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Lajwanti Rama Karishna
May 18th, 2008
4.5 / 5 (40 Votes)



BULLHE SHAH is universally admitted to have been the greatest of the Panjabi mystics. No Panjabi mystic poet enjoys a wider celebrity and a greater reputation. His kafis have gained unique popularity. In truth he is one of the greatest Sufis of the world and his thought equals that of Ja1al-ud-din Rumi and Shams Tabriz of Persia. As a poet Bullhe Shah is different from the other Sufi poets of the Panjab, and represents that strong and living pious nature of Panjabi character which is more reasonable than emotional or passionate.1 As he was an outcome of the traditional mystic thought we can trace some amount of mystic phraseology and sentiment in his poetry but, in the main, intellectual Vedantic thought is its chief characteristic.

He was born in a Saiyid family residing at, the village Pandoki of Kasur in the Lahore district, in the year A.D. 1680.2 This was during the twenty-first year of Emperor Aurangzeb’s reign.3 According to C. F. Usborne4 he died in A.H. 1171 or A.D. 1785 (i.e. in the short reign of Alamgir the Second) at the ripe old age of 78. The kavvalis say that he was brought up and educated on strictly Muhammadan lines, as was the wont of Saiyid family in those days. C. F. Usborne says that his father was a man of dervishic ideas.5 It is difficult to decide between these two contradictory statements. But taking into consideration the political situation of the times and the various legends that have gathered round the saint’s life, we can safely say that the kavvalis are right. The Saiyids of Kasur were said to be well known for their bigotry were much enraged when Bullhe Shah became a Sufi and a disciple of the Arai Inyat Shah. We conclude therefore that Bullhe Shah’s father could not have been a man of theosophic disposition and what C.F. Usborne meant by dervishic ideas was that he was a religious man.

After completing his education, it is said that Bullha went to Lahore. Of the two traditions, one says that, as was customary in those days, he came to Lahore in search of a spiritual teacher, while the other relates that he went there on a visit. Each of these two contradictory traditions has a legend to support it. The first relates that while he was busy searching the intellectual circles of Lahore to find out a competent master he heard of Shah Inayat’s greatness and decided to make him his murshid. He turned his steps towards the house of the Shah, and found him engrossed in his work in the garden.6 Having introduced himself, Bullha requested that he might be accepted
a disciple and taught the secret of God. Thereupon lnayat said:

Bullhia rabb da pan ai
edharo puttan odharo lan hai.7

O Bullha the secret of God is this; on this side He uproots, on the other side He creates.

‘This’, says the tradition. ‘so impressed Bullha that, forgetting his family and its status, he became Inyat Shah’s disciple.8

The second tradition says that Shah Inayat was the head gardener of the Shalimar gardens of Lahore. When in Lahore, Bullhe Shah visited them, and as it was summer, he roamed in the mango-groves. Desirous of tasting the fruit he looked round for the guardian but, not finding him there, he decided to help himself. To avoid the sin of stealing, he looked at the ripe fruit and said; ‘allah ghani’.9On the utterance of these magic words a mango fell into his hands. He repeated them several times, and thus collected a few mangoes. Tying them up in his scarf 10 he moved on to find a comfortable place where he could eat them. At this time he met the head gardener, who accused him of stealing the fruit from the royal gardens. Considering him to be a man of low origin and desirous of demonstrating to him his occult powers, Bullha said ironically: ‘I have not stolen the mangoes but they have fallen into my hands as you will presently see.’ He uttered ‘allah ghani’ and the fruit came into his hand. But to his great surprise the young Saiyid found that Inayat Shah was not at all impressed but was smiling innocently. The great embarrassment of Bullhe Shah inspired pity in the gardener’s heart and he said: ‘You do not know how to pronounce properly the holy words and so you reduce their power.’ So saying, he uttered ‘allah ghani’, and all the fruits in the gardens fell on the lovely lawns. Once again he repeated the same and the fruit went back on to the trees. This defeat inflicted by the guardian, whom the young Saiyid Bullhe Shah considered ignorant and low, revolutionized his whole thought. Falling at the feet of Inayat Shah he asked to be classed as his disciple and his request was immediately granted.11

The above two traditions, though different in detail, come to the same conclusion, that Bullha, impressed by the greatness of Inayat, became his disciple. Bullhe Shah in his verse often speaks of his master Inayat Shah and thanks his good luck for having met such a murshid.

Bullha shauh ve nic kamini
Shauh inayat tari.12

Says Bullha, O God the Lord Inayat has saved me, low and mean.


Bullhe Shah di suno hakait
hadi pakria hog hadait
mera murshid Shah Inayat
Uh langhaai par. 13

Listen to the story of Bullhe Shah, he has got hold of the pir and shall have salvation. My teacher, Shah Inayat, he will take me across.

In an account of the Panjabi poets it would perhaps be out of place to speak at great length of Shah Inayat who wrote in Persian.14 But the influence exerted by him through his teachings and writings has linked him with Panjabi literature. Bullha the Rumi of the Panjab, came most directly under his influence and, having learnt from him, was inspired to write his remarkable poetry. It will therefore, be proper to give here a short account of this wonderful man.

Inayat and his School 15

Hazrat Shaikh Muhammad Inayat-ullah, generally known as Shah Inayat Qadiri, was born at Kasur in the Lahore district, of arais parents. The arias in the Panjab were gardeners or petty cultivators. They are known to be Hindu converts to Islam and are therefore considered inferior by Muhammadans. Rose, in his Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Panjab, writes: ‘The nucleus of this caste was probably a body of Hindu Saini or Kamboh cultivators who were converted to Islam at an early period.16Ibbetson and Wilson are also of the same opinion, and their view is supported by traditions of some aria sub-castes who claim descent from Hindu princes of solar and lunar races.17

The descendants of Shah Inayat, however, claim descent from Kulab, an ancestor of the Prophet Muhammad.18 The genealogical tree which Shaik Siraj-ud-din has kindly furnished, however, cannot convince us of Inayat Shah’s Arabian descent. Almost all names between the present descendant and Kulab are Hindu names.19 The arias 20 according to all available, information, appear to be Indian Muslims and Shah Inayat was born in one such well-to-do family. The date and year of Inayat’s birth are not known, but one of his manu scri pts, containing an endorsement in his own handwriting and also his seal, bears the date A.H. 1110 21(A.D. 1699). From this we can conclude that he was a contemporary of Aurangzeb and perhaps saw a part of the reign of Shah Jahan. The Wazaif-i-Kalan gives the year of his death as A.H. 1147 (A.D. 1735) during the time of Emperor Muhammad Shah.22 He was educated after the manner of his time and gained a good knowledge of Persian and Arabic. As he was born with a mystic disposition he became a disciple of the famous Sufi scholar and saint Muhammad Ali Raza Shattari.23 After he had finished his studies he was created a khalifa. Later on he received the khilafat of seven other sub-sects of the Sufi Qadiri. Soon after this event he left Kasur and migrated to Lahore .The author of Bagh-i-Awliya-e-Hind says that the great enmity of the Hakim Husain Khan compelled him to migrate,24 but his descendants assert that it was the order of his teacher that brought him to Lahore.25 Here after having quelled the jealousy of his famous contemporaries, he established a college of his own. To this college came men of education for further studies in philosophy and other spiritual sciences of the time.26

The Doctrines of Inayat Shah


The Qadiris of the Panjab were famous for their philosophic studies. It was their influence that had converted prince Dara Shikoh.27 They were very much inclined towards Hindu philosophy. Shah Inayat was no exception to this rule. He was a man of scholarly disposition, and wrote several books, as well as commentaries upon the works of his predecessors. In his Dastur-ul-Amal 28he described the different methods employed for the attainment of salvation 29 by the Hindus of ancient times. These various methods he classes in different groups—the seventh and the last group, according to him, being efficacious to procure for seeker the spiritual stage of Parma-Hamsa. This knowledge, Inayatbelieved, was carried by the Greeksoldiers of Alexander the Great to Greece, from where it was borrowed by the mystics of Islam.31

