Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Naked Mystic!

Lalleshwari, also known as Lal Ded, Lalla, Mother Lalla, and Lallayogeshwari was a poet, a holywoman, a sufi, a yogi, a devotee of Shiva.

She is hailed as "Forerunner of Medieval Mystics", one of the greatest apostles of light and love that Kashmir has known, and an apostle of Human values.

She was born in the 14th century at Pandrenthan (ancient Puranadhisthana), about four and a half miles to the south-east of Srinagar.

She says:

You are the heaven and You are the earth,
You are the day and You are the night,
You are all pervading air,
You are the sacred offering of rice and flowers and of water;
You are Yourself all in all,
What can I offer You?

Another saying:

Wake up therefore and stir into action O slothful ignoramus!
Squander not the precious gift of life, cast away not before the swine the pearls of wisdom, waste not your breath and effort;
seek out and secure the lamp of faith and devotion and with the help of its light dispel the darkness of ignorance.
Get rid of the notion of 'I and Mine' and, through the dissolution of the thinking and the calculating mind in the supreme effulgence of the Atma, earn the right to
proclaim the victory of Truth over falsehood, of Light over darkness, of Life over death.

P.N. Kaul Bamzai writes:

She ...succeeded in reaching the 'abode of nectar'. But she did not stop there. All around her was conflict and chaos. Her countrymen and women needed her guidance. She had a mission to perform, and well and effectively she did it. Her life and sayings were mainly responsible in moulding the character of her people and setting up tradition of love and tolerance which characterises them even today.

He goes on to share an insightful story:

There is a high moral teaching which Lalla demonstrated when during her nude state a gang of youthful rowdies were mocking her. A sober-minded cloth vendor intervened and chastised them. On this she asked the vendor for two pieces of ordinary cloth, equal in weight. She put them on either shoulder and continued her wandering.

On the way some had salutations for her and some had gibes. For every such greeting she had a knot in the cloth, for the salutations in the piece on the right, and for the gibes in the piece on the left. In the evening after her round, she returned the pieces to the vendor and had them weighed. Neither had, of course, gained or lost by the knots.

She thus brought home to the vendor, and her disciples, that mental equipoise should not be shaken by the manner people greeted or treated a person.

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