by Vipin Tyagi
Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia was a great saint, and it is said that no one who ever approached him went empty-handed. So a poor man, who had a daughter to marry off, once came to him and begged for his help.
“My son,” the saint told him, “whatever offering comes to me during the next three days, I will gladly give to you.”
Filled with hopeful anticipation, the poor man stayed for three days with the saint. But during that time not as single soul brought any offering to him. On the evening of third day, when the poor man, his high hopes dashed, was weeping miserably, Nizamuddin Auliya gave him his own shoes.
“Take this, my good man,” he said, “for what they may be worth. They are the only possessions I have, and, at the least, you can sell them for enough to buy a day’s supply of food.”
Greatly disappointed, the poor man nevertheless thanked the saint for his kind gesture and left, to return to his village. As he trudged wearily along the dusty road cursing his luck, he saw approaching him a large caravan of richly appointed and heavily laden camels. It was the caravan of Amir Khusro, who was returning from Kabul with all of his many possessions, after retiring from the king’s service.
Amir Khusro himself was riding at the head of the caravan, and, as he approached the poor man, he began to smell the fragrance of his beloved Master. After he had ridden past the poor man, he noticed that the fragrance came from behind him. Both puzzled and intensely curious, Amir Khusro at once got down from his camel and ran after the poor man.
“Who are you, friend,” he asked,”Where have you come from?”
The poor man, still feeling miserable and wretched, told the whole story of his three days’ stay with the great saint, and held up the pair of shoes to show how old and of little value they were.
“Would you sell the shoes to me, my good man?” Amir Khusro asked with some impatience.
“Why, by all means, noble Sir. I was hoping to sell them in the next village, so I could get a little food, for otherwise I would go hungry,” the wretched fellow replied.
“I will pay well for them,” said Amir Khusro.”Give me the shoes, and in return you may have all my caravan, including all my camels and their loads, except for the two beasts that are carrying my wife and children.”
Overjoyed at this unexpectedly good fortune, the poor man thanked Amir Khusro profusely, and went away rejoicing at the head of the great caravan.
Amir Khusro eventually reached his Master and placed the pair of shoes at his feet.
“And how much, my son, did you pay for such an old pair shoes?” asked Nizamuddin smiling.
“Sir, I have everything I had, except for the two camels, that are standing here,” Amir Khusro told him humbly. Again Nizamuddin smiled, ”You got them cheap.”
When he realized the depth of Amir Khusro’s love, Nizamuddin ordained that when they died they should be buried side by side. “If you dig Khusro’s grave anywhere else, he will break from the tomb to be with me,” said the saint.
He and His Holiness Hazrat Syed Nizamuddin Aulia shared the same passion for music. Amir Khusro was a noble man, Sufi Saint and a Faqir. He was the founder of many musical instruments (Sitar and Tabla) and Urdu. According to Mir Khurd, that all the Qawwals of the city used to come at his Jamat Khana and in his guidance they raised music to the height of a sublime art. They gave new flavour and vitality to the ghazals. Thus they raised the art of music to the level of a spiritual discipline.
Hazrat Amir Khusro became His Holiness’ favourite disciple and wrote about his teachings. He followed the middle path; never abandoned his courtly life; but moved towards practices of tasawwuf (Sufism). He spent most of the time in writing Khamsa.
The first of this series of Masnavi called "Khamsa-e-Khusrawi" is his Matla-ul-Anwar. This Masnavi was composed by Amir Khusro in 697 A.H/1297 A.D written within two weeks. In this Masnavi, Amir Khusro has expounded his views and attitudes towards Shariat, Tareeqat, Marifat and Haqeeqat. According to him "Shara" acquires meaning when it maintains a close relation with Haqeeqat (reality) i.e. when it partakes the essence of reality-love of God! If Shara is taking in or in other words if it is without "Ain" (i.e. the essence of God love) it becomes Shar (evil). Similarly his attitude towards the Sufis, of his time was very critical. It is worth quoting in this connection a few lines from his Masnavi, "Matla-ul-Anwar."
"Ah! What a shameful scene this band of pretenders to abstinence, present. They wear short sleeves (pose as Fakirs) but keep their hands stretched in begging. They pretend to obstinate but they are always in pursuit of money. They are commercialized Fakirs. How can one love God and Mammon both at one time. As God is without any shadow of dualism and does not like dualism in the path of love."
