Sufi Poetry set to Music

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Gulestan Selections
by Sa'adi of Shiraz

from vol. 6, no. 1
posted January 15, 2002

Sonnets by
Moulana Shah Maghsoud

from vol. 5, no. 4

posted October 19, 2001

Breeze of Dawn
by Hafez

posted September 1, 2001

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Mystic Poet, Kabir

by Sheikh Saleem Ahmed

Among the poets of the Bakhti movement, Kabir was the greatest who dominated the scene for almost two hundred years until Sur and Tulsi took
over their Krishna Worship and Ram worship in Brij and Awqdhi dialects respectively. These poets


made no distinction on religious grounds between one man and another because they set out to propagate a "New Religion of Man."
Kabir (1398-1456 AD) was a revolutionary and above all a great humanist. Although six hundred years have passed since his birth, the charm of his poetry and significance of his message still thrill the heart and kindle the minds of hundreds of thousands. He is the most often quoted poet even today. He did not belong to any religion in a traditional manner and always crusaded against the ritualistic aspect of every creed, but because of the sheer force of his ideas, he himself became a cult and the Kabir path came into being. He became the pioneer and leader of a host of 'Nirgun Saints' and Muslim poets alike.
This rugged philosopher hated the supersticious practices of both Hindus and Muslims who were vehemently chastised by him. Like

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Socrates of old amongst the Greeks, he tried to penetrate behind the conventionalities of speech and popular ideas of the reality of things. He exposed with merciless severity the weak poings of both Hinduism and Islam. He is probably the greatest exponent

As he revolves
his rosary,
Life passes away,
and he knows
no secret
of his heart.

Throw away
the rosary
of the hand
and resolve
the rosary
of the mind.


of the composite culture of India. The Adi-Granth of the Sikh contains many allusions to the events of his life. His verse emodies his remarkable reachings and his short didactic poems in Hindi are quoted all over India.
Kabir is the most revered name in Indian tradition, from Punjab to Bengal and from Himalayan frontier to the Deccan, he is acknowledged as a great poet (he has been called 'the Father of Hindi Poetry') and as a great mystic, venerated by Hindus and Muslims alike--a unique distinction. His rebellious spirit and revolutionary utterances have even won him the title of the 'Indian Luther.' born as a poor 'Julaha,' a Muslim weaver of Banaras, he showed total contempt for the religious establishment of his time, rejecting all 'scriptures,' the Koran as well as the Veda. His very originality as a 'non-religious' mystic, his rough idiom, the forceful ruggedness, terseness, and allusiveness of his style often made him obscure. In fact, in India itself, Kabir has been more quoted and admired than seriously studied.

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