Jun 30 2010

Bulleh Shah – He Who is Stricken by Love

Published by at 9:36 am under Poetry

He Who is Stricken by Love
by Bulleh Shah

English version by Mahmood Jamal

He who is stricken by Love
Sings and dances out of tune.

He who wears the garb of Love
Gets blessings from above.

Soon as he drinks from this cup
No questions and no answers remain.

He who is stricken by Love
Sings and dances out of tune.

He who has the Beloved in his heart,
He is fulfilled with his Love.
No need he has for formality,
He just enjoys his ecstasy.

He who is stricken by Love
Sings and dances out of tune.

— from Islamic Mystical Poetry: Sufi Verse from the Early Mystics to Rumi, Translated by Mahmood Jamal

/ Photo by D Sharon Pruitt /

Did you know that Bulleh Shah is the most popular poet on the Poetry Chaikhana website? I check the web statistics every week, and his pages consistently have the most visitors. –A reflection of how loved he is in many parts of the world.

So… ready to sing and dance? Go ahead, be wild, be foolish. When you’re consumed by Love, it doesn’t matter if you’re out of tune.

Bulleh Shah, Bulleh Shah poetry, Muslim / Sufi poetry Bulleh Shah

Pakistan (1680 – 1758) Timeline
Muslim / Sufi

Mir Bulleh Shah Qadiri Shatari, often referred to simply as Bulleh Shah (a shortened form of Abdullah Shah) lived in what is today Pakistan. His family was very religious and had a long tradition of association with Sufis. Bulleh Shah’s father was especially known for his learning and devotion to God, raising both Bulleh Shah and his sister in a life of prayer and meditation.

Bulleh Shah himself became a respected scholar, but he longed for true inner realization. Against the objections of his peers, he became a disciple of Inayat Shah, a famous master of the Qadiri Sufi lineage, who ultimately guided his student to deep mystical awakening.

The nature of Bulleh Shah’s realization led to such a profound egolessness and non-concern for social convention that it has been the source of many popular comical stories — calling to mind stories of St. Francis or Ramakrishna. For example, one day Bulleh Shah saw a young woman eagerly waiting for her husband to return home. Seeing how, in her anticipation, she braided her hair, Bulleh Shah deeply identified with the devoted way she prepared herself for her beloved. So Bulleh Shah dressed himself as a woman and braided his own hair, before rushing to see his teacher, Inayat Shah.

Bulleh Shah is considered to be one of the greatest mystic poets of the Punjab region.

His tomb in the Qasur region of Pakistan is greatly revered today.

More poetry by Bulleh Shah

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12 responses so far

12 Responses to “Bulleh Shah – He Who is Stricken by Love”

  1. Rena Navonon 30 Jun 2010 at 12:30 pm

    “To sing and dance out of tune” I read at first as an exaggeration of earthly love, not an acceptable expression of holy love as the theme of your atar usually leads us to place highest.
    This morning I took part in a simple water ballet class where I was dancing all over, but this was done neither for a man nor for God, only for myself.
    I was “dancing all over” for my own personal good, which was expected of me at the time.
    I love dance. And different kinds of dances. Maybe one must learn their many forms in practice and try and keep their meanings straight.
    Maybe singing and dancing out of tune reveals man’s imperfection in doing just what is appropriate; he is only human and dances as he can: out of tune would be an improvement over missing out on dance altogether as must be the case with many a seeker unwilling to take even the first step.
    The writer must write and the dancer must dance. And the searcher should do both.

  2. Aparrnaon 30 Jun 2010 at 9:46 pm

    Rena– “Let the lover be disgraceful, crazy, absent-minded. Someone sober will worry about events going badly. Let the Lover be.” (Rumi)

  3. Mohammad Naeemon 30 Jun 2010 at 10:18 pm

    Hi Ivan,
    I have a desire to see grave of Bulleh Shah in Qasoor (city of Pakistan). I had read some poetry of Bulleh Shah in punjabi language in which he described the status of man before Allah (the God). However, whatever you had written about him it is copied from wikipedia, which i had already read, do you have more information about him, if yes, please share it.

    However, one thing you quoted is aboslutely correct, i.e. stricken by love, and the love is only thing which changes life and bring revolution.


