Prakash Ram Bhat



Sunset stroll. Image credit: Weirdvis at RGBStock.com


Translated by Aamir Habib

Prakash Ram Bhat: A Poet-Mystic Celebrated by the Sufis

Introduction

Prakash Ram Bhat, a poet-mystic from nineteenth century Kashmir, is counted alongside those mystics who have been appealing and influential across religions. As a poet-mystic, Prakash Bhat is famous for writing a two volume Ramayana in Kashmiri language, which is actually a regional version of the Valmiki Ramayana. Since a devotee of lord Rama, Prakash Bhat penned down the Ramayana in two books, titled as Ramaavtaarcharit and Lav-Kush-charit. As the names suggest, the first volume is about lord Rama as an incarnation of Vishnu and the second one is written about lord Rama’s two sons Lav and Kush. However, apart from the aforesaid work, there is another collection of poems, to his credit. As a poetical work of Prakash Bhat, it was compiled by an academician under the title Kalam-i-Prakash Ram Bhat Kurigami.1 Prakash Bhat lived in a period when Persian language and poetry flourished in Kashmir. In fact, his were the times when Persian was the court language of Kashmir. Therefore, his poems being laced here and there with Persian, Arabic or even Urdu linguistic terms that were in common use is quite noticeable. Furthermore, the uniqueness of this compilation is that it carries some poems, which either express Islamic ideas or have a little blending of religious ideas. Poems from this compilation are not only famous within the Sufi circles, but are also part of the Sufi musical assemblies within the Kashmir Valley. It is from this compilation that the translation of few poems is supplied below.

Regarding the translation of the poems, it needs to be added that while translating them into English though attempt has been made to be close to the original Kashmiri text, but the precise verbatim pattern is not followed. Moreover, every poem opens with a title in bold.

Translated Poems

O! Son of Koshalya

O! Son of Koshalya; I shall cradle-swing you. Reciting Rama Rama; I shall cradle-swing you.
Leaving me behind, where have you gone; With whom can I share this painful state.
Wish I, someone cajoles you; I shall cradle-swing you.
Passionate towards you now; Searching you every town and village. I want you only, Rama; I shall cradle-swing you.
I wished Rama’s kingship; The stepmother but did not like it.
You left for forest dwelling; I shall cradle-swing you.
This separation is unbearable; To whom have you left me with.
Where has he left, the light of my eyes; O! Prakash where this Sun has disappeared.2


Love Embraces Everything

Lovers breathe reciting the Quran of love. For sure, they expound the world of gnosis.
God the master, made love the bedrock of genesis. Whole heartedly, Adam affirmed it.
Primarily love keeps yearning, so I long for my beloved. Then He created light, naming it Muhammad.
Out of love were created Earth and the Heavens. Adorned with Sun, Moon and the Stars.
Love is the reason for one lakh and twenty-four thousand Prophets. Because of love Siddiq ascertain the cave of Hira.
His truthful words explain it throughout.
Because of love Gabriel delivered Quran to the Prophet. Love made Uthman to record it in chapters.
He abided by justice, Umar his name is. And our Ali Hyder, the lion of the God. Prakash Bhat a seeker, acclaims his teacher.
Fully sated your taverns are, give me a drink of wine.3

Sing O Nightingale

Sing O Nightingale, the spring is upon; Come to me, will bosom you.
Give up indolence, and have a bath; Release from winter diseases you will feel. Wake up! This is no time to sleep; Come to me, will bosom you.
See the blossom at Kaw Kumri; How eagerly is it complaining.
O flower, narrate the downhearted days of winter; Come to me, will bosom you. I wish the sombul filled meadow calls; For freedom of the land.
Narcissus is waiting with the cup; Come to me, will bosom you. Manifest in a pure-serene appearance; As I am lovesick.
Clean like a mirror, flow of this stream is; Come to me, will bosom you.
The spring is upon and the sky is clear; The night of darkness is not anymore.
Tekih-Bhatni and Mir-kemi have blossomed; Come to me, will bosom you.
Come and give up this sullenness; See from some spring, cold water is gushing. Let us climb the Hari hill and visit Tul-Mul; Come to me, will bosom you.
O! Garden enjoy the efflorescence of flowers; See my sickness and come with good news.
What benefit is in pretending indifferent; Come to me, will bosom you.
O! Prakash, luminosity is everywhere; Witness the sunshine everywhere. My nights are sleepless; Come to me, will bosom you.4

O! Friend, My Heart is Restless

In love of that beloved; O! Friend, my heart is restless.
He makes me act like a baby; A drink of heavenly consciousness my beloved offered.
From a deep sleep, he awoke me; O! Friend, my heart is restless.
I am awaiting my beloved; Wish I, he offers a syrup to me, the patient. Why has he not come for asking my illness; O! Friend, my heart is restless. O! Gardener, the garden is in full bloom; And the flowers have blossomed. Sucking the flower-nectar, these bees left; O! Friend, my heart is restless
O! Gardener let us visit the garden; We shall cajole and bring along the sulk. He is dwelling at an unknown address; O! Friend, my heart is restless. Leaving me inside the oven; He is melting me like ice.
One who has experienced this pain, can only understand; O! Friend, my heart is restless.
I am waiting at his doorstep; When he, my beloved will open the door. Only those can enter, for whom the door is opened; O! Friend, my heart is restless.
What shall Prakash say about the truth; Lover is seeking the beloved. The lover is burnt by the fire of love; O! Friend, my heart is restless.5


1 Afaq Aziz, 2000, Kalam-i-Prakash Ram Bhat Kurigami, {Poetical Works of Prakash Ram Bhat
(translation mine)}, Srinagar: Baavath Cultural Society.
2 Ibid., pp. 14-5.
3 Ibid., p. 82.
4 Ibid., pp. 12-13. Kaw Kumri is a nearby meadow and Sombul, Tekih-Bhatni and Mir-Kemi are different kinds of flowers, famous for sweet odour, found in the highlands of Kashmir. Their exact English names are unavailable.
5 Ibid., p. 87.

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