Shah Inayat, besides his enunciation of Hindu thought wrote considerably of Sufiism and its development. He it said to have written a commentary on the Holy Quran, but that is not available .The following are his Persian works, now in the possession of his khalifa descendant, Shaikh Siraj-ud-din:

Islah-ul-Amal work on Sufiism and Sufi practices.
Lataif Ghaibia
Notes on Jawahir Khamsa of Muhammad Ghaus of Gwalior.33

In addition to these, Inayat Shah is said to have written many other books. But the fire that broke out in the house of his descendants, during the troubled times that followed the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, consumed them along with the vast library left by the saint.34

Such was the man whom Bullha Shah made his hadi or guru. This action of Bullha, however, was highly displeasing to his family. His relatives tried to induce him to give up Inayat and find another murshid. But Bullha was firm and paid no attention to them or to their wailings. The following will sufficiently demonstrate the indignation of the family:

Bullhe nu samjhavan aiya bhaina to bharjaiya
al nabi aulad ali di bullhia tu ki lika laiya
mann lai bullhia sada kahna chadd de palla raiya

To Bullha sisters and sisters-in-law came to explain (advise). Why, O Bullha, have you blackened the family35of the Prophet and the descendants of Ali?Listen to our advice, Bullha, and leave the skirt of the aria.36

To this reproach Bullha firmly but indifferently replies:

Jehra sanu saiyad akkhe dozakh miln sajaiya
Jehra sanu rai akkhe bahishti piga paiya
Je tu lore bag bahara Bullhia Talib ho ja raiya.37

He who calls me a Saiyid, shall receive punishments in Hell, he who calls me an arai shall in heaven have swings; O Bullha, if you want pleasures of the garden become a disciple of the aria.

Bullha seems to have suffered at the hands of his family, as he has once or twice mentioned in his poetry.38 In the end, being convinced of the sincere love and regard of their child for Inayat Shah, the family left him alone. It is said that one of his sisters, who understood her brother, gave him her support and encouraged him in his search for truth.39

Having broken with the family, Bullha came to live with his teacher and soon mastered the secret of his teachings. As the political situation of the times was against the Sufis and especially against the Sufis of Inayat Shah’s type, he forbade Bullha, to speak freely and openly against the established Muhammadan beliefs. But Bullha did not pay heed to his master’s valuable advice, as is clear from this.

Bullhe nu lok matti dede bullha tu ja baih masiti
vicc masita de kih kujh hunda jo dilo namaz na kitti
bahro pak kitte kih hunda jo andaro gai a paliti
bin murshid kamil bullhia teri aive gai ibadat kitti

Bhatth namaza te cikkar roze kalme to phir gai saiahi
Bullha shah shauh andaro milia bhulli phire lukai. 40

To Bullha people give advice (saying). O Bullha, go and in the mosque; what avails it going to the mosque, if the heart has not said the prayer? What matters it being pure outside when from inside dirt has not gone? Without a perfect teacher, says Bullha, your prayers are of no avail.Into the fire the prayers! in the mud the fast of ramzan! Over the kalma black has passed. Says Bullha Shah, the Lord is met from within me, but the people are searching elsewhere.

Such utterances annoyed Shah Inayat, who practiced Haqiqat (reality) in the garb of Tariqat41to escape the fate that so many Sufis in Islamic lands had met before.42 But Bullha, with the enthusiasm of a new convert, would not listen to his good counsel. This act of disobedience made Inayat Shah extremely angry and so he sent him away. After some time, realizing the truth of his master advice. Bullha Shah regretted his attitude and wanted to go back to him. He tried all devices but Shah Inayat ignored him. The only way then left open to Bullha was to approach him personally. But how was he to do that? He, however, knew his master’s love for music and dancing. So he began to learn the arts from a dancing girl. When he had learnt them sufficiently he came to Lahore and waited for an opportunity. One day when Inayat Shah had entered a mosque, Bullha Shah, dressed as a woman, began to sing and dance outside it. People gathered round him as is the custom. Attracted by the music Inayat also came and stopped. Bullha then was singing:

Vatt na karsa man rajhete yar da ve aria
Ishk allah di zat loka da mehna, kai val kara pukar kise nahi rahina
use da hal uho jane, kaun koi dam marda ve aria44

Never again shall I bear pride for my friend Rajha (God), O comrade; love is an attribute of God but for people itis a taunt (i.e. it becomes a thing to be taunted about). Whom shall I call (myown because) no one is to stay (live eternally); his (one who loves) condition He (God, the Rajha) alone knows, who is there that remains alive, O comrade.

When he was singing thus, he saw his master among his audience, and so he continued:

Vatt ni karsa man rajhete yar da ve aria
ajjajokari rat mere ghar rahi kha ve aria
dil dia ghundhia khol asa nal hass kha ve aria. 45

Never again shall Ibear pride for my beloved Rajha (God), O friend; tonight do stay in my house, O friend; undo the knots of your heart and laugh with me, O friend.

This was sufficient for Inayat to know who the singer was. Coming near he asked, ‘O Singer, are you not Bullha?’ ‘No, hazrat,’ replied the singer, ‘I am not Bullha but Bhulla’, (i.e. repentant).46 He was forgiven and once again ho came to live with his master. He remained with him till the day of his death.

The Mystic Life of Bullhe Shah

The mystic life of Bullhe Shah has three well-marked periods.

First Period

His meeting with Inayat Shah and his conversion to the Sufi doctrines mark the first of the three periods. This Period was chiefly spent in study, but he also wrote some verse. These compositions were in the style of the traditional poetry of the Panjab, i.e. simple but emotional and sentimental. From the literary point of view, poetry of Bullha, though graceful and charming, is weak in thought and is yet therefore, very commonplace.

Here is an example:47

Dil loce mahi yar nu, dil loce mahi yar nu
ikk hass hass galla kardia, ikk rodia dhodia phirdia
kahio phulli basant bahar nu
Dil lece, etc.
mai nhati dhoti raihi gai, ikk gandh mahi dil baihi gai
bhah laie har shingar nu
Dil loce, etc.
Mai dutia ghail kitia, sula gher cuphero littia
Ghar ave mahi didar nu
Dil loce, etc.
Bullha hun sajan ghar aia, mai ghut rajhan gal laia
Dekh gae samundaro par nu.
Dil loce, etc.

Heart craves for friend beloved, heart craves for friend beloved, some (girls, i.e. lovers) laugh and laughingly converse, others crying and wailing wander, say in this blossomed season of Spring. Heart craves, etc.

I washed and bathed in vain,one knot (grudge) now has settled in my heart, O beloved (for not coming) let me put fire to (undo) my toilet. Heart craves, etc.

The tunts have wounded me, acute pains have surrounded me; the beloved should come for self-manifestation (to show himself to the lover). Heart craves, etc.

Bullha, now the friend has come home, I have embraced hard my Rajha; Behold us crossing the ocean. Heart craves, etc.

The above, though a famous kafi, fails to reach that height of thought and force of character which are so characteristic of BulIha’s poetry.

In this period Bullha was still attached to his Islam theological ideas which later on he shook in the believes in the idea of heaven, hell and earth, which he not understand later on. Witness this:

Bullha shauh bin koi nahi aithe utthe dohi sarai
Sambhal sambhal kadam tikai phir avan duji var nahi
Utth jag ghurare mar nahi. 48

Bullha without the Lord there is none here (earth) and there heaven and hell) in both the place. Carefully, carefully let your feet fall (take the step) as for a second time you shall come. Awake, arise and snore no more.

