharat; Christ walked the waves and brought the dead to life. And Lal Ded remembered her past janamas (lives) as a woman giving birth to a son, in another janama getting born as a filly at village Marhom. The filly died and was reborn as a pup at Vejibror. There a tiger killed the filly in the disguise of a pup. This was verified by Lalla's guru Sidha Shrikanth. All the cycle of birth and death was repeated the seventh time at Pandrethan. She was born at Sempore near Pampore and at the age of 12 was married to Nika (Sona) Bhat of Drangbal near Pampore. Her vaakhs tell us of Lalla Ded's belief in transmigration of the soul. She refers to her herself having witnessed the whole valley being changed into a vast lake from Hannukha in the north-west to Konsar Nag in the south of Kashmir. Was she alive during the period when the valley was Sati Sar?

But it is after her marriage that more miracles and legends begin to gather round her life. Born and brought up till her marriage in an atmosphere of leaming that she obtained in her parent's home. Lalla became a mistress of the spiritual lore, of the Bhagwad Gita, of tantric practices prevalent at the time, especially of Trika Shastra or what is Popularly known as Kashmir Shaivism. She had learnt and imbibed certain spiritual sadhanas before she was locked in marital relationship with Nika Bhat. In picking up Laya Yoga, the inspiration and guidance of Sidha Mol, her family guru, must have been extra-ordinary indeed. In those days girls were married even before they attained puberty and the marital communication took place when the girl had advanced far beyond her teens. It is therefore safe to assume that at her in-laws' Lalla continued her Sadhana. In those days the atmosphere at the in-laws for a maiden daughter-in-law was naturally conservative and extremely orthodox. And it must have been particulary suffocating for the spiritually and aesthetically sensitive Lalita, who had now become Padmavati. Her beloved was Sankara, and estrangement between the husband and wife must have surfaced much earlier. The villains of the peace must have been

(i) the malignant and proverbially harsh mother-in-law and

(ii) Lalla's own sadhana which must have made her averse to sensual indulgence. The mother-in-law's behaviour has given rise to another legend. The father-in-law is generally generous and of caring nature whereas the mother-in-law is only practising the persecution she herself must have home at the hands of her own mother-in-law. And the son is always led by the nose by the mother acting as the wire-puller at the 'puppet show'. The story goes that Lalla's mother-in-law would invariably conceal a stone (nilavath) beneath the small fare of rice that was Lalla's share. And she gulped down the little rice without any grumbling. Had she complained, she would have been shown the door. Hence Lalla moans- they may have mutton, but for Lalla the stone is the only fare.

We can imagine how Lalla's endurance must have exhausted the vindictive powers of her mother-in-law. She took recourse to other more reprehensible tricks. It was Lalla's habit to rise early go to the ghat with an earthen pitcher under her arm and before collecting water, she would spend time on ablutions and yogic exercises like breath control etc., while going across to the temple of Natakeshaw Bhairaw. The mother-in-law had insinuated to her son that Lalla was not faithful to him. And on one fine morning another miracle occurred. Her husband waited for Lalla to return, with the firm resolve to shove her out of his home. He had his diabolical form and his stick behind the door. As Lal Ded approached, Nika Bhat struck the pitcher. It is believed that the pitcher broke into pieces but the water content remained intact in a frozen state. Lalla filled each household pot with water till not a drop more was needed. The broken pitcher was flung outside where at once a fresh water spring appeared. This spring is now dried up but to this day it is called Laila Trag (trag means "pond"). As the historian Pir Ghulam Hassan has stated, this spring went dry in 1925-26.

The miracle of the pitcher turned out to be a watershed in Lalla's relationship with her in-laws and in her much more important relationship with the Supreme Consciousness. By this time most probably she had still to receive the 'word', the occult, rather cryptic or esoteric light from her guru as to what course she should adopt to know the Eternal in her own Self. She left her in-laws for good and took to wandering as an ascetic, a sanyasin in search of Enlightenment. The story goes that she wandered almost naked like a mad person who does not care for any formality of dress. The legend goes that her lul or belly protruded forward, bent itself to cover her private parts. People therefore forgot her original maiden name of Lalita (shortened to Lalla in Kashmir) and began to call her Lalla Ded/Lal Ded, the granny with the belly dangling down. This is surely hearsay and cannot be reconciled to the fact that she was christened Lalita. Muslims later on claimed her conversion to Islam and called her Lalla Arifa. But the reality is that all kinds of stories and legends grew up as time massed on and threw a pall of obscurity on the period during which she lived her life. Yes, for her the Hindu ritualistic system became meaningless to find the Source in her own body. Distinctions between religions and castes became redundant for the mystic of Lalla's stature:


The Lord pervades everywhere, There is nothing like Hindu or Musalman; (All distinctions melt away) If thou art wise, know thyself, Seek the Lord within.

The legend of the belly bulging downwards appears to be mischievously invented because if Lalla Ded were moving naked in the streets how could she have incarnated herself as the Muse of knowledge or, more precisely speaking, as the Muse of Poetry. If true, the legend confirms her miraculous powers.

And finally the legend associated with her mahasamadhi, getting freed from the mortal coil of her body and getting blissfully merged with that which shall last for ever-the Infinite Soul, Lalla's Siva. When claimed by both the Hindus and the Muslims alike, Lalla performed a postmortem miracle. There arose a flame of light from her dead body and without anyone realizing what was happening, it vanished into the void

"shoonyas shoonyaa meelith gav"

Many such miracles are associated with the mahasamadhis of saints and mystics or even prophets. Christ's body left the Cross and ascended as if divinely winged to the abode of the Lord to be resurrected again. Sant Kabir's corpse proved mystically elusive to the Muslims and to the Hindus who were fighting each other to claim it for their distinctive funeral rites. It is said that Mira Bhai's soul merged with the idol of Ranchodeshji making the body invisible. Lalla Ded is said to have attained Nirvana in 1389 or so. But her metaphors which clothe her mystical practice in the form of vaakh continue to inspire mankind.

[The author, Prof. R.N. Kaul, former Principal, is one of our veteran scholars of English and a fine writer, well-known for his book on Shiekh Mohd. Abdullah. He lives in Jammu.]

Article reproduced from: Patrika

Lal Vakhs

Lal Ded was born in 1326 A.D.(approx.) 669 years ago daughter of a Kashmiri Brahman named Cheta Bhat near Pampore, Kashmir, based on majority of evidence. She is believed to be a Parmahamsa by her devotees. Studying Her works one is convinced that She is indeed a Parmahamsa.

Lal Ded
Lal Ded

Rupa Bhawani (1625-1721) regarded her as a supreme guru: Lal man Lal paramagwaram

Parmanand (1791-1879): Unique in her yoga of dwadashanta mandala, Realizing anahata, nada-bindu and Om, Lalleshwari attained to the Supreme Ananda.

The books that will be used are:

1. JK: Lal Ded by Jayalal Kaul, Sahitya Akademi, Rabindra Bhavan, 35 Ferozeshah Road, New Delhi-1, and as reference,

2. BNP: The Ascent of Self by B. N. Parimoo, Motilal Banarsidass, Bungalow road, Jawahar Nagar, Delhi-7.

3. NKK: Lal Ded Her life and sayings by Nil Kanth Kotru , Utpal publications, Rainawari, Srinagar, ISBN81-85217-02-5. He has the same number of vakhs in the same order as JK. Also, his vakhs are in Devnagri script which is then transliterated in English by us.

The order of the Vakhs are from Jayalal Kaul's (JK) book (1. above) and only one line of the original 'Vakh' is given by JK with the English translation of the entire verse is what is written here. In few cases the translation is from other authors, in which case it will be pointed out. The rest of the Vakh is by either BNP or transliterated from Devngri script given by NKK.

There are three teams of authors that JK gives which have verses that are concordant with all his 138 verses:

AK: Lalla yogishwari, Anand Kaul, reprint from the Indian Antiquary, Vols. L, LIX, LX, LXI, LXII.

LV: Lalla-Vakyani, Sir George Grierson and Dr. Lionel D. Barnett Litt. D.(R. A. S. monograph, Vol. XVII, London 1920).

WC: Vaakh Lalla Ishwari, Parts I and II (Urdu Edition by A. K. Wanchoo and English by Sarwanand Chaaragi, 1939).

Lal Ded was far above the realm of being a Realized Soul. This is why a title of a Parmahamsa is just a word or a phrase being used to understand where She is coming from.

For the pragmatic thinkers among us please consider this question for it will tells you about Lal Ded.

It is a fact that Lal Ded did not say these Vakhs for the sake of preaching, or taking the position of a teacher or one sermonizing us. She would often speak to Herself and teach Herself as will be clear from the Vakhs. Applying the usual Vedantist reasoning Who is the Speaker of the Vakh and to whom? In many ways She answers this question Herself in Her last Vakh.

138. last vakh of JK (Kaul)
138. of NKK

yi yi karu'm suy artsun
yi rasini vichoarum thi mantar
yihay lagamo dhahas partsun
suy Parasivun tanthar

Whatever work I did became worship of the Lord;
Whatever word I uttered became a mantra;
Whatever this body of mine experienced became
(*yih yath lagyam dehas paritsay)
the sadhana-s of Saiva Tantra
illumining my path to Parmasiva.

* refers to the second line in this Vakh (verse) with reference to Lalleswari Vakyani, Rajanaka Bhaskara, 60 verses translated into Sanskrit.

Also, this tells us that people of her stature are born with Self awareness only a little rubbing is needed for them to manifest their Divinity. I believe that They are Put in such a position for the benefit of humanity at large.

Since I do not have as yet these references please try to cross check the Kashmiri with the translation and transliteration. Note the sound A is equal to the stressed sound on a is equal to aa, eg., naavi=nAvi=boat.

Lalla-Vakhs in Sharda Script (old MS.)
Lalla-Vakhs in Sharda Script (old MS.)
Courtesy: Bhaskar Razdan

1. of JK
4. or p.206 of BNP


Ami pana so'dras nAvi ches lamAn
Kati bozi Day myon meyti diyi tAr
Ameyn tAkeyn poniy zan shemAn
Zuv chum bramAn gara gatshaha.

With a rope of loose-spun thread am I towing
my boat upon the sea.
Would that God heard my prayer
and brought me safe across!
Like water in cups of unbaked clay
I run to waste.
Would God I were to reach my home!

Note: She compares Herself with unbaked clay which slowly wastes away all that one has earned, easily mixing with material nature rather than being above it or in control of it. Thus, She pleads with God with pique in heart to take Her across the sea to Her real home.

2. of JK
14. of BNP

La'lith-la'lith vaday boh vAy(bo dAy*)
Tseyta muhac peyiy mAy
Roziy no pata looh-laengarac tshAy
Niz-swarup kyAh mothuy hAy

* is by JK

I will weep and weep for you, O Mind;
(my Soul) The world hath caught you in its spell.
Though you cling to them with the anchor of steel,
Not even the shadow of the things you love Will go with you when you are dead.
Why then have you forgot your own true Self ?

Many of the Buddhist symbols and ideas will show up in these verses, 'Vakhs'. The idea of Buddhist clinging appears here. Recall that Kashmir was one of the major centers from where Buddhism spread through out Asia.

Reminds me of a story I read on the net some time ago. A Zen master is asked what is the secret of his success. After much persistence by the student, one day the master asks him to get a thick long steel chain and he demonstrates to his student by trying to chain himself to a huge pillar. The student does not understand, the master explains; stop clinging to the world like this demonstration.

Note that the true Self is the Reality only one has forgotten It. By not clinging to the unreal or that which is not permanent does the true Self dawn upon us.

3. of JK

tala chuy zyus ta pyattha chukh natsaan
vanta mali man khit pachan chuy
soruy sombrit yati chuy machan
vanta mali anna khit rotchan chuy

There is a yawning pit underneath you,
and you are dancing overhead.
Pray, Sir, how can you bring yourself to dance ?
See, the riches you are amassing here,
nothing of them will go with you.
Pray, Sir, how can you relish your food and drink ?

Parmahamsa RamaKrishna says that God which has cast a net in the ocean of the world is waiting to draw the net anytime, this is how He Plays this Game of Maya. He says some fishes by nature are so clever that they are never caught in this net. They are the nitya siddhas. Naradh is an example of this. The class which Lal Ded is referring here is the worldly class who hide deeper into worldliness, i.e., in the mud with the net and all. To wake these people up Lal Ded has really addressed this Vakh #3 to them. It is not just enough to understand or be aware of the problem we humans face but also to feel this reality so much that it is difficult to swallow any food or drink. This kind of renunciation can be sensed in the next few versus as well.

4. of JK
4. of NKK and
17. of BNP

hacivi haa'rinji pyatsuv kaan gom
abahak chaan pyom yath raazdhaana
alanjz bhag bazaras kuluph rous vaan gom
tirith rous paan goam kus maali zaana

A wooden bow and rush grass for an arrow:
A carpenter unskilled and a palace to build:
A shop unlocked in a busy bazaar:
A body uncleansed by waters holy-
Oh dear ! who knows what hath befallen me ?

5. of JK and NKK
16. of BNP

aayas vate gayas naa vate
suman satha lusum dho
vuchum chandas har no atha
ath nav taras dim kyha bha

By the highway I came,
But by the highway I return not.
And so I find me still on the embarkment,
not having gone even half the way,
And the day is done, the light has failed.
I search my pockets but not a cowrie find:
What shall I pay for the ferry fee ?

Just as in any field of study without putting effort one cannot expect to get results. Vivekananda says it took Him a life time of practice to gain the little he learnt. The problem is to separate the real from the unreal, who we truly are from what we are not, keeping the inner peace and equanimity all the time. The consciousness has as if got mixed with what one is not. Parmahamsa RamaKrishna Says keep churning the buttermilk until butter is formed and it floats but does not get mixed with water. After reaching this state does one see that what we are not is also a part of that Self. This can be done either through bhakti, jnana, raja, or karma yoga.

