By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, Editor, WordForPeace.com
An epitome of religious syncretism and Hindu-Muslim harmony, social cohesion and communal integration, Amir Khusrau, closest deciple of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia, is known as one of the founders of the Hindustani language—Hindi or Hindavi.
In perfect harmony with the composite Indian culture, Khusrau’s teachings in form of his Persian and Avadhi poetry stressed the pluralistic Indo-Islamic tradition. Born in 653, Khusrau was an spiritually inclined poet right from his childhood. But his avid inner devotion was satiated only when he attained the disciplehood of his Murshid (spritual guide)—Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia, popularly called Mahbub-e-ilahi (beloved to the Divine).
Apart from the different Persian forms of poetry like Rubaee and Masnavi (spiritual couplets), Khusrau preferred the indigenous poetry in Hindi, Hindavi and Avadhi languages and worte Dohas extensively. His Dohas often paint a lyrical miniature such as the one which he composed after the death of his Murshid or Master, Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia:
The fair beauty sleeps in the bed, hairs fallen to her face
Khusro, go home, evening has set in every directioni
Most remarkably, in his Dohas and Masnavis, Khusrau popularised the Sufi notion of unity of the existence—Wahdatul Wajud—which draws parallel to the Vedanta philosophy of Advaita (non-dualism). Like the Vedanta philosophy of Advaita, the essence of Sufi doctrine of Wahdat-ul-Wujud [Unity of Being] is also universal. It exemplifies whatever exists in the universe as an aspect of Divine Reality diffused through different things. Thus, Advaita (non-dualism) and Wahdatul Wajud (unity of being) are two myriad expressions of the only one essence.
Khusrau advanced the harmonious values of the Indian culture with his focus on Khidmat-e-Khalq—service to mankind—a humane notion conceived by his master and Delhi’s famous Sufi saint—Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia (r.a). He also promulgated the practice of sulh-e-kul (reconciliation with all). He stated: “Almighty holds dear those who love Him for the sake of human beings, and those who love human beings for the sake of Almighty.”
As Nizamuddin’s closest disciple, Amir Khusrau beautifully articulated his Murshid’s philosophy of Sulh-e-Kul in his Persian poetry:
Kafir-e-ishqam musalmani mura darkaar neest;
Har rag-e man taar gashta hajat-e zunnaar neest.
(Meaning: I am a pagan in my worship of love: I do not need the creed (of Muslims); Every vein of mine has become taunt like a wire, I do not need the (Hindu) girdle).
Khusrau’s poetry and musical innovation continue to be part of the soul of Hindustani music. Notably, Khusrau eloquently expressed his innate love for the Indic land in these beautiful couplets:
“India, from head to toe, is a picture of heaven,
Adam came from the palace of paradise,
If India is not paradise, how could it be made the abode of the peacock, the bird of paradise?”