Monday, April 25, 2016

" LALLA VAAK ..ECHOES FROM PANDRETHAN " PROF. TEJ RAINA'S BOOK ON LALLESHAWARI , A GREAT SAINT POETESS FROM KASHMIR



                                                                                 




BOOK REVIEW

LALLA  VAAK …….ECHOES   FROM PANDRETHAN….
 By  Prof.Tej Raina ( Born 1942 )
Year of publication 2016..
 Contact …rainatej@yahoo.co. in....

I was born cotton
carder made me fiber.
Spinner spun me.
Weaver wove.
Washer smeared me with soap- nuts.
Pounded me on the stone.
Tailor cut me.
I am the pure self..

(LALLA)

 Lal Ded’s Philosophy  has a  deep-rooted impact on kashmiri psyche . It has remained ineradicable in spite of a time lapse of about seven hundred years. Her  poetic message and austerities of   her personal life have created an in effaceable  image  in the minds of every kashmiri that  remains unequaled to this day.

 “ Lalla Ded  is the tallest representative of Piety and Graciousness of  kashmiri Woman . Our History has not brought forward any other Pious Woman  who could match her thought and sainthood . This is the reason why kashmiris across the religious  divide adore and respect her . It is a fact that we have failed to give her a proper place . We have failed to locate her on ground at a place where she was born and where spent  most period of her life. ”

This is what Mr M Y  Taing   Ex Secretary  Jammu And kashmir Academy of Art , Culture and languages said in a   Book release function in Jammu in 2015.

 She remains a spiritual Giant and a poetic gem of kashmir. Her poetic presentation of the universal message of kashmir’s Shaiva Darshana , Trika   and    Dynamic Humanism remains beyond compare . And through her verses , she is responsible for shaping contours of kashmiri language and literature as well. The enormous Humanism of her Vaakhs is a  dynamic force that has withstood the test of the time and transcended all man made barriers . These VAAKHS are Like the fresh Fragrant air that can be universally experienced . Like the rays of sun that warm up every particle on this planet  or  like the Midsummer shower that gives relief to every creature from the scorching heat.


With so many Books   on this Great saint poetess , it is not surprising to find one more refreshing addition to this arena. This new book by Prof. Tej Raina ,  follows a different but focused Trajectory  of evaluating Laleshawari’s work in the light of Trika and Shaiv Darshana alone. It is apparent that the  author has put enormous labour  in compilation of this Book. His   study  of  kashmiri language  especially   its   Phonetics, verbs and  vowels is profound.  Not that alone , he has also traced and trailed  their usage over a period of time in arriving at correct words of some Vaaks. These words , for sure , have got mutilated and distorted by oral usage spread over many centuries . I do not find any previous author  of Laleshawari’s work going for this type of labour .Add to that , Prof. Tej Raina studied Fundamentals of Trika and  Kashmir’s Glorious Shaiv Darshana from some original Texts. That has proved of immense help to him in selecting Vaaks which could safely be assigned to Lalleshawari .

If this learned author  has changed some word or words  in some Vaaks after a meticulous research , he has definitely done a serious attempt to locate the original word without any change in overall meaning and message of the Vaak. He believes that many words in original Vaaks of lalleshwari stand corrupted with  gradual change in spoken language and influence of other languages . According to him , all these VAAKs have been preserved by oral tradition only. The author has added a  38 page  chapter at the end  titled  DELIBERATIONS wherein he has ably justified each and every change  that he was constrained to undertake . Say for example in Vaak 106 , he has changed the word  HEUND ( Hindu ) to BATAAH . He believes that Bataah is the word that Lalleshwari has been using  to address a kashmiri Pandit. Again ,  in Vaak 7 ,  he has changed the word LALITH  and replaced it with LOALUTH derived from sanskrit word LOLUPTAVA meaning Greed. Similarly  in Vaak 41 , he has changed the words SAA’T  and MUSS ( Persian Origin word meaning wine )  to SATTAS (  Satya or Truth ) and MADH ( Wine )   . There are some more minor changes  in some VAAKs . In fact all these  minor changes  have  added clarity and focus  to the Shaiva Darshana or Trika message  contained in the  existing  Vaaks .


According to the author :

"* Out of about 258 Vaakhs that circulate in the name of Lalla Ded and occur in various collections, Prof.Jay Lal Kaul selected 138 Vaakhs for his Book and even their authenticity he is not prepared to " Vouch for". People have clubbed some verses of Rupa Bhawani with Lalla Vaakhs.There are 35 verses that occur both in the collections of Lal Ded's verses , and in noornamaas and Reshinamaas of Sheikh Noor Ud Din or Nund Rishi, which include his Shrukhs. Three quatrains of Azizullah Khan , a kashmiri poet of early 19th century have also been ascribed to Lalleshwari by Rev. J.Hinton Knowles.Interestingly, one of these quatrains has been translated by the great Indian translator A K Ramanujan in the name of Lal Ded , and quoted as such by K. Sachchidanandan (Ex secretary ,Sahitya Academy) in one of his papers on women Poets of India."

The focus of the author has been a qualitative  pursuit in the light of Shaiva Darshana and Trika and not a quantitative compilation and  presentation of whatsoever is attributed to the saint poetess that has often diluted her  core message .He  has selected only 127 Vaakhs which he feels convey her core  message . Others may  not belong to Lalla . That is what he feels . I have no reason to disagree. Even Late Moti Lal Saqi would say so .His litmus test in selection of the Vaakhs is nothing less than   perfect. I say this line of samad Mir’s  poem   “ Zugg Ta  Pro’nn kodun Faelli Falley “ or  “He separated  Chaff  from the grain “ for Tej Raina’s efforts in selection of Vaakhs for this book.