In another way he described ascent to the sanctuary of God, in a nocturnal dream in the Masnavi, as under:
"It was on account of my spiritual exercises which were free from hypocrisy, God in the middle of night blessed my eyes with immortality. My spiritual exercises received the cash of hope. As soon as I pocketed that cash from the heaven. Echoed loudly a voice of welcome from the invincible world!"
His spiritualism was in the philosophy of love, which he shared with all the Sufis. The depth of humanity in his poetry comes from the "Divine love–which is infinite and covers the entire cosmos."
In the Masnavi, Khusro expresses in general the life of heat, which burns like a candle in love of beauty "What is the life of a heart? It lies in its burning with the passion of love and sorrows. If a lamp ceases to burn or does not burn at all it is called a dead lamp. A heart which is captivated by a beautiful face, however hard may be, it will grow soft or melt like wax. Like most of the Sufis of his time, he opined the origin of man. The spirit of man was from God’s spirit and man was moulded in the nature of God with regard to his potential or ideal development. In a "Qaseedah", Khusro exhorts man to "swim across the ocean of firmament from end to end like the sun, and not to behave like the particles of dust dancing in the wind."
He was the man of courage and strength and spoke before the King about the value of equality of all human beings. In a verse, he observes:
"Though my value may be a little less, than that of yours, yet, if your veins were to be cut open, our blood will be of the same colour."
His different reflection of the same thought written in a prose is as under:
"Oh, Brahmin, can’t you take me into your fold, this one who has been rejected by Islam for no other fault but for his worship of the idol (beloved Guru) or is it so that for a person like me who is misled. There is no access even to the presence of that idol (Holy Master)."
Amir Khusro was free from prejudice, bigotry and fanaticism. He loved people of every religion and every country and was sympathetic towards all the creations of God. This was the common attitude amongst the Sufis who preached toleration in religious affairs and loved mankind. Love of God is identical with the lover of humanity. A love of God, according to the Sufi is that, one who loves all the creations of God and loves all human beings irrespective of caste, creed and religion.
He says, "Men of insight know that man is blind and undoubtedly blind. He calls himself a lover but does not regard a Negro worth his love or devotion…….Love is deep rooted in human nature and inclination towards another soul. Love in fact beautifies the soul and beauty of the soul resides in the love of humanity!"
Love, the Sufis believe is greater than religion, "Love is the essence of all creeds." No religion is more sublime than the religion of love and longing for God. Every worshipper worships God out of love, love enslaves him. The true mystic welcomes love in any disguise. One who has a perfect insight beholds God in everything, though one worships Him through some medium. Animosity and aggression are against the spirit of Quran which is as follows:
"Oh, people of the book! Do not transgress the bounds of your religion. Speak nothing but the truth about Allah Tala (God)."(Quran: 4-171)
"There shall be no compulsion in religion, for the right way is clearly distinguishable from the wrong way." (Quran)
"Invite people to the way of Thy Lord in a suitable manner and with tender exhortation, and discuss things with them in an agreeable style. Thy Lord Knoweth best who hath strayed from His path and knoweth best who is guide a right…(Quran)".
Hazrat Amir Khusro has said:
"Love of the Beloved takes us to Kaba and to the temple of idols."
"Lovers of the Friend (God) do not consider what infidelity and faith is!"
Hazrat Amir Khusro states that the Hindus also believe in Oneness of God and he says:
"They confess the Oneness, the Existence and the Eternity of God. His power to create, all, after death and one existence. Love is not like a cup of wine, given to the indiscreet. Tears are not like rubies gifted to worthless one."
The Sufis believe that God reveals His secrets to His lovers. His Holiness, Mehboob-e-Elahi says: "God gives insight to His lovers, so that they understand the reality of the whole Universe".
Hazrat Amir Khusro holds that, an intellectual even after thinking deeply and diligently cannot comprehend the mysteries of spiritual life, and his mental effort to, understanding them gives him headache. "Wisdom at last becomes headache, consequently the Gnostics choice is madness of love."
Love of God gradually makes man,–"God-intoxicated" and he renounces his animal self and tendencies (vasanas). The lover of God should first subjugate his own self and renounce every thing except God.
Hazrat Amir Khusro further says:
"Put one step on your soul, the other one in His love.
No other way suits those who follow the path of love."
Amir Khusro regrets on the hostile attitude of people towards the lovers of God and says, "One who laughs at the affairs of lovers should weep at his own condition." If love is crime and if people call me an infidel because of it let them do so. I am not going to utter words in repentance as:
"Be a slave of love, O’Khusro and put your head beneath the sword."
He addressed the lovers and exclaims as under:
"Ye who have loving hearts be ready first to sacrifice your life at the onset. If at all ye wish to behold the countenance of thy Beloved."
