Lalleshuri Her concept of the universal Lord

Shehjar e-magazine LalDed
Her concept of the universal Lord

*Jawahar Lal Bhat

Picture courtesy: Kanayalal S Raina
alleshuri is one of the greatest exponents of the Kashmir Shaivism commonly known as Trika-philosophy concerned with the three fold existence of the Parma- Shiva, the universal being; Shakti, the universal energy and Nara, the individual being. The philosophy propounds that the universe is the manifestation of the Lord Himself and the Lord is to be understood in the very manifestation of the universe not by its negation. Kashmir Shaivism tries to remove the ignorance of an individual that separates him from the universal existence and holds no distinction on the basis of caste, creed or colour as every individual has the capacity to approach the Lord for his or her personal enlightenment which is the ultimate purpose of human existence. Lalleshuri’s concept of her Lord is based on the same truth and she has propounded the philosophy very beautifully in her own style of a master artist in her various poetic compositions.

Gagane paethe bootal shiv yaeli dyeothum, ravas labem na rozan shaai
Sirye kay prabhave shivmaiy zonum, zal gav thalas saet meelith kyah.

Lalleshuri, in expression of her personal experience says that she has experienced the whole universe as an embodiment of Lord Shiva extended from the highest skies to the deepest extensions of the underworld in such a huge form that there seemed no place for the Sun to show its face except for a few sunbeams that fell on the earth exhibiting a superb spectacle of water and land mingled into one on its surface. Thus Lalleshuri says she was thus able to experience the reality of the vast manifestation of her Lord. The depiction of Shiva in these lines again suggests the essential spirit of Kashmir Shaivism (Shunya) that the universe as a whole is the manifestation of Parma Shiva or Shaiva Darshan.

Gagan tsey bootal tsey, tsey daen pavan te raat
Areg tsandun posh poen tsey, sorey tsey te lagoy kyah

Lalleshuri addresses her Lord saying that Shiva is Himself the manifestation of every thing including the heavens and the underworld and the days, nights and the air around. So she is at a loss to understand what things could be used for the worship of the Lord when He himself is the flowers that are used for His decoration, the sandalwood that is used for making a paste for His Tilak, water that is used to give Him a formal bath and the rice that’s offered as His food. Actually Lalleshuri wants to bring home to the reader that the worship of the Lord can’t be complete with these ordinary things but essentially with the deepest love or Bakhti that binds the seeker universally with Him.

Anaahat swaroop shyonyalay, yas naav ne varen ne roop na guthur
Aham na naade byand tay wavun, Suy deev tay archun kas

Lalleshuri again gives a beautiful description of the manifestation of Shiva that the gracious Lord is without shape, colour, sound or form. The Lord is described as Shyonyalay which is the formless manifestation of the Lord. Shunya or nothingness is the ultimate reality of the universe as well as its Lord the Parm-Shiva. He is beyond time and space, yet all pervading. He has no name, no caste, no creed, no colour, nor any form, yet omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient and without ego or conceit. His form is like a subtle omnipresent, omnipotent sound or a spark of light and He is the nucleus of everything that exists in the universe. Since, He is the supreme, without any rival or equal so the only lord to be worshiped. The point to be followed here is that Lord Shiva is the ultimate unparalleled Lord of the universe.

Wuchaan chaes bo saersey andhar, wuchum prazlaan saersey manz
Boozweth te roozith wuch haras, ghare chuy tasunduy bo kuse Lal

Lalleshuri says, ‘I experience the presence of the Lord in everything whatever is seen around. His divine presence seems dazzling in everything such that I am amazed to the extent of bewilderment to see the impact of the Lord everywhere and not a single object without His presence.’ The scene is such mystifying that Lalleshuri finds her own person quite insignificant under the overpowering influence of the Lord such that to her the whole universe is the eternal abode of Param-Shiva and everything else is just immaterial.

Shiv chyui zaevuil zaal wahraavith, kranzan manz chyai taerith kath
Zinde nyae vuchhan ade kate mareth, pane manze paan kad vaichaarith kath.

The presence of the Lord (Shiva) can be felt everywhere. There is not a single object living or non-living that does not exhibit the presence of Lord. It is the vigilant eye that can explore the celestial existence but only in life not after death. Lalleshuri wants to bring home to man here that one can strive to reach the highest stage of realization only through human existence, the opportunity that one gets after passing through lots and lots of bodies in the cycle of life and death. Unfortunate as it is, the opportunity is missed by one and all except quite a few who try to realize the truth of their existence. The significance of the human body as stressed here is important quite in contrast to the view of various theories in the context. The human body is the safest vehicle that can take the seeker to the heavens though there is no doubt that once the finite merges with the infinite the body becomes immaterial.

