Some mystic poetry of Bulleh Shah

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Bulleh Shah, whose real name was Abdullah Shah, was a Punjabi Sufi poet and humanist. He is believed to have been born in the small village of Uch, Bahawalpur in 1680 in modern day Pakistan.

A large amount of what is known about Bulleh Shah comes through legends, and is subjective; to the point that there isn’t even agreement among historians concerning his precise date and place of birth.

Sufis, traditionally, spent their lives searching for the meaning of life and for God. Those amongst them, who were poets, expressed this search, beautifully, through their poetry. Who is the Creator? What is the truth? What is the meaning of life? How can one find God? Who am I? These are some of the questions Sufis have tried to answer, by disassociating themselves from worldly knowledge and deeds, and moving onto a spiritual sphere, where they are no longer bound by traditionally interpreted religious or material restrictions.

Sufi writings show the desire to be free of all trappings of identity, convention and routine. The identity of the message in their poetry speaks a common language of existential anguish. Confronted by racial profiling, wars and the bonfire of vanities, ordinary humans relate to the subtext of a transcendent spiritual yearning regardless of their backgrounds and nationalities.

Some mystic poetry of Bulleh Shah:

Perverse times have come,
I know the mystery of the beloved
crows have begun to hunt hawks,
and sparrows feed on falcons
horses bear the whipping,
while donkeys graze on lush green
no love is lost between relatives,
be they younger or elder uncles
There is no accord between fathers and sons,
Nor any between mothers and daughters
The truthful ones are being pushed about,
the tricksters are seated close by
The front liners have become wretched,
the back benchers sit on carpets
Those in tatters have turned into kings,
the kings have taken to begging
O Bulleh, that which is His command
who can alter His decree


"The soil is in ferment, O friend
Behold the diversity.
The soil is the horse, so is the rider
The soil chases the soil, and we hear the clanging of soil
The soil kills the soil, with weapons of the soil.
That soil with more on it, is arrogance
The soil is the garden so is its beauty
The soil admires the soil in all its wondrous forms
After the circle of life is done it returns to the soil
Answer the riddle O Bulleh, and take this burden off my head."


O' Bulleh Shah let's go there
Where everyone is blind
Where no one recognizes our caste (or race, or family name)
And where no one believes in us


Oh Bulleya, the mullahs and the torch bearers are both the same,
They offer light to others
but they themselves remain in darkness.


yes, yes, you have read thousands of books
but you have never tried to read your own self
you rush in, into your Mandirs, into your Mosques
but you have never tried to enter your own heart
futile are all your battles with Satan
for you have never tried to fight your own desires


Remove duality and do away with all disputes;
The Hindus and Muslims are not other than He.
Deem everyone virtuous, there are no thieves.
For, within every body He himself resides.
How the Trickster has put on a mask!


If God was to be found by bathing and cleaning, then frogs and fishes would have found him long back
If God was to be found by roaming in jungles, then cows and other animals would have found him long back
If God was to be found in Temples and Mosques then the birds and the bats would have found him long back
Bulleh, God will be found only by those who are true and good at heart....


People teach Bulleh Shah, come sit in the mosque
Baba says "what's there in mosque if you don’t submit to God honestly,
of what use is cleaning the body if your inner soul is soiled.
O Bulleh Shah! Without a Perfect Master, all prayers are vain!"