During this period he yet fears death and the grave, as would a pious Muhammadan.

ikk roz jahano jana hai
Ja kabre vicc samana hai
Tera ghosht kiria khana hai
Kar cetta mano visar nahi
Utth jag ghurare mar nahi.49

One dayyou have to part from the world, in the grave you have to fit, your flesh the insects will eat, remember this, do not forget from your heart. Awake, arise and snore no more.

Here he is still clinging to the Islamic belief of only one life and does not believe in transmigration which he will later accept as part of his Advaitism:

Tu es jahano jaegi, phir kadam na ehtthe paegi
eh joban rup vanjhaegi
Tai rahina vicc sansar nahi. 50

From this world you will part, never again shall you put your feet here; you will then take leave of this youth and beauty, you are not to live in the world.

This Preliminary stage of Bullha’s mystic life does not seem to have lasted long as there is very little verse in this tone. But undue importance is given to this poetry by the Sufis of the orthodox type, because this helps them to save Bullhe Shah from being called a ‘heretic’.

Second Period


The Second stage of Bullha’s mystic life perhaps began very soon after the commencement of the first. During this period he assimilated more of the India outlook. Here he resembles both the advanced type of Sufi and a Vaisnava devote in thought, in religious emotions and in his adoration of the pir or guru. Like them he places the guru and God on the same level and finds no difference between the two. The following resembles so closely the Vaisnava lore in idea and emotion that, wareit not for the name Bullha at the end, it would be hard to distinguish it:

Ikk andheri Kothari duja diva na vati
Baho phar ke lai cale sham ve koi sang na sathi. 51

There is only one dark chamber (world) without any lamp or wick (hope). Holding my wrist they (bad actions) are taking me, O sham, unaccompanied and companionless.

In the above we find not only the Vaisnava feeling, but even the name Sham given to God is Vaisnava.


Bhave jan na jan ve vehre a var mere
Mai tere kurban ve vehre a var mere
Tere jiha mainu horn a koi dhunda jangai beli rohi
Dhunda ta sara jahan ve vehre a var mere
Mai tere kurban ve vehre a var mere
Loka de bhane cak mahi da rajha loka vicc kahida
Sada ta din iman ve, vehre a var mere
Mai tere kurban ve vehre a var mere
Mape chor laggi lar tere, shah inayat sai mere
Laia di lajj pal ve vehre a var mere
Mai tere kurban ve vehre a var mere 52

Whether you consider me (as loved one) or not, O come, enter my courtyard,53 I sacrifice myself for thee, O come, enter my courtyard. For me there is none else like you, I search the jungles and wastes for my friend, I search the whole world, Ocome, enter my courtyard; I sacrifice myself for you, come, enter my courtyard. For others you are a cowherd,54 I call you Ranjha when in company (but) you are my religion and faith. O come, enter my courtyard; I sacrifice myself for you come, enter my courtyard. Leaving parents I have held your garment, 55 O Lord have compassion,56 my master save methe shame of this long love (by comingback), O enter my courtyard; Isacrificemyself for you, come, enter my courtyard. Bullha’s adoration and respect for his guru are profound. He finds no difference between God and his hadi, and sings to him in the same strain as to God:

Pahili pauri prem di pulsarate dera
Haji makke hajj karn mai mukh dekha tera
Ai inayat qadiri hatth pakri mera
Mai udika kar rahi kadi a kar dera
Dhund shahir sabh bhalia kasad ghalla kehra
Carhi a doli prem di dil dharke mera
Ao inayat qadiri ji cahe mera. 57

The first step of love (on the ladder of love) is (like)being on the pulsarat.58Pilgrims may perform hajj but Ilook to your face. Come, Inayat Qadiri, and hold my hand (be mysupport). I am waiting, corn, some time and make a stay. I have searched the whole town, what messenger59 shall Isend? Having mounted the palanquin of love my heart (now) palpitates; come, Inayat Qadiri, my heart desires you.

At this time Bullhe Shah also began to believe in karmas, which is an entirely Indian theory. Here he refers to his bad action thus:

Ved pothi ki dosh hai hine karam hamare 60

What fault is it of the book ved,61my karmas are low.

At the end of the second period Bullhe Shah appears to have some vision of the Lord he was seeking. He had the vision which the Sufi long to have, but hehad not as yetattained that stage where differences vanish away. He gothis vision in the orthodox fashion. He was not conscious of it every moment of his life. It was an occasional occurrence. He had that divine vision like the great Sufis and the Bhagatas, through the paths indicated by their respective religions. Like them, Bullhe Shah’s vision of the Lord was also tinged with the colors of Islam. He sings of his vision in the traditional way, exalting the Prophet and through the verses of his Qur’an:

Hum mai lakkhia sohna yar, jis de husan da garm bazaar
Jad ahad ikk ikkla, si, na zahar koi tajalla si
Na rabb rasul na allah si na zabar kahar
Becu va bacaguna si be shubha be namuna si
Na koi rang namuna si, hun gunagu hazar.
Piara pahin pushaka aia,adam apana nam dharaia
Ahad to ban ahmad aia, nabia da sardar
Kun kaha fakun kahaia, becuni se cu banaia
Ahad de vicc mim ralaia ta kitta aid pasar.62

Now I have seen the handsome friend whose beauty’s demand is great. When the One was single and alone there was no light manifest. There was neither God and the Prophet or Allah, nor was there the cruel tyrant. The One was without likeness and incomparable, and without doubt and without form. He had no color or shape, (but) now a thousand varieties. The dear One wearing the costumes came, and Adam got his name fixed. From the One, Ahmad was made and the chief of the Prophets. He said kun and fayakun was said, so out of no likeness He created likeness. In ahad He inserted mim (i.e. produced Ahmad) and then made the universe.63

Third Period

The third and the last period of Bullha’s mystic life was unique. Here he resembles no Sufi or Vaisnava of the Panjab or the rest of India. During this time he is a firm believer in advaita and sees that all-pervading spirit. God, in all and independently of all religions. Like a true vedantist he does not only see Him in friends and co-believers but in heathens and opponents also. Here lies his greatness. He says:

Kih karda ni kih karda
Koi puccho kha dilbar ki karda
ap ikko kai lakkh gharda de, malak sab ghar ghar da
kih karda, etc.
musa ate pharun banu ke, do hoke kiu larda
kih karda, etc.
hazar nazar tuhe hai, cueack kits u kharda
Kih karda, etc.64

What does He, friends, what does He? Does someone ask what the Beloveddoes? He isone, but the houses are millions and He islord of every house. Whatdoes He, friends, what does He? Whatever side Iglance Ifind Him. He keepscompany with each one. Creating Moses and Pharaoh (thus) becoming two, why does he fight? What does He, friend, what doesHe? You are ever omnipresent, (then) whom does Cucak 65take away? What does He, friends, what does He?Does someone ask whatthe Beloved does?


paia hai kujh paia hai, sattguru ne allakh lakhaia ha
kahu vair para kahu beli hai, kahu majnu hai kahu laili hai
kahu ap guru kahu celi hai, sabh apana rah dikhaia hai
kahu cor bana kahu shah ji hai, kahu mambar te bahi kazi hai
kahu teg bahadur gazi hai, ap apana panth bataia hai
kahu masjad ka vartara hai, kahu bania thakar dvara hai
kahu bairagi jap dhara hai, kahu shekhan ban ban aia hai
kahu turak musalla parhde ho, kahu bhagat hindhu jap karde ho

kahu gor kani vicc parde ho, har ghar ghar lad, ladaia hai
bullha shahu da mai muhtaj hua, mahraj mile mera kaj hua
barshan pia da ilaj hua, lagga ishk ta eh gun gaia hai
paia hai kujh paia hai. 66


