Monday, April 25, 2016






By  Prof Tej Raina ( Born 1942 )

Year of publication 2016..

 Contact … 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..’


(Lal Ded)


 Lal Ded’s philosophy  , poetic message and the  austerities of  her personal life have created an ineffaceable  image  in the minds of every Kashmiri that  remains beyond compare to this day.


 “ Lal Ded  is the tallest representative ofpiety and graciousness of  washmiri Woman . Our history has not brought forward any other pious woman  who could match her thought and personality .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  the  most period of her life. ”


This is what M Y Taing ,former  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  the 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 the 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 many books   on this great saint poetess , it is not surprising to find one more refreshing addition to this field. This new book by Prof Tej Raina follows a different but focussed trajectory  of evaluating Lal Ded’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 Vaakhs. These words , for sure , have got mutilated and distorted by oral usage spread over many centuries .I do not find any previous author of Lal Ded’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. This exercise has proved of immense help to him in selecting Vaahks which could safely be assigned to Lal Ded or  Lalleshawari . The author  believes that many words in original Vaakhs of Lalleshwari stand corrupted with the gradual change in spoken language and influence of other languages .According to him , all these Vaakhs 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 Vaakh 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 Vaakh  7 ,  he has changed the word Lalith  and replaced it with Loaluth derived from sanskrit word Loluptava meaning greed. Similarly  in Vaakh 41 , he has changed the words Saat   and Muss ( Persian origin word meaning wine )  to Satas (  Satya or truth ) and Madh ( Wine )  . There are some more minor changes  in some Vakkhs . In fact all these  minor changes  have  added clarity and focus  to the Shaiva Darshana or Trika message  contained in the  existing  Vaakhs .


According to the author :


"* Out of about 258 Vaakhs that circulate in the name of Lal 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 Lal 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 Akademi) 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 Lal Ded . That is what he feels and I have no reason to disagree. Even Moti Lal Saqi would say so .His litmus test in selection of the Vaakhs is nothing less than  perfect. A reader of this book can 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 vaakhs 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 book  is different from all previous books  is that  all the 127 Vaakhs 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 into Hindi verses by the author is the essence of this work . Add to that the crisp and brief interpretation of each Vaakh  in the light of Trika and Shaiva Darshana is spectacular. I quote five   Vaakhs dealt in the book and translated beautifully by the author into Hindi ……





Gagan ti chhukh tsei  bhootal  chhukh  tsei

Tsei chhukh raath ta dya’n Tsei pawan

Aragh tsandun tsei  posh  poe’n  tsei

Tsei soruaai kyaah kath 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




Shiv va keeshiv va ajan va

Kamalaj  naath 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 nath ka Sanghya-dhar

Mujh abla ko bhav varj hare

Bus voh, bus voh ,voh eik, voh har



Deev vatta tai divvar vatta

Heiri ta  bo’na  chhuyi  ikkwaath

Pooz kath  karakh ha’tta  bataah

Kar manas  ta pawanas  sanghaath


Hindi rendering by the author ..


Dev shila , deewar shila ki

Opper neeche ekaa  eikk

Kis ko  pooj   raha  hai pandit

Mun  aur pawan ko kar na eikk



Kuss ma’ri  tai  kassu maarey

Ma’ri  kuss ta maaran kass

Har har traavith  ghar ghar  ka’rey

Adh’a   suyi  ma’ri  ta  maaran tass..


Hindi rendering by the author ..


Kaun maregaa  aur kis-ka

Maarey kaun kissey maarey

Har har   chhorr ke  ghar ghar  phirey

Vahi  marey  ouss ko  maarey ..




Niyam   kar’yoth  garbhaa

Tseituss  peyyi  karbaa

Maran’a   bron’thaai   mar  baa

Zinda   zuvaai  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 , a 29 page  scholarly preface and an illuminatingly worded 9 page prelude. The appendix at the end carries images of pages from  manuscripts like Lallavakya Bhashaya , hand written Lala-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 B N Parimoo , S S Toshakhani and   Jay Lal Kaul’s approach to Lala -Vaakhs.


The cover page for the book (in black colour ) has been   designed by the author.For the author, who is also an artist , black  conveys the profoundness of   Shaiv Darshana’s  Shunyata  ,  a concept of ‘Nothingness’ that Lal Ded gave to the Kashmiri poetry . From this Nothingness alone emerges something profound , timeless  and unique   that holds this Universe . Reading the explanatory notes given against each Vaakh by  the author, one becomes familiar with some basic concepts of Trika and Shaiv Darshana by  knowing the  meaining  of the concepts like  MAYA , PURUSA , PRKARITI ,ANTAKARNAS,  BIMBA , PRATIBIMBA , PARA ,PARAMASIVA, VAIKHARI STATE ,KAALA, NIYATI, JAGADANANDA,PANCH  ,PRANA ,SAMVIT , UDANA , SAMANA ,APANA ,SASIKALA ,MULADHAARA CHAKRA  and TURYA STATE .


 Unique in all aspects, the book is  refreshingly engrossing for every lover of Lal Ded’s philosophy and poetic genius . A  work that enthuses , touches and knocks the mind. Lala the sufferer , Lala the Guru and Lala the philosopher come alive in three segments of the book titled UNFOLDING , FRAGRANCE OF THE BLOOM  and  DELIBERATIONS . I recommend the book to all.


( Avtar Mota.. )

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