Kosam Baagas heutmay atsun, patsiyay man te atsun praav
Swaroop darshun chuy totuy atsun, koet chuy gatsun pakun trav

Lalleshuri says she was ultimately given admittance into the garden of beautiful flowers, indicating her own inner self which she found at last to be the abode of her Lord and where she got all her spiritual aspirations fulfilled. Now she enjoins upon the seekers in the path of divinity to understand the writing on the wall and experience the truth of the Lord in the inner recesses of their heart as the truth of the Lord cannot be experienced anywhere else. There is no purpose in going around aimlessly but to concentrate on one’s own self after getting it purified of all the dross of worldly attachments and above all the worldly ego which is the biggest enemy of all spiritual development.

Guran wunnam kunuy wachun, naebre dopnam andhar achun
Suey mae Lalle gow wakh te wachun, taway hyut mae nangay nachun

The crux of the teaching of her Guru (preceptor) was a single lesson to Lalleshuri that of entering the internal recesses of her own self instead of going around aimlessly in search of the ultimate reality. The truth of this word of her Guru is greatly significant in her teachings. Seeking the ultimate truth about life in the interiors of one’s own body temple is the essence of all divine knowledge and here Lalleshuri stresses upon the fact that this word of her Guru changed the entire perception of her life as she was immediately convinced that she had found the real path for her development and in the ecstasy of her achievement she began dancing with joy least caring about her clothes that would cover her nakedness. This condition of a yogi is the result of his or her total detachment from the worldly affairs as the world around for such an exalted soul is nothing but a dream that is liable to vanish once the gates of reality are opened for him or her.

Lall boe looses chaaran te gaaran, hal maey kormas rasnay shati
Wuchun hyotmas te taer wuchmas baran, mae te kal ganaye te zogmas tatey

Lalleshuri makes a clear description of the abode of her Lord and the approach of the seeker towards it saying that she had a tough experience in her search of the Lord’s house and after she got completely exhausted by visiting places and asking hundreds of people she reached her destination. Being satisfied over her achievement she sought admittance over there but to her disappointment she found all the entries closed for her indicating that her turmoil had not ended yet. She persisted and continued with her devotion just there and ultimately the doors were opened for her and she achieved her soul’s content by meeting her Lord. This stage in the search of the Lord is crucial for a divine seeker as most of them are denied admittance here and they continue stranded at the stage long even endlessly for lack of dedication and proper guidance.

Lall boe draayas shiv gaarnay, wuchum shiv te shakti akey shay
Shakti wuchum paeth sahasraras, maaraan gayas tamey graye
Boe paer shivas te shive sendis garas, boe lall maras te mae kare kyah

Lalleshuri says, as she set out seeking her Lord and saw ultimately Lord Shiva and His royal consort Shakti, a single entity with Shakti seated graciously on the head of Shiva above the matted coils of His hair. She is so excited upon experiencing this celestial spectacle that she begins dancing with joy. The seat of Maa Parvati (Shakti) on the head of Lord Shiva indicates the role of the Lord as a preserver of the universe which is essentially a Kashmir Shaiva concept. Lalleshuri is so gratified upon her achievement that she makes a wish of sacrificing her worldly existence at the divine altar as she has had all her wishes fulfilled and there remains no further purpose for her to continue living as such.

Lal bo dryayas lolary, chandan looses daen keho raat
Wuchum pandit pannay garey, suey mae rotmas nekheter te saath

Here in these lines Lalleshuri explains in a different manner the same fact about her Lord. She set out searching her Lord with her deepest love and dedication; spent long nights and days but failed and was thus hopeless and tired beyond limit. She persisted and at last to her surprise she found her Lord sitting graciously in the recesses of her own heart to which she calls His own house. She found ultimately that her own heart full of the truest love and devotion for her Lord was the real abode of her Lord where she drank to her heart’s content the supreme divine nectar and there remained nothing unaccomplished for her. She says further it was the choicest occasion and the best time for her that she had awakened to the truth of her Lord and she remembered it for ever.

Panas laegith roodukh mai tsey, mae tsey chandaan loosum doh
Paanas manz yali dyothuk mae tsey, mae tsey te paanas dyutum choh

Lalleshuri describes with high poetic brilliance her personal celestial experience in these lines using a single word (maets) dramatically with different connotations. The essence of her experience is that her Lord continued to be part of her self all the time but strangely enough ignorant as she was of the fact she went on seeking Him here, there and everywhere till the dusk of her life when she ultimately realized the fact. Suddenly it changed the whole perspective of her life process as she had became one with her Lord leaving no trace of her worldly self as she had merged completely with the ultimate reality. This oneness with the lord is largely accepted as an authentic concept of godliness in Kashmir and stressed upon by all Shaivist scholars. It’s also the essence of the Sufi cult of Kashmir that stresses upon oneness with the Lord without discrimination of caste, creed or religion.