6. of JK
60. of BNP

Kyaah kara paantsan dahan ta kaahan,
Vakhshun yath leyji yim karith gay;
Saoriy samahan yeythi razi lamahan,
Ada kyaazi raavhe kaahan gaav

Ah me! the Five (Bhuta-s), the ten (Indriya-s),
And the Eleventh, their lord the mind,
scraped this pot* and went away.
Had all together pulled on the rope,
Why should the Eleventh have lost the cow ?
(Why should the soul have gone astray?)

* This me, this ghata (in trika Saiva terminology, the individual person, his living body.)

Lal Ded is showing us how to control the mind. If one feels for the Lord by all the senses (five of them) and by their five activities (total 10) as well towards the Lord, automatically giving the Lord control over the 11th the mind. This should remind you of Arjun and Lord Krishna in the Chariot with five pair of horses. I feel, the same is achieved by chanting where one does not distinguish between the Lord and His Name and also one ignores or weeds out all other unnecessary thoughts (Teachings of Lord Chaitanya Maha Prabhu 500 B.C.) Parmahamsa RamaKrishna also says purify your mind and you shall see God/Self as you see me but only more intensely.

7. of JK
7. of NKK and
78. of BNP

atshyan+ aay ta gatushun gatshe
pakun gatshe then kyho raath
yor aya turiy gatshun gatshe
khenata khenata kheneta kyha

For ever we come, for ever we go;
For ever, day and night, we are on the move.
Whence we come, thither we go,
For ever in the round of birth and death,
From nothingness to nothingness.
But sure, a mystery here abides,
A Something is there for us to know.
(It cannot all be meaningless).

+Variation atshan ay (Bhaskara): We have become emaciated with age and have to depart. Nothing endures.

The nothingness in verse 7. is the concept of Shunya of Lord Buddha. Here, Lal Ded tells us that God/Bhagvan/Self exists and all this is not a meaningless journey.

8. of JK
19. of BNP

aayas kami dishi ta kami vate
Gatsha kami deyshi kava zaana vath;
antidaay lagimay tate,
Chanis phookas kanh ti no sath.

Whence I have come and by which way,
I do not know.
Wither I shall go and by which way,
I do not know.
Were I to know the end of it all
And gain the knowledge of the truth,
(it would be well, for otherwise)
Life here is but an empty breath.

9. of JK
2. of BNP

gaattulah akh vuchum bwachi suu'ty maraan
Pan zan haraan Pohani vaava laah
Neyshibodh akh vuchum vaazas maaraan
Tana Lalla bha praaraan tseyneym-na praah.

I have seen a learned man die of hunger,
A sere leaf drop in winter wind;
I have seen an utter fool beat his cook
(who could not make a toothsome dish).
Since then I, Lalla, anxiously await
The day when the lure of the world will fall away.

10. of JK
10. of NKK

da'mi dithu'm nad vahavu'ni
da'mi dyuthum suum na'th tar
da'mi dithu'm thr fuwalwani
da'mi dyuthum gul na'th khaar

Now I saw a stream flowing;
Now neither bank nor bridge was seen.
Now I saw a bush in bloom;
Now neither rose nor thorn was seen.

11. of JK
11. of NKK

da'mii dhitthu'm ga'j dazu'vu'nii
da'mii dyuthum dh'ha na'th naar
da'mii dhitthu'm Pandavan hu'unz ma'ji
da'mii dhitthu'm kraji mass

Now I saw the hearth ablaze,
Now I saw not fire nor smoke.
Now I saw the Pandava Mother,
Now she was but a potters' aunt

12. of JK and NKK
94. of BNP

tsAmar cha'tu'r rath siihAsan
aahlad nAtiya-ras tuula-paryankh,
KyAh mAnith yeti sthir Aswani?
Kawa zana kAsiy maranann shaenkh

A royal fly-whisk, sunshade, chariot and throne, Merry revels,
pleasures of the theater, a bed of cotton down-
Which of these, you think, will go with you when you are dead ?
How then can you dispel the fear of death ?

13. of JK and NKK
95. of BNP

kyAh bo'dhukh muha bhava-so'dri dare
Swoth lUrith peyiy tama pankh;
Yama-bhAth karanay kali choradAre,
Kawa zana kAsiy maranann shenkh.

Why have you sunk deep in the sea
of the illusory pleasures of the world ?
Why have you pulled down the high-banked road
which could have led you safe across ?
The dense darkness of tamas surrounds you now,
and, at the appointed time,
Yama's apparitors prepare to drag
your body bleeding to death.
Who can dispel your fear of death ?

14. of JK.
15. of BNP.

haa tsitta* kava chuy lo'gmut parmas**
Kava goy apazis pazyuk broent,
Dushibooz vash kooranakh par daramas
Yina gatshana zyena-maranas kroent.

Why do you dote upon someone, my Soul,
who is not your true love ?
Why have you taken the false for the true?
Why can't you understand, why can't you know?
It is ignorance that binds you to the false,
To the ever-recurring wheel of birth and death, this coming and going.

* & ** lit. citta, individual consciousness, the self, drunk with wine offered by another, not produced or brought by oneself. Fig. used for man infatuated with someone other than his wife or his true love; here the unreal, not the true Self.

15. of JK.

haa manshi kyaazi chukh vuthaan s'ki lavar

O man, why do you twist a rope of sand?
You cannot tow your boat with it.
What God has written "in karma's line"#
Cannot be altered or reversed.

#'Karma'is the word in the original. God decrees reward or punishment not arbitrarily as one's 'fate', but according to ones karma. Ceremonial rites, pujas and yajnas and the like are 'rope of sand' and will not avail to change what God has decreed; for man must take the consequence of karma.

However, if one is repentant of ones mistakes and does not repeat them then the prayers (japa) have the power of reducing the effect of karma to a large extent. The role of an umbrella (prayer) in the scorching sun is an example and karma being reduced to a pin prick instead of breaking a leg is another. A Vedantin like Swami Vivekananda would say 'you are It' nothing can touch you so be brave and face your karma by watching the external as one watches a movie.

16. of JK.
16. of NNK (to be filled)

tsarman tsa't.ith ditith pa'ny paanas

What was it you had sown which should have borne a rich harvest?
You had but tanned a carcass hide,
shaped and stretched it taut on pegs,
(Your only care your own body which you pegged to the bonds of desire).
But counsel to a fool is labour lost,
Like a ball thrown at a big-sized pillar,
rebounding but not hitting the mark;
Or fruitless as feeding a tawny bullock on sweet molasses,
And expect a yield of milk from him.

17. of JK
17. of NNK (to be filled)

niyam karyoth garbaa

In your mother's womb you vowed
not to be born again.*
When will you recall the vow ?

And die, even while alive
(to all desire, and be released from birth and death)**;
Great honor will be yours in this life and greater honor after death.

*. A common belief that a child resolves thus in his mother's womb. **. cf., The Gita, V. 23.

18. of JK and 2nd quatrain in 9. of BNP

muddas gyaanu'c kath no va'ny-ze
Kharas gor dina raaviy doah.
Yus yuth kare su tyuth sware
Krere Karizina panun paan.

Impart not esoteric truth to fools,
Nor on molasses feed an ass.
Do not sow seed in sandy beds,
Nor waste your oil on cakes of bran.

19. of NNK (to be filled)

da'chinis o'bras zaayun zaanahaa

I might disperse the southern clouds,
I might drain out the sea,
I might cure the incurable sick,
But I cannot convince a fool.#

#. In this and other vaakhs, Lal Ded is remonstrating with herself, her foolish mind, rather than admonishing others.

Note that once a certain habit has been formed it becomes a part of the involuntary mind to make such a foolish mind to change its bad habit is not easy. The mind loves to travel in the channels it has already created. How can such a mind reflect that his true self is "God Himself"?.

20. of JK
20. of NNK (to be filled)

ttyotth mo'dur tay myuutth zahar

What is bitter at first is sweet in the end,
What is sweet at first is poison in the end.*
(To everyone is given the choice)
It all depends on the effort put in,
and the unflagging determined will;
For whoever strives must soon arrive at the city of his choice.

*. cf., The Gita, VIII. 37-38.

21. of JK
27. of BNP

gwaran vo'nam kunuy vatsum
Neybra doupanam anndaray atsun;
Suy gav Lali mey vaakh ta vatsun,
Tavay mey hyotum nagay natsun.

My Guru gave me but one percept :
"From without withdraw your gaze within And fix it on the Inmost Self."
Taking to heart this one percept,
Naked I began to roam.**

**. natsun, pherun, to wander, roam (see supra, p. 12). cf. LV,, 94, to dance.

22. of JK
25. of BNP and NKK

raajas baa'j ye'my kartal paa'j
Swargas baa'j chiy taph tay daan;
Sahazas baa'j yami gwarakath paaji
Paapa-pwanni baa'j chuy pananuy paan.

He who wields the sword a kingdom gains;
Paradise is gained by penance and alms.
Follow the Guru's word and gain
True knowledge of the Self within.
Of his own virtue and his sin
Man himself surely reaps the fruits.

23. of JK
24. of BNP

naaba'dy baaras attagand ddyo'l gom
Diha-kaan hol gom hyaka kiho;
Gwara sundh vanun raavan-tyuol pueom,
Pahali-rost khyuol gom hyaka kiho.

The sling of my candy load has gone loose, (and it galls my back);
My body has bent double under its weight*;
how shall I carry the load ?
The word of my Guru (that I must lose the world to gain my soul),
Has been a painful ''loss-blister''** for me.
I am become a shepherdless flock, ah me !

* LV, 108. Var., My day's work has gone awry. ** The loss has been painful, as a blister.

24. of JK
26. of BNP

gwaras pritshom saasi latte
Yas na ke'nh vanaan tas kyaah naav:
Pritshaan pritshaan thachis ta luusas,
Ke'nh nasa nishi kyaahtaam draav.

A thousand times my Guru I asked:
'How shall the Nameless be defined?'
I asked and asked but all in vain.
The Nameless Unknown, it seems to me,
Is the source of the something# that we see.

# This creation, universe.

25. of JK
11. of BNP

zanam praa'vith vyabhav no tsonddum
Luubhan bhuugan baram na pray
Somuy Ahaar suetthaah zonum,
Tsolum dwakha-vaav polum Dai.

In life I sought neither wealth nor power,
Nor ran after the pleasures of sense.
Moderate in food and drink, I lived a controlled life,
And loved my God.

26. of JK
3. of BNP

Ayas ti syo'duy gatsha ti syo'duy
Se'dis hol me karem kyaah
Bo'h tas aahsas Agarai veyzay
Veydis ta veyndis kareym kyaah.

I came straight,
And straight I shall return.
How can the crooked lead me astray?
Surely, no harm can come to me:
He knows me from the beginning of time,
And loves me.

27. of JK
80. of BNP

khyana khyan karaan kun no vaatak
Na khyan gatshakh ahannkari:
Saomuy khey maali saomuy Asakh
Sami khyana mutsaranay barnyan taari.

By pandering to your appetites,
you get nowhere;
By penance and fasting,
you get conceit.
Be moderate in food and drink
and live a moderate life,
The gates of Heaven will surely be
thrown open wide for you.

28. of JK
5. of BNP

tsaalun chu vzmala ta trattay
Tsaalun chu mandinyan gattakaar
Tsaalun chu paan-panun kaddun grattay
Heyti maali santuush vaati paanay.

Patience to endure lightning and thunder,
Patience to face darkness at noon,
Patience to go through a grinding-mill --
Be patient whatever befalls, doubting not
that He will surely come to you.*

* Var., He will provide for all your wants.

29. of JK
22. of BNP

tsala tsitta vwandas bayi mo bar
Chon tsinnth karaan paana Anaad,
Tsey kawa zananiya khyod hari kar
Kival tasunnday taaruk naad.

Have no fear, O restless mind,
The Eternal One takes thought for you.
He knows how to fulfil your wants.
Then cry to Him alone for help,
His Name will lead you safe across.

30. of JK
30. of NKK to be filled

khyath ga'nddith shami naa maanas

The joys of palate and fine apparel
bring man no lasting peace.
They who give up false hopes and don't
put trust in the things of the world,
Ascend, unafraid of Death's terrors
by scriptures told;
For having lived contented lives,
they are not debtors of Desire.**

**And do not have to settle accounts with the cruel debt-collector Death.

31. of JK
31. of NKK to be filled

kandyav karak kandi kande

O embodied One, dote not upon your body thus, embellishing it, adorning it,
providing luxuries for it.
Even its ashes will not endure.

32. of JK
32. of NNK to be filled

swamana gaarun manz yath kande

Should you, in this body, seek
The Supreme Self that dwells within,
Greed and illusion soon removed,
A halo of glory will surround
this very body of yours.

33. of JK and NKK
81. of BNP

yava tuu'r tsali tim ambar he'taa
bwachi yava tshali tim Ahaar ann;
Tseyta swa-par veytsaaras peytaa,
Tsentan yi dih van-kaavan

This counsel to the body give, O Soul*:
Wear only such clothes as ward off cold;
Eat only to satisfy your hunger;
Devote yourself with all your heart
to the knowledge of the Supreme Self.
Consider this body to be food for the forest ravens.

* LVRB: tsitta dehas vaan kyaa van. cf. Var. LV, 28: tsentan yih van-kaavan, consider this body meat for jungle crows (translation of this line in Vakh above by BNP).

34. of JK
34. of NNK to be filled

treshi bwachi mo kreshinaavun

Let not your body suffer
from hunger and thirst,
Feed it whenever it feels famished.
Fie on your fasts and religious rites;
Do good: therein your duty lies.

35. of NNK to be filled

atha ma baa traavun khar baa

Do not let loose your donkey** lest
he damage others' saffron fields;
For none will bare his back to suffer
sword cuts and blows for you.#

** Your mind.
# Punishment for the damage done.

36. of JK
83. of BNP

ye'my luub manmath mad tsuur morun
Vata-naash maerith ta logun daas;
Tamiy sahaza Ishwar gorun,
Tamiy soruy vyendun saas.

