Biography of Hazrat Baba Bulleh Shah
Sayed Abdullah Shah famously renowned as Baba Bulleh shah is a famous Punjabi spiritual Sufi poet, scholar and philosopher. According to the English Researcher, Asborn, "Baba Bulleh Shah was born in the ancient city of Punjab named as Uch Galania".
Shah Muhammad Darviash, the father of Abdullah Shah, was a religious person. Owing to some uncertain reasons, he had to shift Malakwal, a small village of Sahiwal, with his parents in the early stages of life.
Hazrat Baba Bulleh Shah got his early education from his father along with other children. In the later ages, he received higher education from Hafiz Gulam Murtaza, the famous religious scholar lived in Qasur. The famous saint learned not only Hindi, Persian, and Arabic languages but also got religious education.
It is beyond any doubt that the family of great spiritual poet faced poverty at the early stages of life. He was experienced class stratification in childhood. Although he went through such difficulties yet he got an education at the highest level. The work of Baba Bulleh Shah is remarkable and reforms the society. His poetry highlights the four steps of Sufism which are Shariat, Tariqat, Haqiqat, and Marfat. He discusses the fundamental issues of human life and covers every dimension of the social and political sphere in his poetry. Mian Muhammad Bakhsh writes in his verse about the poetry of Hazarat Baba Buleh Shah that “after reading the kafi of Baba Buleh Shah my faith in Islam became strengthened.
Bulleh Shah di kafi sun k tutda kufar ander da
Wahtad de draya de ander oh bhi watya tarva
Bulleh sahah was a follower of Shah Anyaat Qadri. He belonged to the Arain tribe of Lahore. In that era, Arian caste was considered a lower stratum of society in the subcontinent. It must have been taken as degrading for the family. His family often taunts him which he wrote in one of his verses which are given below
Bulleh Nu Smajwan Aya Bhna te Barjya
Al nabi ulaad Ali Tu kyu leeka Layaa
In one of his verses, Baba Bulleh Shah describes his spiritual teacher.
Bullah Siv Anayt Arif h
O Dil mre da warish h,M loha tae oh paris h.
After completing his religious education, Baba Bulleh Shah faced the question of theory of learning like his predecessors. He discussed in his poetry that why one should get knowledge. Bulleh Shah told us the religious education is inevitable for life. It would help not only in this world but also in eternal life.
Ikko alaf tere darker (Only Alaf is required)
Ilmoon bas kareen o yar (Stop acquiring worldly knowledge)
Bulleh Shah discusses in his poetry, the benefit of getting knowledge and how it is helpful in real life. According to him, the real knowledge came from life experiences and history. In one of his kafi, he learns himself from the course of history and the naked realities of society. He discusses the importance of the knowledge that no one can gain high status in society without getting knowledge and if someone gets knowledge and it takes away from the right path, there is no benefit of such knowledge. He highlights the reality of life that mullah proud to himself after getting knowledge and consider others a low valuable person in society. According to one of his verse:
Ilmo bach kre fakeere kafir mare dewana hu
Sae variya di kre ibadat rahae Allah kino begana hu
Bulleh Shah finds different attitudes of the society, which reflects in religious differentiation. Bulleh Shah uses symbols like Heer- Ranjha and expands them in his poetry. He gave them a new dimension and enriches philosophical discourse. He says in his poetry that when i instilled the knowledge and lesson of love, I felt fear from the mosques, I ran into the Hindu institution where several horns are blown, there Heer and Ranjhaa became one; Heer was doing the searching for Ranjha in the jungle.
There was enmity between Mullahs and pundits as mullahs did not like Baba Bulleh shah. It depicts in his poetry that Bulleh Shah does not like mullahs. According to one of his verses, he says that these mullahs are wasted their life in the mosque, their inner side is filled with filth, they are unable to promote unity and they are used to making loud noises.
In the historical lens, the era of Sayed Bulleh Shah was between the end of the 17th century and that of the 18th century. In this time, different wars were being fought and the situation of the region is full of turmoil and difficulties. Shah discusses in his verse in this way
Dar khula hasher Azab da
Bura hal hoya Punjab da
According to a historian, Gian Singh Sarhind, “Sikh destroyed the peace in Punjab which cannot be described in words. Mother, daughters, children, and old people were being killed and there were anarchy and destruction in every part of Punjab. Baba Bulleh shah describes in this way.” Jido apni apni pae gayii”,Dhee maan noon lut ke le gai. Bulleh Shah knows well about human consciousness on material conditions. In his poetry, he states “Mati qudam kraindi o yar" (O my friend, it is soil that takes every human and non-human shape). And he ended the Kafi by saying that, in the end, the soil goes back to the soil and he thus dismisses the metaphysical concepts of life hereafter. The great Sufi poet highlights the political, social and justice system of society. He says that a cruel person does fear of cruelty but he has died from his own cruel acts. He does not feel ashamed of his act and facing difficulties everywhere. Similarly, he explains the social injustice in society in that era. Apne vich ulfat nahii kiya chache kiya tae. No one cares about others even relatives, there is no accord between father and sons, and this era is totally different from the past where there was peace and people take care about others.
Bulleh Shah is a beacon of peace, humanist and one of the renowned mystic poets of the Punjab region. According to the Gulam Sarwar Lahori, he died in 1171 Hijri. His tomb is in the Qasur region of Punjab.