I have found, I have found something. My true quru has made manifest the Unmanifest. Somewhere It 67is an enemy, some-where It is a friend, somewhere It is Majnu, somewhere It is Laila, somewhere It is the preceptor, somewhere It is the disciple, in all It has manifested Its own path. Somewhere It is a thief, somewhere a bestower of gifts, somewhere sitting in the Pulpit It is a qazi, somewhere It is Tegh Bahadur 68 the ghzi who has told of his own path (sect). Somewhere It as a mosque 69 is in use, somewhere It has become a temple, 70 some-where. It is a vairagi in meditation absorbed, somewhere It becomes clad, clad as shaikhs, somewhere as Muslims onthe musalla 71read the prayers, somewhere as Hindu devotees re-peat God’s name. Somewhere You are engaged in digging graves in each house, 72 You (God) are fondly fondled. Bullha says, of the Master (God) I became desirous, the great king (Inayat) met (me) and my work (with) was done (realized). For the manifestation of the dear One (God) was my cure, forhaving loved (God) I have sung (i.e. have been able to sing) this attribute (of God).

This highly intellectual and clear conception of the divine was only possible to a few great mystics like Bayazid Bistami, Al-Hallaj, and Jalal-ud-din Rumi. Yet we might mention here that they obtained this after having spent their lives in established dogmas, willingly or unwillingly, and after having struggled hard to become free of them.73 But Bullhe Shah appears to have obtainedthe advaita conception of God soon after his initiation into Sufiism, because his poetry abounds in this strain. Among the Indian Sufis we hardly find another who beheld God as clearly in all creation, bad or good, as Bullha did. If there were any possible exceptions they would be Mulla Shah 74 and Sarmad.75 Mulla Shah, though in no wayinferior to Bullha in his pantheistic philosophy and its realization in life yet lacked the moral courage to declare it. Possibly out of fear he attached importance to such religiouspre scri ptions as Ramzan and the obligatory dailyprayers.76 Sarmad, the cynic philosopher, who walked about naked in the streets of Delhi, though he had reached the highest state ofmysticism, as is clear from the following could not get free from the superiority of the Jewish theology.

My friend, the naked sword Thou comest I know Thee, in whatever guise Thou comest.77

His denial of Christ as prophet on the authorityof the Old Testament,78 and hisother belief that God was material substance symbolized by a human figure,79did not accord with his pantheistic thought. Were he a true pantheist he would see God in all teachers and not Only in Muhammad and deny him in Christ.This difference between the pantheistic concepts of Bullha and of Sarmad illustrates thefact that the latter realized the Truth only partially and at moments, while the former lived with Truth and in Truth. Bullha sees, the Beloved in all and ignores the ‘mirror in which He reflected.If the Beloved is not seen in full grandeur in the meanest of the mean and the lowest of the low as well as in the highest and the best, then the lover has not found him. The Beloved isever the same and if the lover sees Himdifferently in different creatures, then whose is the fault? The lover’s surely, who has not yet fully realizedHim. Bullha had reached that stage where proportion, differences and pairs of opposites do not exist. He saw God in Muhammad as well as in Christ, Krishna, a poor beggar in the street, or his own self. Witness this:

Bindraban me gau carave,
Lanka car ken ad vajave
Makke da ban hajiave
Vah vah rang vatai da
Hun ki thi ap chapaida.80

In Brindaban you grazed the cattle, invading Lanka 81 you made the sound (of victory), you (again) come as the pilgrimof Mekka, you have made wonderful changes of form, what are you hiding yourself from now ?


Saiyo hun sajan mai paio I,
Har har de vic samaio i. 82

Ofriends, now I have found the Beloved, into each and every one He has entered.

The superiority of Bullha’s pantheistic conception of Godhead lies in the fact that he broke all shackles of country, religion, convention andsect. The integrity of the universal
soul and His omnipresence so deeply convinced him that no differences existed for him. He became one with Him, the divine, and experienced that cosmopolitan joy which knows no limits and divisions. He says :

Bullha ki jana mai kaun
na mai moman vicc masita, na mai vicc kufar dia rita
na mai paka vicc palita, na mai musa na phiraun
bullha ki jana mai kaun
na mai andar vaid kataba, na vicc bhanga na sharaba
Na vicc rinda mast kharaba, na vicc jagan navicc saun
bullha ki jana mai kaun
na vicc shadi na gamnaki, na mai vicc paliti paki
na mai abi na mai khaki, na mai atish na mai paun
bullha ki jana mai kaun
na mai arbi na lahauri, na mai hindi shahir nagauri
na mai hindu turk pashori, na mai rahinda vicc nadaun
bullha ki jana mai kaun
na mai bhed mazhab da paia, na mai adam hava jaia
na mai apna nam dharaia, na vicc baithan na vicc bhaun
bullha ki jana mai kaun
avval akhar ap nu jana, na koi duja hor pachana
maitho hor na koi siana, Bullha shahu khara hai kaun.
bullha ki Jana mai kaun.83

Bullha, what do I know who I am?84 Neither am I a Muslim in the mosque nor am I in the ways of paganism, nor among the pure or sinful, nor am I Moses or the Pharaoh; Bullha, what do I know who Iam?Neither in the books of doctors I, nor indulged I in bhan 85and wine, nor in the wine-house in the company of the bad, neither awake nor asleep. Bullha, what do I know who I am?Neither in happiness nor in or-row, nor in sin or purity nor of water nor of earth, nor in fire nor in air. Bullha, what do I know who I am? I am not of Arabia nor of Lahore, nor an Indian nor of the city of Nagaur, neither a Hindu nor a Muslim of Peshawar, nor do I live in Nadaun. Bullha, what do I know who I am? Neither have I found the secret of religion, nor of Adam and Eve am I born, neither have I taken a name, my life is neither settled nor unsettled. Bullha, what do I know who I am? Myself 1 know as the first and the last, none else as second do I recognize, none else is wiser than I. Bullha, who is the true master?

Such pantheism with all its grandeur, according to Mr. Kremer has also a dangerous side and tends to atheismand materialism while the passage from it to most cynicalEpicureanism is also a very natural thing.86 True as thestatement is, it does not apply to the pantheism of Bullha Shah. He was not an exception to the rule like Mulla Shah and Prince Dara Shikoh and a few others, 87 but he was a pantheist of a different type. We have stated above that the pantheism of Bullhe Shah was Hindu in its entirety and therefore differed a good deal from the pantheism of the Sufis? Bullha’s pantheistic thought was accompanied by its allied doctrines, reincarnation and karma. He disagreed with the Sufis who believed ‘qu’il n’y pas d’existence,individuelle apres la mort.88He was aware of the fact that (complete annihilation, for which the real mystic soulcraves, could not be obtained in one life, (being not so easy as It is ordinarily thought to be), but demanded many existences)? And then it was not many lives or ecstatic contemplations alone that made annihilation possible. His secret of merging in the Universal Spirit was based on karma. When the mind and the heart had entirety purged themselves of all sin, when passion and ambition to achieve material happiness had vanished completely, when God was ever present in his thought and act, and when the only material tie was a sense of rightful duty without attachment, then alone was the seeker fit to lose his individual existence after death, and not before. This was an impossible task to accomplish, as even small steps away from the right path might cause another life or render the seeker unfit for complete fana. (The seeker therefore dreaded atheism and a plunge in material pleasures more than indulgence in them. This unique phase of Bullha’s conviction made his pantheism free from all danger of becoming materialism or atheism.)?Another superiority of Bullha over other Sufis was that he never took part in the work of conversion.89His advaita which was Indian in its essence, had So overpowered him, nay had transformed him in such a way that any sort of conversion, mass or individual, was beyond his understanding. He had understood the real sense of ana’l-Haq’ and so to think of conversion from one religion to another was to mock his own belief. All religions to him were the same, no one was more efficient than another in finding the Beloved. It is evident from his poetry that it was the zeal and the sincerity of the seeker for the sought that was taken into account, and not the religion he was born in. We can, therefore, say that in this respect no Sufi of any country can venture to dispute the spiritual summits which Bullha attained.90

After the death of Inayat, Bullhe Shah returned to Kasur. He remained faithful to his Beloved and to him-self by not marrying. The sister who understood him also remained single and kept him company in his last years. He died in A.D. 1758 and was buried in Kasur, where his tomb still exists.