Who slays the highway robbers three,
Greed, Lust and Pride,
And yet, in utter humility, serves
his fellow-men--
He truly seeks out the Lord,
disregarding as worthless ashes
all other things.

37. of JK
82. of BNP

maarukh maarabuuth kaam kruud luub
Nata kaan barith maaranay paan;
Manay kheyn dikh swaveytsaara shamm,
Vishay tihunnd kyaah-kyuth doar zaan.

Slay the murderous demons,
Lust, Anger and Greed;
Or, aiming their arrows at you, they will
surely shoot you dead.
Take care, feed them on self-restraint
and discrimination of the Self;
Thus starved these demons will become
powerless and weak.

38. of JK and 7. of BNP

gaal ga'ndiy-nyam bol pa'diy-nyam
Dapineym tiy yas yih routse,
Sahaza-kusamav puuz karineym,
Boh amalloun ta kas kyaah mvotse

They may abuse me or jeer at me,
They may say what pleases them,
They may with flowers worship me.
What profits them whatever they do ?
I am indifferent to praise and blame.

39. of JK and 6. of BNP

A'saa bol pa'ddiy-nyam saasaa
Mey mani waasaa khiid na heaye;
Boh youd sahaza Shankar-bakts aasaa,
Makris saasaa mal kyaah peyye

Let them mock at me and call me names.
If a true devotee of Siva I be,
I shall not feel distressed nor hurt.
Can a few ashes a mirror befoul* ?

* The ashes serve rather as polish

40. of JK and 10. of BNP

muudh zaa'niith pa'shith ta ko'r
koul shrutuvun zadd-ruupi aas,
Yus yih dapiy tas tiy boz
Yuhoy tattvavidis chuy abhyaas.

Though you are wise, be as a fool;
Though you can see, be as one blind+;
Though you can hear, be as one deaf**;
Patiently bear with all you meet,
and politely talk to eveyone.
This practice surely will lead you
to the realisation of the Truth.

+ lit. one-eyed.
** Var., dumb, but Bhaskar (LVRB) "zo'r ta ko'l"
(deaf and dumb): "shrutvaa sarvam shrotrahiinena bhaavyam."

41. of JK

manasu'y maan bhavasaras

Ocean and the mind of man are both alike:
Under the ocean's bottom lies
the destructive fire, vadvaagni#;
And in the breast of man doth rage
the fire of wrath.
When the fire breaks out, its flames
of angry, abusive words,
sear and scorch and burn.
But if one ponders unruffled and calm,
and weighs the words, though angry they be,
They have no substance, no, nor weight.

# Vadvaagni which, according to legend, would destroy the whole world if it were to burst forth from under the ocean.

42. of JK and 23. of BNP

rut ta krut soruy pazyam
Karnan na bozun, achin na baava,
Oruk dapun yeli vavaondi vuzeym
Ratandip prazaleym varzani vaava.

Ill or well, whatever befalls,
let it come.
My ears will not hear,
My eyes will not see.
When the Voice calls from within
the inmost mind,
The lamp of faith burns steady and bright
even in the wind.

43. of JK and NKK (to be filled)

mandachi haa'nkal kar tshe'nyam

When can I break the bonds of shame ?
When I am indifferent to jibes and jeers.
When can I discard the robe of dignity ?
When desires cease to nag my mind.

44. of JK and 10. of BNP
(to be filled from NKK)

muudh zaa'niith pa'shith ta ko'r

I have worn out my palate and tongue
reading the holy books,
But I have not learnt the practices
that would please my Lord.
I have worn thin my finger and thumb
telling the rosary beads,
But I have not been able to dispel
duality from my mind.

45. of JK and 91. of BNP

avyastaa'ry pothyan chii haa maali paraan
Yitha tota paraan 'Raama' panjaras;
Gita paraan ta hiitha labaan;
Param Gita to paraan cheys.

It is easy to read and to recite;
It is hard to practice what one reads,
And, reading seek out the Self within.
By constant practice, not by books,
Conviction grew in my heart
Of God, Who is Consciousness-Bliss.

47. of JK and 92. of BNP

Parun polum apuruy po'rum
Kesara vana volum rattith shaal,
Paras prounum ta paanas polum,
Ada gom moluum ta zinim haal.

I practiced what I read,
And learnt what was not taught.
From its jungle abode
I brought the lion down
as I a jackal would;
(From pleasures of the world
I pulled my mind away).
I practiced what I preached,
and scored the goal.

48. of JK and 86. of BNP

hyath ka'rith raaj pheri-naa
Dith karith trapti na man;
Luub veyna ziiv marina,
Ziivanatay mari tay suy chuy jnaan.

You will not know peace of mind
if you a kingdom gain,
Nor will you gain content or rest
if you give it away.
Only the man, free from desire,
will never die.
Only he has true knowledge
Who, though alive, is as one dead,
dead to all desire.

49. of JK and 85. of BNP

yi yi karu'm kara pyatrum paanas
Arzun barzun beyyis kyut.
Antih laagi-roust pusharun swaatmas,
Ada yuuri gatsha ta tuury chum hyout.

I have to suffer the consequence
of whatever I do,
even if I work for others' gain.
But if, with mind from attachment free,
I dedicate all works to God,
It will be well for me wherever I be,
here and hereafter.

50. of JK and NKK (to be filled)

kava chukh divaan anine ba'tash

Why do you grope thus like the blind ?
Pray, doubt not what I say to you:
If you are wise, enter within
And see the Lord Himself is there.
You need not search Him here and there.

51. of JK and 84. of BNP

pavan puu'rith yus ani vagi
Tas baovi na sparsh na bwachi ta tresh
Ti yas karun anti tagi,
Samsaaras suy zeyyi nech.

He who can direct his praana aright,
is not troubled by hunger or thirst.
And he who can do this unto the end
is born fortunate* in this world.

* LVRB. "samsaare saphalam asya jiivitam"
(His life here has been fruitful).

52. of JK and 30. of BNP

tsitta twarug gagana bramavon,
Nimishi aki tsandhi yuuzan lach;
Tseitani vagi bavdhi ratith zon
Praan-Apaan sondaarith pakhach.

The steed of mind speedeth over the sky,
And, in the twinkling of the eye,
A hundred thousand leagues traverseth he.
Yet a man of discrimination can control
the curvetting steed,
And, on the wheels of praana and apraana, guide
his chariot aright.

53. of JK and 79. of BNP

tsyath amarpathi tha'vy-ze,
Ti tra'vith lagi zuure;
Tati tsa no shinkyzi sannda'ri-ze
Dwadashur ti kwach no muure.

Keep your mind intent upon
the path that leads to immortality.
Should it stray from the path,
it will fall into evil ways.
Be firm with it and have no fear;
For mind is like a suckling baby,
which tosses restless even in its mother's lap.

54. of JK
(to be filled from NKK 54.)

kus mari ta kasuu maaran

Who dies? Who is slain ?
He who forsakes God's Name,
And gets involved in worldly cares.
It's he who dies. It's he who is slain.

55. of JK

Gwarashabdas yus yatsh patsh bare

He who has faith in Guru's word,
And with true knowledge for the rein
guides aright the seed of mind,
And holds his senses in control,
'Tis he enjoys the peace of mind.
He will not die, nor be slain.

56. of JK

grratta chu pheraan zere zere

Sure and steady the mill will turn
once you propel the wheel.
Mind is the pivot, it should know
how best to turn the mill.
And once it turns, it will grind fine,
And grain will find its way to the mill.

57. of JK, 57 of NKK and page xviii of BNP

Shiv chuy thali thali rozaan
Mav zaan Hyound ta Mussalmaan
Trukhay chukh ta pananuy paan parzaan
Ada chay Saahibas zanni zaan

Siva abides in all that is, everywhere;
Then do not discriminate between
a Hindu or a Mussalman.
If thou art wise, know thyself;
That is true knowledge of the Lord.

58. of JK

mithyaa kapatt asath trovum

I renounced fraud, untruth, deceit;
I taught my mind to see the One
in all my fellow-men.
How could I then discriminate
between man and man,
And not accept the food offered to me
by brother man ?

59. of JK

muudddo kray chay na dhaarun ta paarun

O fool, right action does not lie
in observing fasts and ceremonial rites.
O fool, right action does not lie
in providing for bodily comfort and ease.*
In contemplation of the Self alone
is right action and right counsel for you.

* Var., in observing the Five Fires (Pancaagni).

60. of JK

maa'rith paants buuth tim phalha'ndy

First feed the Five Bhuuta-s+ on the grain
and cates of self-awareness;
Thus fed, offer these fatted rams
as sacrifice unto the Lord.
Then you will know, O restless one,
the abode of the Supreme.
Ceremonial rites and pieties
will cease to be binding on you;
And even the 'left-handed'# practices
will bring no harm to you.

+ The five bhuuta-s, mahaabhuuta-s, are the five factors constituting the principles of experience of the sensible universe, viz., solidity, liquidity, formativity, aeriality and vacuity.

# Reference to Vaamamaarga ritual.

61. of JK and 13 of BNP

vwath rainyaa artsun sakhar
Athi al-pal vakhur heyth,
Youdvanay zaanakh parma-pad aksher
Hishi Khaosh-khvor keytha-kheyth.

Lady, arise and prepare for worship
with wine and flesh and cates.
If you know the changeless Supreme State
(of Parmasiva),
Take and eat them in the company of
fellow Tantric adepts.
(It matters not if, violating custom,
you practice "left-handed'' rites.*)

* The rites of Kaulacaar, a Shaakta cult. The last line is not clear and two variants are given with two different interpretations. The one within brackets is given by Grierson; the other, preceding it, is given by Anand Kaul, and this I think is the better interpretation. The last line (see AK, p.17) being "he' shikhar
khe' shikhar hyath''. Reference is to Cakrayaag of the Kaula-s. Wine meat and cates were used in worship as symbolic for man's passion, desires and sensual enjoyments; and these too were offered as sacrifice to the Divine Mother.

62. of JK and NKK and 63 of BNP

gyaanamaarg chay haakavaa'r
Dizeys shama-dama kreeyi panni,
Lama chtrrak posh pranni trakiy vaar
Kheyna-kheyna mwatsi vaaray cheyn

The pathway of Jnana is a kaiyard;
Fence it with self-restraint and pious deeds.
Then let the goats of former karma
browse in it and fattened be
as animals fit for sacrifice
at the altar of the Mother.
(Goats of past actions and their fruits
slain in sacrifice,
leaving no karma behind),
The kailyard of karma thus browsed away,
you gain release.

Many complain about bad thoughts, effects of bad karma, etc. Elaborating Mother Lal Ded's effective solution given above to these problems, one can let the thoughts come and go, you just stand back and laugh at it as it is not a part of you. You are He. Don't act on these thoughts. If a cloud of bad thoughts appear then right action is needed to counter them. Get up and do a pious deed, e.g. the least you can do is starting writing on why these clouds of thoughts are wrong and bad for you, i.e., applying the fire of knowledge and discrimination and continue until you would have overcome this dark cloud of thoughts, other means of nullifying the dark clouds such as getting your frustrations out, e.g., by going for a long walk etc, are also useful. The great Yogi Pathanjali says you need right action to counter wrong action and mere right thoughts wont do you any good to counter wrong action. These counter effects have to take place, each at their proper level of existence: thoughts, words and deeds (action). Swami Vivekananda ji has said watch your thoughts they form your words, watch your words they form your action, watch your action they form your character.

63. of JK and 34 of BNP

shishiras vuth kus ratte
Kus bavke ratti vaav
Yus pantsh yindray tseylith tsatte
Suy ratte gatti rav

Who can stop the eaves' drip during the frost ?
Who can hold wind in the palm of his hand ?
Who can see the sun in the darkness of night ?
He who holds his senses under control,
Can in the dark catch hold of the sun,
(Can see the Light in the darkness of the soul).

64. of JK

shiil ta maan chuy pony kranje

Like water in a colander are name and fame:
they do not last.

Whoever in his fist can hold* a storm,
Or tether an elephant with a hair of his head,
(Whoever controls the storms in his breast,
Or tethers the wild elephant of desire),
'Tis he whose name and fame endure.

* lit., like a wrestler, a strong man.

65. of JK and 93. of BNP

laz kaasii shiit nivaarii
Trana zala karaan aahaar;
Yih kami vvopadiish koaruy huutt batta,
Atsiitan vattas satsiithan dyun aahaar.

It covers your shame,
Saves you from cold,
Its food and drink-
Mere water and grass.
Who counselled you, O brahmin,
To slaughter a living sheep
as a sacrifice
Unto a lifeless stone ?

66. of JK and 55. of BNP

diiva vattaa divur vattaa
Peythha bvona chuy ikavaathh:
Puuz kas karakh huutt bhattaa,
Kar manas ta pavanas sangaatth.

The idol is but stone,
The temple is but stone,
From top to bottom all is stone.
Whom will you worship, O stubborn* Pandit ?
Let praana and the mind unite
(as an offering to your God).#

* huutta, adjective, is probably from Sanskrit hatth, akin to Hindhi hatthi and huudd. cf., LV, 17, learned.
# Reference to yogic praanaagnihotra.

67. of JK and 56. of BNP

kush posh tel diiph zal naa gatshe
Sadbhaava gwara kath yus mani heye,
Shambhuhas swari neyth panani yatshe,
Suy dapize sahaza akriyi, na zeyye.

He does not need the kusa grass,
nor sesame seed;
Flowers and water He does not need.
He who, in honest faith, accepts
his Guru's word,
On Siva meditates constantly,
He, full of joy, from action freed,
will not be born again.*

* Var., LVRB, 45: say da'py-ze sahazaakriye (His is the true worship of the Lord) is the better reading.

68. of JK and 71. of BNP

kus push ta kwasa pushaa'nii ?
Kam kusam lagizeys puuze ?
Kami sara goadd dizeys zaldani,
Kava sana mantra Shankara swaatma vuze.

Who is the florist, who the flower-girl ?
With what flowers should He be worshipped ?
In what water should He be bathed ?
With what mantra should we awaken Shankara,
Who abides in the Self ?

