Lahore is celebrating Mela Chiraghan – the death anniversary of the elusive saint Shah Hussain who is also known as Madhu Lal Shah for his life long association with a Hindu disciple called Madhu Lal. Each year in spring the festival of lights is attended by thousands of people.

Lighting of lamps is a metaphor for killing the inner darkness that we live with. By invoking spiritual light through love and self-knowledge, we can overcome ourselves and attain the mystical state of union with the beloved.

Madhu Lal’s syncretic shrine represents the long-gone era of spirituality rising above religious identities and rituals. Here is a kaafi poem with translation on this blog. A few lines :

They alone know what is love and longing,
Who have it in their lives.
Like digging a well in dry land,
With no cart to carry away the sand.

An earlier post also cited many poems from the great Sufi-poet. A favourite of mine is as follows:

Sujjen bin raatan hoiyan wadyan
Ranjha jogi, main jogiani, kamli kar kar sadian
Mass jhurey jhur pinjer hoyya, karken lagiyan hadyan
Main ayani niyoonh ki janan, birhoon tannawan gadiyan
Kahe Husain faqeer sain da, larr tairay main lagiyaan

Nights swell and merge into each other as I stand a wait for him.
Since the day Ranjha became jogi, I have scarcely been my old self and people every where call me crazy. My young flesh crept into creases leaving my young bones a creaking skeleton. I was too young to know the ways of love; and now as the nights swell and merge into each other, I play host to that unkind guest – separation.

Also check out the renditions of Shah Hussain’s kaafis at my e-zine Lahore Nama. Also to hear Abida Parveen the majestic singer rendering Shah Hussain’s poetry click here.

Picture above: A number of devotees have thronged to the shrine of sufi saint Hazrat Shah Hussain, also known as Shah Hussain Lahori and Madhu Lal Hussain, to mark the three-day urs of the Festival of Lights. courtesy daily times.