Andar aasith naebar chondum, pawnan ragan kernam sath
Dyan keyn daye zagi keeval zonum, rang gow sangas saet meelith kaith

Lalleshuri says she sought her Lord here and there though He was seated within the recesses of her own self. The secret was revealed to her upon systematic exercise of breath when each of her body nerve responded positively to her call. Moreover the non-duality of Param-Shiva was confirmed when she became one with her lord. On being fully awakened to all the secrets of the universe and a realized soul, Lalleshuri she saw herself merged completely with the single divine. There remained essentially nothing unrealized for her as her individual self had become part of the universal spirit.

Ore te panay yore te panay, panay paanas chune mailaan
Pratham achyais ne mullay dainey, sui ha male chei ashchar zaan

Param-Shiva is both omnipresent and omniscient, showing His glaring presence in everything, everywhere but strangely not easily accessible. Although the Lord is present in the loving heart of every individual still one has to make strenuous efforts to reach the abode of the Lord. The strange thing about the presence of the Lord is that He has made his glorious seat in the heart of everyone though apparently there is nothing seen with the naked eyes. How can such a great Lord be present in the heart of an ordinary person is beyond comprehension but the fact is ascertained upon the sincere search of a seeker.

Yehay shila chay patas te peethas, yehay shila chay prathwun deesh
Yahey shila chay shoobvenis gratas, yehay shila chay kasan beed

Lalleshuri has in a very beautiful and simple manner described the truth about the universal Lord. Making the stone which is the natural foundation of all material construction the symbol she says the stone is used for all constructions including the temple, the God’s house. The same stone is the indicator of all roads leading to different destinations. Then the same stone is seen moving around in the graceful floor-mill indicating the whole universal phenomenon run by the Lord Himself. And the last important function of this stone is removing all discrimination between the man and God as the seeker prostrates before the image of God, made of stone and gets emancipated for the real purpose of life and becomes ultimately one with his Lord having removed all duality between himself and the lord.

Chuy kune tai chuy no kunay, wuchum ore tay yore no kunay
Dai phal tay mool no kunay, chuy charun te garun no kunay

Though the impact of the Lord is present everywhere still He is not seen anywhere. The fact is that he prefers His presence apparently hidden yet He’s omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. It’s the universal tree with its fruit open to everyone’s view but the roots hidden far deeper into the depths of the universe. The Lord cannot actually be seen ordinarily with ordinary human eyes. It needs a systematic approach with a clean and sincere heart along with giving up all worldly attachments and ego. The celestial search of the Lord can be greatly rewarding as it’s the real purpose of life on this earth rest is all transitory without any sound base or foundation.

Chaet aanadas gyan prakashas, Yimav chyun timan jeevan mukhti
Vishwas samsaarenis pashas, abedev shat shat gand detey

Those who attain the ultimate realization of self and get themselves freed from the cycle of life and death have their inner self fully illuminated by the presence of the Lord. They find the purpose of their life fulfilled fully as there remains nothing undone for them. Now Lalleshuri compares these enlightened individuals with those ordinary people who are not able to rise above their ordinary existence and continue sticking to the world and its attractions. She says that they bind themselves with this world with hundreds of knots i.e. attachments which they can’t open all their lives. Here is a lesson for all the common people who are frantically attached to the day to day activities that purpose of this existence in not to be attached to the transitory world but something far higher. It’s only an improvement in the perception of life that makes a person determined to get awakened and get released from the shackles of life and death. Once determined all ways and means automatically open and the Lord himself makes all roads clear for the seeker.

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*JAWAHAR LAL BHAT belongs originally to Peth Makahama (Magam) Kashmir. A Post-Graduate in English of 1972 and a teacher by profession he retired as a Senior Lecturer (English) from J&K Education Department in 2004.
He has to his credit six books on English Language improvement and one on Personality Development published by Vee Kumar Publications, New Delhi besides a recently self published book titled ‘Yogiraj Swami Nand Lal Ji Maharaj --- A Biographical Study’ on the holy life of Swami Ji of Tikkar (Kupwara) Kashmir.
His articles mainly related to KP displacement imbroglio and Kashmir Culture get regularly published in ‘Koshur Samachar’ Delhi besides some E-magazines. The writings of the author are also available on his web page on the following link: The author writes posts regularly on his personal blog titled ‘Kashmir Warbling’ available on the following link:
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The detailed commentary on the Vakhs is marvellous.It compares with the commentary of Srimad Bhagavad Gita by Swami Chidbhawananda published by Sri Ramakrishana Mission, Chennai.I would like to request the author to publish the same in a book form so that it could reach general masses particularly the KP community.
Added By Chander M. Bhat
I’m actually in the middle of the compilation of Lalla-Vaakh and the writing of a detailed commentary on them which may come out in the form of a massive book after some time. The present contributions for the last a few months in ‘Shehjar’ are some extract collections from the same work and are liable to be further improved and edited.
Added By JL Bhat
Any help from this end will oblige me.
Added By Chander M. Bhat