Bullha, says the tradition, was not understood by his own family and people,91 who gave him up for lost. But he had captivated the hearts of the Panjabis and had the support of the masses. For the Panjabis he is still alive, Inspiring them to sing of the eternal Beloved with whom he has become one.

The Poetry of Bulleh Shah

Sufi poetry all over the world is erotic in expression, but in meaning. It is essentially symbolic. ‘Almost all the Sufi poets wrote about the Divine Beloved in the terms applied to their beautiful women.’ 92 The mystic poetry, therefore, if literally taken seems sensuous and monotonous. In India the Sufi inherited this tradition with the difference that while in Persia and other Islamic countries the Beloved was described both as man and woman, in India. He became a man, and the seeker or the lover became a woman. This essential change is due to Hindu, especially Vaisnava, Influence.93 Apart from this the Sufis generally borrowed from the Persians, as we have mentioned above, the terms for describing the different parts of the Beloved. Even the rose garden and the bulbul, which are characteristic ofPersian verse, were unhesitatingly borrowed. In Panjabi Sufi poetry, however, the influence was much less than in other literary forms. Bullhe Shah, the king of the Panjabi mystics, seems free from this foreign influence, and his poetry is far from being erotic. Apart from a very few poems which he wrote in the early part of his mystic Life, his verse is entirely exempt from human love. No doubt he called Him the Beloved and Ranjha, but never went on to describe his different limbs. During the third period of his Sufi life the Beloved was the all-pervading universal soul and so there was a difference between two beings belonging to different sexes. If there was some physical difference, it was immaterial to the poet. So Bullha talked of the eternal Beloved in terms highly spiritual and pure, as behaves a real seeker. This was an innovation Bullha brought about in the Panjabi Sufi verse.94 The change was due to the following causes. Firstly, there was the natural growth of his own character. He never sought the shelter of a woman’s love. He fell in love with the universal Lord and, therefore, found worldly love entirely superfluous. This was the first and the chief cause why his poetry was essentially non-erotic. Secondly, it was due to the growth of his spirituality. Once he had cast off the veil of ignorance and had found the Lord, he had found his own self. He therefore could not write poetry in the material sense, following tradition and poetic convention. Nowhere in his kafis do we find fabulous de scri ptions of the eyes, nose, neck, cheeks, etc. of the Beloved. So we can safely say that his poetry represents truly what is naturally felt in loving the divine. His verse is suffused with the love divine. This is the greatness of Bullhe Shah the poet.

The second reason for his greatness is that his verse is most simple, yet very beautiful in form. If it is pathetic it is full of vivacity, if it is intellectual it is full of feeling. It has no ornamental beauty. Its beauty lies in thought and in the facility and simplicity with which that thought is expressed. Who could express with greater facility his union with God?

Rajha rajha kardi ni mai ape rajha hoi
saddo ni mainu dhido rajha, hir na akko koi
rajha mai vicc mai rajhe vicc hor khial na koi
mai nahi uh ape hai, appni ap kare dil joi
rajha rajha kardi ni mai ape rajha hoi
saddo ni mainu dhido rajha hir na akho koi
hatth khundi mere agge mangu, modhe bhura loi
Bullha hir saleti dekho, kitthe ja khaloi
Rajha rajha kardi ni mai ape rajha hoi
Saddo ni mainu dhido rajha, hir na akho koi.95

Repeating Rajha Rajha, friends, myself I have become Rajha. Call me (now) Dhido 96 Rajha, none should call me Hir. Rajha is in me and I am in Rajha, no other thought there is, I do not exist, He himself exists, He amuses himself. Repeating Rajha Rajha, etc. In my hand the staff, before me the wealth,.97 and round my shoulders the rough blanket; Bullha, behold Hir of Sial, where she has gone and stood. Repeating Rajha Rajha, friends, etc.

Bullha also did not follow the conventions regarding the similes, verse-forms and alankaric beauties. Here lies his Poetic originality in which he excels moat of his Indian and almost all of his Panjabi Sufi contemporaries, predecessor and Successors.

Bullha did not write much, but what he wrote was inspired and to the point. A great amount of poetry is said to have been composed by the poet, but one can easily distinguish the real from the counterfeit by the force and strength of the language and the directness of thought which is so characteristic of Bullh’s verse.

We have already seen how familiar he was with all that was Panjabi in tradition and beauty, and how gracefully he spoke of it. He never attempted to explore those regions of which he had no real knowledge. He was a child of the Panjab and so sang in his mother-tongue, in the old original verse-forms of his land, taking his similes from the life that was familiar to him. His poetry, though remarkably abstract, is not incomprehensible. We give below a few of his kafis or their literary interest:

Meri bukkal de vicc cor ni, meri bukkal de vicc cor
kihnu kuk sunava ni, meri bukkal de vicc cor
cori cori nikal gia ni, jagg vicc paigia shor
meri bukkal de vicc cor
musalman sivia to dared, hindu garde gor
dove ese de vicc marde, iho doha di khor
Meri bukkal de vicc cor
kitte ramdas kitte phate Muhammad eho kadimi shor
mitt gia doha da jhagra nikai pia kujh hor
meri bukkal de vicc cor
arsh manuro milia baga, sunia takht Lahaur
shah inayat ghundhia paia, lakk chip khicda dor
Meri bikkal de vicc cor. 98

Within the folds of my veil was the thief, O friend, within the folds of my veil was the thief; to whom shouting at the top of my voice should I tell that within the folds of my veil was the thief? Stealthily, stealthily, he has gone out, and (this) has caused surprise in the world. The Mussulmans fear the crematorium, and the Hindus fear the tomb, both die in this(fear) which is the trouble of both; somewhere it is Ramdas, somewhere it is Fateh Muhammad; this is the eternal struggle. The difference of both has ceased, as something different has turned up. From the high heavens the prayer-calls were made and they were heard at the throne99 of Lahore; Shah Inayat tried the knots and now He (God), hidden behind, pull, the strings.

Here Bullhe Shah stands forthe, unity for human welfare, of the followers of different religions and sects. He bases his argument on the fact that he sees God installed in the heart of each individual, no matter to what religion he belongs. The expression of the sentiment is simple, impressive, and beautiful.

Hindu na nahi musalman, behie trinjhan taj abhaman
Sunni na nahi ham shia, sulh kul ka marag lia
Bhukkhe na nahi ham rajje, nange na mahi ham kajje
Rode na nahi ham hassde, ujare na nahi ham vassde
Papi na sudharmi na, pap pun ki rah na ja
Bullha shahu har citlage hindu turk do jan tiage.100

Neither Hindu nor Mussulman let us sit to spin, abandoning pride (of religion). Neither a sunni nor a shi’a, Ihave taken the path of complete peace and unity. Neither am Ihungry
(poor) nor satisfied (rich), nor naked I nor covered.Neither am I weeping nor Laughing, nor deserted nor settled. Neither a sinner, I, nor a pure one, I am not walking in the way of either sin or virtue. Bullha, in all hearts I feel the Lord, (therefore) Hindu and Mussulmans both have I abandoned.

