Volume - 5 : Issue - 2

Published : April - June 2006

Group : Spirituality

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SACHAL SAEEN -Flagbearer of Unitary God

by Dr. Baldev B. Matlani

Long long ago, during pre-historic times, must have been free of any pre-conceived notion of religion. There were no beliefs, no race, no castes and no dogmas. Gradually, man began seeing god in all creation that impacted of frightened him. He offered obeisance and accepted his inferiority to this God. Time passed, individuals joined hands and formed tribal societies, began conversing with each other in various languages and divided themselves into different nations, languages, religions and countries. This process of evolution enslaved people to their self-created religions. A man’s love unto his religion or nation bred hatred for others. A fascist trend crept in, as everyone would consider his religion to be superior to that of the others and felt duty bound to lead people from other religion and convert them to his own, by whatever means; sword or lucre. All this has been going on since time immemorial in the name of God. History is replete with such instance; stories of the missioners, the crusades, Islamic expeditions and the elimination of race altogether. This universal hatred led many to simply deny the existence of God, which divides people into different factions. It was felt better to negate than to believe, or seek peace through denial than acceptance.

Different interpretations of a single word, divides people into various classes. In such case, it is better to prioritize humanity than getting entangle within different interpretation. Sindh has been a battleground of different religions for many centuries. It is said, that some 1500 years B.C., Aryans entered through the hilly terrains of Khyber Pass. Then the came Iranians, Greeks, Buddhists and Arabs. Each propagated his own religion. Around 1200 years of Islamic caused heavy trails and tribulations for the indigenous Hindu populace. They had either to convert or face the wrath of the occupiers. Many indignities were heaped upon them, which also led to large dislocation of Hindu populace from Sindh to Punjab, Gujarat to Rajasthan. However yearning to come back to there motherland made them return whenever thy found a sympathetic regime of Sindh. Mr. Richard Burton a British tourist who wandered through the length and breadth of Sindh has written in his own book ‘Sindh and the races inhabitants in the valley river Indus’ that he can’t understand, why Sindhi Hindus prefer living in Sindh despite all these indignities unleashed on them by its Muslim rulers. It must have been their inherent love for Sindhis.

It is not easy for anybody to migrate overnight, leaving one’s and hearth. May God save anyone from such a gruesome fate! Several times have Sindhi Hindus have been out of Sindh and once returned to a Sindh after 200 year of exile. It is in the Sindhi genes to love humankind and history of witness to this. Whichever monarchs have propagated hared is remembered no more but whatever a Dervish spoke of love and amity between humans, he was loved and revered even after the passage of many centuries. There is a road named ‘Shah Abdul Latif Bhittani Road’ in Ulhasnagar 4, and various prayer – houses dedicated to Sachal Sarmast in Mumbai, Baroda and different part of India. For them, Sachal Saeen in an incarnation of God Himself. They are the living example of believers of ‘Rab-ul-Alameen’ (God of all The Worlds), ‘Rahmat-ul-Alameen’ (Mercy unto all the peoples). ‘Ek Aunkar’ (God is one) and ‘Om Shanti’ (God is prevalent in Peace).

Classical Sindhi literature is full of oneness of God, which espouse nothing but love. Love unto mankind, love unto birds and animals and love unto every creation of God. From Qazi Quadan to Shah Abdul Karim, Khwaja Mohd. Zaman, Hazrat Shah Abdul Latif Bhittani, Sachal Saeen and Sami; all have emphasized the need to shun selfishness and self deception. Only then can one attain God almighty. How can self affirmation and God live simultaneously1 to realize God, one has to renounce his own existence, deny self-affirmation, banish greed, and become one with God. Shah Abdul Latif Bhittani has said:

“Marnaa Age Je Muaa, Se Maree Thyan Na Maat
Hundaa Se Hayat, Jeeanaan Age Je Jeeaa”
(Killing one’s desire leads to immortality)

Abdul Wahab Sheikh Alias ‘Sachal Saeen” has got a distinctive place in classical Sindhi poetry. He swam against the tide and laid the foundation stone of new Sindh, based on indiscrimination and brotherhood. Everyone was an image or reflection of God himself, and that any discrimination on the basis of race and religion, cult, caste, creed or community was nothing but fraud perpetuated in the world of God. Kalhora period saw people bound with ropes because of uttering the word ‘Raso’. When a Hindu lady said ‘I’m also faithful’, she was forcibly converted to Islam, because faith implied Islam in the eyes of the power that be. This repressive regime saw the emergence of Sachal Saeen, who was courageous and bold enough to declare ‘Haq Maujood Sada Maujood’ (Truth prevails everywhere). It was a declaration of the greatness of the human being. His perceptions were based on love and harmony. Love, that was far removed from communal prejudices. His message was meant for all mankind. Love was the prime reason behind the creation of universe. He understood that unity, tolerance and love, were the basic ingredients for the betterment of society.