    Mohammad Naeem Noor Meo

  4. Somaiyahon 01 Jul 2010 at 1:48 am

    I just simply adore baba Bulley Shah,who is one of many sufi poets from my region. Just before I checked my mail, I was listening to one of his poems narrated beautifully by Areeb Azhar on Coke Studio. It goes like this:

    Munh aayi baat na rehndi ae
    Munh aayi baat na rehndi ae
    What’s on the tongue must be said
    What’s on the tongue must be said
    Jhoott aakhaan kuch bachda ae
    I speak untrue and something remains
    Sach aakhaan baambar machda ae
    I speak the truth and the fire is lit
    Donhaan galaan toun ji jachda ae
    I am afraid of both outcomes
    Jach jach ke jibhaan kehndi ae
    Apprehensively my tongue quivers
    Munh aayi baat na rehndi ae
    Munh aayi baat na rehndi ae
    What’s on the tongue must be said
    Jiss paya bheit qalandar da
    Who puts on the garb of the dervish
    Raah khojya apne andar da
    Burrows the way into his self
    O waasi hai sukh mandar da
    Will inherit the temple of peace
    Jithay charhdi ae na laindi ae
    Where there is no rise or fall
    Munh aayi baat na rehndi ae
    Munh aayi baat na rehndi ae
    What’s on the tongue must be said
    Ik laazim baat adab di ae
    A point to be noted if I may
    Saanu baat maloomi sab di ae
    I know the secret of all
    Har har vich soorat rabb di ae
    Inside each is the face of the lord
    Kitte zaahir kitte chhup behndi ae
    Flowing apparent somewhere hidden
    Munh aayi baat na rehndi ae
    Munh aayi baat na rehndi ae
    What’s on the tongue must be said
    Ae tilkan baazi vehrha ae
    The world is a slippery place
    Thamm thamm ke ttur anhera ae
    Tread carefully for ‘tis dark
    Varh andar wekho kehrha ae
    Go inside see who’s there
    Kyun khalkat baahar ddhunddindi ae
    Why do the people search outside
    Munh aayi baat na rehndi ae
    Munh aayi baat na rehndi ae
    What’s on the tongue must be said
    Bullah shou asaan toun vakh nahi
    Bullah, the beloved is not separate from us
    Bin shou te dujja kakh nahi
    Besides the beloved there is naught
    Parr vekhan vaali akh nahi
    But the discerning eye is missing
    Taain jaan judaiyaan sehndi ae
    Therefore life endures separation
    Munh aayi baat na rehndi ae
    Munh aayi baat na rehndi ae
    Munh aayi baat na rehndi ae
    Munh aayi baat na rehndi ae
    What’s on the tongue must be said
    Parh parh ilm kitaabaan da tu naam rakh leya qaazi
    Learning through the rote of books you call yourself a scholar
    Hath vich parh ke talvaaraan tu naam rakh leya ghaazi
    Grasping the sword in your hand you call yourself a warrior
    Makke Madinay ghoom aya tu naam rakh leya haaji
    Having visited Mecca and Medina you call yourself a pilgrim
    Bullah tu ki haasil kita je yaar na rakhya raazi!
    Bullah, what have you accomplished if you have not remained true to your friend!
    (Translated by Areeb Azhar)

  5. simonbaghon 01 Jul 2010 at 6:58 am

    singers and dancers are in quest of the lost pure love,
    love is the first and last composer of sang for inner dove
    otherwise you do sing just to make money
    whereas the heart moans for its lost honey

  6. Divyaon 01 Jul 2010 at 9:41 am

    lovely site – look forward to more Sufi posts!

  7. Prabhjot Kauron 01 Jul 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Soon as he drinks from this cup no questions and no answers left..
    He who has the beloved in his heart he is filled with his love..
    Seems to be safe pathway to park oneself in that ground where love for the beloved is all that remains and floats in one’s own being.All attachments of the mind vanish.What a state of being in Eternal Love.Bulle shah ONe of my favourites.
    Thankyou Somaiyah for posting that one -another favourite.
    Inside each is the face of the Lord
    Flowing apparent somewhere Hidden
    Then the Beloved is everywhere.

  8. Noor Hussainon 01 Jul 2010 at 11:10 pm

    Shah Bullah is a Sufi who has taught the human being how to live a happy &fulfill-ed daily life throuh-g his poetry

  9. Aparrnaon 02 Jul 2010 at 12:16 am

    Beautiful, beautiful addition Somaiyah!!! The flavour that the original has is somehow lost in the translation (like fresh fruit juice vs its packed version!! 😉 Thank you so much for posting this.
    Blessed Be!!

  10. Dipesh Gautamon 05 Jul 2010 at 2:27 am

    Inspiring poem…I love it

  11. banoon 06 Jul 2010 at 11:59 pm

    I love bulleh shah’s poetry and impressed by the depth of his thought

  12. MEHWISHon 17 Jan 2011 at 2:17 pm


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