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The magic of Sufi poetry

Seeking the Beloved is the masterful translation of one of the greatest Sufi works - Shah Jo Risalo.

india Updated: May 25, 2006 17:10 IST

Seeking the Beloved
Author: Shah Abdul Latif
Publisher: Katha
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 284
ISBN: 81-89020-54-4
Price: Rs 295

Shah Abdul Latif of Bhitai wasa celebrated sixteenth-century Sufi poet who was aptly called the people's poet, revered alike by the elite and the common folk. Known as one of the greatest Sufi works in history,his Shah Jo Risalo is a prayer, a cry for the beloved. Written more than 250 years ago, Latif's poetry is deeply rooted in the human experience of searching for the self - a self that is one with the nirakaar, the omnipresent, centred within yet diffuse as attar. Katha proudly presents the first ever English translation of the Risalo in India.

Latif's unique treatment and allegorical interpretations of common folk tales, like Sasui-Punhoon, are truly relevant in today's atmosphere of religious strife. The Sufis, as they were known, were great integrators and Latif's poetry draws freely on both Islamic andéVedantic traditions.

Often chanted in spiritual séances, Latif's poems have an immediate emotional appeal. They are about love for humanity and depict the seeker's direct relationship with the Supreme instead of a particular religious group looking for scriptural instructions and injunctions.


 Shah Abdul Latif

Here are some excerpts:

1. without beginning
without end
all knowing monarch
of the universe
omnipotent and benevolent
the one and only

utter his name
sing his praises
the ever compassionate
creator of the cosmos

2. why search everywhere?
nearer than your breath
is he
just remove the screen
between you and him long for him
he longs for you
to remember
and be remembered
is the secret
with honeyed words
dagger in hand
he comes to you

First Published: May 25, 2006 17:10 IST