Ma Lalleshwari (Lal Ded) of Kashmir

It is very mystical that i came to know about Ma Lal through one of the books of Shivohum Teertha Maharaj, and the whole incidents in actual scene were recited by his Guru Vishnu Teertha Maharaj from his inner vision. I had carried one of this book of Shivohum Teertha Maharaj named as "The Last Composition" as i was strangely attracted to it. I opened this book in Kalyan bus stand after i just arrived there from Mumbra. This was the very first chapter on Ma Lall and i don't know what happened but i slipped into a different state of consciousness as i read this book and for about 1.5 to 2 hours (i don't exactly remember) i remained in that state but reading through the whole chapter of Ma Lal, which was in the vivid description of what Vishnu Teertha Maharaj had exactly seen in his vision, the whole story of Ma Lall. He recognised her to one of their foremost Guru of their lineage. While i read through, i remember fondly, that my tears continued dropping from my eyes onto the book and my lap. i was aware of it but did not want to do anything about it but continue reading. i remember, the whole noise around me in that noisy bustand got muted. i could see people and buses move through my peripheral vision but i was not disturbed but fully engrossed in the reading. It was this mystical experience of shifting into awareness that my website www.ShiftingIntoAwareness.com birthed from. This experience greatly enhanced my perception of awareness, which i began later sharing with other on my websites and online platforms. It is with great respect and honor that i write this article on Ma today.


Ma Lalleshwari was born in was born in a place in Kashmir called Pandrethan (ancientPuranadhisthana) which is near Srinagar, in 1320 and lived until 1392 in her physical body. She was locally known mostly as Lal Ded and became known as a Kashmiri mystic. She was very beautiful. She spelled many mystic poetry that were called as Vatsun or Vakhs, meaning "speech" (voice). In Kashmir they say, “We know only two words which are meaningful; one is Allah, and another is Lalla.” She remains deeply respected and people equalled her to God. These "Lal Vakhs" are known as one of the earliest compositions in the Kashmiri language and a vital transcripts in the history of modern Kashmiri literature.  She is also known by various other names, including Lal Ded, Lal Diddi, Mother Lalla, Laleshwari, Lalla Yogishwari, Lalla Aarifa, and Lalishri.

The great Kashmiri Sufi saint Sheikh Noor-ud-din Wali, who was also known as Nooruddin Rishi or Nunda Rishi, was deeply impacted by Ma Lalleshwari, and thus he formed the Rishi order of saints, which later saw many other great Rishi saints like Resh Mir Sàeb.  It is a great delight to remember that as a baby, Nunda Rishi, refused to be breast-fed by his biological mother and it was Ma Lalleshwari who had breast-fed him!

Even as a child, Ma Lal was very sharp and inclined towards Divinity. At the age of 12 she was married off to a family in Pampur, where she was given the name Padmavati. Unfortunately, her mother-in-law would be very cruel towards her and never let her be in peace. It is said that her mother-in-law would place a stone in the food plate of Ma Lal and cover it with rice to give the impression that her daughter-in-law had a full plate of rice. Thus, Ma Lal would remain half fed and hungry but she never complained about her mother-in-law. Her father-in-law was a good and kind person but could not interfere in the harshness of his wife towards Ma Lal, who was even known to poison her son against her. Ma Lal had a hard time even with her husband. After undergoing many hardships, she one day, at the age of 24, left her home and wandered into the forests. She was blessed and initiated by her Guru Siddha Srikantha (Sed Bayu). She often remained immersed in the Divine and hardly had body consciousness, wandering naked, reciting her mystical words and spreading her philosophy of love. Her beautiful poetry was a beautiful blend of Shaivism and Sufism. Her Guru was a Shaivite. She remained only in the company of Sadhus and peers. She had no sense of gender difference. When questioned on her being naked, she would say that she is yet to meet a man! When she one day saw Shah Hamdan, she ran and hid herself saying, "I saw a man! I saw a man!"

Ma Lal once entered a temple in which her Master - Sed Bayu, was doing his regular worship to the idols. She somehow had this clarity in mind that God was not limited to an idol or temple but present everywhere and she had entered the temple to precisely convey that to her Guru. On seeing her, her Guru asked her the reason of coming there to which she replied that she was searching for a private place to answer the call of nature and that is why she came in. The Master immediately led her hurriedly outside telling her that this was not the appropriate place to answer nature's call as this was a holy place where idols where worshipped. She promptly asked him to show her a place where there were no idols and he led her to a place outside the temple.  There, Ma Lal, removed some of the soil and there idols seen there. He then led her to another place where she removed the stones and there were idols there too!  At that moment, Ma Lal said to him:
Diva wata diver wata
Heri bun chhuh ikawat
Puz kas karak huta bhatta
Kar manas pavanas sangat

