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Updated on May 31, 2012

Revered by Hindus & Sufis

Affectionately known as Lal Ded or Mother Lalla, Lalleshwari, the great mystical seer, poet, yogini and saint appeared in 14th century Kashmir. Her birthplace was Pandrenthan (ancient Purandhisthana) near Srinagar.

She married at a very early age, but was treated cruelly by her mother-in-law, who always gave her a stone for dinner. The father-in-law discovered this practice one day and scolded her for this abhorent behavior. Unfortunately, the mother-in-law only got worse. She started telling lies about her to Lalla's husband and father-in-law.

No woman should have to take this kind of abuse, no matter who is involved in the abuse of the family. Lalla decided enough was enough and realized that renuniciation of marriage was the best, most intelligent course for her. Spreading rumors, lies and untruths in the family is not right. Unfortunately, the mother-in-law was addicted to this kind of behavior. I am happy to say that all my mothers-in-law are great and wonderful women and are very unlike Lalla's mother-in-law.

Fortunately for Lalla she had a great guru named Sidh Srikanth who really brought out the best in her abilities. In this case the student exceeded the teacher. He taught her about Kashmiri Shaivism and later she became one its greatest masters. This school of Hinduism worships Shiva and his consort, Shakti, as the Ultimate Reality.

Over time she excelled to the point where she travelled town to town preaching her message. She wrote great mystical poetry, which attracted thousands of Hindu and Sufi followers. The Sufi and Shiva influences are very strong in Kashmir. Her philosophy encompassed universal truths found in both traditions. She also used stories, which some believe were Christian. This is not surprising since a Buddhist manuscript mentioned Jesus, or St. Isa (as he's called in Tibetan), was in Kashmir. She believed love through action was the greatest virtue. She said, "Shiva prevades every place and thing. Do not differentiate between Hindu and Muslim. You are intelligent--recognize your own self; that is the true acquaintance with the Supreme."

So she combined the philosophy of Shaivism and Islamic Sufism. She advocated non-violence, simple living and high spiritual thinking as applied to every day life. She is called Lalla Arifa by the Sufis and Lalleshwari by the Hindus.

When she finally left the Earth plane, her devotees said that she simply dissolved into light. Reminds me of Mira Bai's story where she enters the temple and merges with Krishna and they find her sari wrapped around the muti of Krishna. I think that these saints were incarnations or partial incarnations of the Divine Mother. Both had abusive families who drove them out of the household; yet, they both overcame bad situations. They both transcended gender, race, caste and class by welcoming everyone with an open heart and motivation into their spiritual families. Both are examples of great mystical saints and role models.

Never take abuse! There are always those willing to help you in the situation. Her salvation, empowerment and freedom came through her spiritual teacher, Sidh Srikanth, who saw her abilities and greatness. He is an example of what a great guru should be. He helped her to see the knowledge dawning within herself. He had a high respect for her as a person and student, helping her to acheive her highest calling and good in the world. A great teacher is happy when you excel and even exceed his or her own abilities in some way. He honored the wisdom she had to share with others. A great teacher transcends ego in this regard and brings you to divine love.

What a great woman she was this Mother Lalla, so beloved by both the Hindus and Sufis. Kashmir was never the same again.

Dying and giving birth go on

By Lalleshwari

Dying and giving birth go on

inside the one consciousness,

but most people misunderstand

The pure play of creative energy,

how inside that those

are one event.




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      radhapriestess 5 years ago

      Thanks for your comment on the sufis. Sufis do take different ideas from different traditons like you say. Yes, some sufis have had challenges from other groups. Many of them are conservative/fundamentalist Muslims.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      I think, when certain aspects of Hinduism blended with Islam, Sufism was born.

      I have read Rumi, he is a great sufi poet. Sadly, I also hear that his devotes are badly treated in Iran and Turkey.

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      radhapriestess 5 years ago

      Tim, thanks for reading. Glad you appreciate reading about her and her poems. I like her as much as Mira Bai. Dyhannah, thanks also for reading. I have also enjoyed some of your poems and photos.

    • profile image

      radhapriestess 5 years ago

      Thanks for the comment. Of course, the sufis are a very different group of Muslims than mainstream Islam because are mystical and interact more openly with other groups. In fact, the sufis have had a problem with certain Muslims who destroyed their shrines. Sufis are more progressive than other Muslim groups. They are the group from which Rumi comes and the whirling dervishes (dancers). I did not know about her until I read about her in the book Daughters of the Goddess, by Linda Johnsen. Then I did additonal research from other sources. Thanks for reading.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      No offense to the Muslims, but I think Kashmir was a great seat of Hinduism and Buddhism before Muslims settled there.

      I did not know about Lalleshwari. She seems to be a wonderful spiritual master.

      Thanks for sharing this spiritual lesson.

    • profile image

      Timothy Cameron 5 years ago

      Excellent sotry and message. Very educational. I know little of the Indian traditions, but what I understand, I like. I know I really enjoy the people I meet that practice such disciplines. They are ajoy to be around. And ofcourse, poetry rocks! Keep'em coming! Peace~

    • Dyhannah profile image

      Dyhannah 5 years ago from Texas

      Interesting Hub. I also love the poem.