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Lal Ded

Lal Ded


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Description: Lalleshwari
URL: http://www.lalded.com

Kashmir has produced many saints, poets and mystics. Among them, Lal Ded is very prominent. In Kashmir, some people consider her a poet, some consider her a holywoman and some consider her a sufi, a yogi, or a devotee of Shiva. Sume even consider her an avtar. But every Kashmiri considers her a wise woman. Every Kashmiri has some sayings of Lalla on the tip of his tongue. The Kashmiri language is full of her sayings.

Kashmiri Hindus and Muslims affectionately call her "Mother Lalla" or "Granny Lalla". She is also called "Lallayogeshwari". Some people call her Lalla, the mystic.

It is said that Lal Ded was born in 1355 in Pandrethan to a Kashmiri Pandit family. Even as a child, Lalla was wise and religious-minded. When Lalla was twelve years old, she was married. Her in-laws lived in Pampur. The in-laws gave her the name Padmavati. Her mother-in-law was very cruel. She never gave her any peace. It is claimed that her mother-in-law used to put a stone on Lalla's plate (tha:l). She would then cover the stone with rice so that people would get the impression that Lalla had a plateful of rice. Lalla would remain half fed, but would never complain about her mother-in-law. Her father-in-law was a good man and he was kind to her, but her mother-in-law made her miserable. She would even speak ill of Lalla to her husband. Poor Lalla knew no happiness either with her husband or with her mother-in-law.

When Lalla was twenty-six she renounced the family and became a devotee
of Shiva. Like a mad person, she would go around naked.

She became a disciple of Sidh Srikanth. She would only keep the company of sadhus and pi:rs. She did not think in terms of men and women. She would claim that she had yet to encounter a man, and that is why she went about naked. But when she saw Shah Hamdan, she hid herself saying: "I saw a man, I saw a man."

Why is Lalla so famous in Kashmir? She was illiterate, but she was wise. Her sayings are full of wisdom. In these sayings, she dealt with everything from life, yoga, and God to dharma and a:tma:. Her riddles are on the lips of every Kashmiri.

The exact date of Lalla's death is not known. It is claimed that she died in Bijbehara (vejibro:r). People like Granny Lalla do not really die. Lal Ded is alive in her sayings and in the hearts of Kashmiris.

The sayings of Lalla number around two hundred.

Five Sayings of Lal Ded

I

By a way I came, but I went not by the way.
While I was yet on the midst of the embankment
with its crazy bridges, the day failed for me.
I looked within my poke, and not a cowry came to hand
(or, atI, was there).
What shall I give for the ferry-fee?
(Translated by G. Grierson)

II

Passionate, with longing in mine eyes,
Searching wide, and seeking nights and days,
Lo' I beheld the Truthful One, the Wise,
Here in mine own House to fill my gaze.
(Translated by R.C. Temple)

III

Holy books will disappear, and then only the mystic formula will remain.
When the mystic formula departed, naught but mind was left.
When the mind disappeared naught was left anywhere,
And a voice became merged within the Void.
(Translated by G. Grierson)

IV

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?

V

With a thin rope of untwisted thread
Tow I ever my boat o'er the sea.
Will God hear the prayers that I have said?
Will he safely over carry me?
Water in a cup of unbaked clay,
Whirling and wasting, my dizzy soul
Slowly is filling to melt away.
Oh, how fain would I reach my goal.
(Translated by R.C. Temple)

Reproduced from:
An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri
by Braj B. Kachru
Department of Linguistics, University of Illinois
Urbana, Illinois 61801 U.S.A.
June, 1973
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Date: 21.04.2004 00:18
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