Bullhe Shah was an impartial critic of bigotry and those setrules and regulations of a church which forbid free expression of the divine love. Not finding any difference
between the spiritual codes of Islam and Hinduism he allottedthem both a place inferior to that which he assigned to the divine love. In the following kafi he gives a dialogue between the clerical code and love, in which love comes out victorious:

Ishk shara da jhagara paigia dil da bharm matava mai
saval shara de javab ishk de hazrat akh sunava mai
shara kahe cal pas mulla de sikkh lai adab adaba nu
iskh kahe ikke harf batera thapp rakkh hor kataba nu
shara kahe kar panj asnana, alag mandir ki puja re
ishk kahe teri puja jhuthi je ban baitho duja re

shara kahe kujh sharm haya kar band kar is camkare nu
ishk kahe eh ghungat kaisa khullan de nazare nu
shara kahe cal masjid andar hak namaz ada kar lai
ishk kahe cal maikhane vicc pike sharab naphal parh lai
shara kahe cal bihishti caliye, bihishta de meve khava ge
ishk kahe otthe paihra sada ap hatthi vartavage
shara kahe cal hajj kar moman pulsarat langana re
ishk kahe bua yard a kabba uttho mul na halna re
shara kahe shah Mansur nu suli utte caria si
ishk da darza arsh mualla sirtaz laulaki re
ishk vicco paida kitta bullha ajiz khaki re .101

Love and Law102 are struggling (in the human heart); the doubt of the heart will I settle (by relating) the questions of Law, and the answers of Love I will describe, holy Sir; Law says: Go to the mulla103and learn the rules and regulations. Love says (answers): One letter is enough, shut up and put away other books. Law says: Perform the five baths 104 and worship alone in the temple. Love says: Your worship is false if you consider yourself separate 105 Law says: Have shame and hide the illumination (enlightenment). Love says: What is this veil for? Let the vision be open. Law says: Go inside the mosque and perform the duty of prayer. Love says: Go -to the wine-house and drinking wino read the naphal.106 Law says:Let us go to heaven; we will eat the fruits of heaven. Love says: There we are custodians or rulers and we ourselves will distribute the fruits of heaven. Law says: O faithful one, come perform the hajj, you have to cross the bridge.107Love says: The door of the Beloved is ka’aba; from there I will notstir. Law says: On the cross 108 we placed Shah Mansur. Love says: You did well, you made him enter the door of the Beloved. The rank of Love is the highest heaven, the crown of creation.109 Out of Love He has created Bullha, humble, and from dust.

The following were the true feelings of Bullhe Shah which he was not supposed to express. But being unable to hidethem any longer he pours them out with that vehemence and force which ardent but genuine suppressed thought generally possesses. Besides, the beauty of this poem lies in the fact that though Bullha uses the very words and expression which an enraged Panjabi would use, he carefully avoids all that could in the least make it vulgar or violent How many poets could express great Philosophic truth with such force and so briefly and sweetly as Bullha did ?

Muh ai bat na rahindi hai
Jhuth akha te kujh baccda hai, sacc akkhia bhambar macda hai
Dil doha galla to jaccda hai, jacc jacc ke jehba kahindi hai
Muh ai bat na rahindi hai
Ikk lazm bat adab di hai, sanu bat malumi sabh di hai
Har har vicc surat rabb di hai, kahu zahar kahu chappe di hai
Muh ai bat na rahindi hai
Jis paia bhet kalandarda, rah khojia apane andarda
Sukkhvasi hai is mandar da, jitthe carhdi hai na lahindi hai
Muh ai bat na rahindi hai
Etthe bunia vicc hanera hai ate tillkan bazi vehra hai
Andar varke dekho kehra hai, bahar bhalkat pai dhundedi hai
Muh ai bat na rahindi hai
Etthe lekkha pau pasara hai isda vakkhara bhet iara hai
Ikk surat da camara hai jiu cinag daru vicc paidi hai
Muh ai bat na rahindi hai|
Kite nazo ada dikhlai da, kite ho rasul milai da
Kite ashak ban ban aid a, ikte jan judai sahindi hai
Muh ai bat na rahindi hai
Jado zahar hoe nur hori, jal gae pahar koh tur hori
Tado dar carhe Mansur hori, utthe shekhi na maidi taidi hai
Muh ai bat na rahindi hai
Je zahar kara asrar tai sabh bhul javan takrar tai
Phir maran bullhe yar tai, at the mukhfi gall sohindi hai
Muh ai bat na rahindi hai
Asa parhia ilm tahkiki hai, ulthe ikko haraf hakiki hai
Hor jhagara sabh vadhidi hai aive roula pa pa bahindi hai
Muh ai bat na rahindi hai
Bullha snahu asatho vakkh nahi, bin shahu thi duja kakkh nahi
Par vekkhan vali akkh nahi, tahi jan pai dukkh sahindi hai
Muh ai bat na rahindi hai. 110

The speech that has come into the mouth cannot be withheld. if state an untruth something remains, by telling the truth the fire spreads;111 of both (truth and untruth) the heart is disgusted112 and in disgust the tongue speaks. The speech, etc. One necessary thing concerns religion, but to me all things are known; everything is the image of God, somewhere It is visiblesomewhere hidden. The speech etc. He who has discovered the secret of the saint (pir or guru), (he) has found the path of his inner self and is the happy resident of this temple (self-realization) where there is no rise or setting. The speech, etc. Here on earth is darkness, and the courtyard (path) is slippery; look within, who is there? Outside, the crowd is searching (for God). The speech, etc. Here theaccount (karma) has spread its feet, the secret of it is different and unique. Of one image (God) there is the light as a spark falls into wine. The speech, etc. Somewhere He (God) shows coquetry, somewhere He brings Muhammad, somewhere as a lover He comes, somewhere His soul suffers separation. The speech, etc. When light (God) became visible, the mountain of Sinai was aflame, again on the cross mounted Mansur, there exists no boasting of mine or yours. The speech, etc. If I proclaim the secrets, all quarrels (of religions) will be forgotten (cease); then they (the clergy) will kill the friend Bullha; here on earth hidden speech (ambiguous) is charming. The speech, etc. I have studied the science of search (divine) and therein only one word is genuine. All other arguing is additional (and unnecessary) and useless noise is made. The speech, etc. Bullha the Lord is not separate from us, apart from the Lord nothing else exists; but there is no seeing eye, hence the soul is suffering pain. The speech, etc.

Sources of Information


Panjab University MS. No. 374, Folios 2—14, 743. In Gurmukkhi characters. This MS. contains a few sayings of Bullhe Shah. The compiler in an appended verse says that he was called Puran Das and compiled the bookin 1861, Samvatt 1884. This is the oldest MS. of Bullha’s sayings found up to date.

Panjab University MS. No. 4684 also containssome kafis of the saint-poet. They are written in a very bad hand: It seems that the pious desire to put in writing all the poet’s religious verse led the copyist to insert some of Bullhe Shah’s compositions with which he was not well acquainted. He collected stanzas from different poems to complete the one he bad begun. It does not seem to be a veryold MS.; at the utmost it is eighty Years old. It is in Gurmukkhi characters.

Kafia Bullhe Shah, MS. found in the library of Dr Hifz-ur-Rahman ofLahore. This is a collection of some poems of Bullhe Shah written in a good hand in Urdu charac-ters.
Four pages from a lost MS., the personal Property of the writer. The poems are correct but the handwriting is not very good. In Urdu characters.

