Notes on the Indian poet-mystics

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This page has overflowed from Belvedere Printing Works (source doc), a list of Belvedere's books on Hindi religious poetry which appear to have been the source material for many of the Indian poet-mystics Osho speaks on in many Hindi series. This page will provide more information about who they were.

A good source of info on these guys and the Indian phenomenon in general is FE Keay's Kabir and His Followers, a full-text version of which is available on And each of Belvedere's books has at least some biographical info on their subjects. Some of these books are also available on Much of the info below comes from Komori Kentarou, a wiki correspondent.

The various poet-mystics below are listed in alphabetical order ... please be patient ...



Even less is known about Daya(bai) than about Sahajo (below). Various sources have her and Sahajo as cousins or unspecified family, and thus both cousins of their mutual guru Charandas. Osho says of Daya and Sahajo that "they come from the same village, in the same region that Meera came from. Blessed is that region, because no other region has the prerogative of giving birth to three women mystics together", and "Nobody would have known about Charandas. Sahajo's songs brought his name to the masses. He had two disciples -- Sahajo and Daya, like two eyes of a man, like two wings of a bird. Both sung the songs of Charandas. So people came to know". Both these quotes are from Early Talks, ch 9, a composite of translations of three Pune One Hindi books snippets, on Meera, Sahajo and Daya.

We gather from the mini-bio from Belvedere (image right) that Daya was born in 1693. The title of her collection of poems/songs is Daya Bodh. Belvedere's title is Daya Bai Ki Bani. Osho mentions this title in Books I Have Loved, at the end of ch 12. He says:

The tenth book that I am going to talk about now is again not a so-called religious book. It is religious only if you meditate over it... if you don't read it, but meditate over it. It is as yet untranslated being still in the original Hindi, THE SONGS OF DAYABAI. [ie Daya Bai Ki Bani.]
I was feeling a little guilty because I had mentioned Rabiya, Meera, Lalla, Sahajo, and I have left only one more woman worth mentioning: Daya. Now I feel relieved.
THE SONGS OF DAYA. She was a contemporary of Meera and Sahajo, but she is far more profound than either of them. She is really beyond numbers. Daya is a little cuckoo -- but don't be worried.... In fact in India the cuckoo is called koyal, and it does not have the meaning of being nuts. Daya is really a cuckoo -- not nuts, but a sweet singer like the Indian koyal. On an Indian summer night, the distant call of the cuckoo; that's what Daya is... a distant call in the hot summer of this world.
I have spoken on her; perhaps someday it will be possible to translate it. But I am afraid it may not be possible, because how can one translate these poets and singers? The East is pure poetry, and the West and all its languages are all prose, pure prose. I have never come across real poetry in English. Sometimes I listen to the great classical Western musicians... the other day I was listening to Beethoven, but I had to stop in the middle. Once you have known Eastern music then there is nothing comparable to it. Once you have heard the Indian bamboo flute then everything else is just ordinary.
So I don't know whether these singers, poets and madmen of whom I have spoken in Hindi will ever be translated, but I cannot resist mentioning their names. Perhaps the very mentioning will create the situation for their being translated.



(also rendered as Garib das, etc). Osho has not commented on him directly at all, but he has included a book now known to have been authored by him in Books I Have Loved, "The Grantha", sometimes called "Guru Granth(a) Sahib", the same name as the holy book of the Sikhs, but not to be confused with that book. Osho also includes the Sikh book in BIHL, ch 7. This one is from ch 12. He says:

Sixth: I have always loved a book whose author is unknown; he is anonymous, although it is known to have been written by a disciple of Kabir. It does not matter who wrote it, but whoever did so must have been enlightened; that much can be said without any hesitation.
It is a small book of poems, very poorly written. Maybe the man was not very educated, but that too does not matter. What matters is the matter in it. Yes, the matter matters -- the content. The book is not even published.

It has been hand-copied since Gareeb put it together, but more recently has actually been (mostly) published. It contains a lot of Gareeb's (poor quality) original poetry but its main attraction is the many verses of Kabir that it contains. In that regard, Gareeb is not so much an author as the compiler. He lived from 1717 to 1782, centuries after Kabir, so cannot be thought of as a Kabir disciple in the ordinary sense, but he thought of himself as a direct disciple, so this is how the idea has arisen.

For more on Gareeb, see also Gupta's book, image right.

Maluk Das

All sites purporting to offer a bio of Maluk Das have more or less the same few factoids: Born in Kada (Kara) near Allahabad / Prayagraj in 1574, living an amazingly long life until 1682, he was a devotional poet of India who crossed religious lines. Themes of his songs included social reform, religious tolerance, equality and the oneness of God, and resemble themes of other singers of the Bhakti movement such as Kabir and Nanak.

His successor Yogiraj Nanak Chand is named in all these sites but seems not to have been known other than for his connection to Maluk Das. He observed, regarding the Hindu threefold expression of the divine, Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram, (Truth, Good or Godliness, Beauty), that "Great men have seen God through any one of these aspects, but Sant Maluk Das absorbed all three aspects and went beyond".

Belvedere's book of his poetry has five pages of apparent biography, but it doesn't translate well. We present it here as images of the pages:



Very little info is to be found on the net about Sahajo(bai). What we have here derives entirely from the blog of a former sannyasin:

Sahajo was born into a traditional Rajasthani family in 1725. As was the custom in those days, her marriage was arranged at the age of 11. A notable spiritual teacher, Charandas, who was her cousin, met her a few hours before the celebrations began. As beautiful little Sahajo was being meticulously dressed up in her bridal finery, Charandas said to her with a smile:

Oh Sahajo! Why beautify your face for mere married bliss?
When one must die, you cannot say.
But we all must go, of that you can be sure
Would you trade your head for such a fickle conjugal bliss?