69. of JK and 72 of BNP

man push tay yatsh pushaa'nii
Bhaavaki kusam lagizeys puuze,
Shisharas goadd dizeys zaldaani,
Tshwapi mantra Shankara swaatam-vuze.

Mind is the florist, Devotion the flower-girl,
who bring flower-wreaths for Him.
He should be worshipped with the flowers
of faith,
And bathed in the nectar of the Mystic Moon.
Silence is the mantra that awakens Him;
(And, in the deep stillness of the mind,
He wakes up in the inmost Self).

70. of JK and 57 of BNP

gagan tsu'y bhuutal tsu'y,
Tsu'y chukh deyn pavan ta raath,
Arg tsanndun, posh poyni tsu'y
Tsu'y chuk soruy ta laagizi kyaah ?

Thou art the earth, Thou art the sky,
Thou art the air, the day and the night;
The sacrificial corn Thou,
And unction of the sandal-paste.
Thou art the water, Thou art the flowers,
Thou art all these and everything.
What may I, in worship, bring to Thee ?

71. of JK and NKK, and 54. of BNP

dwaadashaanta manddal yas diivas thaji
Naasikaa pavan Anaahatta rav;
Swayam kalpan anti tsaji.
Paanay su Diiva; ta artsun kas ?

He who knows the Dvaadashaanta Manddala*
as the abode of God,
And knows the constant Sound# that is borne upon
the praana rising from the heart to the nose,
All vain imaginings flee from his mind,
without effort, naturally;
He knows no God other than the Self,
nor need he worship any other god.

* 'mandal': orb, disc, sphere, of 'dvaadashaanta' or locality of it; 'dvaadashaantah', a measure of twelve fingers; literally, the end of twelve fingers, here the distance found by measuring. Cf. aadikotih: hrdayam, antakotih: dvaadashaantah; tayoh praanollaasavishhraantyavsare cittaniveshanena parishiilanam- PR, pp. 88-89, 135. The praana starts at the point of hrdaya (praanollaasa) and ends (vishhraanti) at dvaadashaanta, i.e., at a distance of twelve fingers from it. Also called anatahdvaadashaanta, i.e., the heart, and baahirdvaadashaanta, twelve fingers' distance from it. See also Svacchanda Tantram (KSTS, 38) p. 65, verse 111; and Vijnaana Bhairava (KSTS, 8) verse 49, 51.
# Sans. anaahata, the eternal sound, self-created, the mystic syllable OM.

72. of JK and 28. of BNP

akuy Omkaar yas naabi* dhare
Kumbhay Brahmaannddas sum gare;
Akh suy manthr tseytas kare,
Tas saas manthr kyaah kare.

He in whose navel constantly abides
none other than the One Omkaar,
Who builds a bridge between his own
and Cosmic Consciousness#,
By making mind one with this mighty spell-
What need has he for a thousand other spells ?

* naabi: navel, cf. "paraavaak mulacakrastha, pashyantii naabhiisamsthitaa..."

# Brahmaanda, lit, Brahma's egg, the universe,  used also of brahmarandhra in the crown of the head. Lit., a bridge between the manipura cakra and brahma-randhra, with Omkaar as the mantra; fig., between kumbha(ghatta, the individual) and Brahmaanda, the Cosmic Whole. Var. LV, 34: For whom the kumbhaka exercise formeth a bridge to the Brahma-randhra.

It is said that no mantra is complete without OM in it and the practice of the mantra OM on your own without a Guru is discouraged.

73. of JK and 12. of BNP

Shiv vaa Keshava vaa Zin vaa
Kamalajanaath naamadhaarin yuh,
Mey abali kaastan bhavaraoz,
Su vaa su vaa su vaa suh.

Shiva or Keshva or Jina,*
Or Brahma, the lotus-born Lord,
Whatever name He bear,
May He remove from me
the sickness of the world !
It may be He or He or He
(For He is One though called variously).

* The Buddha. In later Sanskrit literature "Jina" is used for the Buddha.

74. of JK and NKK, and 32. of BNP

Lal bo luutshu's tshaanddaan ta gaaraan
Hal mey kormas rasanishiti;
Vuchun hyotmas taari diientthmas baran
Meyti kal ganeyam zi zogmas tati.

I, Lalla, searched and sought for Him,
And even beyond my strength I strove.
Finding His doors bolted and barred
I longed the more;
And firmly resolved, I stood just there
with longing and love,
Fixing my gaze upon His door.

75. of JK and NKK

lolu'ki vwakhli vaa'linj pishim

In the mortar of love I ground my heart,
I parched and burnt and ate it out.
Thus, all my evil passions removed,
I sat serene and unperturbed.
Yet still I doubt if I can know
Whether I shall die or I shall live
(and find release from birth and death).

76. of JK and 36. of BNP

sahazas sham ta dam na gatshi
Yatshi no praavakh muktiidwaar:
Salilas lavan zan miilith gatshe,
Toti chuy durlabh sahaza veytsaar.

Not by ascetic practices is the Self realized;
Nor by desire* can you gain
the Portals of Release.
In contemplation you may be absorbed
as salt in water,
Yet hard it is for you to gain
the true knowledge of the Self.

77. of JK and NKK

zanu'ni zaayaay ru'ty tay ku'tiy

Plump and comely were they born,
Causing their mother's womb great pain;
Yet to the womb they come again.
Siva indeed is hard to reach;
Pray, heed the doctrine this teaches you.*

* that is, take a lesson from this and reflect upon it.

78. of JK and NKK

ywasay shiil piitthas ta pattas

Itself a part of the rocky earth,
It is the self-same stone that makes
A pavement, seat or pedestal,
Or a mill-stone for a grinding mill.
Siva indeed is hard to reach;
Then heed the doctrine this teaches you.

The obvious doctrine this teaches us is that our true self is the spirit, which is all pervading like the stone in earth which has assumed various forms, shapes and sizes.

79. of JK and NKK

rav mata thali thali taa'pytan

Will the sun not shine on all alike
But give heat only to holy lands ?
Will Varuna* not visit all homes alike
But visit only the homes of the good ?
Siva indeed is hard to reach;
Then heed the doctrine this teaches you.

*The god of water.

80. of JK and 29. of BNP

zaanahaa' naaddi-dal mana ra'ttith
Tsattith vattith kuttith kaliish;
Zaanaha ada astah rasaayan gattith,
Shivachuy kruutth ta tsen vopadiish.

If I knew how to control my naaddi-s,*
How to sever them from the pull of desire,
How to bind them to the inner Self,
How to cut the bonds of sorrow,
I should have known how to compound
the Elixir of Life.
Siva indeed is hard to reach;
Then heed the doctrine this teaches you.

* The tubes through which the vital airs circulate of which the principal ones are ten, cf. dashi naadi vaav, the vital airs of ten naaddi-s, Infra No. 91.

81. of JK and NKK

yihay maaira-ruup pay diye

As mother a woman suckles a baby,
As wife she dallies amorously in love,
As maayaa she takes one's life in the end-
And yet in all these forms a woman she.
Siva indeed is hard to reach;
Then heed the doctrine this teaches you.

82. of JK and NKK

Shiv chury zaa'vyul zaal vaahraa'vith

Like a tenuous web Siva spreads Himself,
Penetrating all frames of all things.
If while alive, you cannot see Him,
How can you see Him after death ?
Think deep and sift the true Self from the self.

83. of JK and 48. of BNP

tuu'r salil kho'tt taa'y tuu're
Heymi trey gay byon-abyon veymarsha;
Tsetani rav bhaati sab same,
Shivamay tsraatsar zag pashya.

When water freezes in the cold,
it turns to snow and ice.*
Reflect, O man, that one becomes
three different things#;
And when the sun of pure Consciousness shines,
The world of living and lifeless things,
the universe and whatever exists,
are, in the Supreme, seen as one.

*SSV, p.98, lines 4-5, jala himan ca yo veda...
#byan: maayaa (multiplicity); byanaabyan: vidyaa (unity in multiplicity): abyan: Shakti (unity). Or, respectively, idam idam, aham idam, aham.

84. of JK and 61 of BNP

ase pwande zwase zaame
Neythay snaan kari tiirthan;
Vahari vaharas no'nuy aase,
Nishi chuy ta parzaantan.

Laughing sneezing, coughing, yawning,
Bathing in sacred pools,
Going about unclothed throughout the year*, He is about you all the time-
In all these forms recognize Him.

VAR. LVRB nonuy aase: He is to be seen in all these activities all the year round. He is close to you as yourself, "pashyaatmadevam nijideha eva." Also see KSTS 8, sloka 118. "kshutaadyante bhaye shoke ... brahmasattamayii dashaa, taam tatra tatra avasare vimarshya..."

85. of JK and 45. of BNP

baan go'l tay prakash aav zuune
Tsaendr go'l tay mo'tuy tseyth;
Tseyth go'l tay keynhti na kune;
Gay Bhoor Bhwaah Swaah veysarzith keyth.

The sun sets, the moon begins to shine*;
The moon sets the mind alone is left;
The mind dissolved, nothing remains;
Earth, atmosphere and sky# depart,
(And in the Supreme are absorbed).

* Praanaa the sun moving upwards, apaana the moon moving downwards. Cf., "praanaatmaa ravih uurdhva-mukhatvena caran; taalvaadi-aatmani antare sthitah; candrah apaanaatma adhomukhatvena..."- Tantraaloka (KSTS 36), Vol. IV, pp. 26-28.
# Bhuuh, Bhuvah, Svah.

86. of JK and 37. of BNP

mal vwandi zolum
jigar morum
Teli Lal naav draam
Yeli dali travimas tati.

I burnt the foulness of my soul,
I slew my heart, its passions all,
I spread my garment's hem, and sat
just there, on bended knees,
in utter surrender unto Him.
My fame as Lalla spread afar.

87. of JK

latan hund maaz laaryom vatan

The soles of my feet wore off on the roads
while I wandered in search of Him.
Then lo ! on a sudden, I saw
That He was all and everywhere,
I had nowhere to go in search of Him.
This was the Truth of a hundred truths.
Whoever learn of it, will they not wonder ?
Will they not be mad for joy ?

88. of JK and 35. of BNP

po't zuuni vo'thith mo't bolanovum
Dag Lalanaovam Dayisannzi prahe;
Lali Lali karaan lal vuzunovum,
Miilith tas shrotsyom dahe.

In the last watch of the moonlit night,
remonstrating with my wayward mind,
I soothed my pain with the love of God.
Gently, gently, accosting myself,
"O Lalla, Lalla, Lalla",
I woke my Love, my Lord and Master,
In whom absorbed, my mind was cleansed
of its defilement by the Ten.*

* The ten indriya-s, dahe, five organs of sense and five organs of action. Var., dihe: Even my body was purified.

89. of JK and 41. of BNP

tanthu'r gali tay manthu'r mwatse
Manthr go'l tay mwo'tuy tseyth,
Tseyth go'l tay kehhti na kune,
Shuunyas Shuunyaah miilith gav.

Let go the sacred tantra rites*,
Only the mantra sound remains.
And when the mantra sound departs,
Only the citta is left behind.
Then lo ! the citta itself is gone,
And there is nothing left behind;
The void merges in the Void
(the silent citta in Pure Consciousness.)#

* cf., LV 11, texts, holy books.
# LVRB 11, drashttaa shishyate citsvaruupam: For "shunya goes to shunya", see chapter 5, supra, p.82; shunya is not emptiness.

90. of JK and 43. of BNP

luub maarun sahaz vyatsaarun
Dro'g zaanun kalpan traav;
Nishi chuy tay duur mo gaarun;
Shuunyas Shuunyaah miilith gav.

Realization is rare indeed:
Seek not afar, it is near, by you.
First slay Desire, then still the mind,
giving up vain imaginings;
Then meditate on the Self within,
And lo ! the void merges in the Void.
(The citta merges in the Cit.)

91. of JK and 42. of BNP

tsitta-twarug vagi hyath ro'ttum
Tseylith milavith dashinaaddi vaav,
Tavay Sheyshikal veyglith vatsham;
Shuunyas Shuunyaah miilith gav.

I reined in the steed of the mind,
And, by constant practice, brought together
the praana-s coursing the ten naaddi-s.
Then the nectar of the Mystic Moon
flowed down, suffusing my whole being,
And the void merged in the Void,
(The stilled mind merged in Pure Consciousness).

92. of JK

sa'ts-sas na saatas pa'ts-sas na rumas

On nothing else I built my hopes,
In nothing else I put my trust-
My vaakh* brought me the wine I drank,
My vaakh gave me the strength to seize
The darkness that within me lurked.
I rolled it up and knocked it down,
And tore it to pieces (dissipating
the darkness of my soul)

* Verse-sayings of Lalla.

93. of JK and NKK, and 38. of BNP

she' van tsa'ttith shashikal vuzu'm
Prakrat hu'zum pavana saeti;
Lolaki naara vaolinj buzam,
Shankar lobum tamiy saeti.

Cutting my way through Six Forests*,
I came upon the Digit of the Moon+.
By means of the practice of praanaapaana#,
The world of matter shrank for me.
Then roasting my heart in the fire of love,
I found my God.

* LV: Cakra-s. LVRB:''kaamaadikam kaanena shattkam etat'', i.e., kaama, krodha lobha, moha, mad and ahankaara.
+ Sahasraara (top of the head)
#lit., pavan (vital airs); but see LV: ''by controlling my vital airs...''

94. of JK and 53. of BNP

Omkaar ye'li layi o'num
Vuhay ko'rum panun paan;
Shu-vt travith sath-marg ro'tum,
Teyli Lal bo'h va'tsas Prakaashasthan.

When I became one with the Supreme Word*,
My body blazed as red-hot coal+,
Then I gave up the Path of the Six#,
and betook myself to the straight true Path^,
Which led me to the Abode of Light.

