One of Braj’s great Muslim-born poet-saints, Raskhan
(Vrindavan, 2017.11.29): Fifty Muslim saints who wrote about Shri Krishna and his lilas will be commemorated in an open-air memorial park near Mathura. The project is being implemented by a local organization with funding from the State government.
The essence of Vrindavan is to make a relationship of pure love with Shri Krishna. People of various religions have fallen in love with Krishna over the centuries, and some of them dedicated their lives to him without ever changing their religion. A number of Muslim saints, particularly Sufis, wrote songs and poetry about Vrindavan’s Darling.
Fifty Muslim poet-saints from the 16th to 18th century will be featured in the memorial park. The story of each saint will be inscribed in stone along with samples of his or her work. Visitors will also be able to listen to the songs of each saint through a special listening device.
Ras Khan’s samadhi in Mahavan. Picture from Braj Discovery.
A budget of four crores has been alotted for the project, which will be located in Akbarpur Village, about 40 Kilometers from Mathura on National Highway 2. The village’s sacred lake, known as Banamali Kund or Akbar Talav, will also be renovated.
Amongst the chosen saints is one of Braj’s best-loved poets and a Muslim by birth, Ras Khan. Ras Khan was born around 1548AD. His birth name was Sayid Ibrahim, but Ras Khan was his pen name (Khan is a common Muslim surname, but in Hindi it means “a treasure-trove”. Thus Ras Khan means “a treasure-trove of sacred delight”). Ras Khan fell madly in love with Shri Krishna after seeing his picture in Delhi, and immediately started off towards Vrindavan to find him. There he took initiation into the Pushti Marg and received the full blessings of the Lord.
One of Ras Khan’s famous songs goes thus:
How gorgeous Shri Krishna looks
Covered with fine dust
His hairstyle is so charming
As He plays and snacks in Yashoda’s front yard
The anklets on His feet chime sweetly
And He wears a yellow dhoti
This vision of my Love is worth more
Than a million treasures to me
How fortunate the crow
Who tastes the buttered breadcrumbs
Offered by His lotus hand
Other Muslim poet-saints who will be featured include Amir Khusro, Raheem, Dariya Saheb, Kare Khan, Karim Baks, Insha, Bazind, Adil, Maksood, Wahid, Afsos, Kazim, Lateef Husain, Farhat, Kazi Ashraf Masood, Alim, Mahboob, Nafis Khalili, Saiyad Kasim Ali and Taz Begum.