"The search after Truth is the one thing by which the shape of human life should be determined.
Genuine desire itself opens the road to fulfilment."
Sri Anandamayi Ma
The notion of the Unity of Being or ‘wahdat al wujud’ present in the Rishi Sufi poetry was already a part of the thought system of various Sufi orders that entered Kashmir in medieval times. This concept particularly found resonance with the Kashmiri imagination that was shaped by the local nondualist Saiva tradition. It was for this reason and many Sufi poets sometimes conveyed their experience on the Sufi path in terms of the local tradition, which they referred to as the “shastra” in their poetry. In beautiful poetry, they presented the experience of their communion with God and the lover’s joy and anguish in search of the Beloved. Many of the songs have become a part of Kashmiri musical repertoire. The poetry of many poets such as Svachha Kral, Shams Faqir, Sarriad Mir, and Ahad Zargar is very much grounded in the local culture. Even though these poets belong to different Sufi traditions in Kashmir, their poetry reverberates with the philosophy of the Rishi Sufis.
Svachha Kral (d. 1857) in his poetry reflects on the Unity of God in his suggestive lyrics. In a song that is an imaginary dialogue between the poet and his Friend, he writes:
I said, “No mystery was there, from where did it come?”
He said, “On the path of love it ripened.”
I said, “Reveal to me the mystery of love.”
He said, “If I did, where would you keep it?”
I said. “What is outside and what is inside?”
He said, “What is outside is inside.”
I said, “Will you tell me about your station?”
He said, “There is neither day nor night there.”
I said, “Can you reveal to me your Being?’
He said, “Remove the veil of your self.”
Rishi Tradition and Kashmiri Sufi Poetry
from Lalla to Nuruddin by Jaishree K. Odin