Now we come to the printed sources for the life, teachings and sayings’ of Bullhe Shah. Since Bullhe Shah is enthroned in the hearts of all Panjabs, Hindus or Muslims, books and pamphlets havebeen published in Urdu, Gurumukhi and Hindi. Some of these have gone through many editions. We mention here only those which are well known concerning the accounts of the life of the poet we can suggest the following:

Khazinat-ul-Asfia by Mufti Ghulam Sarvar of Lahore, in Persian prose. It gives a brief account of the life of Bullhe Shah. 113

Tahqiqat-Cishti, by Nur Ahmad Chishti, also gives an account of Bullha’s life.
Bagh-i-Awliya-e-Hind by Muhammad Din, in Urdu characters but in Panjabi verse. The author gives short sketches of the lives of Bullhe shah and his master shah Inayat.
A pamphlet on the life of Bullhe shah was written byMr C. F. Usborne of the I.C.S. The original is no traceable but an Urdu translation by Zia-ud-Din Ahmad, printed at Delhi in A.H. 1338 (A.D. 1919) is available. It gives some interesting information on the life of the saintly poet, collected from various sources.

The following are the names of a few printed books on his poetry. They are mostly collections of his compositions, but some of them have good introductions giving important information on various episodes of his life and some notes on his verse:

Kanun-i-‘Ishq 114 by Answer ‘Ali Shah of Rohtak. The work of Mr Ali Shah is admirable so far as general information and selection of verse are concerned. The author fails miserably when he tries to prove that. Bullhe Shah was a strict mosque-going Muslim.115

Sai Bullhe Shah 116 by Sundar Singh Nirula, in Gurmukkhi.This is a collection of 116kafls, a baramah and athavara of Bullhe Shah. It contains a short sketch of the life and teachings of the poet. The Panjabi meanings of those few Persian and Arabic word which sometimes occur in Bulla’s verse have been given in footnotes. This is a very fine and authentic collection.

Hans Cog117 by Baba Buddh Singh. This book on Panjabi literature contains a chapter on the poetry of Bullhe Shah. It is in Gurmukkhi characters.

Bullhe Shah118 edited by Dr Mohan Singh, in Gurmukkhi. This book contains only fifty poems of Bullhe Shah. Though very well brought out, it is full of information which has practically no concern with the subject. The explanations and annotations on the original poems are far from satisfactory, as everywhere the editor, desirous of showing the, superiority of his own faith, has inserted compositions of the Sikh Gurus.

Kafia Hazrat Bullhe Shah Sahib kasuri 119 edited by Bahi Prem Singh of kasur.It is a very good collection, in Urdu characters. The compositions in it are said to have been collected from various MSS. and other sources.

Besides these there are many small collections in pamphlet form. They contain mostly those poems which are included in the above mentioned books, and therefore need not be named here.

Apart from MSS. and printed works there is another source of information. That is the oral tradition pre-served by the kavvalis, and minstrels.Some of these, attached to the tomb of Bullhe Shah and that of his master Inayat Shah, have been of great help to me.Of course one should bear in mind that the information they furnish is mostly in the form of legends and stories. Between them they relate the authentic incidents and sing the original verse. This source is rich and helps in establishing the facts concerning the life and work of the poet.

