Lalleshwari (लल्लेश्वरी) (1320 – 1392) also known as "Lalla" or Lal Ded [ [ Lal Ded]] [ [ Lal Ded]] was a Hindu saint-poetess and a mystic of the Kashmiri Shaivite sect [ [ Lal Ded] Sahitya Akademi Official website.] . She is a creator of the mystic poetry called vatsun or "Vakhs", literally 'speech'. Known as Lal Vakhs, her verses are the earliest compositions in the Kashmiri language and are an important part in history of Kashmiri literature [ [ Lal Vakh online] ] [ Lal Ded's Vakhs] ] .

Lal Ded and her mystic musings continue to have a deep impact on the psyche of Kashmiri common man, and the 2000 National Seminar on her held at New Delhi, led to the release of book - "Remembering Lal Ded in Modern Times" [ [ Remembering Lal Ded in Modern Times] National Seminar by Kashmir Education, Culture and Science Society, 2000.] . A solo play in English, Hindi and Kashmiri, titled, 'Lal Ded' based on her life, has been performed by actress Mita Vashisht, all over India, since 2004 [ [ Songs of a mystic] The Hindu, May 01, 2005.] [ [ Lal Ded at NCPA Bombay] ] .


Lalleshwari was born in Pandrethan (ancient Puranadhisthana) some four and a half miles to the southeast of Srinagar [ [ Lalleshwari: Forerunner of Medieval Mystics] Kashmiri Herald, Volume 1, No. 1 - June 2001.] . She married at age twelve, but her marriage was unhappy and she left home at twenty-four to take sanyas (renunciation) and become a disciple of the Shaivite guru Siddha Srikantha (Sed Bayu).

Many legends and stories remain about Lalla. One in particular tells of how Lalla, who ignored the normal convention of dress, choosing to wander around naked, was teased by several children. A nearby cloth merchant scolded the children for their disrespect. Lalla asked the merchant for two lengths of cloth, equal in weight. That day as she walked around naked, she wore a piece of cloth over each shoulder, and as she met with respect or scorn, she tied a knot in one or another. In the evening, she brought the cloth back to the merchant, and asked him to weigh them again. The cloths were equal in weight, no matter how many knots were in each. Respect and scorn have no weight of their own.

Her poems (called "vakhs") have been translated into English by Richard Temple, Jia Lal Kilam, Coleman Barks, and Jaishree Odin.

Lal Vakh

Lal Vakh, literally mean sayings of Lal or Lal Ded:

Lal Vakh in Kashmiri

"yi yi karu'm suy artsun"
"yi rasini vichoarum thi mantar"
"yihay lagamo dhahas partsun"
"suy Parasivun tanthar" -138

Whatever work I did became worship of the Lord;
Whatever word I uttered became a mantra;
Whatever this body of mine experienced became
the sadhana-s of Saiva Tantra
illumining my path to Parmasiva. -138

Lal Vakh in Hindi

प्रेम की ओखली में हृदय कूटा प्रकृति पवित्र की पवन से। जलायी भूनी स्वयं चूसी शंकर पाया उसी से।।

हम ही थे, हम ही होंगे हम ही ने चिरकाल से दौर किये सूर्योदय और अस्त का कभी अन्त नहीं होगा शिव की उपासना कभी समाप्त नहीं होगी।

Further reading

* "Lalla yogishwari", Anand Kaul, reprint from the Indian Antiquary, Vols. L, LIX, LX, LXI, LXII.
* "Lalla-Vakyani", Sir George Grierson and Dr. Lionel D. Barnett Litt. D. (R. A. S. monograph, Vol. XVII, London 1920).ISBN 1846647010.
* "Vaakh Lalla Ishwari", Parts I and II (Urdu Edition by A. K. Wanchoo and English by Sarwanand Chaaragi, 1939).
* "Lal Ded" by Jayalal Kaul, 1973, Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi.
* "The Ascent of Self: A Reinterpretation of the Mystical Poetry of Lalla-Ded" by B. N. Parimoo, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi. ISBN 8120803051.
* "Lal Ded: Her life and sayings" by Nil Kanth Kotru, Utpal publications, Srinagar, ISBN 81-85217-02-5.
* "Lalleshwari : spiritual poems by a great Siddha yogini", by Swami Muktananda and Swami Laldyada. 1981, SYDA Foundation, ASIN: B000M1C7BC.
* "Lal Ded: Her life & sayings", by Swami Laldyada. Utpal Publications, 1989, ISBN 8185217025.
* "Naked Song", by Laldyada, Lalla, Coleman Barks (Translator), 1992, Maypop Books, ISBN 0961891645. []


*cite book|last=Barks|first=Coleman|title=Naked Song|publisher=Maypop Books|year=1992|isbn=0961891645

External links

* [ Lal Ded's "Vakhs", Verses 1-65]
* [ Lal Ded's "Vakhs", Verses 66-138]

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