Sachal Saeen belongs to the Kalhora and Talpur era. He was born in 1739 A.D., when Mian Noor Mohd. Kalhora ruled Sindh, and Nadir Shah had conquered Delhi. Nadir Shah had compelled Mohd. Shah Moghal to concede the areas west of river Indus to be merged with Afghanistan, and Sindh was ruled by Mir Sohrab Khan of Khairpur. When Sachal Saeen departed from this moral world, the Britishers, Sikhs and Pathans wanted to capture Sindh. Nadir Shah took advantage of the inherent weakness of Sindh and ruined it in shambles.

Although Sachal Saeen was a witness to this middle pillage, he preferred declaration of truth instead of savoring the fruits and power and position. He criticized those dogmas which were responsible for fissures between various religions, caste and communities. He had the guts to declare:

“Mazahaban mulka mein manhoon munjhaya
Sheikhi peeri buzrigi behad bulaya
Ke Nimazoon nidvi padhan kin mandir vasaya
Odo keen aaya aqul vara ishq khe”

(Religion confuses man,
Religious heads mislead,
Some read ‘Namaz’, some established temples,
So called wise men are far from divine love.)

Sachal Saeen presented a new perception of a human being to Sindhi society. He said that we are all one. He could see almighty God in each and every particle of this universe. He was ablaze with divine love, with his own self lost in the grater existence of the Unitary God:

“Sosrat-sabhu Insan jee Athee Ishq Asual
‘Khalq-ul-Aadam ala sorratah’ juzo jahido kul
‘Al Insan Sire va ana Sira’ ‘Sachu’ sachu payo sal
Bhol na bee toon bhul hite hute hiku athee.”

(Man is reflection of that divine love,
Man is God, just as part is whole,
Unravel His truth, he is everywhere
Here, there it is only he)

Sachal Saeen didn’t enjoy a pleasure of religious godhead, nor did he encourage slave – like dedication. His sole aim was the search of truth. He loved everybody and his love encompassed all communities, colors, races and religions. His meditation led him to the level of becoming one with the Creator. All the veils between God and man disappeared and he could see God in each and every part of the Universe:

                                      “Kathaeen kafir katheen Mohin kathaeen soori-a-siru Halaye
Kathaeen Gosaeen Kathaeen Sanyasi kathaeen Butu banaye,
Kathaeen Sami, kathaeen Inaami kathaeen tilku lagaye,
Kathaeen Qadir, kathaeen ‘Sachu’ Naaun sunaye.”

                       (You are the Atheist, you are the believer, and the one sentenced to be hanged,
You are the worshiper; you are the renouncer, and the ideal itself,
You are the Spiritual head; you are the bagger ….with vermillion on the forehead
You are the all powerful, you are the Emperor and ‘Sachu’ somewhere.)

Aurangzeb didn’t face any hindrance in extracting an edict to server the head of Sarmad. Hussain Bin Mansur-al-Hallaj was sent to the gallows and subsequently cut into pieces in 1613 A.D. at Baghdad, just because he said, ‘Ana-al-Haq’ (I am God). It didn’t matter, because he believed that God never dies. Sarmad was killed in 1616 A.D. Mohd. Tughlaq got an edict to kill a nine Muslims on account of their abstinence from mandatory prayers and took pride in being a true servant of the religion. Jesus Christ was crucified – paying the price for speaking the truth.

Whenever cruelty reaches its zenith, murder and mayhem becomes the order of the day, many crazy people come forward and offer there own sacrifice to unravel the mysteries of truth. There have been many such Sarmads, Mansurs and Shah Inayats, who sacrifice their own self to prove the truth. There is long list of such Martyrs, like Ibrahim Adham, Bayazid Bustami, Bilawal, Bu Ali Qalandar, Shams Tabrezi, Farid-ul-Din Attar, Sheikh Hekal, Sanaan, Abdul Haq, Abdul khaliq, Abdullah Harvi, Qasim, Kapathi, Qaheer, Karmal, Mossa Mehdi Shah, Najam-Ul-Din Akbar and many more.

