Translation of a poem by Sheikh Nur-u-din Wali, a Kashmiri Sufi poet

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To snare the wrathful lightening and thunder
To bear to stand in the midst of the storm
To heave and cleave the mountains asunder
To suffer a raging fire on your palm
To cage a beast ravenous with hunger
To drink baneful poison as if a balm:
Easier by far to do these deeds
Than to fulfill the ego’s needs

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This coarse translation is of a ‘Shruk‘ (a short poem of philosophical and spiritual observations) by the greatest of the Sufi saints from the valley of Kashmir, Sheikh Noor-ud-din Wali. Amongst the people of the region, he is also known as Sheikh-ul-Alam (chief of the world) , Alamdar-e-Kashmir (the standard bearer of Kashmir) and Nund Rishi.

Shiekh Noor-ud-din (c.1377-c.1440) is one of the most revered and beloved of the Sufi-saints that have ever lived in Kashmir. His message of simplicity, universal love and an egalitarian philosophy has inspired countless Kashmiris over the ages, regardless of their creed.

His poetic ‘shruik‘ are, by virtue of their simplicity and beauty, amongst the most profound gems of wisdom ever uttered.

Even now, his influence on Kashmiri culture is so strong that his shrine is thronged by devotees from all over the region.

It is a great, great shame that he is not widely known around the world. His poems deserve to be ranked with the greatest of the metaphysical poets.

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