SLOKAS OF SHAIKH FARID
SLOKAS OF SHAIKH FARID. Baba Shaikh Farid GanjiShakar (1173-1264), the famous Sufi saint born in the Punjab, some of whose compositions are included in the Guru Granth Sahib, was a poet whose Punjabi verses form the first recorded poetry in the Punjabi language. Guru Nanak himself seems to have brought to light these verses when he visited Pak Pattan, that venerable old seat of Chishti Sufis where he met with Shaikh Ibrahim, in twelfth place from himself. Guru Nanak found these lines pregnant with high moral purpose and with deep spiritual insight.
He may have recorded these in his book from where they were transferred to the Volume which Guru Arjan, Nanak V, compiled. Shaikh Farid`s verses included in the Guru Granth Sahib are hymns in ragas Asa, Suhi and Gaurl ; and 120 slokas covering pages 1377 to 1384. Some of the slokas have added to them slokas from the Gurus which are meant to harmonize the import and clarify or supplement the idea contained in the original sloka. The slokas of Farid, though not linked thematically with one another, describe in general the transient nature of the world and exhort man to remain detached from its false allurements and to reflect upon the name of God which is the only lasting reality.
They also lay stress on the need for the right conduct and moral awareness. The attitude towards the Divine is, throughout Farid`s compositions, that of a loving wife towards her spouse. Farid teaches man not to seek God in lonely wastes as He abides in the heart (19). Creator in the creation abides, and the creation in Him (75). From this metaphysical thought of essential oneness between the CreatorLord and the jiva is derived the social Ideal of universal brotherhood of man.
Concerning human social behaviour, Farid`s advice is: speak never a rude word to anyone the Lord Eternal in all abides; break no heart know, each being is a priceless jewel; each heart is ajewel, evil it is to break any ; shouldst thou seek to find the Beloved, break no one`s heart (12930).Man must endeavour to become a worthy object of his grace because .it has the power to transform a crow(ma2`imu.kh) into a swan (gurmukh) (124). Since God permeates through the creation. His concern for it never ceases even though man becomes forgetful of Him (107).
Farid has an intense longing to realize such an Omniscient and loving God : in separation from God my body burns like an oven ; my bones flame like firewood ; to find union with the Beloved, could I walk till my feet be tired when I would walk on my head (119). These lines are only symbolic of Farid`s intensity of yearning for union with the Divine and need not be read in their literal sense : in the Sikh view, torture of body is not necessary and the Divine can be realized within the heart (120).Farid laughs at the ignorance of the peasant who seeks grapes of Bijavar while sowing thistle, and* seeks to wear silk while carding and spinning coarse wool (23). In still more unequivocal terms, Farid declares that only our good deeds in this world will stand by us in the next (100).
Apart from the cultivation of moral qualities which help man on his way to Godrealization, man should also develop deep and selfless love. Love of God and greed go not` together: with greed is love polluted. Farid calls such love frail, as frail as a leaking straw roof j against rain (18).Love for the Divive can best | be expressed through loving actions for mankind. Farid says: return thou good for evil, in thy lieart bear no revenge ; thus will thy body be free of maladies and thy life have all blessings (78).
Man is asked to imbibe humility | like the earth which we, while living, trample upon but which covers us when we are dead (17). At another place, Farid says : strike not hack those that strike thee blows; in utter humility and forgiveness turn towards thy home (7). Human life is transitory, and death is certain for all. Man knows where his predecessors have gone, yet lie knows not of his own impending end (73). Though life`s span be a hundred years, in the end it will turn to dust (41).
Death is also a great leveller, prince and pauper are treated alike: Those who commanded drums to be beaten for them, umbrellas to rise over their heads, trumpets to proclain their gloryuldmately have they been led to rest in the graveyard, buried under the earth, helpless (45). Death does not spare even the most revered and the great, and they, also, must depart when time comes (47). Human body is subject to kal, i.e. time and death. It decays with the passage of time and becomes rather frail before death finally overcomes it. Talking of old age, Farid says that `these frail legs of mine once scoured over desert and liill, today the prayerjug at hand seems a hundred miles removed` (20). Life being so transient, man must never depart from the path of loving devotion to God, whatever the handicaps (2526).
1. Sabadarth Sri Guru Granth Sahib.Amritsar, 1959
2. Sahib Singh, Sn Guru Granth Sahib Darpan. Jalandhar, 1962-64
3. Padam, Piara Singh, Bolai Sheikh Fand. Patiala, 1978
4. Kohli, Surindar Singh, ed., Baba Farid : Jivan, Sama ate Rachna. Chandigarh, 1978