I had an essay to do this morning, I flipped open my laptop and put on “Lal Meri Pat” because that music gets me in my writing mode.
As I wrote, I paid attention and I heard this, ‘O laal meri pat rakhio bala jhoole laalan, Sindri da Sehvan da, sakhi Shabaaz kalandar, Dama dam mast kalandar, Ali dam dam de andar’. And it hit me!
The sad reality is that with so much news coming our way, most of us become immune. But this song and this line made me feel everything.
I’ve read up a lot about Sufism and to be frank, I still really don’t know how to define it. But the only definition I can muster up is that Sufis manifest their love for God through their actions, and their worship. They get lost in their worship, they become malang and maybe in their malangi they’ve found the beauty of religion.
Lal Shahbaz Qalandar represents so much in Pakistani Sufi culture. It’s not just a shrine, its an institution (regardless of how cliched and overused that line has become)
The day of the blast, when the victims would have gotten to Sehwan, they would have heard the drums, the beats, the chun chun of their ghungroos and the naaras. They would have felt a little at ease from whatever concern would have brought them there.
As the song goes on ‘Chaar charaag tere baran hamesha, Panjwa mein baaran aayi bala jhoole laalan’.
4 Candles always light your shrine (referring to Lal Shahbaz Qalandar), I am here to light the 5th. And this is what everyone there came to do. They came to find solace, refuge and peace. And they did so because that’s what the shrine represents.
I’ve never been to Sehwan, the closest I’ve gotten to a shrine is Data Darbar, and even in that brief passing by, I can feel that pull it has. Shrines in our culture are a huge part of so many people’s lives. They represent getting close to God, being so close to him that you could almost see him. Shrines represent the Sufi concept of love, love for God and devoting your life and your actions showing that life.
It may seem crazy for a few of us, but dig deeper and the true meaning of it appears. The music, the beat and the pulse songs like Lal Meri Pat carry more than something nice to hear, but they carry a way to get closer to your Creator for the Sufis.
The people who died that day when there for that reason, to get closer to God. To get answers to questions and to find their peace.
Today, the drums still beat, the ghungroos are still alive. The spirit of loving God and the spirit of Sufism didn’t die that day, and it will keep going on.
‘Ghanan Ghanan peera teri naubat vaaje, Naal vaje ghadiyaal bala jhoole laalan, O naal vaje, O naal vaje ghadiyaal bala jhoole laalan‘
‘Let your name ring in glory, let it ring loud, day and night for all people to hear’
The songs of praise will always be sung and the devout love will always flow from our shrines. The people who died that day, died believing the basic tenets of Sufism, their love is romanticized in these songs, and for these reasons their lives are immortalized in Sufi culture.
Their love and their life celebrated because they believed in the power of God to make things better. They knew they had to get closer to Him, and they finally did!
In Sufi literature, death is celebrated because you are united with your beloved, your beloved being God. I can find solace in the fact that their souls are happy, their Sufi journey ended.
Cover image via: yahoo.com