Soi shela chhai patas tah pithas
Soi shela chhai utam desh
Soi shela chhai pheravanis gratas
Shiv chhui kruth tai tsen upadesh

Idol is of stone, temple is of stone;
Above (temple) and below (idol) are one;
Which of them wilt thou worship, O foolish Pandit?
Cause thou the union of mind and soul.
The same stone is in the road and in the pedestal:
The same stone is the sacred place:
The same stone is the turning mill

Vishnu Teertha Maharaj in his inner vision sees everything about the Mother and shares it with his fond disciple Shivohum Teertha Maharaj that her husband had lust towards her but she never ever had any lust and thus during the entire marriage stayed aloof of any communion, which agitated her husband.  She always looked at him as a mother. Finally, after Ma Lal had left home and wandered into the jungles, her husband missed her and came in search of her and one day found her. He told her in anger that she was avoiding her responsibility of a wife and thus she was not following her dharma, to which Ma Lal grants him a vision of his past life, to which the husband is shocked to see that Ma Lal was his mother in that lifetime! This shocks the life out of him and now he realizes why she always cared for him as a mother than a wife! Shattered, he falls at her feet asking for forgiveness.

She greatly influenced many Sufi and Shaivite saints in Kashmir. Finally, Vishnu Teertha Maharaj recites the last days of Ma Lal. Over her earthly lifetime, she had a great following, both from the Hindu and Islam religion and she soon discovered how there was already a dispute going to arise as to whether her body should be buried or burnt after her death. Each community would argue and fight over their right to do the final rites in their own prescribed way. So, Ma Lal, chose another way to exit the earthly plane. She simply disappeared with her physical body itself, thus leaving no room for any fight among her followers.

It is with great priviledge, honour and love that i am able to share this little about the Divine Mother. With prostrations to her Divine feet, i end this article, sharing a few of her precious words in original and translated text. Offering gratitude to whoever had gathered and worked upon these pearls for the benefit of all, as i have taken it from multiple sources on the internet.



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A selection of poems by Lalla, translated by Jaishree Kak and Coleman Barks.

~~~

Impurities of my mind
were wiped away as from a mirror,
and I attained self-knowledge.
I saw Him near me –
He is everything,
and I am nothing. (1)

~~~

Dance, Lalla, with nothing on
but air. Sing, Lalla,
wearing the sky.

Look at this glowing day! What clothes
could be so beautiful, or
more sacred? (2)

~~~

In the midst of being lost,
I lost the sense of being lost.
After being lost,
I found myself in the worldly ocean.
Laughing and Playing,
I attained the all-pervading Self –
this philosophy became a part of me. (1)

~~~

Enlightenment absorbs this universe of qualities.
When that merging occurs, there is nothing
but God. This is the only doctrine.

There is no word for it, no mind
to understand it with, no categories
of transcendence or non-transcendence,
no vow of silence, no mystical attitude.

There is no Shiva and no Shakti
in enlightenment, and if there is something
that remains, that whatever-it-is
is the only teaching. (2)

~~~

Flowers, sesame seed, bowls of fresh water,
a tuft of kusa-grass, all this altar
paraphernalia is not needed
by some who take the teacher’s words in
and honestly lives them.

Full of longing in meditation,
one sinks into a joy that is free
of any impulse to act and will not
enter a human birth again. (2)

~~~

When teachings disappear,
the mantra remains.
When the mantra disappears,
consciousness remains.
When consciousness disappears,
nothing remains.
Nothingness merges with nothingness (1)

~~~

Shuniiyukk Mae’daan Kodumm Paanus
Mey Lallie Roozum Boadh Na Hosh
Wai’Zey Sap’nuss Paanie Paanus
Adhaaa Kammie Hilli Phoall Lalli Pamposh.

I crossed alone the wide fields of Shunya, The sights and scenes dropped my reason and senses. Soon I was awakened to the mysteries of my inner self! Thus, I Lalla with a humble background, flowered like a lotus from the marsh.

Shiv’va keshv’va Zin’va
Kamalaz Naath  Naam Daarien Yuh
Mey Abhlii Kaaeis’tein Bhav Roz
Su’va Su’va Su’va Suh.

~~~

Samsaras ayas tapasi
Bodhu prakashu lobum sahaj
Into this universe of birth I came
By Yoga gained the self revealing light !

~~~

Loluki naru vaalinj buzum
shankar lobum tami suuty
My heart I parched as farmers parch the grain
And from that fire there came a wondrous boon
And Shiva in a flash I did obtain

~~~

lal bo tsayas swaman bagu baras
vuchhum shivas shakath milth tu vah
tati lay karum arnrit saras
zinday maras tu karyam kyah

I, Lalla, entered through the door of the garden of my mind
And saw Shiva and Shakti united into one, O joy!
There I became immersed in the lake of nectar
And died even while I was still alive
What will now death do unto me ?

~~~

adu lali mye praavum param gath
And then I, Lalla, attained the supreme state.