* Aum
+Such blazing is an actual experience. It does not mean burning out impurity or selfhood.
# ''SSaddadhva'' six paths according to AAnavopaaya of Trika Darshana, viz varna, mantra, pada, kalaa tatva and bhuvana.
^She has now taken to the Shaambhavopaaya, the straight easy path which requires no rigorous saadhana. PR, pp. 20 & 83 (sukhopaayameva), for Var., see LV. 82.

95. of JK and 67. of BNP

he gwaraa parameshwaraa
Baavtam tseyyi chuy antar vyo'd;
Dwashavay vo'padaan kanda-puraa
Huh kava turun ta haah kava to't ?

O Guru, you are as a god to me,
Tell me, you know the secret truth.
Both Praana-s rise from 'Kandapura',
the ''place of the Bulb'', the navel region,
Why is haah hot, why is huh cold ?

96. of JK and NKK, and 68. of BNP

naabisthaana chay prakrath zalavu'nii
Brahmasthaanas shishirun mwakh,
Brahmaandas chay nad vahavani,
Tavay turun 'huh','haah' gav to't.

At the navel region is the Place of the Sun,
Where Prakriti glows as hot as fire;
From here hot breath rises to the throat.
At the crown of the head is the Place of the Moon,
From here cool nectar down the naaddi-s flows,
Thus haah is hot, and huh is cold.

97. of JK

Lal bo draayas lolare

For love that would not let me be,
I, Lalla, set forth in search of Him.
And toiled and toiled for days and nights.
Then lo ! the most auspicious moment of life-
I saw the Pandit in my own home.

98. of JK and 33 & p. 204 2nd Vakh in BNP

dama dama ko'rmas daman aaye*
Prazalyom daph ta naneyam zaath;
Andrium Prakaash neybar tsho'ttum,
Gatti ro'tum ta karmas thaph.

Gently, gently, I trained my mind
to suspend its processes and thoughts.#
Then (in the windless calm), the flame of the Lamp,
shining steady and bright,
Revealed my true nature unto me.
In the dark recesses of my soul+
I seized upon Him and held Him fast.
Then I diffused the inner light,
(and within, without, all was Light).

* & # Var., LV. 4"slowly, slowly, did I stop my breath in the bellows-pipe (of the throat)'' damaadam ko'rmas daman-haale.
+ Gatti,"in the darkness itself.'' Better reading LVRB: svasmindehe (in my ownself).

99. of JK and NKK, and 46. of BNP

tshaanddaan luutshu's paa'ny paanas
Tsheypith Jnaanas votum na kuuntsh (kaanh);
Lay karmas ta vatsas alsthaanas,
Bari bari baana ta cheyvaan na kuunh (kaanh).

Searching the Self, I wearied myself;
For none by searching ever gained
The secret knowledge beyond the mind.
I stopped searching, and love led me
to the Tavern* door.
There I found wine jars aplenty,
But none desiring to drink from them.

* 'al-thaan', the abode of amrita (nectar), of the Supreme, which is also in the Self of man though he wearies himself searching Him everywhere else.

100. of JK and 51. of BNP

makuris zan mal tso'lum manas
Ada mey labam zanas zaan,
Suh yeli dyuuenthhum nishi paanas
Soruy suy ta bo'h no kea'h

Foulness from my mind was cleared
as ashes from a mirror,
Then recognition of Him came to me
unmistakable and clear.
And when I saw Him close by me,
He was all and I was not,
(and there was nothing else).

101. of JK and NKK, and 96. of BNP

karu'm zu' kaaran tre' ko'mbith*
Yava labakh paraluukas annkh
Vo'th khas Surya-manndal tso'mbith,
Tavay tsaliy maranun sheynkh.

Do away with karma-s two# and causes three+,
and you will be honored in the world to come.
Arise, ascend and cut through the Sun's orb^,
and you will overcome the fear of death.

* Var., LV, 75:''by practising kumbhaka yoga.''
# Good and bad.
+ The three mala-s, impurities, that bring, viz., aanavamala, of finitude; maayiyiimala, of multiplicity; kaarmamala, of resultant pleasure
and pain from karma.
^Surya-maddala, through which the soul has to pass on its way to the Supreme; the Kundalini has to cut its way from Muulaadhaara through Manipua, the seat of Agni, to Sahasraara, the seat of the Moon, the abode of Siva.

102. of JK and 97. of BNP

gyaanu'ky ambar puu'rith tane
Yim pad Lali dapi tim hreydi annkh;
Kaarana Prnavaki layi ko'r Lalle
Tseyth-jyoti kaosan maranun sheynkh

In the robe of Jnaana clad,
On the tablet of her heart engraved
the words that Lalla spoke,
And by means of the mystic syllable OM,
Lalla merged in her 'Cit-Jyoti',
The luminous light of pure Consciousness;
And thus dispelled the fear of death.

103. of JK and 100. of BNP

shuun-yuk maa'daan ko'ddum paanas,
Mey, Lalli, ruuzam na bwad na hosh;
Veyzay sapanis paanay paanas,
Ada kami hili+ phoal Lalli pamposh !

I traversed the vastness of the Void alone,
leaving behind me reason and sense,
Then came upon* the secret of the Self;
And, all on a sudden, unexpectedly,
In mud+ the lotus bloomed for me.

* lit.. I became a confidante of my Self.
+ Kashmiri hyal, dirty ground, covered with litter, mud, dirt used as manure. Or, variant, hil, an aquatic weed abundantly growing in Dal Lake. Figurative: What was valueless (my body or myself) became precious and a thing of beauty and joy.

104. of JK and NKK

samsaaras aayas tapasii

A tapasvin into the world came I,
And Bodha illumined my path to the Self.*
Alike for me is life and death:
Happy to ]ive and happy to die,
I mourn for none, none mourns for me.+

* Var., LV, 35. Also LVRB, 34. "praaptaa vishuddham sahajam prabodham", where sahaja as an adjective qualifies prabodham.
+ lit., I die for none, none dies for me. Cf., Utpala's Siva Strotavali, xiii. 3: ... tishttatah satatam arcitah prabhum jiivitam mrataam athaanyath astu me".

105. of JK and NKK

Lal bo draayas kapsi poshici sa'tsu'y (LV, 102 & 103)

Hoping to bloom like a cotton flower,
I, Lalla, set forth in the colourful world.
But soon the cleaner and the carder came
and gave me hard knocks and blows.
Spun into a gossamar yarn
by a woman spinner on her spinning wheel,
I was helplessly hung upon a loom,
and given more knocks from the weaver's broom.

Now turned into cloth, I was dashed and dashed
by the washerman on the washing-stone.
Then into a large mortar made of stone,
he threw me, and with his grimy feet,
rubbed me with fuller's earth and soap.
The tailor now worked his scissors on me,
and cut me with care, piece by piece.
Thus was it that I, Lalla, at last
entered the High Estate of God.

106. of JK and NKK

raaza-hams aa'sith sapudukh ko'luy

Thou wert a royal swan once,
now turned mute*.
Someone, it seems, has run off with
something of thine.
When the mill-stone stopped, the grain channel
was choked with grain,
And away ran the miller with the grain.

Note a royal swan is also a syomble of a parmahamsa: God in human form having all human qualities and God
* at seeing something that has struck Lalla dumb. Lalla has seen, but she cannot describe what she has seen. Has she had a glimpse of vishvaruupaa, the Cosmic Form, its indescribable splendour and awe, so that she, who was vocal till now, cannot speak? That something has taken away her powers of speech (SLK, p. 65). cf., LV, 8

107. of JK and 62. of BNP

prathu'y tiirthan gatshaan sa'ny-yaa'sy,
Gwaaraan Swadarshan myul;
Tseyta parith mo nishpath aas,
Denshakh duure dramun nyuul.

The pilgrim sannyasin goes from shrine to shrine,
Seeking to meet Him who abides within himself.
Knowing the truth, O soul, be not misled;
It is distance that makes the turf look green,

108. of JK and 76. of BNP

kandyav geh te'zy kandyav vanvaas,
Veyphoal, man na rattith ta vaas;
Deyn-raath gaenzarith panun shwaas,
Yuthuy chukh ta tyuthuy aas

Some leave their home, some the hermitage,
But the restless mind knows no rest.
Then watch your breath, day and night,
And stay where you are.

109. of JK and 77. of BNP

kalan Kaalazaa'ly yo'dvay tse go'l,
Veyndiv geyh vaa veyndiv vanvaas;
Zanith sarvagath Prabhu amol;
Yuthuy zaanakh tyuthuy aas.

Should you destroy vain imaginings, desires,
which form the very web of time;
Should you realize the Lord, all-pervading
and yet untouched and pure,
You may live the life of a householder,
Or a hermit's life in a hermitage,
living the truth that you have known.

110. of JK and 75. of BNP

Shiv Shiv karaan hamsa-gath so'rith
Ruuzith veywahari deyn kyoha raath
Laagi-rost yus man karith
Tasi netyh prasan Suura-Guruunaath.

Constantly invoking the name of Siva,
Meditating on the Way of the Swan*,
From attachment and duality set free -
Such a one, even if busily engaged
in the affairs of the world, both day and night,
Wins the favour of the God of gods.

* Mystic name for "Soham" (I am He) which reversed, becomes "Hamsa" (Swan), sometimes used to denote Paramasiva.

111. of JK and 87. of BNP

kenh chiy ne'ndriha'tiy vudiy,
Keantsan vudeyn neysar peyyiy,
Kenh chiy snasn karith aputi,
Kenh geyh bazith ti akryiy,

Some though asleep are yet awake;
Some though awake are yet asleep;
Despite ablutions some are unclean;
Despite householders' active life,
Some, by their actions, are untouched.

112. of JK and 88-A. of BNP

zal thamuno hutva turnavano
Uurda gamano par-varzeyt carit
kaattha deni dwad shramanaavano
Anti sakalo kapatth careyth.

To stop a running stream, to cool a raging fire,
To roam the skies on sandalled feet,
To milk a wooden cow -
All this is fraud and jugglery.

113. of JK and 59. of BNP

yath saras* sarpho'l na ve'tsiy,
Tath sari sakalay poani ceyn;
Mrag, sragaal, gannddi, zalhasti,
Zeyn naa zeyn ta toutuy peyn.

To the lake* too small even for a mustard seed,
All living beings come to quench their thirst;
And into it, as soon as born,
keep falling, falling,
Deer, jackal, rhinoceros, sea-elephants
and all.

* Of earthly existence, as against the Eternal.

114. of JK and 58. of BNP

tre'yi ne'ngi saraah sa'ry-saras,
Aki neyngi saras arshas ja'ay;
Harmukha kaunsara* akh sum saras,
Sati neyngi saras Shunyaahkaar.

Three times the lake overflowed its shore;
Once its waters and the sky did meet
From Haramukh to Kaunsar* in one vast sheet.
Seven times I saw the lake vanishing in the void.
I remember having seen, in former lives,
through aeons of time,
These dissolutions of the worlds and their rebirth.

* From Haramukh mountain in the north to Kausarnag in the south.

115. of JK and NKK

mad pyuvum syanda-zalan yaitu

However many parts I played upon the stage,
However often I quaffed that wine,
the water of the Syand*,
However many lumps of human flesh I ate,
Yet I am the same Lalla still.
What profiteth it all to me ?

* A tributary of the Jhelum in Kashmir.
Note that eating the human flesh is a part of sixty-four main Tantric Sadhana. The idea is to get rid of vritti's (habbits of the mind) such as attachments to ones body, etc. I have no practical experience with such eating but see Sri Ramakrishna the great master by Swami Saradananda, translated by Swami Jagadananda. Sri Ramakrishna Math, Mayapore, Madras.

116. of JK and NKK

a'sii aa'sy ta a'sii aasav

In time past, we were;
In time future, we shall be;
Throughout the ages, we have been.
For ever the sun rises and sets;
For ever Siva creates, dissolves,
and creates again.

117. of JK and 49. of BNP

dyan tshe'zi ta razan aase,
Bhuutal gaganas kun vikaase,
Tsaendar Rahu-grras maavase;
Shiva puuzun gav cita-aatmase.

When the light of the day is quenched
in the darkness of the night,
The earth extends to meet and dissolve
in the ethereal sky,
And (on amaavasya*) all is blank and dark eclipse.
But (strange!) Raahu, the Demon of eclipse,
is swallowed by the New-born Moon.
The illumination of Cit-Atman
is the true worship of Siva, the Supreme.

* On the amaavasya of solar eclipse, Raahu is supposed, by popular tradition, to swallow the sun. But, says Lalla, that the seeker who treads the path has the experience of the manifested universe, the sun and the sky and all the worlds, vanishing and becoming one with the unmanifested all-pervading Akshara. There, for the moment, it seems to be "dark, irretrievably dark" in the great Void; but soon it is lit up by the New-born Moon, the Paraa-Samvit, which is the illumination of the Higher Consciousness revealing the abode of the Supreme Siva.

118. of JK and 52. of BNP

tsidaanandas gyaanaprakaashas,
Yimav tsyuun tim zivantay-mukt;
Veyshmas samsaaranis paashas,
Abodhy gaenddaah sheyth-sheyth dith.

They who have known the Supreme Self,
Cidaananda Jnaanaprakaasha,
(compact of the Bliss of Pure Consciousness
and Light of Knowledge Absolute) -
They are the Jivan-mukta-s (who,
while alive, have found release
from ever-recurring birth and death).
The ignorant add knot to knot, in hundreds,
to the tangled web of samsaara,
its recurrent birth,
its recurrent death.

119. of JK and 69. of BNP

kus dingi ta kus zaagi ?
Kus sar vatri teliy ?
Kus Haras puuzi laagi ?
Kus Paramapad meliy ?

Who dozes off ? Who is alert ?
What lake constantly oozeth away ?
What should be offered in worship to God ?
What supreme station should one gain ?

120. of JK and 70. of BNP

man dingi ta akul* zaagi,
Daddiy Sar pancayaendi vatri teliy,
Svaveytsara poani Haras puuzi laagi,
Paramapad tsiitnaa Shiva meliy.