Sachal Saeen’s path was free of any religious prejudice or class discrimination. From childhood, he avoided obvious religious decrees, and instead believed in the greatness of all humankind. He professed going behind the real meaning of religious instructions:

“Ishq lageyee taa kar amen
Na manjh kufir na manjh deen.”

(If bitten by love then live by it,
Not by atheism, nor by religion.)

Sachal Saeen has emphasized the need to love, in place of atheism or religion. He equates Hindus and Muslims. He doesn’t stop saying, everything is created by Unitary God, but rather goes on to declare whole universe reflects that Unitary God. He also says that his life is not more precious than declaration of such truth:

“Alif moon Adam thyo kare hungama hul,
Hindu Momin so thyo bhol na bee kanhin bhul,
‘Klalq-ul-Ashya Fahu Ainaha” Iho Aan Amal,
Thij gulabi gul maru marinee Mansur jyan.”

(Adam came of that ‘A’ and become Hindu and Muslim later,
Everything reflects his image only, smile like Mansur, even at the gallows!)

In the days of Mansur-ul- Halaj, Muslim use to observe religious edicts strictly. Even in such trying times, he didn’t hesitate saying, ‘Ana-al-Haq’ (I am God). Adi Shankar Acharya had said, ‘I am the eternal bliss’. Mansur said, ‘Ana-al-Haq’, Sufi mystic’s quote Islamic Holy book ‘Quaran Sharif’. Hadith says, ‘Ana Ahad Bila Ainnu’ and ‘Ana Ahamed bila Meem’. You may consider m as an Arab or Ahamed, but remove ‘Ainnu and’ meem’ from both the words, and I become ‘Rab’ (God) or ‘Ahad’ (one).

The holy book of Hindus ‘Geeta’ described Lord Krishna, addressing Arjuna, in the 11th chapter, thus “The whole universe in my own reflection and that I, myself am the one, who speaks (Krishna), who listens (Arjuna) and even the conversation is nothing but me.” He shows him his gigantic self (Vrat Swarup), which Arjuna could see only after getting super human vision. In our case, Sachal Saeen seems to possess that super-human vision or else, how could he have said:

“Paan Chavandadu, Paan Budhandadu paan ee mein Bolan,
Samund sargrdan thyo payo mein ajaban,
Aaun asual Pani Aahyan keean samund sadeen,
Nanva mathim nahaq JA, rakhya ala je Kan!”

(Narrator He, listener He, conversation also He,
Ocean is baffled, He is water
But people call him ocean,
People are confused in the nomenclature)

Nothing prevails other than God, in the whole universe. He says, He speaks, He listens, and even conversation is nothing but Him. Whatever it is a matter or non-matter, nothing is separate from is existence. He encompasses all the oceans, all the skies, all the planets and he exists in each and every part of the universe. Bereft of that vision, we are helpless to see Him. We should stop following and go forward in his search, then only we shall be able to see Him, prevailing everywhere:

“Chho kareen tho armaan, jekee aaheen soee theendein
Ultar, olah, obhar, dakhin, sarzameen chha uho aasman,
Panoon Jane Peru ghumayui thee soorat mein Insan.”

(Worry not, you will remain same,
Whatever north, east, west, south, earth or sky,
You visit in the grab of man!)

Sachal Saeen was not just a mystic, but a movement by himself in Sindh. He was the torch against the discrimination or inequality. Had rulers of the times not been his disciples, his fate would have been the same like that of Mansur-al-Halaj. It has been a common practice of the rulers to use religion for personal narrow ends. Whatever they wanted to crash freedom movements, religion would come handy. They would not hesitate to declare there opponents as atheists and use edict from religious leader to eliminate their opponents. Sachal Saeen is the befitting reply to those atrocities. The fact behind his message is that he is the true voice of the flagbearers of truth. He says repeatedly, that superiority of Muslim above Hindus, or, one religion over another is a myth, created by vested interest. In fact, God Himself is from outside as well as inside. These two sides of the same coin, or his various dimensions. Sachal Saeen doesn’t differentiate between lover and beloved, between seekers and sought after. He believes that the foundation of love is based on the unity of the spirits. ‘Hama-e-az-oost’ (I am from Him) is the stepping stone to ‘Hama-e-oost’ (I am Him):

“Biyo ko Janinu Mahaz Gunah Har Kanhin Soorat Aap Allah”

(Everyone is God Himself and to think otherwise is a sin)