Prakash Ram Bhatt, the 19th century Kashmiri Sufi poet known for his evocative and simple writing style, his Ramayana became the first epic poetry written in Kashmiri language, His poetry is still recited and admired by people from all walks of life, and his legacy continues to inspire.
By Imran Yousuf
Prakash Ram Bhatt was a renowned Kashmiri Sufi poet of the 19th century, renowned for his evocative and simple writing style. Born in 1819 in the small village of Kawarigam, Qazigund, Prakash Ram was a devout follower of Lord Rama. He spent most of his life in devotion to Lord Rama, and due to his fondness, he penned The Ramayana in two Kashmiri language and named it Rama Avatar charyit and Lav Khush charyit. This Ramayana became the first epic Poetry ever Written in Kashmiri and the most important contribution to Kashmiri literature.
Koushaliya hindeh gobroo, karoo goore goore,
“Mother Koushaliya, let your eyes turn towards me”
Paryo ram ramie, Karoo goore goore,
“I call out to Rama, let your eyes turn towards me”
meh depyamie rama rajia, Khoush aawie ni woureh maajeh,
“I surrender myself to Rama, please let your eyes fall upon me”
Aadnek seer baajia, Karoo goore goorem,
“I am a sacrifice for you, let your eyes turn towards me”
Atchen hund gaash kout gaoom, Seryeh Prakash kout gaoom “
I am drowning in the ocean of love, Prakash is drowning,
kehnti tchem neh aash kout gaoom,,Karoo goore goore.
“let your eyes turn towards me, I am drowning in longing for you.”
Prakash Ram’s Ramayana became renowned throughout Kashmir, particularly among the Kashmiri Pandits community. The epic poetry was not only appreciated for its devotional content but also for its literary excellence. Prakash Ram also wrote Akanandun and Krishnavatar Lila, earning recognition in every corner of the valley. His works were not only read and recited by Kashmiri Pandits but also by Muslim Sufis in Mehfil-i-Samma functions. This is a testament to the universality of his poetry and how it transcends religious and cultural boundaries.
Prakash Ram lived a simple life, which is reflected in his poetry and made him unknown among the general population. He was a reserved man who used to speak less and, most of the time, remained alone. He was a man of few words, but his poetry spoke volumes. He was an honest and pious person, and his devotion to Lord Rama is evident in his work.
One day, as Prakash Ram was praying, he had a divine encounter with Goddess Bhagvati, who appeared before him. She offered him a bowl of honey to eat, and this experience gave him immense power to think and writing. His poetry after this encounter was elevated to new heights. The simplicity in his work remained but it was coupled with a deeper understanding of human emotions and a new level of profundity. His poetry became even more powerful and evocative after this encounter.
Gaoom Travith Dil tchum Meh Dazaan,
“My heart is filled with love and devotion”.
Tchum Neh Wazaan Sitaare Nayee,
“And it shines like a star”
Siryeh Prakashi Kartam Yon Payaee,
“I have attained the fruits of Prakash’s devotion”
Laie Woath Tiem Tachi Tali Krayaee,
“I have placed my head at his feet”
Pashe Panne Tchet Tchet Tchet Neeraan, Tchum Neh Wazaan Sitaar Nayee…
“And my heart is filled with contentment, it shines like a star.”
Prakash Ram’s poetry is still recited and admired by people from all walks of life, not just in Kashmir but all over the world. His influence on Kashmiri literature and culture is undeniable, and his legacy continues to inspire poets and writers to this day. Prakash Ram’s unique blend of devotion and simplicity, along with his deep understanding of human emotions, makes his poetry timeless and universal. His work is a reminder of the power of devotion and the beauty of simplicity.
Prakash Ram was not only a poet but also a mystic who enjoyed his life in the divine company. From an early age, he was highly attracted to spiritual deeds, which he gained through consecrated efforts on the path of love. Parkash Ram was reasonably influenced by Islam, too; he has poetized beautiful lines in the grand and idealistic nobility of Prophet Muhammad (SAW)…in these lines, he mentions the beginning creation of the universe. In the end, Prakash Ram’s devotion and his love for Lord Rama, along with his understanding of human emotions, made him one of the greatest poets of his time, and his legacy continues to inspire generations to come.
Aashiq Tche zindeh Roozan Loluk Quran per perh,
Beshak Kar-i-Irfan Thavaan Bayan ker kerh,
Awalie Ishq Tchu Tashooq Panuie Gatchum Meh Mashooq,
Ad kurnie Padeh Nooraan, Muhammad (SAW).
Naw Ker Kerh, Prakash Bhat Tchuie Miskeen,
Peerus Kaaran Afreen; Chaw Tam Meh Moie Piyapie Moie Khaan Tchi Tche Ber Berh.
(Loves are Breathing coz they believe love as Quran undoubtedly utter about oneness of God In the beginning God fell in love and craved to see his beloved Then he created The Noor, Named it Muhammad. SAW. Prakash Bhatt is poor, extolments his murshid Make me drink of divinity, thy cantina is fully sated).
Prakash Ram Bhatt’s work had a significant impact on the society of his time. His poetry was not only read and recited by the pandits but also by Muslim Sufis. His work served as a bridge between the two communities and helped in fostering communal harmony.
Prakash Ram Bhatt’s life was marked by several notable events, one of which was his encounter with the goddess Bhagvati, which is said to have had a transformative effect on his poetry. The goddess appeared before him and offered him a bowl of honey, which is said to have given him immense power of thinking and writing.
Prakash Ram Bhatt wrote several other literary works, including Akanandun and Krishnavatar Lila, which were widely read and appreciated by the people of the valley. His Ramayana is still considered one of the greatest works of literature in the Kashmiri language.
Prakash Ram Bhatt’s poetry had a profound influence on other poets and literary figures of his time. His devotion to Lord Rama and his deep understanding of human emotions served as an inspiration to many. His poetry is widely read and recited to this day and is considered a classic in Kashmiri literature.