It is the mind that dozeth off:
It is the Akula* Transcendent that is ever alert.
The mighty senses are the lake
constantly oozing out,
constantly filled again.
The constant awareness of the Self
is worship befitting the Lord,
And Sivahood the supreme station
man should gain.

* Paramasiva beyond the Kula, the thirty-six Tattva-s, the universe.

121. of JK and 65. of BNP

Shiva gur tay Keshav palanas
Brahma paayreyn vavlaseys
Yuugi yuuga kali parzaaneys
Kus Diiva ashwavaar peytth ceyddeys ?

Siva is the horse,
Vishnu holds the saddle,
And Brahma the stirrups.
It is the yogi who,
in the light of his yoga, knows
Which god can mount the horse ?

122. of JK and 66. of BNP

anaahata kha-swaruup shuunyaalay
Yas naav na varan na guthr na ruup
Aham vimarsha Naada-Binduy yas voan,
Suy Diiva ashwavaar peytth ceyddeys (khotus).

He who is the eternal 'Anaahata',
The ever-unobstructed sound of OM;
Whose is the all-permeating form
of the etherial sky;
Whose dwelling* is the vast transcendent Void;
Who has no name, caste, gotra, nor form;
Who is Pure, Undifferentiated Self-awareness;
Who is "Nada-Bindu", the Logos and the Light+ -
He is the God Who mounts the horse.

* Or, perhaps better, who is the abode (ground, home) of ...
+ The Sound and the Dot, mystically represented by the semicircle and the bindu (dot) of the anunasika of the Syllable OM as it is written. By an extension of meaning, nada-bindu or, in the Agama-s, more precisely, Nada-Vindu (Nada representing Shakti and Vindu, Siva) represents the ultimate Supreme, Paramasiva.

123. of JK and NKK

kunyar-ay bozakh kuni no rozakh
Would you understand what Oneness* is ?
It has turned me into nothingness.
Though He is One, Alone, and All,
Yet I am caught in the War of Two+.
Though He has neither colour nor form,
Yet I am caught in His wondrous forms#.

* Unity of Existence.
+ Duality.
# Multiplicity.

124. of JK and NKK

rangas manz chuy byo'n byo'n labun

He is in myriad colours and forms*,
Seek Him out.
Patiently suffer whatever your lot,
And happy be.
Anger and hate and enmity,
You must destroy.
All this done, though hard it be,
Behold thy God+.

lit., rangas manz, on the stage of the world where the play is going on.
6. lit., Siva

125. of JK and 98. of BNP

dishi aayas dash dish tiilith,
Tsalith tsottum shuunya ada vaav,
Shivay dyuu'tthum shaayi-shaayi miilith
Sheyh-ta-treyh traopimas ta Shivay draav.

I roamed the ten directions and
pierced the wind and the void.
I closed the nine gates of the body and
shut out the Thirty-six *.
Wherever I looked, I found the Lord,
Within, without, and in the Void+.

* The 36 tattva-s (literally, thatnesses) the categories or principles from Paramasiva to the earth, according to the Trika Saiva cosmology.
+ Within the mind, in the world outside, and in the Impersonal Transcendent.

126. of JK and NKK

tana mana gayas bo tas kunuy

I turned to Him heart and soul,
And heard the ringing of the Bell of Truth.
There, in dhaarana, fixed in thought,
I soared the Sky and the Region of Light*.

* lit.. had the experience of Aakashaand Prakaasha. Lalla heard the ever-unobstructed (anahata) sound of OM (The Bell of Truth); and, in her deep concentration. became absorbed in the Impersonal Transcendent (the Sky, the Void). But she went beyond, ascending to the abode of Paramasiva who, according to Trika Darshana, is both Prakaasha and Vimarsha, Light and Self-Awareness.

127. of JK and 64. of BNP

a'ndariy aayas tsa'ndru'y gaaraan,
Gaaraan aayas hiheyn hih;
Tsay hay Naaraan, tsay hay Naaraan,
Tsay hay Naaraan, yim kam vih ?

I searched within for the Mystic Moon,
For like seeks out the like.
Thou art all this and this and this;
There is none else but Thee.
What then is the meaning of Thy sport,
Of Thy creation's wondrous forms ?

128. of JK and 21. of BNP

yimay she' tse' timay she' me',
Shyaamagala tse' byoan taotthis,
Yuohay beynabhid tse' ta me'
Tsa sheyn* svaami boah sheyyi+ mashis.

O Lord of the Dark Blue Throat,
I have the very same Six Thou hast.
And yet, estranged from Thee,
I suffer misery.
There surely is this difference:
Thou art the master of the Six*,
By the Six+ I have been robbed.

* Sovereign power, omnipotence, omniscience, All-inclusiveness, eternality, All-pervasiveness (that is, in Trika: maayaa shakti, sarvakar-tritva, sarvajnatva, puurnatva, nityatva, and vyaapakatva respectively).
+ The six kancuka-s, coverings of limitation, viz., maya, kala, vidya, raga, kal, niyati.

129. of JK and 20. of BNP

Naatha ! na pan na par zonum,
Sadai buudum yi kwa dih;
Or (Sadai budum yiko dih);
Tsa boah, boah tsa myul naa zonum,
Tsa kus boah kwasa chum saendiih.

Lord, I did not know who I was,
nor Thou, the Supreme Lord of all.
I knew only this body of mine always*.
The relation between Thou and me,
That Thou art I and I am Thou
and both are one, I did not know.
(But now I know),
To ask: 'who art Thou, who am I ?'
is doubt of doubts.

* sadaa'y bodum yiikuy deha (LVRB, 7) but cf.,... yi kwadeha, LV, 7: "Continually have I mortified this vile body."

130. of JK and 44. of BNP

Lal bo tsaayas swaman baagabaras,
Vuchum Shivas Shakht miilith ta vaah !
Tati lay karmas amritsaras,
Zinday maras ta me' kari kyaah.

I, Lalla, entered by the garden-gate
of mine own mind,
And there (O joy!) saw Siva with Shakti
sealed in one;
And there itself I merged in the Lake
of Immortal Bliss.
Now while alive I am unchained
from the wheel of birth and death,
What can the world do unto me?

131. of JK and NKK

tsu'y diva gartas ta dharthii srazakh

Thou dost pervade all shapes and forms,
Though breathest life into all frames,
The whole creation hums with Thy silent sound*.
Who can measure the Immeasurable, O Lord!

* The Anaahata naad, the AUM.

132. of JK and 74. of BNP

par ta paan ye'my so'muy mon,
Ye'my hyuuh mon deyn kyoha raath,
Ye'mysay adway man saopun,
Tamiy dyuu'thuy Sura-Gurunaath.

He who regards himself and others alike,
He who regards alike both day and night,
He whose mind is free from duality -
He alone hath seen the God of gods.

133. of JK and Vakh 1. p. 204 BNP

abhyaa'sy savikaa'sy layi vo'thuu,
Gaganas svagun myuul samitsratta,
Shunya gol Anaamay motuu,
Yuhoy vopadiish chuy bhatta.

By oft-repeated practice, the wide expanse
of manifested universe is lifted to absorption;
And the saguna world, of forms and qualities,
merges in the vastness of the Void
with a splash of water on water falling;
Then the ethereal Void dissolves,
and the Ineffable Supreme alone remains.
This, O Bhatta*, is the Truth to gain.

* The Kashmiri Pandit (Brahmin) is often so called.

134. of JK and 40. of BNP

Vaakh, maanas, kwal, akwal naa ate,
Tshwapi, Mudri ati na praviish;
Rozaan Shiv-Shakt na ate,
Mvatiyay kuanh ta suy vopadish.

Here there is neither word nor thought,
Transcendent nor non-Transcendent here.
Vows of silence and mystic mudra-s
cannot gain you admittance here.
Even Siva and Shakti (Tattva-s) remain not here.
The Somewhat that remains is the Truth
to know and realise.

135. of JK and p. 200 Vakh b. of BNP

tsu' naa bo naa dhey naa dhyaan,
Gay paanay Sarvakrya mashith:
Anyav dyuu'thukh keyenhti na anvay:
Gayi sath layi Par pashith.

Here there is neither thou and I,
No "postured thought", nothing to contemplate,
Even the All-Creator is forgot.
The ignorant blind* cannot see
the Ineffable Supreme hard to know.
But the pure, the wise, having seen+
merge in the Supreme.

* Var., LVRB, 59: "anya dyuthukh ..." (They) saw Other than all these, the Absolute, the Relationless (Ananvaya) "kentsh na anvay".
+ sat: the whole objective universe. Var., LVRB: The good become absorbed in Him.See LV, where sath is said to mean `the Seven Worlds'.

136. of JK and 50. of BNP

paanas laa'gith ruudukh me' tsu',
Me' tse' tshaaendaan luustum doah;
Paanas maenz ye'ly dyuu'thukh me' tsu'
Me' tsu' ta paanas dyutum tshoah.

Thou wert absorbed in Thine Own Self,
hidden from me;
I passed whole days in seeking Thee out.
But when I saw Thee in mine own Self,
O joy! then Thou and I
disported ourselves in ecstasy*.

* cf., LV, 44: "The second meaning" given there is what the words cannot bear, however much their meaning may be strained.

137. of JK and 101. of BNP

tsyath no'vuy tsa'ndrama no'vuy,
Zalmay dyuu'thum navam no'vuy
Yana peyttha Lalli me' tan-man no'vuy,
Tana Lal boah navam navay cheys!

The citta, the mind, is ever new,
The ever-changing moon is new,
And ever new the shoreless expanse
of waters* that I have seen.
Since I, Lalla, have scoured my body and mind,
(emptied it of dead yesterdays
and tomorrows unborn),
I live in the ever-present Now,
(and all things always are to me)
for ever new and new.

* zalamay, Sans. jalamaya, Grierson (LV. 93) explains it as a "waste of waters" at the time of pralaya, destruction of the Universe.
Therefore, "the universe itself". It may rather be the shoreless ocean of existence or of Reality. Whatever the exact meaning, Lal Ded speaks of her complete transformation and `renewal'.

Interestingly, the same New Mind here when it is in its deluded form is also referred to as water of a lake which constantly oozes out, see JK Vakh 120. By constant tapasya the same mind is transformed so as to be able to see this new shoreless expanse of waters,
Parmahamsa Ramakrishna says one sees the Reflection of Him in a Pure Mind.

138. of JK and NKK

yi yi karu'm ko'rum suy artsun
yi rasini vichoarum thi mantar
yihay lagamo dhahas partsun
suy Parasivun tanthar

Whatever work I did became worship of the Lord;
Whatever word I uttered became a mantra*;
Whatever this body of mine experienced became+
the saadhana-s of Saiva Tantra
illumining my path to Paramasiva

* cf. SSV, III, 25-36: sharirvrttirvratam (26), kathaa japah (27). (For such a one the normal daily routine of his becomes a vrata, that is, religious vows, etc (26), and whatever he says becomes the recitation of a mantra).
+ LVRB, 58. "yih yath lagyam dehas paritsay". For Var., LV, 58. See KT, IX. 23, "...yatra yatra mano yaati tatra tatra samaadhayah (wherever the mind goes there is a samaadhi for it).


Lal Ded: The great Kashmiri Saint-poetess

Edited by: Dr. S. S. Toshkhani

This book represents the proceedings of a National Seminar on "Remembering Lal Ded in Modern Times" conducted by Kashmir Education, Culture and Science Society in New Delhi on 12 November, 2000. Lalleshwari or Lal Ded, according to late Prof. Jayalal Kaul, has been the greatest genius of Kashmir of all times. This book has many eminent writers of modern period who have recollected the genius of Lal Ded for the modern world. Lal Ded was living in the 14th century in Kashmir. In spite of long interval of history, Lal Ded is remembered in every home even in modern period. Her Vaaks, or sayings, represent the best teachings for human kind today to seek unity and harmony between people of all religion and races. Her poetry is all inspiring. Her philosophy of life represents the high­est science of life. She can be the leader to combine science and humanism world over, and once again establish a peaceful and melodious world of joy and happiness. Kashmiris in general and Indians and the people of the world are inspired by Lalleshwari’s teachings. This book and the seminar by KECSS cannot possibly touch all aspects of life and times of Lal Ded. However, a laudable attempt is made to recall Lal Ded for creating a joyful and harmonious world in Kashmir and the rest of India and the world. Hindus, Muslims and people of all faith remember Lal Ded with great reverence. This book should be of world-wide interest.

Lal Ded: The Great Kashmiri Saint-Poetess
Edited by: Dr. S. S. Toshkhani
Proceedings of the National Seminar
Conducted by Kashmir Education, Culture and Science Society,
B-36, Pamposh Enclave, New Delhi – 110 048
November 12, 2000


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Lalleshwari - Forerunner of Medieval Mystics

Forerunner of Medieval Mystics

"Her sayings echo and re-echo to this day"

by P.N. Kaul Bamzai

As in the rest of India, the middle of the 14th century was a period of religious and moral fermentation in Kashmir. Buddhism had practically disappeared from the Valley, though we find mention of Buddhist priests and viharas in the later Rajataranginis. Tilakacharya, described as a Buddhist, was a minister of Zain-ul-Abidin. Most of the Buddhist theologians and saints finding the Valley uncongenial, had left for Ladakh and Tibet. The long period of political instability which followed the peaceful and enlightened reign of Avantivarman (855-83 A.D.) was responsible for the ossification of the predominant religion, Shaivism, into elaborate and complicated rituals which dominated all social and cultural activities. Shaktism, born of the love for Durga worship, had degenerated into grotesque forms of rites and ceremonies. Vaishnavism was not a strong element in the religious fabric of the Valley, but in the 11th century it received further nourishment from the teachings of Ramanuja who travelled all the way from Madras to Kashmir to fight Shaivism at its fountain-head. And with the destruction of temples and images by several Hindu kings like Harsha, as well as by Muslim zealots, Hindu worship was driven to the seclusion of the home or of 'natural' (Svayambhu) images - rocks, or ice formations, or springs. Sanskrit became the domain of the learned few, the common man having taken to a form of Prakrit which though retaining its essentials, was yet wholly different from the 'Language of the Gods'.

