A Journey of Discovery
The Words of Lalla the Prophetess by Sir R. C. Temple
The Lalla Vākyāni or Wise Sayings of Lal Ded by Royal Asiatic Society Vol. XVII edited by Sir George Grierson and Dr. Lionel Barnett
Yogiswari, Her Life and Sayings by Pandit Anand Koul
The Ascent of Self by B.N. Parimoo
Kashmiri Kavayitriyam au unka
racana samsara by Siban Krishna Raina
Sir Richard Carnac Temple in the preface of his book 'The Words of Lalla the Prophetess', quotes Pandit Anand Koul as saying that Lalla's expression captures every Kashmiri's heart and is part of Kashmiri identity, having a profound effect on the minds of Kashmiris.
Lal Ded was contemporary of Sayyed Ali Hamdani, a renowned Sufi Persian saint, who visited Kashmir during the years 1379-80 and 1385-86. Her birth is dated as in 1336 A.D. during the reign of Sultan Allahuddin in Simpura village. At her birth it is believed that Chashmashahi and Khoma Moha water springs burst out from under the earth.
During the period of the 14th century to 16th century there arose across India eminent poet saints, religious teachers and mystics who profoundly affected the life and thought of India. Ramanada in the 15th century, Tulsi Das, Mira Bai, Nanak and Kabir, Chaitanya, Chandi Das and Vidyapati in Bengal, and Vallabahcharya in the south. Lalla preceded them all.
She was born in a Kashmiri pandit family at Pandrenthan, four miles to the south-east of Srinagar. She was severely ill-treated by her husband and his family which she bore with patience and a legend of her perseverance had developed around her. She left home at the age of twenty four and became a disciple of a well known Sufi saint Sed Bayu or Siddha Sri Kanth, who was the family priest. He lived in Pampur village and is believed to be the descendent in the line of disciple of Vasugupta, founder of modern Saivism in Kashmir. Lalla is said to have excelled her guru and often to have defeated him in retort and argument. Her verses show an intense study of the Upanishads.
Lalleswari it is said stayed naked and traveled in that condition. She was well aware of the ridicule she would receive for it, but worldly criticism did not in any way disturb her equanimity of her mind.
Lalla Vakyani is composed in old form of Kashmiri. Sanskrit was the literary language and Kashmiri was spoken as a vernacular and had its own dialect. The script is formed around Devanagri script and the pronunciation of the Sanskrit alphabet has acquired a local accent.
Literature in Kashmiri dialect thus is very rare and the words of Lalla are significant in understanding the process of taking philosophical thought to the people. Herself a yogini she says that the Supreme is not reached by yogic discipline alone, but by its practice the seeker comes to know that the universe is unreal. He then tries to go beyond it. By dint of practice the perception of the visible world is lost, as it were, and the human soul becomes one with the Absolute.
She is said to have lived long and gave up her body at Bijbehara, which is near Islamabad, just outside the Juma Masjid.
A Kashmiris' faith in her is so deep that her passing mysticism is expressed as her soul buoyed up like a flame of light in the air and then disappeared.
Pandit Anand Koul
Stories of pestle stone covered with rice and tailors cloth cut and knotted retains its original weight live on till date. Praise and blame must be accepted with same calm as they balance each other.
Tukaram 17th century. Dehu, Maharashtra. Disciples Gangaram Maval and Santaji Teli
Tyagaraja, 1767-1847, Tiruvaiyar, Tamil Nadu. Wrote in Telegu
Tulsi Das 1532-1623, Rajapur, Uttar Pradesh. Passed on in Varanasi. Wrote Ramcharitramanas. Wrote in Lok Bhasha and Braj Bhasha.
Purandharadasa, 15th-16th century. Marathi who became prolific carnatic poet and musician.
Surdas, 15th-16th century. Blind bard during Akbar's reign. In praise of Krishna as Vallabhacharya.
To Not be Born Again
Sunya is Absolute not Nothingness