Sufism | Bridging religions

Prayer Flags


This is something extremely relevant is the current ecosystem. It is a story that has various aspects. It involves the beautiful relation between a master and his disciple; it involves two friends belonging to two different faiths and people belonging to different strata of the society. How rare it is these days to find people who keep humanity above religion and don’t let their ego come in the way of interacting with people! The competition, envy is getting deep rooted in us and apparently we are forgetting the fact that after all we are all humans. It gets my goat when I read online, people killing people in the name of religion. I am not an erudite but I’m pretty sure no religion teaches us to kill. I usually come across balderdash that people post against each other on social media as if trying to prove that one religion is better than the other. When will this ‘my religion is better than yours’ thing end!


In this blog post trying to mention an example that demonstrates the communion across religions and status. Sufism has many such examples that can help us mitigate the existential tension among religions. Mian Mir a sufi saint and his life is a brilliant example that blazes a trail for all of us. Mian Mir a Muslim sufi was invited to lay the foundation of the Harmandir Sahib popularly known as ‘The Golden Temple’. Mian Mir, a quintessential Sufi loved simplicity and had a huge disdain for gloating and arrogance. The Mughal emperor Jahangir wanted to meet Mian Mir but Mian Mir never really entertained him. Mian Mir didn’t like his greed and insatiable desire for power.


Mian Mir liked Dara Shikoh, a Mughal emperor with Sufi inclination. Dara Shikoh was a learned man who believed in humanity and had not even an iota of arrogance in him. Dara Shikoh was a highly devoted disciple of the Saint Mian Mir and the saint liked him as well. Mian Mir was also friends with Guru Arjan Dev Ji the fifth Sikh guru. It was Guru Arjan Dev Ji who invited Mian Mir to lay the foundation stone of the golden temple. The shrine of the saint Mian Mir is visited and believed by Sikhs and people of other religions as well!


When our genesis is so eclectic in nature, what then instigates us to draw blood in the name of religion! This is a beautiful example and teaches us that religion and stature shouldn’t stop us from befriending people and loving them. We are all humans after all. Even if someone doesn’t treat you well, reciprocate with utmost generosity.

“What forgiveness is?

Sufi replied: It’s the fragrance that flowers give when they are crushed.”


Trying to decode Khusrow!


To be candid I don’t remember when I heard Amir Khusrow’s name for the first time but I always believed that I know about him in detail. Now I know the aforementioned statement is confusing but is true for sure. There are some things in life that you really can’t explain, they just happen naturally or rather effortlessly. I made a random visit to Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya’s dargah a couple of years back. Now that was a cosmic experience! As per me and this is based purely on what I felt and observed, dargahs represent syncretic heritage. I saw people of different religious backgrounds at Nizamuddin Auliya’s dargah, all craving for Auliya’s divine blessings. I can surely write a separate blog post about my experience of visiting Nizamuddin Auliya’s dargah but let’s not deviate from the topic!


Yes, Khusrow is the topic and to be more precise his writings are the actual topic. I heard his qawwali in Nusrat Sahab’s voice one night and that was it! I couldn’t stop myself from hearing the same on loop for hours at a stretch. Then I heard another one and the charm was the same, made me feel and realize that I am running behind things that don’t matter at all! It made me realize that all my ego and obsessions actually make me a complete fool in the grand scheme of things. All the time, I am concerned about things that bring pleasure and not happiness! Why run behind ephemeral delight when there is eternal joy for the taking? To be candid, I have no answer to any of the questions I just mentioned but somehow I know my pursuit is wrong. I am still fascinated by the fact that Khusrow simplified things way back while we are still trying to figure out how to lead life! For those who don’t know, Amir Khusrow is regarded as the ‘father of Qawwali’.


The first qawwali I came across was ‘Nami danam’, a piece apparently written in Farsi language. Generally, ‘Farsi’ is ‘Greek’ to us Indians! I still was able to figure out (although partially) the meaning of the title. The title ‘Nami Danam’ means ‘I don’t know’. I am still trying to decode the qawwali but I somehow can connect to it! At times I feel, Khusrow wants to convey that you get lost in love and love and agony are inseparable! You shouldn’t feign to be in love, if you’re in love be in love totally! God watches it all and true love always wins! That’s just my take; your perception of the qawwali can be different yet palpable. That’s probably Khusrow’s beauty wherein the reader (or listener) has the freedom to decipher things that behooves his perception and thoughts.


If listening to Amir Khusrow, I would recommend listen his works in Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s voice and the modulation is sure to take you in a different zone altogether. Let’s keep spreading love. Love is what keeps us going and alive!

‘People think they are alive because they have soul in them, But I am alive because I have love in myself!’ – Amir Khusrow

A Tribute to Baba Bulleh Shah-Exploring Sufism!

Sufi Rohan!

“Tear down the mosque and temple too, break all that divides
But do not break the human heart as it is there that God resides.”

                                                               -Bulleh Shah!

 Sometimes, you hear a few lines and they echo in your mind automatically. You start using them in public and in person too! While watching a Pakistani movie “Khuda Kay Liye”, I came across this song “Bandeya ho, Bandeya”. I just loved the lyrics instantly and was extremely curious to know about its genesis.

 After browsing a bit, I came to know that it was the composition of the Sufi poet\philosopher Bulleh Shah. The name was pretty much familiar, as I heard that in a few songs; “Bulla Ki Jaana Main Kaun!” etc. Slowly but Steadily I went through his works and life. Born in Bahawalpur, Punjab, now in Pakistan, Shah belonged to a Syed family. Bulleh Shah was beacon of hope and peace for the people of Punjab. He helped in maintaining friendly relations among Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus. He is believed to be extremely close to the Sikh Guru, Guru Teg Bahadur!

 May be its his “Sufi” attitude that is the reason of his benevolence and love for all nature! If you explore literature about Sufism, you come to know that “Tolerance” is an essential feature. And the origin or genesis of Sufism came from the fact that people from different cultures\mixed beliefs started living together. Sufis also rejected rituals, for them spiritual introspection was more important than external appearances. Sufis also separated Mosque and State. Shah Hussain stated: “Kings are busy in their kingdoms, the moneylenders are collecting their debts and the tiller is concerned about his village. We only seek the pleasure of our Sain (Lord, Beloved).” They also believed in one God and one must devote himself completely towards God.

Baba Bulleh Shah didn’t believe in caste, he didn’t differentiate people at all. He believed that we must leave the soul free! It’s all about Him-

“He is the Kite, and the string too!”

The modern world can learn a lot from Bulleh Shah. Humanity is what he taught us, harmony is what he preached. And we are really lucky that we live in a heterogeneous society, where we get a chance to meet people with different beliefs and traditions. Although, all the beliefs lead to the same path!