A rare sketch of Lalleshwari
A rare sketch of Lalleshwari
Courtesy: J. K. Mirza 

Impact of Islam

In this troubled period of political uncertainty and changing social values, the people of the Valley were subjected to the impact of Islam. From a close contact between the two religions and their deep influence on each other, there resulted the evolution of what may be called Medieval Reformers or Mystics.

For more than two hundred years Islam had, in central Asia and Persia, been similarly influenced by the teachings and dogmas of Mahayana Buddhism and Upanishadic philosophy, resulting in the emergence of a cult of Islamic mystics. Fortunately, the new religion entered the Valley in this form, being carried there by enlightened Sufis like Bulbul Shah. With their humanistic approach to religion, they found a ready and sympathetic response from the Kashmiris, already permeated with the teachings of mystic saints and "seers".

For, it was during this period of religious fermentation that a need had been felt for a new approach to religion embracing all creeds and castes appealing to the 'heart' rather than the 'head'. Thanks to its rich religious and philosophic traditions, Kashmir rose to the occasion and produced a number of mystics and saints who by their teachings and their lives of complete self- abnegation were the living embodiments of true religion and morality.

Mother Lalla Appears

Foremost among them was the great mystic "seer", Lalleshwari, popularly known as Lal Ded (Mother Lalla), who profoundly influenced the thought and life of her contemporaries and whose sayings still touch the Kashmiri's ear, as well as the chords of his heart, and are freely quoted by him as maxims on appropriate occasions. She was born in about the middle of the 14th century of the Christian Era in the time of Sultan Ala-ud-din. Lall's parents lived at Pandrenthan (ancient Puranadhisthana) some four and a half miles to the south-east of Srinagar. She was married at an early age, but was cruelly treated by her mother-in-law who nearly starved her. This story is preserved in a Kashmiri proverb: Whether they killed a big sheep or a small one, Lalla had always a stone for her dinner - an allusion to her mother-in-law's practice of putting a lumpy stone on her platter and covering it thinly with rice, to make it look quite a big heap to others. And yet she never murmured.

Her father-in-law accidentally found out the truth. He got annoyed with his wife and scolded her. This incident invited more curses on Lalla. Her mother- in-law poisoned the ears of her son with all sorts of stories. Ultimately, the anomalies and cruelties of wordly life led her to renunciation and she discovered liberty in the life of the spirit.

She found her guru in Sidh Srikanth, whom she ultimately excelled in spiritual attainments:

Gav Tsatha guras Khasithay
Tyuth var ditam Diva
The disciple surpassed the Guru:
God grant me a similar boon

She pursued Yoga under Sidh Srikanth, until she succeeded in reaching the 'abode of nectar'. But she did not stop there. All around her was conflict and chaos. Her countrymen and women needed her guidance. She had a mission to perform, and well and effectively she did it. Her life and sayings were mainly responsible in moulding the character of her people and setting up tradition of love and tolerance which characterises them even today.

As Wandering Preacher

Eventually she gave up her secluded life and became a wandering preacher. She led a severely ascetic life, clad in the bareness of one who had forsaken comforts, and by example and precept conveyed her teachings to the masses. Like Mira she sang of Siva, the great beloved, and thousands of her followers, Hindus as well as Muslims, committed to memory her famous Vakyas.

There is a high moral teaching which Lalla demonstrated when during her nude state a gang of youthful rowdies were mocking her. A sober-minded cloth vendor intervened and chastised them. On this she asked the vendor for two pieces of ordinary cloth, equal in weight. She put them on either shoulder and continued her wandering. On the way some had salutations for her and some had gibes. For every such greeting she had a knot in the cloth, for the salutations in the piece on the right, and for the gibes in the piece on the left. In the evening after her round, she returned the pieces to the vendor and had them weighed. Neither had, of course, gained or lost by the knots. She thus brought home to the vendor, and her disciples, that mental equipoise should not be shaken by the manner people greeted or treated a person.

So that her teachings and spiritual experiences might reach the masses, she propagated them in their own language. She thus laid the foundations of the rich Kashmiri literature and folklore. More than thirty per cent of the Kashmiri idioms and proverbs derive their origin from her Vakyas.

Spiritual and Philosophical Vakyas

These Vakyas or sayings are an aggregate of Yoga philosophy and Saivism, expressive of high thought and spiritual truth, precise, apt and sweet. Her quatrains are now rather difficult to understand as the language has undergone so many changes, and references to special Yogic and philosophic terms are numerous therein.

Some of these sayings have been collected and published by Dr. Grierson, Dr. Barnett, Sir Richard Temple and Pandit Anand Koul and apart from the consideration that they explain the Saiva philosophy of Kashmir through the Kashmiri language, they exemplify the synthesis of cultures for which Kashmir has always been noted.

Lalla fills her teachings with many truths that are common to all religious philosophy. There are in it many touches of Vaishnavism, the great rival of Saivism, much that is strongly reminiscent of the doctrines and methods of the Muhammadan Sufis who were in India and Kashmir well before her day, and teachings that might be Christian with Biblical analogies, though Indian's knowledge of Christianity must have been very remote and indirect at her date.

Lalla is no believer in good work in this or in former lives, in pilgrimages or austerities. In one of her sayings she criticises the cold and meaningless way in which religious rituals are performed:

God does not want meditations and austerities
Through love alone canst though reach the Abode of Bliss.
Thou mayst be lost like salt in water
Still it is difficult for thee to know God.

All labour, to be effective, must be undertaken without thought of profit and dedicated to Him. Exhorting her followers to stick fast to ideals of love and service to humanity, paying no thought to the praise or condemnation that might follow from their observance, she says:

Let them jeer or cheer me;
Let anybody say what he likes;
Let good persons worship me with flowers;
What can any one of them gain I being pure?

If the world talks ill of me
My heart shall harbour no ill-will:
If am a true worshipper of God
Can ashes leave a stain on a mirror?

She is a strong critic of idolatory as a useless and even silly "work" and adjures the worshippers of stocks and stones to turn to Yogic doctrines and exercises for salvation:

Idol is of stone temple is of stone;
Above (temple) and below (idol) are one;
Which of them wilt thou worship O foolish Pandit?
Cause thou the union of mind with Soul.

She further castigates the fanatical followers of the so-called "religions" in the following apt saying:

O Mind why hast thou become intoxicated at another's expense?
Why hast thou mistaken true for untrue?
Thy little understanding hath made thee attached to other's religion;
Subdued to coming and going; to birth and death.

But Lalla is not a bigot; she constantly preaches wide and even eclectic doctrines; witness the following and many other instances: "it matters nothing by what name the Supreme is called. He is still the Supreme;'' ''Be all Lhings to all men;" ''the true saint is the servant of all mankind through his humility and loving kindness," "It matters nothing what a man is or what his work of gaining his livelihood may be, so long as he sees the Supreme properly."

She puts no value on anything done without the saving belief in Yogic doctrine and practice, one of the results of which is the destruction of the fruits of all work, good or bad. The aspirant should try to auain perfection in this life. He only requires faith and perseverance:

Siva is with a fine net spread out
He permeath the mortal coils
If thou whilst living canst not see
Him, how canst thou when dead
Take out Self from Self after pondering over it

She is a firm believer in herself. She has become famous and talks of the "wine of her sayings" as something obviously precious, and alludes often to her own mode of life, fully believing she has obtained Release:

I saw and found I am in everything
I saw God effulgent in everything.
After hearing and pausing see Siva
The House is His alone; Who am I, Lalla.

The removal of confusion caused among the masses by the preachings of zealots was the most important object of her mission. Having realised the Absolute Truth, all religions were to her merely paths leading to the same goal:

Shiv chuy thali thali rozan;
Mo zan Hindu to Musalman.
Truk ay chuk pan panun parzanav,
Soy chay Sahivas sati zaniy zan.

Siva pervades every place and thing;
Do not differentiate between Hindu and Musalman.
you art intelligent recognise thine own self;
That is the true acquaintance with God.

The Great Mystic

The greatness of Lalla lies in giving the essence of her experiences in the course of her Yoga practices through the language of the common man. She has shown very clearly the evolution of the human being, theory of nada, the worries and miseries of a jiva and the way to keep them off. The different stages of Yoga with the awakening of the Kundalini and the experiences at the six plexi have been elucidated by her.

Much can, indeed, be said on her work as a poet and more, perhaps, on her work in the spiritual realm. But at a time when the world was suffering from conflict - social, political and economic - her efforts in removing the differences between man and man need to be emphasised.

The composite culture and thought she preached and the Orders she founded was an admixture of the non-dualistic philosophy of Saivism and Islamic Sufism. As long back as the 13th century she preached non-violence, simple living and high thinking and became thus Lalla Arifa for Muhammadans and Lalleshwari for Hindus.

She was thus the first among the long list of saints who preached medieval mysticism which later enwrapped the whole of India. It must be remembered that Ramananda's teaching and that of those that came after him could not have affected Lalla, because Ramananda flourished between 1400 and 1470, while Kabir sang his famous Dohas between 1440 and 1518, and Guru Nanak between 1469 and 1538. Tulsidasa did not come on the scene till 1532 whereas Mira flourished much later.

Lalleshwari - An Apostle of Human Values

An apostle of Human values

by Prof. K. N. Dhar

Prof. K. N. DharCultural heritage of acountry borrows measured sustenance from the philosophy of life nurtured inch by inch, by its denizens from the time, man awoke to the consciousness of self and spirit. It may well be called the culmination of quest of man from finite mooring, to infinite dimensions. At the same time, this search of man for finding his feet on the spiritual plane, can in no way be the last word on this subject, since such pursuits are cumulative in character and content. This edifice comes into being brick by brick, hammered into proper shape by savants and saints from time to time. However, it calls for reinterpretation every day in and out, so that the erring human being, with all his frailities, in not derailed into the abyss of animality. Perhaps this is the veritabie theme of the famous word of Lord Krsna in Gita "when vice prevails and virtue dwindles, I resurrect my own being for profferring refuge to the virtuous and annihilating vice completely; thus re-extablishing human values in every age". In our happy valley Lalleshwari most charitably projected such human values, so dear to Kashmiris from the dawn of history. An irrefutable proof of this attitude of concilliation instead of confrontation can be gleaned from the pages of Nilamata Purana wherein Lord Buddha has been acknowledged as an incarnation of God Avatara. Buddhism, to speak squarely, was essentially a revolt against Brahmanism, yet the catholic Brahmin with his proverbial forbearance did not use the same language or adopt the same attitude as the Buddhists had employed with respect to Brahmanism. The healthy approach of Kashmiri Brahmins was never negative in essence but purely positive. So, we can safely assert that Lalleshwari, a vigilant sentinel of Kashmiri culture displayed highest magnitude of courage and foresight in those not very auspicious times beckoning man not to discriminate on the basis of religious labels:-


It was actually the continuation of that Catholic attitude of mind displayed by Kashmiris from times immemorial.

However, time does not maintain a uniform tenor or temper. It is at times moody and capricious; and when the political map of Kashmir was redrawn in the fourteenth century by the induction of sultans over the Kashmir scene, this accomodation of head and heart received a jolt. Kashmiris became oblivious of their pristine past; present consequently got divorced from it, mutilating its brilliant face and its attendant decorum. During those unsavoury and all the more unpalatable times, Lalleshwari fortified to her marrow by the innate strength of her conviction, rose to the occasion and strove hard put to an end to this dismal era of persecution and vandalism. In this crusade her tools were not abjuration but affirmation; bitterness changed hands with sweet and more persuasive compromise. Having elected to tread this path of self-suffering, she became a model for millions of her country-men to abjure the mundance and propitiate the sublime. It was no less than a miracle by which the sufferings of the people lost their sting and they learnt to bear up with these with stoical resistance. They were exhorted to rise above the self and reach up to the super-self at which stage pleasure or pain have no relevance or meaning. Some say it was self-deceit, fleeing from the actual life, rather self-forget-fulness to feel shy of the stark realities of life. The most apt answer to this faulty assertion is provided by ever-awake Lalleshwari herself in these words:-


"Some may heap cavil on me, even some may curse me; They may say whatever they like to say. Some may worship me with the flowers of inherent cognition; yet I do not feel ruffled with this kind of impeachment or praise, since I am concerned with my own self and do not grudge what others have to say about me."

Muslim rule over Kashmir, for reasons obvious, sounded the knell for the use and propagation of sanskrit language. Bilhana, the famous lyricist of Kashmir had once boasted that, "In their household the Kashmiri women even speak sanskrit and prakrit as fluently as their mother-tongue." It was now an old wooden story. However, a bridge was to be built between the present and the past for which sanskrit had been a very potent instrument; but the general public had lost contact with it. Persian was the order of the day in its stead. So, Lalleshwari chose to speak to the people in their own idiom; hence Kashmiri became the vehicle of her message. In this way, she did not only make her message more intelligible and comprehensible to the masses, but also achieved the purpose of bridging the gulf between the past and the present. Present is an improved version of the past providing the base on which future can be built. In her time the friction between the past and the present was the loudest; hence, she like an expert alchemist, by her healing touch saved Kashiniri culture from being eroded and bruised. Her clarion call to assimilate human values in thoie dark days won for her the esteem and acclaim of Hindus and Muslims alike and the edge of ruthless proselytisation got blunted. It was no mean achievment on her part in uniting the lost children of one God, when every effort was being made to segregate them from each other. Her message was so universal and appealing that the tallest of Muslim Reshis of Kashmir Sheikh Noor -ud -Din Noorani made her his ideal and expressed what he owed to her in these words:-


"That Lalla of Padmpur (Pampur) was fortunate enough in gulping the ambrosial nectarine draughts; thereby she won our adoration as an incarnation of immortal Divinity. Benevolent God, grant me also such a boon."

