Amir Khusrau and the Mustard Flowers

Sufi poet and singer, Amir Khusrau (1253 – 1325), famously known as the ‘Voice of India’, was an expert in unifying the mundane with the divine. His poetry presents the mystic in him and the mystical world around him.

Reading his verses, seeing through his eyes, one gets a chance to experience the transcendental self.

Here is one of his most famous poems on Basant (spring) –

सकल बन फूल रही सरसों।  

बन बिन फूल रही सरसों।।

अंबवा फूटे, टेसू फूले

कोयल बोले डार-डार

और गोरी करत सिंगार

मलनियां गेंदवा ले आईं कर सो।  

सकल बन फूल रही सरसों।।

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तरह तरह के फूल खिलाए

ले गेंदवा हाथन में आए

निज़ामुद्दीन के दरवज्जे पर

आवन कह गए आशिक रंग

और बीत गए बरसों।

सकल बन फूल रही सरसों।। 

Mustard flowers blooming in glory.
Image – Pixabay.

Literal translation –

The yellow mustard flower is blooming in every field,

Not a forest, yet like a forest of mustard flowers.

Mango buds are clicking open, and other flowers are blooming too;

The Cuckoo bird chirps from branch to branch,

And the maiden does her make-up,

The gardener-girl has brought marigolds.

The yellow mustard flower is blooming in every field.

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Colourful flowers bloom everywhere,

With marigolds in hand,

Waiting at Nizamuddin’s door

For the beloved who had promised to come

In spring, but hasn’t turned up – it has been many years since.

The yellow mustard flower is blooming in every field.

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A burst of yellow joy.
Image – Pixabay.

My Take –

The delicate mustard plants are ruling the world and the forests are shying away from their glory, what a splendour, a burst of yellow joy this is.

Seeing the blossoms, the cuckoo bird begins singing, its melody though familiar, fills every heart with delight.

And with a delighted heart one beautiful young girl is dressing up, she is hopeful.

And the gardener-girl has brought marigolds for joy has chosen a ‘colour’ and it is yellow, the yellow of the delicate mustard flowers.

Myriad coloured flowers everywhere and marigolds in hand, I am waiting as promised at Nizamudin’s door for the colours of love, waiting here since ages.

And the delicate mustard plants are ruling the world. It is spring.

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The Sufi Touch –

In love, the whole world appears to be one with us, in this state of ecstasy every atom resonates with us and here ‘mustard plants ruling the world’ is a metaphor for it.

Further, the blooming flowers, the singing bird, the beautiful young girl, the gardener-girl and marigold enhance this feeling, this thought.

Then at the great Sufi saint Nizamuddin Auliya’s door, one awaits, with marigolds in hand and yellow lustre all around waits for the beloved for years and years.

Here, the poem transcends from the transient to the eternal, from passionate love to soulful love.

It becomes then about the devotee waiting for the supreme light, for the union with the ultimate soul, waiting with flowers in hand, forever in joy, waiting to attain absolute bliss.

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This Sufi poem/ song has been performed by classical/ folk singers all over India and other Hindi/Urdu speaking countries.

Check out the powerful performance by Rizwan and Muazzam Ali Khan –


Also, read my post Dama Dam Mast Qalandar to get enthralled by another soulful Sufi song.


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