Kashmiri writer, mystic and saint.

Lalleshwari (1320–1392), locally known mostly as Lal Ded, was a Kashmiri mystic of the Kashmir Shaivism school of philosophy in the Indian subcontinent. She was one of the first poets of early modern Kashmiri language, and she developed a new style of spontaneous poetic composition known as "Vaakh" (literally, oral style). Out of her original compositions less than 300 are available today.




  • I can dispel the clouds, drain the sea, or cure someone hopelessly ill. But to change the mind of a fool is beyond me.
  • I trapped my breath in the bellows of my throat, and a lamp blazed up inside, showing me who I really was. I crossed the darkness holding fast to that lamp.
  • I didn't believe in it for a moment
    but I gulped down the wine of my own voice.
    And then I wrestled with the darkness inside me,
    knocked it down, clawed at it, ripped it to shreds.
    • The Poems of Lal Ded, poem 48, p. 10
  • It covers your shame, keeps you from shivering.
    Grass and water are the food it asks.
    Who taught you, priest-man,
    to feed this breathing thing to your thing of stone?
    • The Poems of Lal Ded, poem 59, p. 15

From Kashmiri Poetry

  • yi yi karu'm suy artsun
    yi rasini vichoarum thi mantar
    yihay lagamo dhahas partsun
    suy Parasivun tanthar
    • Translation : Whatever work I did became worship of the Lord;
      Whatever word I uttered became a prayer;
      Whatever this body of mine experienced became
      the sadhana of Saiva Tantra
      illumining my path to Parmasiva.
    • Lal Ded Vekhas
  • Whatever work I've done,
    whatever I have though,
    was praise with my body
    and praise hidden
    inside my head.
    • Naked Songs, p. 18
Wikipedia has an article about:
  • Ranjit Hoskote: I, Lalla, The Poems of Lal Dĕd, translated from the Kashmiri with and Introduction and Notes, Penguin India, July 2013
  • Barks, Coleman: Naked Songs, Maypop Books, 1992