Monday, 17 December 2012

Baba Fareed

Shri Nathji occasionally spoke about the legendary saint Baba Fareed who had gone out in search of a Guide-a Master who could take him towards salvation.
He went to the court of the famed Hindulvali who was respected by all saints and sages of the time. In the court of Hindulvali there were numerous saints and sages of repute who gave an account of their spiritual attainments and some even showed miracles in his darbaar.
When it was Baba Fareed’s turn, he cast his eyes upwards at Hindulvali’s throne, and the throne, along with Hindulvali, went up into the air!
The assembly was astonished, as was Hindulvali. And Hindulvali said to Fareed:
“Fareed rakh de! Main tujhe kuchh naheen de saktaa!
“Fareed, set my throne down! I can’t give you anything! Your spiritual attainment is far beyond mine. There is only one from whom you can attain what you desire–and that is the paighambar, prophet, Qutab. Go and search for him and you shall find him!”
Baba Fareed searched far and wide and met many saints and sages, but no one had even heard of any prophet or saint by the name of Qutab.
One day, Baba Fareed was passing by a group of young boys playing with a ball, when the ball came flying and fell at the feet of Fareed.
“O Fareed! Throw the ball here!” said a voice. It was a young boy.
Fareed was surprised: how had the boy come to know his name? He bent down to raise the ball from the ground, but the ball would not budge.
He exerted all his strength, but the ball remained fixed to the earth. Then he used his spiritual power to raise the ball from the ground but failed.
Just then a voice rang out from the Heavens:
“Ye Hindulvali kaa sighaasana naheen jisse toone ek nazar se utthaa diyaa thhaa! Ye Qutab kaa gend hai!”
“Fareed! This is not the throne of Hindulvali which you could raise with your spiritual power! This ball belongs to Qutab!”
Fareed had found his Master. He fell at the feet of Qutab, who was the young boy. Thereafter Fareed became Qutab’s disciple and began to serve him day and night. He would bring hot water for Qutab’s bath before Qutab’s prayer time.
One day he could not light a fire to warm the bath water. He searched for fire, but could find it nowhere–except in the house of an evil woman. The woman demanded his eye in return for the coals of fire she was prepared to give.
Fareed did not hesitate for even a moment, and gave his eye to the woman and brought the fire for his Master’s bath. He covered his wounded eye with his hand.
Qutab asked Fareed: “What is wrong with your eye?”
And Fareed replied: “Aankh aa gayi hai! The eye is has become red!”
Qutab understood and said:
“Take away your hand! Aankh aa naheen gayi, savaan gayi hai! The eye has not become red, it has become bigger, one and a quarter times!”
And, indeed, Fareed’s eyesight improved one and a quarter times, even as sight returned to the eye.
Farīduddīn Mas'ūd Ganjshakar (1173–1266) commonly known as Baba Farid, was a 12th-century Sufi preacher and saint of the Chishti Order.  Fariduddin Ganjshakar is generally recognized as the first major poet of the Punjabi language, and is considered one of the pivotal saints of the Punjab region. Revered by Muslims and Hindus, he is considered one of the fifteen Sikh bhagats, and selections from his work are included in the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh sacred scripture. He is buried in Pakpattan, in present-day Punjab, Pakistan were his shrine (whose photo is given) is visited by many.
Bābā Farīd was born in Kothewal village, 10 km from Multan in the Punjab, in what is now Pakistan, to Jamāl-ud-dīn Suleimān and Maryam Bībī (Qarsum Bībī).  He was the grandson of Sheikh Shu'aib, who was the grandson of Farrukh Shah Kabuli, the king of Kabul and Ghazna. When Farrukh Shāh Kābulī was killed by the Mongol hordes invading Kabul, Farīd’s grandfather, Shaykh Shu'aib, left Afghanistan and settled in the Punjab in 1125.
Bābā Farīd received his early education at Multan, which had become a centre for education; it was here that he met his murshid (master), Quṭbuddīn Bakhtiyār Kākī, a noted Sufi saint, who was passing through Multan, from Baghdad on his way to Delhi. Upon completing his education, Farīd left for Sistan and Kandahar and went to Mecca for the Hajj pilgrimage at the age of 16.
Once his education was over, he shifted to Delhi, where he learned the doctrine of his master, Quṭbuddīn Bakhtiyār Kākī. He later moved to Hansi, Haryana. When Quṭbuddīn Bakhtiyār Kākī died in 1235, Farīd left Hansi and became his spiritual successor, but he settled in Ajodhan (the present Pakpattan, Pakistan) instead of Delhi. On his way to Ajodhan, while passing through Faridkot, he met the 20-year-old Nizāmuddīn, who went on to become his disciple, and later his successor (khalīfah).
Bābā Farīd married Hazabara, daughter of Sulṭān Nasīruddīn Maḥmūd. The great Arab traveller Ibn Baṭūṭah also visited him.
Bābā Farīd was given the title Shakar Ganj ('Treasure of Sugar'). His mother used to encourage the young Farīd to pray by placing sugar under his prayer mat. Once, when she forgot, the young Farīd found the sugar anyway, an experience that gave him more spiritual fervour and led to his being given the name. Many miracles are also attributed to him like once Baba Farid caught a bolt of lightning with his bare hands and placed it into a pot, saving many lives.
Bābā Farīd's descendants, also known as Fareedi. His descendants include the famous Sufi saint like Salim Chishti.  One of Farīd’s most important contributions to Punjabi literature was his development of the language for literary purposes. Whereas Sanskrit, Arabic, Turkish and Persian had historically been considered the languages of the learned and the elite, and used in monastic centres, Punjabi was generally considered a less refined folk language. Although earlier poets had written in a primitive Punjabi, before Farīd there was little in Punjabi literature apart from traditional and anonymous ballads. By using Punjabi as the language of poetry, Farīd laid the basis for a vernacular Punjabi literature that would be developed later.
Guru Nanak Dev, incorporated 112 couplets and four hymns by Bābā Farid, and also commented on some in the Granth Sahib, and the fifth Guru, Arjan Dev added eighteen couplets of him. These verses are known to the Sikhs as the Farīd-Bānī; The city of Faridkot bears his name. According to legend, Farīd stopped by the city, then named Mokhalpūr, and sat in seclusion for forty days near the fort of King Mokhal. The king was said to be so impressed by his presence that he named the city after Bābā Farīd.

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