Lalleshwari – The Kashmiri mystic saint (1320 – 1392)

Foremost among Kashmiri saints was the poetess mystic and Shaivite yogi saint called Lalleshwari. Even centuries after her existence, Kashmiris still revere her and remember her teachings and use her quotes on appropriate occasions.

Lal Vakh in Kashmiri

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

Translation in English

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. -138A woman once gave birth to a son, and asked the priest, Siddha Srikantha who was there to name him – “What is the relation between this baby and me?” The priest was surprised at this question, and then replied “Of course, this is your son, mother.” The woman smiled. Soon after childbirth, the woman died. The husband remarried. After several other births, the same soul was born again as several other animals, and finally incarnated as a girl named Lalleshwari. Lalleshwari was born in Pandrethan (ancient Puranadhisthana) some four and a half miles to the southeast of Srinagar. Lalleshwari grew up and married the son. The woman knew she was to be reborn and marry her own son in one of her future births – thus her smile is explained. Lalleshwari’s mother-in-law was very evil and tortured Lalleshwari very much.

Lalleshwari ultimately renounced her family and took Diksha from Siddha Srikantha. She became a wandering ascetic monk. Like Mira who sang of Krishna, Lalleshwari sang of Siva as her great beloved. She wandered around without wearing clothes. When questioned about if she was not feeling shy when passing men, she replied “I do not see any men, therefore I am not ashamed. These are not real men. The real man is only Siva.” This thought reflects a philosophical disposition, which differentiates between Purusha and Prakriti (creation). Purusha (the lord) alone is masculine. His entire creation, the Prakriti is feminine.

Lalleshwari was an embodiment of the great Kashmiri mystic tradition. She invokes enchanting imagery of deep devotion to Siva alongside profound philosophical precepts, representing the heights of Advaita. Her final acts of dematerializing her body into a ball of fire, reflects the essential unity of the living being with the cosmic Purusha, besides illustrating the ephemeral nature of the human body.

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