I have been struck by the spear of Bhit Shah
‘Bhit’ is for Desert; ‘Shah’ is for King
The King of the Desert; revered higher in status and love than Shakespeare in Sindh is Bhit Shah.
Like Romeo and Juliet, Shah Abdul Latif’s verses explore love stories;
Love stories, folk tales, or material for a script? More than that, these stories are lessons from Bhit Shah!
His wisdom, his humility, his knowledge are captured herein.
In one hand the Quran, in the other Rumi’s Mathnavi, undoubtedly a teacher for all time and all peoples is my Shah.
In each story is a journey of life – the seekers’, the believers’, the lovers’.
No patriarch is Shah for he speaks in the voice of the woman
His heroines – the seven Queens of Sindh – are the quintessential females:
Brave, courageous, creative, focused and fearless – hence their great ‘beauty’.
Deep like the great ocean is Shah Latif
For he is inspired by the wisest:
Quoting Rumi, Hafiz, Shakespeare, Khayam, Amir Khusro, Ghalib, and company
in his voluminous work, called the Shah Jo Risalo, or the Risalo for short!
But Shah’s intense focus is on the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) whose ultimate focus is the Beloved, of course.
Oh Beloved, Oh Wadud, Oh Rab, Oh my all!
How longing for You, yearning for You, torments me deep within!
I am struck by the spear of (Divine) love, I am Oh Rab!
Like Rabia, I am not tormented by the fear of hell,
nor allured by the greed of heaven,
I only desire Your embrace; (read slowly) Oh, Your embrace!
Oh, how my soul feels the pain of separation from You
Oh how I feel the yearning of Sasui when she desired her Beloved!
Oh, how I feel the pain of Marvi when she was tormented by separation from her people!
Oh, how I feel the desire of pure Sohni who craved for the gentlemanly Prince Izzat Baig (disguised as ‘Mahiwal’) while she was married to the satan, Dam!
Oh, how foolish are we humans given to destruction, base desires and our egos,
Like Leela, who sold her kingly husband for one night in exchange for a diamond necklace!
Oh, how mean are those humans who become like snakes to Sasui as did her husband’s brothers to her who kidnapped and deprived her of him.
Oh, how cunning and conniving are the worst of humans who, like Sohni’s sister-in-law exchanged her pot deceptively for an unbaked jar to lead her to her death!
But in death was not her loss, rather union with her Beloved (God).
For all the true believer strives for is not in this world, but in the hereafter.
In all of these stories is a lesson for those who strive to seek the Beloved.
In this state, you overcome the superficialities of the world, its materialism, and its meaningless clamour.
Through the process, the path (siraat al mustaqeem), the journey, you suffer, but you are purified and overcome.
My dear friends, if you desire the Beloved you will be lucky to be struck by the (intellectual) spear of Shah Latif!
Oh, I am struck; Oh I am struck!
Oh, I am tormented: the privilege of journeying ‘the path’ is ironically full of pain.
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