The colour of Sufism and the flavour of His Holiness, Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia (R.A) had intoxicated Hazrat Amir Khusro. It was Qutubuddin Mubarak Shah called Khusro when he ascended the throne in 716 A.H./1316 A.D. Amir Khusro said good bye to merry making parties and withdrawn himself and said:
"My heart is now satisfied with all sorts of pleasures and my mind has grown averse to haughtiness. My ears do not now respond to the call of Saqi to have a goblet of wine."
"Nor do I respond now to the bows (salams) of long necked flasks. My intellect has grown ripe in the fire of my old age. No longer do I entertain any greed or avarice in my heart."
Reflecting in the love of His Holiness Mehboob-e-Elahi, Amir Khusro said:
"Love of anything, except God, makes death difficult and painful, whereas death is easier and agreeable to the lover of God, who is dearer to Him than anything else, his death is a change for the better which makes him immortal and lovable in the eyes of men and of God. Death overcomes man but the lover of God overcomes death."
He further states, "the lovers when want to behold thee, have got to suffer in hundred ways, but only one consolation they have, their death becomes easy for them".
Hazrat Amir Khusro was a mild, sympathetic, benevolent, righteous and God-fearing Sufi. He was not proud and haughty. He disliked flattery which is written in his Odes (Qaasid). He regularly wrote Odes (Qasaid) to earn his livelihood. In his "Bahrul Abrar" he says:
"Kings’ drum is empty and all its noise a headache. Whoever is contented with dry and wet (morsel) is like a king of lands and water. Man hidden in rugs is like a king of the world.”
Whatever he earned, he gave all of it in charity and lived a simple life. Thus the mystics and Sufis taught mankind to have a simple and good life. They preferred poverty to wealth, pomp, luxury and sensuality. Prophet Muhammed was proud of his poverty and said, "Poverty is my pride." This saying of His was taken as the watch word of all Sufi Orders. The Prophet also said:
"Poverty is glorious to those who are worthy of it."
"Hazrat Ali advises, "Let not poverty and misfortune distress you. For as gold is tried in the fire, the believer is exposed to trials. More over riches and poverty are not the factors that determine man’s satisfaction and happiness. It all depend on man’s inner feelings and love for God".
Hazrat Amir Khusro (R.A) reminds us of the danger and evil consequences of being rich and pleasure loving and says:
"If you want to be far from countless sorrows. Be happy and contended with your meagre fortunes. Blessed one the souls that passed away and were clean like the sun. And who did not cast even their shadow on the wealth of the world. Life is always full of ups and downs, inconsistency and instability, the superior becomes inferior, the powerful becomes powerless, and the lively becomes lifeless."
Hazrat Amir Khusro once said:
"The monarchs who were once the crowns in the heads of the people, see what just the dust on the feet of people remains of them now! Heads of all the kings who are now concealed under the ground were the heads which were once raised up high in sky. You cannot earn wealth and status by worshipping the king like a dog. Be at the service of a dervish for this is a more respectable way of reaching glory!"
"Man with an insight even if he is covered in rugs rules the world, the sword may be sheathed and yet it protects the country."
"The egoism (Nafs) eats dust when the Radiance sheds lustre upon you, the shadow falls under the feet when the sunshines over the head."
"Oh, God bestow your favour upon me throughout the life. To enable me perform my duties toward God and the Prophet."
Hazrat Amir Khusro was a great poet, writer and a Sufi fakir till his last breath. The end came suddenly between the Master and the disciple. Hazrat Amir Khusro was in Lakhnawti. Upon news of his illness, Hazrat Amir Khusro came back to Delhi but in vain to find that the Light was put off. He stood there seeing his Beloved Master who had left him alone. With his tearful eyes and heavy mournful heart he broke down and uttered a loveable memorable couplet:
"Gori sove sej per mukh per dare kes
chal Khusro ghar apne, ren bhayi chahun des."
("O, handsome you are sleeping on a nice bed covering your face with the hair, when everywhere there is darkness without Him, so Khusro you leave this world.")
Hazrat Amir Khurd writes in ‘Siyarul Aulia’: that "Immediately when Khusro arrived to Delhi he went to the grave of His Holiness Hazrat Syed Nizamuddin Aulia, where he blackend his face and rolled over in dust in utter grief tearing his garments." Six months after the event in the same year on 18th shawwal 725H/1325 A.D. on the same day His Holiness broken-hearted disciple Hazrat Amir Khusro left this enchanting world of colours and conflicts.”