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Bulleh Shah

Aek Thi Sohni
May 7, 2014
Karwan e Tehzeeb
July 4, 2016

The Preacher of Love

I n the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

Honorable Madam Ajeet Cour,
Respectable Delegates of Sufi Conference and Foundation of SAARC Writers & Literature
Eminent Guests and Praiseworthy Participants,
Good Morning …. Asslam o Alekum … Namste … Sat Sri Akaal

چھیتی بوہڑیں وے طبیبا نئیں تاں میں مر گئی آں
تیرے عشق نچایا کر کے تھیا تھیا

This is true identity of the man called Bulleh Shah who can never be separated from Ishq or love because his affiliation with his Murshid was eternal. If Heer Ranjha, Sassi Pannu, Mirza Sahiban and Sohni Mahinwal are our LOVE LEGENDS then Bulleh Shah is our SPIRITUAL LEGEND.

مسجد ڈھا دے ، مندر ڈھا دے
ڈھا دے جو کچھ ڈھیندا
پر کسے دا دل نہ ڈھاویں
رب دلاں وچ رہیندا

Tear down the Mosque, tear down the temple
Tear down everything in sight
but don't break anyone's heart
Because God lives there
پڑھ پڑھ عالم فاضل ہویا ، کدی اپنے آپ نوں پڑھیا ای نئیں
جا جا وڑدا مندر مسیتاں ، کدی من اپنے وچ توں وڑیا ای نئیں
ایویں روز شیطان دے نال لڑدا ، کدے نفس اپنے نال لڑیا نئیں
بلہے شاہ اسمانی اڈیاں پھردا جدے گھر بیٹھا اوہنوں پھڑیا ای نئیں

Studying Baba Bulleh Shah's books over
and over you want to be a learned man
but you never study your inner self
you run to enter mosques and temples
but you never enter into your inner self
you fight Satan in vain daily
but fighting your ego you care not

Dear Delegates,
Mysterious is the turn of time. The man who had been refused by the mullahs to be buried after his death in the community graveyard because of his unorthodox views, today enjoys worldwide reverence and recognition. The tomb of Bulleh Shah in Qasur and the area around it is today the only place free of collective refuse, and the privileged of the city pay handsomely to be buried in the proximity of the man they had once rejected. This radical change has been possible because people have been impressed in the course of time by the holy way of Bullah's life and the efficacy of his teachings.
The greatest Sufi poet of the Punjab was Mir Bulleh Shah Qadiri Shatari. Because of his pure life and high spiritual attainments, he is equally popular among all communities. Scholars and dervishes have called him "The Sheikh of Both the Worlds," "The man of God," "The Knower of Spiritual Grace" and by other equally edifying titles. Considered as the greatest mystic poet of the Punjab, his compositions have been regarded as "the pinnacle of Sufi literature." His admirers compare his writings and philosophy to those of Rumi and Shams-i-Tabriz. At present, he is held in equally great esteem in Northern India and Pakistan.

Respected Guests,
Bulleh Shah's real name was Syed Abdullah Shah Gilani. From Abdullah Shah it changed to Bullah Shah. Out of affection some call him Baba Bulleh Shah, Sain Bulleh Shah and some others Mera Bullah.
There is some difference of opinion among research scholars about the time of his birth and death. Majority, however, believes that he lived from 1680 to 1758 but all researchers agree on the point that the ancestors' village of Bulleh Shah's parents was Uch Gilaniyan, it is from there that they shifted first to Malakwal later to Pandoke. Today it is known as Pandoke Bhatian. It is about 14 miles southeast of Kasur and is quite well-known. Thus Bulleh Shah's family, being Syed caste, was related to Prophet Muhammed on the one hand and on the other hand with Sufi thought and mystic traditions, for centuries.
There is a strong historical evidence to show that Bulleh Shah was an eminent scholar of Arabic and Persian. From his compositions we can find many references to Islamic thought and mystic literature. Later, when he attained mystic realization, his erudition and learning acquired a new significance. But Bulleh Shah had to pass through a hard struggle before he could attain the inner knowledge. This attainment was possible only through his contact with his Murshid or Master, Inayat Shah. The study of scriptures and other holy books had only aroused his interest and curiosity about spiritual realization. His longing for union with the Lord reached its consummation only after he met a perfect Master in the person of Shah Inayat Qadiri.
Inayat Shah was a well-known Qadiri Sufi of his time. From the historical point of view the Qadiri Sufis can be traced back to the Greatest Sufi Saint Peeran e Peer, Ghaus ul Azam Syed Abdul Qadri Gilani of Bagdad. He is also known by the names Peer Dastgeer and Ghaus ul Aalmeen. Bulleh Shah himself has also given a hint that his "Master of Masters" was born in Bagdad but his own Master belonged to Lahore:
Inayat Shah lived in Lahore, so he was called Inayat Shah Lahori. He belonged to the Arain caste and earned his living through agriculture or gardening.

