ਚਲਾ ਤ ਭਿਜੈ ਕੰਬਲੀ ਰਹਾਂ ਤ ਤੁਟੈ ਨੇਹੁ ॥੨੪॥
Chalaa Th Bhijai Kambalee Rehaan Th Thuttai Naehu ||24||
If I go out, my blanket will get soaked, but if I remain at home, then my heart will be broken. ||24||
So, Said Farid – when it was time to meet his beloved in the jungle. This was my father’s favorite line, he liked to repeat all the time. Then, darkness descended while I sat rocking on my favorite bamboo cane chair in the balcony. Baba Farid’s stories and hymns were an eternal part of my story time, as my father narrated one story after another, I learned a lot about Baba Farid’s journey in life.
My favorite story is about a woman looking at herself in the mirror rather haughtily, while her servant/slave was applying her eye makeup. He mistakenly poked her in the eye and she was livid, she started insulting him and lashing him with a whip. Farid felt sad! He came upon the same beautiful woman, only a couple decades later ,she was lying on the bed, much older, feeble and helpless. She wasn’t even able to ward off the flies and birds that hovered around her eyes, the very same eyes that once had been adorned by mascara. “Treat everybody with kindness”, was the message I got from this story.
Farid intrigued my father, no end. It amused him that Farid could hang himself upside down in a well, just to see if he would be rescued, and so he hung there for three whole days. When the crows hovered around him, he very generously offered himself to them, saying,
“You can peck away at my body all you want …but…”
ਏ ਦੁਇ ਨੈਨਾ ਮਤਿ ਛੁਹਉ ਪਿਰ ਦੇਖਨ ਕੀ ਆਸ ॥੯੧॥
Eh ḏuay naina maṯ chu o pir ḏekẖan kī ās. ||91||
“But please do not touch these eyes; I hope to see my beloved. ||91||”
As for Farid’s dilemma of getting drenched in the rain, here’s how it was resolved –
ਭਿਜਉ ਸਿਜਉ ਕੰਬਲੀ ਅਲਹ ਵਰਸਉ ਮੇਹੁ ॥
Bẖijo sijo kamblee alah varso mehu.
“My blanket is soaked, drenched with the downpour of the Lord’s Rain.”
ਜਾਇ ਮਿਲਾ ਤਿਨਾ ਸਜਣਾ ਤੁਟਉ ਨਾਹੀ ਨੇਹੁ ॥੨੫॥
Bẖijo sijo kamblee alah varso mehu.Jae mila tina sajṇa tuto nahee nehu. ||25||
“I am going out to meet my beloved, so that my heart will not be broken. ||25||”
While my father was reveling on the beauty of Farid’s hymns, I was wondering if Farid had caught a cold by getting drenched in the rain or why did he have to go the jungle? Also why couldn’t his beloved wait for the rain to stop and then come. Well! As always, my questions were not answered!
I am wonderstruck at the thought of the networking that must have occurred 500 years ago! There are shloks (verses) rendered by 17 other mystical saints, along with the shloks of the six sikh gurus in the Guru Granth Sahib. These saints were from different regions, religions, backgrounds and even spoke different languages. Baba Farid shloks are originally in Punjabi, but all of the other (saints’) shloks have been translated to Punjabi, though the flavor of the regional dialect remains intact. How did they find each other and implicitly understand each other is a mystery to me. But wasn’t it simple? They all resonated with same intense love and desire for just a glance of their creator.