In pursuance to its commitment in upholding the civilizational moorings which bind this nation to its identity, the state broadcasting company Aakash vani (All India Radio), Jammu organized Lal Ded Memorial lecture in Abhinav Theater, Jammu on Thursday, 12 December. The Lal Ded memorial lecture is third in the series of during current year held under Special programming for AIR stations, J&K.
Lalleshwari, popularly known as Lal Ded was a Shavite saint-poetess who lived in 14th century AD in Kashmir. She is considered to be one of the greatest saint poetesses who preceded Bakhti cult in India and is considered to have immensely influenced the Bakhti cult poetry.
Sh K K Lidoo, program executive revealed that this is the first time when the state broadcaster Aakashvani is presenting a lecture on Lal Ded, the Shavite saint of Kashmir. He added that Aakashvani respects the cultural and spiritual legacy of this nation and it is our responsibility to uphold the national and civilization interests.
The Lecture was presented by Dr Agnishekhar a renowned writer, poet and philosopher who elaborated on the background and history of 14th century mystic Shavite poetess. He said that Lalleshwari composed her musings in the form of couplets called Vakhs which were enriched in existing Shaiva philosophy. Lal Ded needs to be understood in continuity of Shaiva philosophy which existed in Kashmir for hundreds of years before her. Lalleshwari was an extension of great Shaiva philosophers like Somananda, Utpaldeva, Vasugupta, Abhinavgupta and Srikanth, her immediate spiritual master.
In her Vakhs Lal Ded vividly explains how the whole creation is an extension of cosmic self of Lord Shiva which does not distinguish between caste, creed, sex or religion, thus the message of Lal Ded can not be confined to Kashmir region alone, but its universal appeal must be understood by the whole humanity at large.
Dr Agnishekhar further said that it is a matter of great concern that the stature of such a universal saint poetess has been enveloped by politics. Many attempts have been made to usurp the Shavite saint claiming her conversion to Islamic faith. He asserted that the stature and spiritual enlightenment of Lal Ded is beyond comprehension of those who concocted her vakhs and attributed vakhs to present a different image of Lal ded. Lal Ded stands at the center of Kashmir’s Literary and spiritual fountainhead and any thought to present a narrative about her getting influenced by Islamic thought tantamounts to discrediting her prowess and might as the greatest Shavite saint. Her Vakhs with universal appeal were radical but rooted in the civilizational moorings of Shavite philosophy and attempts to severe her relationship with centuries old philosophy cannot break the continuity of a civilization.
Dr Agnishekhar while narrating Lal Ded’s might has been recognized by another sufi saint of Kashmir Nund Reshi said Nund Reshi believed Lad Ded as an incarnation and sought blessings from Lord to bestow boons of similar spiritual might and prowess.
Refering to a seasoned critic of Kashmir’s literature Mohd. Yusuf Taing, Dr Agnishekhar said even he could not resist to shower choicest accolades on Lalleshwari when he claimed that Lad Ded is Mount Everest. While addressing a gathering of writers M Y Taing in year 2015 has publically claimed that east has produced two great philosophers one is Lal Ded and other Rumi, adding It will be not be improper to claim that Lalleshwari is Kashmir and Kashmir Lalleshwari.
The other highlight of the event was the recitation of Sanskrit translation of Lal Vakhs by Naina Saproo Trisal. Sixty Lal Vakhs were translated by Baskar Rajanak in 18th Century and they were recited for the first time in a public function enthralling the audience.
Padamshree Dr Ved Kumari Ghai who was the chief guest of the event in her brief address to the audience claimed the supremacy of Kashmir Shaiva Darshan philosophy said that this philosophy unlike vedantic philosophy doesnot claim the creation as Mithya or unreal. Kashmir Shaiva darshan emphasizes on universal consciousness and places Shiva at the center of creation. Kashmir Shaiva Darshan has the innate feature of taking whole society along and shunning negativity.
Speaking at the occasion, Padamshree Dr Jitender Udhampuri said confining Lal Ded to Kashmir will be a great injustice to her stature since her message is universal in nature. She has influenced the entire Bakhti Cult saints in India and there is no question of conversion to Islamic faith as claimed by few Persian and Muslim scholors. She was a Shavite yogini who needs to be placed on the pinnacle of Kashmir Shavism with her lucid and intelligible Vakhs.
Padamshree Dr K N Pandita while speaking on the occasion said being a historian he is compelled to read and understand the presence of Lalleshwari in the backdrop of Islamic invasion. Lal Ded was at the scene when the great and magnificient temple of Martand was devastated by zealots. Attributions and usurping of Lad Ded must be understood in the continuity of the larger usurping plot of Islamic philosophy and we have many examples to perfect this claim. Iranian philosopher Baba Tahir has been usurped in the same fashion and Oryan (Naked) suffix attached to his name. In Kashmir we have seen how attempts have been made to claim Lalleshwari as Lalla Arifa.
Vote of thanks was presented by Ms Renu Raina, Program head AIR, Jammu whereas Ms Madhvi Sharma Sr Annpouncer conducted the proceedings of this historic event.