The annual Urs of Bulleh Shah, the Punjabi mystic poet, concluded yesterday in Kasur yesterday. Bulleh’s poetry reflected his rejection of orthodox hold of mullahs over Islam, the nexus between the clergy and the rulers and all the trappings of formal religion that created a gulf between man and his Creator. A common theme of his poetry is the pursuit of self-knowledge that is essential for the mystical union with the Beloved.
Adil Najam’s post on Bulleh Shahhas a great selection of links to audio recordings of Bulleh’s poetry and also some of his beautiful verse. I love this one
paRh paRh ilm hazaar kitaabaN
qaddi apnay aap nou paRhiya naee
jaaN jaaN waRhday mandir maseedi
qaddi mann apnay wich waRhiya naee
aa-vaiN laRda aye shaitan de naal bandeaa
qaddi nafss apnay naal laRiya naee
[yes, yes, you have read thousands of books
but you have never tried to read your own self
you rush in, into your Mandirs, into your Mosques
but you have never tried to enter your own heart
futile are all your battles with Satan
for you have never tried to fight your own desires]
Here are a few more translations that I found here.
Being cleansed, I am withdrawing
From my head, feet and hands
I even got rid of my eyes
I have attained my goal
It has ended so well.
O Bulleha! Lord prevails everywhere
Now none appears a stranger to me.
Quazi and mullah stray away
And paddle their religion
They are like bird trappers
Of this world
And throw away their nets
Everywhere to catch innocents.
Source of translations please click [here]
I will conclude with these immortal lines:
jay rabb milda naataiN dhotaiN
tay rabb milda daddouaN maachiaN nou
jay rabb milda jungul phiraiN
atay rabb milda gaayaN wachiaN nou
way Bullayaa, rabb unnaaN nou milda
attay dilaiyan sachiyaN aachiyaN nou
A literal and evidently inadequate translation by me:
If God was found by bathing and cleansing
He would have been found by frogs and fish
If God was found by wandering in the jungles
Stray animals would have found him
O Bulleh, the Lord can only be found
By loving hearts – true and pure..