Friday, May 1, 2009

Lalleshwari Lal Ded Kashmiri Shaivite scholar

Lalleshuri (Lal Ded) of Kashmir has invited attention of a number of scholars throughout the world. Her poetic compositions or Vaakhs as they are popularly called are the extempore outpourings of a highly awakened Yogini and exhibit high quality poetry with a deep philosophical content. Here and there we find her personal spiritual experiences unfolded in a simple form besides terse principles of Yoga exemplified with easily graspable day to day activities. Lalleshuri communicated her spiritual teachings in the language of the common man using verbal medium only and the impact was so great that her poetry safely has carried through centuries by memory lane as a divine word with negligible distortion of language. ( Poshmot )

The Vaakhs of Lalleshuri is a vast canvas with varied hues spread over by a great literary artist, a highly awakened Shaivite Yogini and a religious philosopher. Her sayings about the futility of worldly existence and the escape route through the practice of Yoga have received wide recognition and continue as such. She had detached herself completely from the material world and become a wandering ascetic displaying a frightful aura devoid even of her clothes to cover her nakedness. Her poetic compositions were instantly committed to public memory and sung as divine songs to make retribution to God for ones sins. A highly awakened soul, a Yugpursha and a living incarnation of Lord Shiva, she gave out rare gems of Vaakhs in the common man's word showing a clear path towards self realization. She has castigated man time and again for collection of material belongings ignoring the real divine treasure that only is capable to give safe passage through temporal existence. She was shocked to see people enjoying life's glamour which they knew was nothing but an illusion and how eager she was to see people shun the lure of the world. Repeatedly she like a past master preacher stressed upon man not to take the false for the true. She says it was only their ignorance that bound them to the falsehood and thus waste the precious moments of their lives that could otherwise be fruitfully used for higher purpose.

Lalleshuri was very much dedicated to her Guru. While expressing her gratitude to her Guru in guiding her in all her progress she says that her Guru is both father and mother to her, who made her blind eyes capable to see, her bare body able to wear the celestial garments and thereby discriminate between falsehood and the truth. Lalleshuri has repeatedly described the importance of a teacher in the way to self realization. She says one who develops full faith in his Guru and follows religiously his directions, is able to control all five senses with the help of Gyan Yoga and succeeds in overcoming the sea of ignorance. He is lifted above the gross material world and all worldly events, joys and sorrows, sound immaterial to him. Lalla says in one popular Vaakh--- she asked her GURU a thousand times who was the one who was nameless and beyond comprehension but she didn't get a reply. When she got tired by asking repeatedly and hence helpless she was suddenly satisfied without an answer and understood the truth of life and its creator who was responsible for all creation and still beyond comprehension. The purpose here is to bring home to the seeker that the Guru guides his disciple in all circumstances and the seeker doesn't fall short of guidance in association with him. Lalla says she has washed her body with the Gangajal (water of the sacred Ganges) of the Gura-Shabda (word of her Guru) and thus attained pure salvation while living the same material body

Lalleshuri is a great interpreter of the divine word Aum. She extensively explains the validity of Aum in achieving higher stages in yoga through Pranayama and advancement of self by mastering efficiently the recitation of Aum. She says one who is able to master the recitation of this divine word with the rhythm of his breath without any digression of thought can form an easy bridge between him and the universal consciousness. Lalla says further that she gradually mastered the recitation of Aum in a way that she began feeling a strange sensation and with it her whole ego vanished, and thus detached from the world she was enlightened. At this stage, says Lalleshuri, she closed all the doors of her body i.e. controlled all her physical senses and took to recitation of Aum with the beats of the heart and thus achieved the higher echelons of consciousness. Here she cautions the seeker to inhale and exhale slowly with a particular rhythm such that there is a transformation of self as from a baser metal into gold and no stopping at any stage till the goal is reached. There is always at each stage the danger of being carried away by worldly digressions as these are much overpowering and most misleading. Lalleshuri points to a stage where the seeker gains full control over five senses and to him the world of matter vanishes completely. His soul is released from the bondages of the body and that is liberation. Nothing can be achieved without full control on the material self and ego. Lalleshuri expresses her personal experience in this context. She says she reached perfection by experiencing the bliss of the realization of truth and became the embodiment of celestial gleam through the discipline of yoga. She felt the presence of Lord everywhere and became herself too part of the infinity. She was wonderstruck that she had lost her identity and merged with the supreme. The fully realized yogi ultimately achieves that stage of perfection as Lalla says when Lord Shiva becomes a horse to ride for him, Lord Vishno the saddle and Brahma to hold the stirrups. That indicates the fulfillment of purpose or the ultimate liberation from material bondages.

In her ecstasy of achievement Lalleshuri describes her encounter with the supreme. With her tears of joy she washes the divine feet but feels the divine presence on her head indicating the ultimate success of a yogi. She says on her observation that the lord is without name, form, shape, caste or creed and still the nucleus of the universe, so there is none else worthy to be worshipped. She feels the presence of the lord shining everywhere, she listens to the divine talk and Lalla nowhere, already merged with the supreme. The influence of the lord (Shiva) is everywhere in the cosmos and it is only the human mind that can work to tune it in its favour in its lifetime. Human life is precious as only capable to achieve the highest stage of perfection by being one with the supreme. When human mind is absorbed in worldly affairs it is quite non-receptive to divine influences, alternatively when one is absorbed in meditation and looking within his self it naturally becomes sensitive to divine vibrations by losing interest in material advancement and shunning all egos.

Author JL Bhat

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