When Sufism spread towards Iraq, Seria and Iran, it developed aesthetically as is apparent in the classical Persian poetry. The cult of love was fused with devotion early in the history of the Sufi Movement. Consequently, the notion and language of human love was being used to the relations between the mystic and his divine beloved. The combination of Romance and mysticism became a permanent feature in Persian poetry and more so in Kashmiri 'lol' lyric. Human love is expressed by the typical Kashmiri 'lol' lyric. 'Lol' is a Kashmiri word signifying an untranslatable "complex of love-longing and tugging at the heart". It is believed by Sufis that even earthly love is a type of spiritual love, a kind of bridge leading to reality. The mystic aspires to merge himself into the Lord, and seeks oneness with God, the Truth, and reaches his goal when he becomes one with the truth.
Mystic Poets of Kashmir
Kashmiri Sufi poets were fond of producing love poetry, the practice followed by the early Sufis of Arab and Persia. The poets like Namah Sahib, Sochha Krai, Shamas Faqir, Arnimal Wahab Khar, Gulam Hassan Ganai, Lachman Bhuth Nagam, Gulam Hassan Beg (Arif) and Master Zinda Koul and many others wrote mystical verses of varying degrees of merit. Some of the most prominent Sufi poets in the filed of Kashmiri poetry are discussed below.
Lalleshwari (4th Century A.D.)
In the poetry of the first Kashmiri poetess saint Lalleshwari, known also Lal Ded (Granny Lal), there can be felt the ecstasy and fervour of the mystic as she comes to know and find God. Lalla expresses her deep pessimistic outlook on the worldly objects in her poems. She lays bare the innermost sanctuary of her heart which was seething with the anguish and longing for the Divinity. Her poems speak of the about the extreme ascetism and self-denial which she practised for attaining Divine grace.
Wahhab Khar's poetry is full of mystic allusion. The poet says poet uses mystic language to say that after the aspirant reaches the highest state of his communion with God, the Beloved, he loses all the conventions of the religion.
In his poems the Sufi poet expresses, in the language of wine and human love (like Persian poets), as a devout seeker, his rapture of divine love and experience of Fana (merging in Divine unity)
Gulam Hassan Ganai
His poetry is full of mystic allusions
It seems that the poetesses Haba Khatun and Arnimal, who were deserted by their husbands, were also under the influence of Sufi thought and poetry so much so that, while giving utterance to their feelings of ordinary human love, they soared so high that they ultimately outlined Divine love in their poetry with the same Sufi devotion and zeal. The desertion (by their lovers) indeed awakened the Muse in them.
Gulam Hassn Beg Arif
He is a deeply mystic-poet. His poetry is full of spiritual and mystic thoughts of a high order. He is fond of describing petty-things, like village stream, unbaked brick, watch, 'Huqa' (hubble bubble) etc., in his poems in which he fuses mystical meanings and inward experience. Beg is a believer of the cult of Divine love and asceticism. His descriptions of outward things lead to inward mystical meanings. He says in his poems that God is the ultimate source of our life, just as spring is the source of motion in the watch. He advises us to meditate upon that source of life and know what is ever-lasting and what is transitory.
Master Zanda Koul
Masterji is a mystical and deeply devotional poet who is fond of embodying forth the eternal lol-longing (yearning) of the human soul, the soul's quest for God.
Maqbul Shah Kralawari
Maqbul was a progressive poet. Mosques and temples were severely criticised by him. He smashed all idols of religion which did not stand for unity and service to humanity. According to him pride of birth and belief in fate has retarded the progress of society. Kralawari's poetry has trends of mysticism.
The tradition of mystical verse continues to exist in Kashmiri poetry, and Sufism is a major influence not only on Kashmiri poetry but all of Kashmiri literature.
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