Bullhe (or Bulleh or Bullha) Shah (1680–1757 CE) was one of the greatest of the mystical Punjabi poets and a disciple of the Sufi Shah Inayat Qadiri of Lahore. It is said that when Bullhe Shah was looking for a teacher, he heard of the reputation of Shah Inayat, and went to visit him. He found the murshid working in his garden, and when Bullhe Shah asked him about the secret of God, the master replied, “O Bullha, the secret of God is this; on this side He uproots, on the other side He creates.” In the lyric below, the mention of the ‘path of peace toward all’ refers to Sufi teachings, which additionally became the explicit policy of the Emperor Akbar toward all religions; the reference to ‘Turk’ in the final line in this context means Muslim.
I am not a Hindu, nor a Muslim. I have forsaken pride and become unsullied.
I am not a Sunni, nor a Shia. I have adopted the path of peace toward all.
I am not hungry, nor am I full. I am not naked, nor am I covered.
I do not weep, nor do I laugh. I am not ruined, nor do I flourish.
I am not a sinner, nor am I virtuous. I do not know about the path of sin and virtue.
Bullhe Shah, the mind that is fixed on God leaves behind the duality of Hindu and Turk.
Sufi Lyrics by Bullhe Shah,
translated by Christopher Shackle.