The Real

The Real

By Lalla

To learn the scriptures is easy,
to live them, hard.
The search for the Real
is no simple matter.

Deep in my looking,
the last words vanished.
Joyous and silent,
the waking that met me there.

Lalla was a great saint and mystic from the Kashmir province of India. She lived in the 14th Century, which was a period of great religious upheaval and change. He home province of Kashmir had a tradition of fusing religious traditions. For example although Buddhism has almost disappeared it was still a significant influence on the different Hindu traditions. In the fourteenth century the people of Kashmir came under the influence of Islam. However the Islam which was brought by mystics such as Bulbul Shah was heavily influenced by Mahayana Buddhism and Upanishadic philosophy. Thus the people of Kashmir were sympathetic to the branch of mystic Islam that Lalla embodied.

Lalla was married at an early age but was badly treated by her mother in law. However despite her bad treatment and lack of food she acted with forbearance and equanimity. However this cruel upbringing encouraged her to enter the life of a renunciant and she found a guru called Sidh Srikanth.

Lalla excelled in spiritual practices and is said to have reached a lofty height of self realisation, ‘The abode of nectar’. However Lalla also wished to manifest and reveal the spiritual truths she had received. Therefore she took to the life of a wandering pilgrim, travelling around the county teaching those who were receptive.

During her life Lalla composed many hundreds of songs. Primarily these spoke of her great longing and love for her beloved Shiva. Indeed there are many similarities between her life and her near contemporary Mirabai. Her poems or Vakyas, formed an important part of Kashmiri language and culture and are still very much revered today.

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