Monday, August 20, 2007

Sultan Bahu, the king among mystics | Andar Hu te Bahar Hu: Hu is within, Hu is without

Hazrat Sultan Bahu was one of the outstanding Sufi Saints of the Indian subcontinent - the part of which is now Pakistan. His admirers gave him the title 'king among mystics' (Sultan-ul-Arifeen). Nevertheless, a detailed account of his life is not available.

Hu Allah
No mention is made in any book about the date of Bahu's birth. Most writers agree that he died in 1691. As they also mention that he was 63 years old when he died, it can be reckoned that he was born in 1628 or 1629. It was his mother who called him Bahu, a name full of meaning. Ba means 'with' and Hu means 'God'. The name thus means 'united with God'.

Bahu never went to school and instead received his early education at home. Despite his lack of formal education he is held in high esteem because of his inner realisation and spiritual insight. Bahu says in one of his Persian verses that, although he did not receive any grounding in external knowledge, his soul has been purified by inner knowledge. It is noted that Bahu wrote 140 books in Arabic and Persian. His Arabic and Persian writings have been forgotten, but his Punjabi poetry lives on and is extremely popular. At certain places in his abyat, Sultan Bahu refers with great reverence and esteem to Hazrat Abdul Qadir Jilani of Baghdad, which suggest that he considered him as his Master.

Bahu would often seek solitude, leaving his house and retreating to forests or cemeteries. After his wanderings he would return to his own village of Shorekote. Obviously, love for his native place had not diminished with the passage of time, In this connection, he writes "May God's grace descend on Shorekote, where Bahu lives!". In 1961, when Sultan Bahu relinquished his mortal frame, he was buried at Kila Kahgran, which is situated near the river Chenab. The order called Qadiriya Masrooria was started after his name.

Here is a taste of Sultan Bahu's inner state in his own words: original, in Punjabi

Andar Hu te bahar Hu,
hardam naal jalendaa Hu
Hu da daagh Mohabbat waalaa,
hardam piaa sarhenda Hu
Jitthe Hu kare rushnaaee,
chhorh andheraa vaindaa Hu
Main qurbaan tinha to Bahu,
jo Hu sahi karenda Hu


Hu is within, Hu is without,*
Hu always reverberates in my heart.
The wound of the love of Hu,
always aches in my heart.
Where Hu brings in its light,
the darkness of ignorance departs.
I sacrifice myself to the One, O Bahu,
who has realised the significance of Hu.

* Hu symbolizes the resonant sound, word, or Kalma; it also stands for God (the Divine Pronoun), Who pervades the universe in the form of that Primordal Vibration Sound or Word. The name Bahu is made up of Ba (with) and Hu, and therefore means 'one who lives with God'.

credit: Sultan Bahu, published by Radha Saomi Satsang Beas

Abida Parveeen Sultan BahuThe kalam (verse) of Sultan Bahu are sung even today. Sufi singer Abida Parveen has immortalised them in her recent album: Hazrat Sultanul Arafin Haq Bahu Rematullah. You can listen to it by downloading it from here or playing it from here (the second song in the list is 'Andar Hu te Bahar Hu' - the verse translated above). Listen and know 'the king among mystics' - Sultan Bahu!
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