Honorable Participants,
It is said that even before coming in contact with Inayat Shah, Bulleh Shah used to do some spiritual practice, and had acquired certain miraculous powers. When Bulleb Shah, the seeker, passed near the small field of Inayat Shah, he saw fruit laden trees on both sides of the road. Inayat Shah himself was engaged in planting onion seedlings. It occurred to Bulleh Shah to test Inayat Shah of his spiritual power. Invoking the name of God, Bullah looked at the trees, and the fruit started falling on the ground. Inayat Shah looked back and saw that unripe fruit was falling from the trees without any reason. He immediately realized that it was due to the mischief played by the young man passing by. He looked towards Bulleh Shah and said, "Well, young man, why have you brought down the unripe fruit from the trees?" This is what Bulleh Shah wanted, to find an opportunity to talk to Inayat Shah. He went up to him and said, "Sir, I neither climbed up the trees, nor did I throw any stones at the fruit, how could I tear it from the trees?" Inayat Shah cast a full glance at Bulleh Shah and said, "0, you are not only a thief, you are also being clever!” Inayat's glance was so penetrating that it touched Bullah's heart and he instantly fell at his feet. Inayat Shah asked him his name and the purpose for coming to him. Bullah replied, "Sir, my name is Bullah and I wish to know how I can realize God." Inayat Shah said, "Why do you look down? Get up and look at me." As soon as Bullah raised his head and looked at Inayat Shah, the Master again cast at him a full glance, laden with love, shaking him all through. He said "0 Bullah, what problem is there in finding God? It only needs to be uprooted from here and planted there." This was enough for Bulleh Shah. He got what he had wished for. Inayat Shah had poured the essence of spirituality in these few words. He conveyed to Bulleh Shah that the secret of spiritual progress lay in detaching one's mind from the world outside and attaching it to God within.

Respected Mates,
The effect of his master was so profound that but for his Master nothing else mattered for him. He became strangely selfless and impervious to affairs of the world. Prof. Purn Singh has described an interesting incidence of this phase of Bulleh Shah's life in his book The Spirit of Oriental Poetry. One day he saw a young girl whose husband was expected to come home, and in whose preparation she was putting plaits in her hair. A strange desire arose in his mind. He also dressed himself like that woman, put the same type of plaits in his hair, and went in this guise to meet his Master. For the worldly people such an act would look ridiculous, but it shows not only the great love for his Master but also his unconcern with public opinion and his desire to sacrifice himself for his beloved. In the manner of true lovers he shed his mescaline pride and assumed the form of a helpless woman who renounces her ego and surrenders herself completely to her lord. Whatever questions or doubts Bulleh Shah had in his mind before he met his Master, were all drowned in the experience of inner light. When he had made up his mind to come to Inayat Shah, people had dissuaded him from doing so, saying, and “You are a great scholar, a master of miraculous powers and a descendent of Prophet Mohammed. Does it seem right to you to go to an ordinary gardener of low caste and become his disciple? Is it not shameful?" But his Master was true to his name. He showered such grace on Bulleh Shah that a single glance of his made him saturated with spiritual light. In ecstatic gratitude Bullah proclaimed: "O Bullah, if you seek the pleasure of a garden in spring, go and become a servant of the Arain." Bulleh Shah held the hem of his Master's cloak so firmly that he never let it go from his hand for the rest of his life. All of Bulleh Shah's compositions are suffused with love and gratitude for his Master. In this love he identified his Master with the Lord. He has addressed Shah Inayat with such words as guide, as one who unites people with God, besides calling him spouse, husband, Lord, friend, and beloved.

Dear Friends,
The beginning of love is fascinating, but its path is difficult and its destination far. Even a small error or omission on the part of the lover can become a cause of great annoyance for the beloved. 'That creates a mountain of calamities for the lover. Such a thing happened to Bulleh Shah, when his Master got annoyed with him for an omission on his part.
It is said that once Bulleh Shah invited his Master on the marriage of one of his relatives, The Saint deputed one of his disciples to represent him at the function. This disciple belonged to the Arain caste and was poorly clad. Now, Bulleh Shah's family was proud of belonging to the clan of Syeds. They did not give proper attention in receiving this poorly clad man. Even Bullah happened to make this omission. At least he should have shown proper respect to the representative of his Master, But under the pressure of his family or the fear of public opinion, he did not give the guest due honor. When the disciple returned from the marriage, the Saint asked him how the marriage was celebrated. He told his Master the whole story, and complained that because of his low caste and tattered clothes, neither Bulleh Shah nor his family showed him due respect. The Saint replied, "How dare Bullah behave like this?" and then added "What have we to get from this useless man? We shall change the direction of the flow of water from his fields to yours!" He had only to utter these words to bring a calamity in Bullah's life. As soon as the Master changed the direction of his grace, his spring turned into autumn. His inner visions vanished, leaving him dry and barren. Light changed into darkness and bliss into mourning. It was a stunning blow to Bullah.
As soon as his spiritual experiences were stopped, Bullah hastened to his Master, but the Master turned his back on him and asked him to leave the place. For one thing the annoyance of his Master, another command not to see him! What greater torture could there be for a disciple? Bullah was miserable. He began to burn in the fire of repentance, and his condition was like that of a fish out of water.
As the period of separation became longer, Bullah's condition became worse. On the one hand there was the pain of separation, on the other, the ridicule of people. He prostrates before the memory of his Master, and repeatedly entreats him to show his face to him at the earliest

