Bulle Shah: Sufi saint

   Bulle Shah Kadari Shatari, whose real name was Abdulla Shah and who was more popularly known as Sai Bulle Shah, came to be more famous than his spiritual teacher Shah Inayat. It often happens in the world that the one who is more profound in the subject and imparts some of its fundamental principles to his student remains less known than the student, solely because he is much more absorbed in the subject and less concerned with the things of this world. Bulle Shah was born in or around 1680 AD. He was given in his life, even before he met his Guru Shah Inayat, to spiritual aspiration. The well known incident of his life, which occurred on his first encounter with Inayat Shah, testifies his high state of spiritual accomplishment at an early stage of his life. He was determined from his early days to tread the path of Allah and, in view of his this firm decision, he was anxious to somehow get the grace and guidance of Shah Inayat, the spiritual master of his times. Shah Inayat was a Kadari Sufi faquir, which Sufism had the origin in Sufi saint Abdul Kadir Jilani (1077 – 1166 AD) of Baghdad. In this Sufi stream Abdul Kadir Jilani was a respected name and was bestowed the title of ‘saint of saints’.

  It is said that when Bulle Shah went to seek the grace of Shah Inayat, the later was busy planting onions in his field. Completely absorbed in his work, Shah Inayat did not know that Bulle Shah was standing there. Bulle Shah somehow wanted to draw his attention so that he could disclose his purpose of coming and entreat the master to take him in his spiritual guidance. Therefore, Bulle Shah took the initiative and, uttering the name of Allah, gazed at mango tree, which was laden with mango fruits. Lo! The mango fruits started dropping on the ground and Shah Inayat’s attention was drawn to the comer. He knew it was the mischief of the young visitor; he enquired from him the reason of his plucking of his tree’s fruits. Bulle shah declined of any wrong doing on his part saying he never climbed the tree or touched the fruits. Shah Inayat said, ‘you are a thief; and clever too’. Bulle Shah fell to the feet of the great master imploring him to guide him on the path of Divine Allah. It is then that the great master taught him the secret of all secrets, which is the most profound of all the spiritual lessons ever taught to seekers by countless spiritual masters over the ages. What is this lesson? This lesson is the most simple to understand but the most difficult to follow.

  Shah Inayat said, “O Bulla, it is not a big deal to realize Divine Being; it is simply transplanting {of a thing, like he was transplanting the plants of onion} from one place (that is plucking of one’s self  composed of one’s body, desires and thoughts) to another place (that is, plucking them from the place of worldly pursuits and concerns to another place, that is, to the the place of Divine cherishment).”

  The rest of the story of Bulle Shah is nothing but a life of a person who had devoted his complete self to realize this lesson. Shah Inayat was Divine personified and Bulle Shah was in divine love with him. He was not concerned with worldly things and their standards. He was rebuked by his clan men for choosing a low caste person like Shah Inayat (Shah Inayat was of Arai caste, which was considered low) as his Guru. He scorned at such narrow approach of people. He devoted his self to his Guru without reservation, like Mira Bai did to Lord Krishna in later centuries. He sang joyous songs for the divine grace bestowed on him by his Guru and wept for the loss of this grace because of an unfortunate incident, which grace was later on restored to him in his life by his Guru.

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