~~~

gwaras pritshyom sasi late
yas nu kenh vanan tas kyah nav
pritshan pritshan thachis tu lusus
kenhas nishi kyah tany drav

A thousand times did I my Guru ask
What is the name of the one who can’t be named
And asking again and again I tired myself out
How has something come out of nothing?

~~~

ha tsyatta kava chhuy logmut par mas
kavu goy apuzis pazyuk bronth
dushi boz vash kornakh para dharmas …

O mind, why do you feel intoxicated by someone else’s wine?
Why do you mistake the unreal for the real?
Weak mindedness has let you to be overcome by others’ faith.

~~~

andryum prakash nyabar tshot um
gati rot um tu karmas thaph!
I diffused outside the light that lit-up within me
And in that darkness I seized Him and held Him tight!

~~~

lal bo drayas lolare
tshandan lustum dyan kyoh rath
vuchhum pandith panini gare
suy mye rotum nechhatur tu sath

I, Lalla, set out with burning longing
And seeking, searching, passed the day and night
Till lo! I saw to mine own house belonging
The Pandit, and siezed my luck and star of light

~~~

lal bo lusus tshandan tu gvaran
hal mye kormas rasani shyatiy
vuchhun hyotmas taary dithmas baran
mye ti kal ganeyi tu zogmas tatiy

I, Lalla wearied myself searching and seeking
Exhausting my strength my every nerve as I
looked for Him,
I found His doors slammed and bolted
My longing became all the more intense
And I stood there watching for Him.

~~~

ayas vate gayas nu vate
semanzu svathe lustum doh
chandas wuchhum har na ate
navi taras dimu kyah bo

I came by the highway, but by the highway I did return
I found myself stranded halfway on the embankment
With the light of the day having faded away
Searching my pockets, a penny I did not find
What shall I pay now for being ferried across?

~~~

mal wondi zolum
jigar morum
tyeli lal nav dram
yell dally traavymas tatiy

I burned the impurities of the mind
And killed my desires
Then only I did my name Lalla became known
When I surrendered completely before Him

~~~

panas laagith ruduk mye tsu
mye tsye tshandan lustum doh
panas manz yeli dyuthukh mye tsu
mye tse tu panas dyutLim tshoh

In seeking 'me' and Thee' I passed the day
Absorbed within Thyself thou hadst remained
Concealed from me! I wondered for away
When I beheld Thee in myself, I gained
For Thee and me that rapure unrestrained

~~~

pot zuni wathith mot bolanavum
dag lalunaavum dayi sunzi praye
lalu lalu karith lalu vuzunovunum
milith tas man shrotsyom dehe

Waking up at the end of moonlit night
I called the 'mad one'-my mind
And soothed his pain with the love of God
Crying "It is I Lalla, it is I Lalla", I awakened the Beloved
And by becoming one with Him my mind and body became pure!

~~~

ase paande zvase zame
nyathuy snan kari tirthan
vahri vahras nonuy ase
nishi chhuy tu parzantan

Yes, He it is who laughs and coughs and yawlns
He, the ascetic naked all the year
Who bathes in sacred pools in all the dawns
But recognise how He to you is near

~~~

asi aasy tu aasi asu, asav
asi dor kar patuvath
shivas sori nu zyon tu marun
ravas sori nu atugath

We have been in the past
In future also we shall be
Forever the sun rises and sets
Forever Shiva creates and dissolves and creates again.

~~~

gatulah akh vuchhun bochhi suuty maran
pan zan haran puhuni vavu lah
nyash bod akh vuchhum vazas maran
tanu lal bo praran tshenyam na prah

I saw a learned man dying of hunger
Trembling like dried leaves falling in harsh winter wind
An utter fool I saw beating his cook
(For not having prepared a delicious dish)
Since then I am waiting for being free of worldly attachments.

~~~

tsal tsetta vondas bhay mo bhar
chaany tsyanth karan panu anad
tse ko zanuni kshod hari kar
kival tasunduy toruk nad
O, restless mind! Do not fear
The one who is Beginningless takes care of you
You do not know when he will satiate your hunger
Cry to Him alone for help!

~~~

treshi, bwachhi ma kreshanavun
yany tshei tany sandarun dih

Do not torment your body with the pangs of durst and hunger
Whenever it feels exhausted, take care of it.

~~~

rav matu thali thali taapitan
taapitan uttam-uttam dish
varun matu lotu garu atsytyan
shiv chhuy kruth tu tsen vopadish

Does the sun not shine everywhere alike
Or does it shine only on the best places?
Does not the water god "Varuna" enter every home?
Or does it enter only the homes of the fortunate?

~~~

hyath karith rajya pheri na
dith karith tripti na man
In ruling kingdoms there is no relief
In giving them away there yet is grief

~~~
    

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