Classical Punjabi Poetry: Sultan Bahu

Jasmine_white_beautiful_flower (8)

Sultan Bahu (1628-1691) was a Punjabi poet, scholar and a Sufi. Born in Angah, Punjab, Bahu’s poetry questions religious orthodoxy and literalism. His poems are well known known throughout the Punjab and are rendered musically through Kafi and Qawalli. His mausoleum is in Garh Maharaja, Punjab, where a pilgrimage is held ever year during the month of Muharram.

The heart is deeper than the ocean

The heart is deeper than the ocean
Who knows the heart’s depths?

Storms and ships pass over it
The ferrymen row their oars

Within the heart are fourteen chambers
Unfurling like tents

Who knows the hearts’ secrets
Verily he sees the face of God

Dil daryaa samundroN doongha
Kaun dilaaN dee jaane hoo.

Wiche berhe, wiche jherhe
Wiche vanjh muhaane hoo

ChaudaaN tabq dile de andar
Tamboo vaangaan taane hoo

Joee dil daa maihram hove
Soee rabb pachhaane hoo

 

Neither a scholar nor learned

I’m neither a scholar nor learned
Not a law-giver nor a judge

My heart fears not hell
Nor desires heaven

I never fasted for thirty days
Nor am I a devout worshipper

Without union with the God, Bahu
The world is a playground of falsehood

Na main aalim na main faazil na mufti na qaazi hoo
Na dil mera dozakh mange na bahisht raazi hoo
Na mein treese roze rakhe na main paak namaazee hoo
Baajh visaal Allah de Bahu duniya kooRee baazee hoo

 

 

The Jasmine Root

Alif – Allah is the jasmine root
My master planted in my heart

With the water o’ none but Him
I nourished its every vein

The root’s fragrance spread within
Giving life to the flowers

May the master who planted this jasmine
Be forever blessed, Bahu

Alif – Allah chanbe dee booTee man vich murshid laaee hoo
Nafee asbaat da paani miliya har rage har jaaee hoo
Andar booTee mushk machaaya jaan phulaaN par aaee hoo
Jeeve murshid kaamil Bahu, jaiN eh booTi laaee hoo

 

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