. Here is an interesting thing Dear Fellows …!!!
He calls his Master "the beloved Thug of Lahore" and complains that he has robbed him with his love, and made him useless for the world. He knew that his Master was a lover of music. It is said that Bulleh put on the garb of a woman, got hold of a sarangi and went to the house of a dancing girl. He learnt dancing from her and became an adept in it. He then took along with him a drummer and a harmonium player and went to the tomb of a holy man in whose memory an annual function was being celebrated. Shah Inayat had also come to attend it. While all other dancers and singers got tired and sat down, Bullah, in ecstasy, continued to dance. His voice was extremely doleful and heart-rending. It is said that Bullah sang many kafis on the occasion. At last even Inayat Shah's heart melted. With a voice full of compassion he said, “Are you Bulleh?" Bulleh ran and fell at his Master's feet and replied with his eyes full of tears, "Sir, I am not Bulleh but Bhulla.”
The Master is never indifferent to his disciple. When he realized that the fire of repentance and separation had purified Bullah and turned him into pure gold, he forgave him his lapse and pressed him to his heart.
When the fountain of the Master's grace started flowing once again, the arid fields of Bullah began to revive, and the fragrance of the flowers of bliss spread all around. According to the author of Qanun-i-Ishq, the Master pressed Bullah to his heart, took him along with him, and intoxicated him with the wine of union. Bullah's soul got dyed in the hue of his Master's soul, so that no distinction remained between the two. One of Bulleh Shah's kafis gives a graphic description of his state of merging in the Master:

رانجھا رانجھا کر دی نی میں آپے رانجھا ہوئی
سدو نی مینوں دھیدو رانجھا ، ہیر نہ آکھو کوئی

The Master is one with the Lord. So, merging in the Master is transformed into merging in the Lord. This state is expressed by Bullah in several kafis.

Honorable Guests,
Bulleh Shah was an evolved soul, a perfect faqir and a true lover. Through the love for his Master he realized the Lord. In his love one finds poignancy, ardor and longing besides sincerity, sacrifice and renunciation. Under the canopy of love he made his offerings of caste and learning. His love for his Master never wavered for a moment despite the fire of separation and longing through which he passed. His writings, as also his life, manifest transcendence of physical love (of the Master) to divine love (of the Lord). Indeed, this is the path of all true mystics, all true lovers of God.
Whosoever has attained union with the Lord has done so by traveling on this path, and whosoever will attain this union, will do so by becoming a traveler on this path of love. Bulleh Shah's life and writings are replete with subtle secrets of the path. They do riot only strengthen the love of a true lover, but also encourage him to undergo the severest hardships for reaching the spiritual goal. The life and compositions of Bulleh Shah will serve as a lighthouse for times immemorial to true seekers of spiritual realization.
I want to close my topic with Bulleh Shah’s this verse …
چل وے بلہیا چل اوتھے چلیے جتھے سارے انے
نہ کوئی ساڈی ذات پہچانے ، تے نہ کائی سانوں منے

O' Bulleh Shah let's go there
where everyone is blind
where no one recognizes our caste
And where no one believes in us

Thanks a lot My Dear Ones …
Good Bye … But let me say one sentence in Urdu before departing

This research paper was submitted in 3 day SAARC Sufi Festival organized by Foundation of SAARC Writers & Literature [FOSWAL] the apex body of SAARC with collaboration of Government of Rajhistan held on October 10 to 12, 2015 at Diggi Palace, Jaipur, India.

References: written by Zulfiqar Arshad Gilani written by Zulfiqar Arshad Gilani
Kalam Baba Bulleh Shah
Aina Haqul Yaqeen by Baba Hakim Ali Sarkar
The Life of Bulleh Shah by J. R Puri and T.R Shangri
Bulleh Shah Poetry by Prof Nicholson
Bulleh Shah by Saeed ahmed
Kafar Kafar akhde by Akram Sheikh
Great Sufi Wisdom of Bulleh Shah by Dr. A Khan, Chicago, IL
Bulleh Shah … Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bulleh Shah [An Oxford Publication] by Taufiq Rafat
Faizan e Baba Bulleh Shah by Almadina tul Ilmia [Dawat e Islami]
Bulleh Shah: selected Poems by Paul Smith
Bulleh Shah’s Verses: The message of love & peace by Faud Ashraf

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