Lalla's message couched in quartrains called 'Vaks' is very simple and straight bereft of any curves or terseness. It is actually an exhortation to man to indulge in self-cognition. It is a readymade manual on self- education and consequent self-consciousness.


"I felt fatigued by imessant self-search, thinking that no body could partake of that hidden perceptive knowledge; I, ultimately got immersed into it and could find admission to the Divine-bar; therein the goblets are full to the brim, but none possesses the nerve to drink these."

Mental drill is preamble to self- consciousness. At that pinnacle of self- discipline mind gets tamed automatically effortlessly:-


"The steed of mind gallops through the sky, encompassing this whole universe. During the twinkling of an eye it can traverse millions of miles. He, who is proficient enough to put it on rails by controlling its reins, check its wayward demeanour by clipping its wings in the shape of mastering his own inhalaton and exhalation can attain the stage of self- cognition."

Worship, in the words of Lalla connotes self- introspection. It has nothing to do with external paraphernalia:-


"Mind is the flower-seller and faith the flowers. Worship should be undertaken with the offerings of mental equipoise. Shiva is to be given a bath of tears. Incantations are to be recited in silence, without making a show of these. In this way only self-consciousness can be awakened from within."

According to Lalleshwari a realizer has to hammer out his mental attitude on these lines:-


"He, who considers his own self and others as alike, abjures distinction between 'I' and 'you', He, who treats days and nights alike; is undisturbed by pleasure or pain. He, whose mind is bereft of duality, whose heart beats for all alike; only such a realizer can perceive the highest of preceptors-Shiva."

But, that shiva is within the self of the realizer, as inseparable from it as the smell from the flower. Immanence is self and transcendence is super-self-shiva in the language of Kashmiri monistic Shaivacharyas:-


"Why do you beat your breast for nothing ? If you possess unwavering intelligence, you shall have to seek Him from within, Shiva is seated there and searching Him from outside will be of no avail. Do believe my word, baked with self- perception."

Withont beating about the bush, it can be safely asserted that Lalleshwari's forte was Kashmiri Shaivism. This concept of Kashmirian philosophy actually revolutionized the age-long attitudes of man, more so of the Brahmins. It advocates a caste-less society as also abhorrs Kitchen-puritanism. Hindu society ailing through its own defective approach, justified such a kind of major operation for instilling evergreen health into its rusty veins. Shaiva scholars of Kashmir diagnosed the disease rightly and prescribed such an elixir for its longevity which defied the time with its nihilistic redclaws. Had not this philosophy of life been at hand to the Kashmiris at that dismal hour of history, no Hindu worth the name, would have survived in the Land of 'Kashyapa', alien culture would have made an easy morsel of him. Lalla's Vaks, are actually a Kashmiri rendering of shiva sutras; When this philosophy was born, no such predicament was there, as was faced by Lalleshwari in her own times later on. At best, shaivas had to contend with the Buddhists, whose attitude was also home-spun and not foreign in any way; Hence, Lalla had to reclaim the lost faith of her brethren, provide a viable alternative to the enticements an alien faith was offering to the people at large; and at the same time, in performing this double duty, she had to be always cross-fingered, not invite the wrath of the rulers. It definiltely goes to her credit that while discharging her mission, she did not make a single enemy out of the other camp. To crown all, her message did cut through the man-made barriers of religions, Hindus as well as Muslims became her votaries with equal gusto. Her appeal was humanistic and not sectarian. Her approach was of positive affirmation and not of negative abjuration; consequeatly it multiplied her friends. Her ingenuity in steering safe between the two antagnostic factions is unsurpassed. She was instrumental in replacing call to steel by call to human conscience, consequently changing sourness to sweetness:-


"We, human beings, did live in the past and we alone will be in the future also. From ancient times to the present, we have activised this world. Just like rising and setting of the sun, a usual routine, the immanent Shiva (jiva) will never be relieved of birth and death."

Lalleshwari did not preach any hard and fast religion, she even disdained ritual. She projected a way of life quite in harmony with our cultural traditions, in which a happy amalgam was made of what was good in Buddhism, Hinduism and even Islam;-


"That transcendental- self may assume the names of Shiva, Visnu, Buddha or Brahma; I am concerned only With their efficacy in cutting asunder my worldly affections, which might be accomlished by any one of these."

Therefore, it follows from this, that she was not dogmatic or rigid either. She welcomed the healthy wafts of wind coming from any direction wlktsoever, anointing her body and soul with chaste Divinity. She always kept the windows of her mind open, rejecting what was mundane and assimilating the sublime:-


"The Super- Lord is supervising His shop with personal care. All the aspirants are eager to take away wares of their liking. Whatever, you would elect to buy, does not admit of any intermediary; It is to be earned by your own effort, since the shop is devoid of any hinderance and even a watch is not kept over it."

This is the acme of Lalla's message. Man has been exhorted to seek his own self front within, without any external aids. Self-effort is precursor of self- education finally culminateng in self-conscionsness - Shiva - as she calls it.

As long as the silvery bellows of the Vitasta maintain their rejuvenating rhythm, as long as the virgin snow on the Himalayan heights retains its unblemished splendour and stature, the exquisite 'Vaks' of Lalleshwari soaked to the full in the inherent values of Kashmiri culture and human understanding will go on, unimpeded of course, in providing dignity to man to recognize his own self and not to run after deluding shadows; since the culture of a land never dies, the message of Lalla portraying meaningfully the humanistic attitudes ingrained in our culture, will never grow stale. Its fragrance and flavour are evergreen.

Article reproduced from:
Glimpses of Kashmiri Culture
Shri Parmanand Research Institute
Srinagar, Kashmir

All Roads Lead to Lal Ded

By Bilhan Kaul

Of all the literary greats of Kashmir, Lal Ded takes the cake as number one poet not only among her peers but extends to six centuries down the line in our age as well. Hence the question that is most important is her number one ranking in Kashmiri literature justified? In doing so, we have not to resort to sentimentality or romanticism which Bertand Russel describes as love for the past but put her to the rigours of critical  analysis and evaluation.

Firstly, whether she was a saint poet and mystic is immaterial to present occupation and need not detain us to explore her number one position among the poets of Kashmir whether of past or of present.

Lal Ded, had she lived in present times could easily have been existentialist scholar but that she was saivite yogini as Richard Temple calls her reflects the mood of the age in 14th Century. Kashmir Saivism was the fashion of 14th Century Kashmiri Hindus and was followed by both classes and masses in equal measure. The fact remains Lalla was a poet of high quality and that is to state the obvious. She was definitely a Saivite Yogini and used it as an instrument to give way to her poetic genius. In the end, she chose her own path with inspiration often preceding the thought.

Lal Ded wrote her poetry with fury and passion and even with intellectual arrogance. Her poetry came to her in a fit of emotion, seized her entire being inspired her to vomit gems of Kashmiri literature. Lal Vaakhs are forceful enough to hit you on the face before you realize what has hit you. Most importantly, you should not read or hear them in English translation. In doing so, as in the case of all poetry does not convey even the one fourth of original Idea or to put it differently, does not convey in any manner the skills of Lalla. Therefore, read them in Kashmiri language. Never mind if the alphabets are Roman or Devnagri.

Lalla was more than a mere saivite Yogini. She was a philosopher, teacher, pacifist, social reformer. But her genius lay in her poetic compositions. Incidentally, her competitor as number one Kashmiri poet is another woman Habbakhatoon. Lal Vaakhs are forceful while Habbakhatoon's composition are more down to earth. Lal Vaakhs are philosphers's stone as against Habba Khatoon whose concerns are more mundane. Lal Ded preaches as against Habba Khatoon's compositions which are born in the backdrop of intense agitation and poetic sermons acts as a balm on that agitation. Lalla walks alone confident of herself and her knowledge. Habba Khatoon is not so sure of herself and creates poetry for her solace. Lalla creates poetry to confirm her confident status.

She is a mystic and her concerns are universal. Habba Khatoon is an out and out a Kashmiri poet and uses Kashmiri beauty to create a top class imaginary. The theme of her poetry is that she has just missed the bus. Lal Ded was already on board surveying the scene as an outsider. Habba Khatoon wanted to swim with the tide as against Lal Ded had no inclination to swim with current. She was forever a rebel. A rebel with purpose. A rebel with cause. Her sympathies are not for people or for even her own self. She searched for meaning in life and it was life long mission for her. Habba Khatoon created poetry to create sympathy for her and for her condition. Her poetry was created in isolation and yet was meant for people. Habba Khatoon's Vatsun was meant to create awareness. As against Lal Vaakhs, where, search was more essential.

In the end, Lal Ded beats Habba Khatoon as premier poet of Kashmir because Lal Ded had more skill and her Vaakhs viewed with cool head created more impact.

Some scholars notably PN Bazaz has suggested that she was influenced by Sufis and that she brought about synthesis between Islam and Hinduism. I must say that this is quite outrageous claim. We have no evidence that Lalla was influenced by Sufism. In any case, Islam was just beginning to penetrate Kashmir during Lalla's time and the interaction of Lal Ded with Hamdani is totally false. She was out and out a Hindu who was impressed with Saivism. Her Guru Sedamol initiated her in Saivite philosophy and in following Vaakh she conveys her gratitude.


Gurun Dupnam Kunny Vachun

Nuybrai Dupnam Andar Achun

Sui Gau Lali Vaakh Tu Vachun

Tavwy Huytam Nangai Nachun

That Lalla was in the practice of Yogic penances can be seen in the following Vaakh which is easily her best.


Damadam Kaurmas Daman Hale

Prazuloym Deef t Nanayum Zaath

Andrum Prakaash Nubar Chotum

Gati Rotum t Karmus Thap.

This Vaakh is simply mind blowing in its intensity. Watch out for skills and dexterous use of Kashmiri language and watch out for metre in the above Vaakh. Marvellous is least one can say. This Vaakh is also noticeable for the force with which it is uttered.

There is hint of rising above religious dogma in the following Vaakh.


Muda Krai Chai N Dharun Tu Parun.

Muda Krai Chai N Rachinai Kai

Muda Krai Chai N Deh Sandarum

Sahaz Vuyachurn Chui Vapudesh.

In the last two stanzas she is also contradicting herself what has been stated earlier. In view of the difficulty in writing Kashmiri language in Roman script I limit myself to following one Vaakh to convey to reader her poetic genius.


Lal Bu Drayus Kapsi Poshi

Kadai tu Dunyu Kadnam Lath

Tuiyi Yali Kharnam Zauz Tuyi

Vovir Vaan Gayum Alunz Lath

Dhobi Yali Chavnas Bu Kani Pyathai

Saz Tu Sabun Machnum Yachui

Suchi Yali Phirnam Hani Hani Kachai

Ad Lali Mai Prayum Parmai Gath.

The above mentioned Vaakh confirms why Lalla is premier poet of Kashmir. It also confirms why she walks tallest among the many great poets of Kashmir. It is a show piece poetry. It is a poetry of highest order. It has all the ingredients of greatest poetry written by mankind. It has everything which poetry lover wants to find. Skill, imagery, metaphor, philosophical outpourings and the determination to come through.

We accord Lal Ded as number one position keeping in view number of factors. And when we consider those factors all roads lead to Lal Ded. She rules among the minds and hearts of Kashmiris.

Her influence is also evident when a section of Kashmiri society tried to communalize her name and give it Islamic connotation. Lot of effort was undertaken to appropriate her in Islamic ethos. All we can say is that Lal Ded belonged to mankind and not just to Kashmiris.

In fact, Lalla was quite appalled by depredations carried by Muslim invaders. This is evidenced by following Vaakh.


Shiv Chui Thali Thali Rozan

Mu Zan Hind Tu Muslaman

Trukh Hai Chuk Paan Praznaay

Soi Chai Shvi Sati Zam Zan

It is certainly not the Vaakh that makes non distinction between Hindus and Muslims. It tells foreigners to maintain human dignity and not discriminate between man and man. It tells them to look inwards and realize one's own self as God is seeing in the heaven.

In the end, it is a tribute to Lal Ded that she continues to occupy our minds and hearts even after more than six centuries after he death. She defined Kashmiri poetry and set standards for others to follow. And to tell the truth her standards are still hard to climb. She was her own self and genre of poetry that she created was unique. Lal Ded's poetry gives the impression that she was poet of intellect. Yet, all her poetry rose from deep recesses of the heart.

The english translations of her compositions fail to do justice to her. Because translator seeks to focus on wards and search for its equivalent. By doing so flavour and unity of the poetry is lost. That is why translations by Prof. Jaya Lal Koul or PN Bazaz in English fail to do justice to her compositious. Because poetry is not all about meaning it should be captured by senses much before one seeks to get the meaning.

Source: Koshur Samachar

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Lal Ded

Kashmir provided seat of accomplishment and learning for the oriental religions and cultures. Lalleshwari's contribution has been unique: Exploring the immeasurable depths of the Divine. This verily transformed her from an ordinary rustic village girl into a mystical genius.

However, like many other scholarly and religious works of India, foreigners took a special lead in this task. Sir George Grierson and Lionel D. Barnett organized a gathering of learned pandits and these wise sayings were properly interpreted and compiled. Over the years, these Shalokas became preamble to any auspicious recitation in Kashmir; where all faiths adopted it and got equally benefitted. But with the passage of time these verses also got mixed up.

We can take humble pride that first time a modern presentation of Kashmiri treasure has been attempted so that this subtle and mystic knowledge is reached to masses in simple, poetic and soul stirring expression.

Although lot of collective effort has gone into procurement of material, analysis, interpretation, presentation, music etc. special gratitude is due to a noble Kashmiri (he desires not to reveal his identity) whose deep knowledge and dedication was of invaluable help and gave authenticity to this work.

It is a small effort and there is lot to explore. We humbly invite everybody having faith in such values and traditions to come forward, lead and contribute in this endevour.

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Phone :   6892972 , 6133936

Lalleshwari - Excerpts from Gems of Kashmiri Literature and Kashmiriyat

(Born 1320, Death 1390 A.D)
Born at Pandraethan Village (ancient Puranadhisthana)

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