1. The Panjabi, though he has his superstitions and dogmas, is ever ready to shake them off, if he is convinced of their futility. This desire often puts him to inconvenience but he does not mind it. It is on account of this phase of the Panjabi character that reforming sects have always gained ground in the Panjab.
2. See C.F. Usborne, Sai Bullhe Shah, p. 5, and Bullhe Shah, p. 4.
3. Aurangzeb ascended the Mughal throne in May, 1659.
4. Bullhe Shah, p. 4.
5. See p. 4 of his pamphlet.
6. InyatShah was an Arai or gardener. He remained in his profession even after he had become a famous teacher and saint.
7. The kavvalis sing it, but it is found in almost all the printed books mentioned below.
8. Sai bullhe Shah and Bullhe Shah (Panjab University) both give this tradition: see pp. 8 and 13 respectively.
9. Some kavvalis relate that the magic word was bismillah. The author of Bagh-i-Awliya-e-Hind agrees with them, see p. 38.
10. A long piece of cloth wound round the shoulders by Panjabi men.
11. This tradition is as popular as the other. It was related to us at Lahore by some kavvalis. The author of Bagh-i-Awliya-e-Hind (p. 38) mentions it in a slightly different manner.
12. Sai Bullhe Shah, p. 23, kafi 6.
13. ibid., p. 7.
14. Shah Inayat, it is said, always preached in Panjabi and used to quote some Panjabi verse of his own composition. But as Punjabi was considered the language of the vulgar and the uncultured these compositions were not preserved.
15. We are indebted to Khan Sahib Shaikh Siraj-ud-din retired Assistant Postmaster General, the present gaddi-nishin of Shah Inayat, for the written information he furnished on the life and work of his ancestor. For convenience we will refer to this information as Sira. Inform., i.e. Siraj-ud-din Information.
16. Vol. II, p. 15
17. Vol. II, p. 15.
18. Sira, Inform., pp. 3 and 4.
19. We have no motive to doubt the statement of the Shaikh sahib. If we do not accept it, it is because all scientific and historical evidence is against it.
20. The Shaikh showed to us a Persian MS. From which he had copied the genealogical tree. This MS., from its appearance and paper, seemed to be of very recent origin.
21. This endorsement was, according to the Panjabi Sufi customs, the permit issued by Inayat Shah to his grown up son to study the book. It shows that he was already a man of advanced age because only an advanced Sufi had the right to give such permission.
22. The author of Baghi-Awliya-e-Hind (p. 36), however, puts it in A.H. 1141.
23. The Shattari is a sub-sect of the Qadiri sect of Sufiism.
24. Sira. Inform p.5.
25. P. 36.
26. Sira. Inform p.8.
27. ibid.
28. See British Museum Catalogue Rieu, I, 54, and II, 828; also Journal Asiatique, 1915, p. 268.
29. This MS. is in the possession of the present gaddi-nishin.
30. These methods are those various yogic practices, used by the yogis of old, to control the senses and to concentrate on the Divine Lord.
31. Dastur-ul-Amal, p. 114.
32. These MSS. have never been studied or spoken of by scholar as yet. They are mostly in Persian but abound in Arabic words.
33. Spiritually, Shah Inayat was a descendant of Muhammad Ghaus of Gwalior; Sira. Inform., p. 3.
34. How the fire broke out or who set the house on fire is not known. The descendants sometimes say it was the Sikhs, at other times that it was some unknown person. Nobody is sure of the truth of the statement.
35. In India the term al is confined to descendants through a daughter. Descendants through a son are called aulad.
36. The Arains are also called Rains. See Rose, Glossary, Vol. II, p. 13.
37. This answer and the reproach were kindly given to me by Mr. N. A. Waqar, and were also recited by a few kavvalis.
38. See Sai Bullhe Shah, p. 106, kafi 82.
39. The same sister, Mr. C. F. Usborne says, remained a spinster to keep company with her bachelor brother. See trans., p. 5.
40. Kanun-i-‘Ishq, Vol. II, p. 211.
41. Tariqat here means the established path, i.e. Islam, and Haqiqat represents the truth of Sufiism.
42. Like Mansur-al-Hallaj and Shams Tabriz, etc.
43. In those days, to speak in that strain was the greatest heresy. Aurangzeb was very keen on punishing the Sufis whom he considered heretics and also friends of his late brother Dara Shikoh. He put to death Sarmad (Sarkar, History of Aurangzeb, Vol. I, pp. 113-14) and saw that Mulla Shah, who was very old, died in misery in Lahore; see von Kremer’s article in J.A., 1869, pp. 151-3. The Qadiris particularly dreaded him as Dara was an initiated Qadiri (Sarkar, History of Aurangzeb. Vol. I, P. 298).
44. Sai Bullhe Shah, kafi 48.
45. ibid. kafi 48.
46. ibid. p. 11, and on the authority of kavvalis.
47. Kanun-i-Ishq, Vol. I .p.100, kafi 17.
48. ibid., Vol. I, p. 64, kafi 1
49. kanun-i-Ishq, Vol. I, p. 64.
50. ibid. Vol. I, p. 64.
51 Sangit Sagar, p. 289.
52 Kafi 49.
53 Vehra also stands for street, but generally it is a courtyard.
54 Cak; one who looks after the buffaloes only, but here we have translated it as cowherd, which is more comprehensible in English.
55 Lar lagana means to accept or follow the person. In a Hindu nuptial ceremony the end of the garment of the bridegroom and the veil of the bride are tied together in a knot, which means that they accept each other and shall walk together, hence this expression, lar lagana.
56 Inayat here stands both for quru (Inayat Shah) and God’s compassion.
57 kanun-i-Ishq, Vol. v, p. 99, kafi 16.
58 This is the Siratu’I Mustaqim of the Qur’an.
59 Qasid in Panjabi Sufi language is both a messenger and postmen. It is employed in the same sense as udho in the Vaisnava language.
60 kanun-i-Ishq, Vol. I, p. 125, kafi 37.
61 By ved he does not mean the Vedas but a book of knowledge. In ledge. For example, a book on astrology will be called ved-pothi because it gives knowledge with regard to one’s future, and that is exactly what Bullhe Shah means.
62 Kanun-i-Isha, kafi 57.
63 Literally, so great a spread
64 Kanun-i-Ishq, kafi 85.
65 An allusion to the story of Rajha and Hir. Cucak, the Sial chief, enraged at the attachmentof his daughter hir to his cowherd Rrjha, sparated them by keeping Hir in close custody and later on by giving in marriage to a man of his own choice .
66 Kanun-i-Ishq, Vol. II, p.160, kafi 59.
67 ap has no gender, so we have rendered it by ‘It’ which stands for allah, the brahm who is beyond sex.
68 Tegh Bahadur means ‘
brave of the sword’, but here it stands for the ninth guru, of the Sikhs who was tried by the qazis at the order ofAurangzeb and executed at Delhi in the year 1676.
70 somewhere in the cult of the mosque is
It’ represented and somewhere inthat of the temple.
71 A prayer carpet.
72 House here signifies way, path, place.
73 Both Al-Hallaj and Bistami could not break with the established beliefs. Hallaj went to Mekka on pilgrimage many times (see Massignon, La Passion, Vol. 1, pp. 3, 4, 5). When
they became free and realized thetruth. it was towards the end of their lives.
74 Mulla Shah was a disciple of Mia Mir of Lahore. He attained greet fame in Kashmir and was waited upon by prince, and poor alike. He was the spiritual preceptor of Dara Shikoh. On his accession to the Mughal throne, Aurangzeb ordered Mulla Shah, who then was old and infirm, to appear before him at Delhi, but later, on the intercession of his sister Fatima, changed his orders. He was, however, compelled to come down to Lahore, where he died in misery. See Claud Field, Mystics and Saints of Islam, p. 180.
75 for accounts of Sarmad see Indian Antiquary, 1910, pp. 89-90 and 121-2.
76 Claud Field, Mystics and Saints of Islam, p. 180. He reported thoee who dispensed with the prescribed fast and prayers, etc.
77Sarkar, History of Aurangzab,Vol. I.p.113
78 ibid., p. 110.
79 ibid.
80 Kanun-i-Ishq, Vol. II, p. 239, kafi 90.
81 Ceylon.
82Kanun-i-Ishq, Vol. II, p. 162, kafi 59.
83 ibid. Vol. II, pp. 266-7, kafi 114.
84 This is a question which the lover or the Seeker who has become
one with the Lord puts to himself.
85 See ch. ii, p. 25.
86 Journal Asiatique, 1869, pp. 157-8: ‘Elle (doctrine panthoiste) conduit a l’atheisme et au materialism; en effet qu’y avait-il de plus naturel que de passer de ce pantheisme politique a l’epicurisme le plus cynique ?’
87 Mr kremer says that only a small number of men including Mulla Shah and the prince Dara could manage to keep their characters spotless. ibid. p. 159.
88 Journal Asiatique,1869, p. 159.
89 Even Al-Hallaj, whom Bullha often mentions In his poetry
forhaving told the truth. spent a good deal of his life, in preaching Islam and persuading people to come to the path indicated by Muhammad. See
La Passion, p. 4. It might be that when be had attained the state of ana’l-Haqq be no 1ongr believed in conversion. but we cannot say anything definitely since he was hanged soon after the event. 90 Almost all Sufi took part in conversion-work, even the avowed opponents of Sufiism. Mr Zahuru’d-Din Ahmad, in his Mystic Tendencies of Islam, admits this (p. 142).
90 Almost all Sufi took part in conversion-work, even the avowed opponents of Sufiism. Mr Zahuru’d-Din Ahmad, in his Mystic Tendencies of Islam, admits this (p. 142).
91 He himself refers to the bigoted attitude of his relatives.
92 Hadland Davis, Jalalu’ddin Rumi, P. 23.
93 In Vaisnava poetry, God is Krishna the cowherd and the seeker, Radha, is a milkmaid.
94 Bahu’s poetry is also devoid of human love, but so very little of his verse is found that it is hard to come to any definite conclusions.
95 kanun-i-‘Ishq, Vol. II, p. 262, kafi 109.
96 Dhido is a cowherd who looks after buffaloes. That was the name
of Rajha when he became a cowherd of the Sial chief.
97 Cattle in those days were the wealth of he tribal chiefs. When he drove the cattle to the fields, the cowherd Rajha walked behind them with a staff in his hand, and a rough blanket over his shoulders.
98 Kanun-i-‘Ishq, Vol. II, kafi 64.
99 Seat of Inayat Shah at Lahore.
100 Kanun-i-‘Ishq, Vol. II, kafi 73.
101 This
kafi was kindly given to me by the late Mirasi Maula Bakhsh of Labor.
102 Shari’at. In Panjabi it is called shara or shariyat.
103 A Muhammi.dan priest, but here it stands for priests of any church.
104 Baths at five sanctuaries, an act considered to be holy by the Hindus.
105 Not one with the universal self.
106 Supererogatory prayers.
107 Siratu’l-mustaqim. Literally, stake.
109 Laulaka lama khalaqtu’laftaka (Hadis-i-qudsi).
110 Dissensions arise. It is a Panjabi expression.
111 of truth for hiding it and of untruth because it is not reality .
112 Hope Press, Lahore. Printed in A.H. 1284.
113 Printed at Alam Press, Lahore, and published by Chanan Din Allah vale ki kaumi Dukan, Kashmiri Bazar, Lahore. It is in Urdu.
114 For the sake of convenience we have referred to this collection for the quotations given above.
115 Published by Bhais Paratab Singh Sunder Singh, Mai Seva, Amritsar, 1931-2.
116 Published by Phullvari Agency, Hall Bazar, Amritsar, 3rd edition, 1926.
117 Published by the Panjab University in 1930.
118 Sewak Machine Press, Lahore.


Visitors Comments

Date:14th September

Comment: like this reading

Visitors Comments

Name:waseem khaliq
Date:16th December

Comment: I read this history datails.

Visitors Comments

Name:Shehryar Suhael
Date:26th May

Comment: The life of Hazrat Bulhe Shah (ra) makes for interesting reading. He is a source of insplration to us all, Punjabis as well as non- Punjabis. I would like to know who the saints are , who came after him, the inheritors of the spiritual tradition, till the present day.---

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