For the author of the book , the personality of Lalleshwari emerges only from her vaaks and he believes the rest to be only intentional or unintentional myths woven by people  without any supportive historical , documentary or other authentic evidence. He feels no need to comment on these issues in the book .


Another reason   why this work  is different from all previous Books  is that  all the 127 Vaaks have been presented in  kashmiri both in Devnagri and Nastalik script. There is also  an apt and to the point Hindi Translation by the Author . He comes up as a perfect translator . This rendition to Hindi verses by the author is the essence of his work . Add to that the crisp and brief interpretation of each Vaak  in the light of Trika and Shaiva Darshana is spectacular. I quote  some vaaks translated to Hindi by the author..

I quote five   Vaaks dealt in the book and translated beautifully by the author to Hindi ……

(1)

Gagan Ti Chhukh Tcheii Bhootal Chhukh Tcheii
Tcheii Chhukh Raathh Ta Dya’n Tche Pawan
Aragh TchandunTcheii Posh Poe’nn  Tcheii
Tcheii soruaai Kyaah Kathh Laagan

Hindi rendering by the author ..

Tum Gagan Tum Hi Dharaatal
Raat Din Tum, Tum Marru
Aragh Chandan Tum kusum Jal
Kis ko Kyaa Arpan karuun

(2)

Shiv Va keeshiv va Ajan Va
Kamalaj Naathh naav Dharaan Yuuh
Me abal Kaastan Bhav varj Va
Su Va, Su Va, Su Va, Soo…


Hindi rendering by the author ..


Voh shiv keshav Voh Nitya ajan
Voh Kamalaj Naathh Ka Sanghya-dhar
Mujh Abla Ko Bhav varj hare
Bus Voh, Bus Voh ,Voh eik, Voh Har


(3)
Deev Vatta Tai Divvar Vatta
Heirri Ta Bo’nna Chhuyii Ikkwaath
Pooz kathh Karakh Ha’tta Bhatta
Kar Manuss ta pawanuss Sanghaath


Hindi rendering by the author ..

Dev Shila , Deewar Shila Ki
Ou’pper Neeche Ekaa  Eikk
Kis Ko Pooj Rahaa hai Pandit
Munn aur Pawan Ko Kar Na Eikk

(4)
Kuss Ma’rri Taai Kassu Maarey
Ma’rri  kuss ta maaran kass
Har Har Traavith Ghar Ghar Ka’rrey
Adh’a Suyii Ma’rri Ta Maaran Tuss..

Hindi rendering by the author ..

Kaum Maregaa aur Kis-ka
Maarey Kaun Kissey Marey
Har Har Chho’rr ke Ghar Ghar Phirrey
Vahii Marrey ouss ko Maarey ..


(5)

Niyam Karr’yothh  Garbhaa
Tcheituss Peyyii kar’baa
Maran’a  Bron’thaai   Marr  Baa
Zinda   Zuvaaai Ta’r   Baa

Hindi rendering by the author ..

Garbhaashay mein Thaan Liyaa thaa
Kaise Bhoole Yaad Karo
Marne se Pehle hi mar jaa
Jeete ji hi Paar  Taro



Spread in about 350 pages , the author has also annexed Pronunciation key for Vowels  in 10 pages at the beginning apart from an scholarly 29 page Preface and an illuminatingly worded 9 page Prelude. The appendix at the end carries images of pages from  Manuscripts like Lallavakya Bhashaya , hand written Lalla Vaakhs prepared by Pt. Amar Nath Handoo and 138 verses transcribed in Roman script ( used by Prof Jaya lal kaul ).  

Tej Raina’s focus has been to convey Trika and shaiva philosophy of Lalleshwari. This is in line with Prof B N Parimoo , Dr. S S Toshakhani and  Prof Jay Lal Kaul’s approach to Lalla Vaakhs.

The Black  cover page for the book has been   designed by the author .  And suddenly from black emerge the Echoes from Pandrethan in the shape of Lalla Vaaks. For the author ,  who is also an Artist , Black  conveys the Profoundness of   Shaiv Darshana’s  Nothingness ( a concept that Laleshwari gave to kashmiri poetry and which was carried down by Muslim  Sufi poets  as well ). From this Nothingness alone emerges something profound , timeless  and unique    that holds this Universe .



For sure , Prof. Tej Raina  knows his subject and certainly  knows much about Trika and kashmir’s Shaiva Darshana . Readintg the Explanatory notes given against each Vaak by  the author, one becomes familiar with some basic concepts of Trika and Shaiv Darshana   You get to know meaining  of MAYA , PURUSA , PRKARITI ,ANTAKARNAS,  BIMBA , PRATIBIMBA , PARA ,PARAMASIVA, VAIKHARI STATE ,KAALA, NIYATI, JAGADANANDA,PANCH  ,PRANA ,SAMVIT , UDANA , SAMANA ,APANA ,SASIKALA ,MULADHAARA CHAKRA ,TURYA STATE   and so many other terms so essential to understand the real meaning of Lalla Vaaks . Unique in all aspects. The book is  refreshingly engrossing for every lover of Lalla’s Philosophy and poetic genius . A  work that enthuses , touches and knocks the mind. Lalla the sufferer , Lalla the Guru and lalla the Philosopher come alive in three segments of the book titled UNFOLDING , FRAGRANCE OF THE BLOOM  and  DELIBERATIONS .



( Autar Mota )


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