The divine soil of Bharat has been fertile with innumerable saints from time immemorial. Such rare gems have been born all over Bharat. Many of them sang the glories of the Lord and were a living embodiment of Bhakti (devotion). The remarkable aspect of this is that although many of these saints were born in different centuries, their sayings have been consistent. Their only preaching to mankind is to chant the Names of the Lord.
In this Bharata Pradakshina series, we periodically see briefly how every Indian state has been graced by ‘bhakta’ saints who glorified the easiest and the most effective path of chanting the Lord’s Names.
The Mystic Poetess of Kashmir
The heavenly land of Kashmir gets its name from Sage Kashyap. Many a saint has travelled to this holy place to impart spiritual knowledge and establish schools of learning. It is said that Adi Sankara was so pleased with the knowledge of the locals that he called Kashmir an abode of Goddess Saraswati. It is no wonder then that Kashmir has a plethora of native saints who showed the easiest path to attain God.
One of the greatest saints from this region was Sant Lalleshwari. Popularly known as Lal Ded, she spread the fragrance of her teachings through mystic poems. She was the forerunner of mystic saints during the medieval era along with Kabir Das. It was a period of religious subjugation and the need of the hour was a saint who could blend simplicity and divinity. Sant Lalleshwari was the answer. She was born into a pious family near the city of Srinagar. After being married at an early age, she was tormented and assaulted by her mother-in-law. Toiling day and night and thoroughly exhausted, she would find a big stone on her plate covered with a thin coating of rice. Without any qualms, Sant Lalleshwari used to eat what was offered to her. Worldly cruelty and suffering led her to find comfort at the Lotus feet of the Lord and eventually realize her true Self through the Grace of her Guru, Sed Bayu.
She spread knowledge and devotion to her people in the form of poems. Her works clearly indicated the path of love as the surest way to get the Lord’s blessings. She requested her followers to stick to the ideals of love and service to humanity and never get influenced by praises or agitated by abuses. She showed in her poems the greatness of chanting the divine Names of God. Below is an excerpt from one such poem.
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 fulfill your wants.
Then cry to Him alone for help, His Name will lead you safe across.
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.
– Aravind Thathachari, Dallas, TX