It is said that upon hearing these words, the not-yet-teenaged Sahajo had an epiphany: she took off all her wedding jewelry and announced to her family that she would seek the Divine for the rest of her days.

Some historians take the story a step further: they say that as the bridegroom’s party approached, the groom’s horse was startled by a fire-cracker, tripped over a branch and fell. The groom died instantaneously. Impressed by what he considered to be Charandas omniscience, Sahajo’s father blessed his daughter’s wish.

From that day on, Sahajo became devoted to her teacher. She practised yoga and meditated on chakras like his other disciples and attained self-realization. It was a time when in many parts of the world, women were still being burned for challenging religious paradigms. But Sahajo stood her ground even when she was mocked – even standing alone against society, she did not lose her femininity. And when she did write about love, it was about a love like no other. See discussion for a pretty wild sample of her love poetry.

Sahajo had composed her classic collection of some 85 poems, by the time she was eighteen. Nothing is known about her life after that. Her collection has been translated by Harry Aveling and Sudha Joshi and published in 2001 by Motilal Banarsidass under the title Sahaj Prakash : the brightness of simplicity. Osho translates "Sahaj" as spontaneity but there is some wiggle room there.



(also rendered as Sunder Das, etc). We have a few factoids from Hindi Wikipedia (विकिपीडिया):
Sundardas was born in 1596 in Dyausa, near Jaipur. At the age of six, he became a disciple of Dadu and also started living with him. Seeing his wonderful form, Dadu started calling him "Sundar", ie "beautiful". Since he already had a brother named Sundar, he ended up getting called "Chhote Sundar", or "Little Sundar".

Dadu died when he was only seven, so he moved back to Dyausa, accompanied by Jagjivan, another of Dadu's disciples. In 1606, Rajjab and Jagjivan took him to Kashi (Varanasi) where he studied and did research for many years, and after that, many more years practicing yoga in Fatehpur (Shekhawati). While there, he became friends with the local Nawab Alif Khan, also a good poet, who took him to places all over India.

Besides Hindi , he was reasonably fluent in Sanskrit , Punjabi , Gujarati , Marwari and Farsi. He remained a brahmachari for his whole, quite long life. He left his body in 1689 in a place called Sanganer.

Sundardas' best-known compositions and collections include: Gyaan Samudr, Sundar Vilaas, Sarvaangayoga Pradeepika, Panchendriya Charitra, Sukh Samaadhi, Adbhut Upadesh, Svapn Prabodh, Ved Vichaar, Ukta Anoop, Gyaan Jhoolana, Panch Prabhaav, and so on. Sundar Vilaas appears to be the one published by Belvedere that Osho comments on. The image is of a postage stamp issued by the Indian Post Office in 1997.

Sant Taaran Taran

(also rendered as Taran Svami, etc). Taaran Taran's work left for posterity was not just poetic but included a fair bit of preaching as well. And he has not been included in any of Belvedere's publications. But he is included here. Komori reports that the Taran translator Dashrath Jain says in his part of the anthology "Sri Jina Taran Triveni" that Swamiji (Taran Swami) occupies an important place in the galaxy of saints of middle age of Indian history such as saint Shri Tulsidas, Surdas, Kabirdas, Raidas, Meerabai, etc (p.19)".

Osho speaks of two of Taaran's books in Books I Have Loved, referring to his work as "untranslatable", but "the song was beautiful, the rhythm was beautiful", so here he is. See discussion for a more detailed exploration concerning his inclusion.

The most important research found currently on the net about Taran's life and work comes from John E Cort, an American Indologist. His essay on Taran is part of Peter Flügel's book Studies in Jaina History and Culture, many pages of which are available in G**gle's look into the book. G**gle has put up two versions with different paging, so between the two, it is almost all available. Cort's most important source was Jain scholar Pandit Phulchandra Siddhanta Shastri, "whose 1933 study has not been surpassed".

Cort has Taran born in 1448 and dying in 1515, in what is now Madhya Pradesh. And this is also where the largest part of his downstream lineage, the Taran Panth, still lives, and where Osho was born. Taran's birth name and place are both unknown but speculated upon.


Osho's two slim volumes on Taaran:

see also
Talk:Taaran-Vani (तारण-वाणी)


(also rendered as Tulsi Sahab, etc). Tulsidas is among the best-known and widely published of all of Belvedere's mystic-poets, with no less than five of their books dedicated to him. Osho has mentioned him many times in Hindi and English discourses, but always in a disparaging way. Whatever the quality of his poetry, he was too much of a Hindu traditionalist, too steeped in orthodoxy, for Osho to find any merit in commenting on his poetry.



(also rendered as Yaari Sahab, Yari, etc). For all Yaari's importance in this tradition, his literary output appears to have been quite limited, compared to the thousands of verses of Kabir, Gulal and others. At least, little has been found, but these few verses are considered masterpieces, and he has an important part in the lineage of these guys ....

Sw Anand Haridas' review in Osho News of As If a Tree Starts Running, an English translation of Birahini Mandir Diyana Baar (बिरहिनी मंदिर दियना बार), has Yaari as a Muslim living in Delhi ~1668 to ~1763, a very long life for those days. Belvedere's small bio (image right) agrees with Haridas except on the dates, having him instead living from ~1725 to ~1780. FE Keay has him from 1668 to 1723, which dates balance the discrepancies nicely and so shall be adopted. See discussion for how that and other stuff on Yaari gets sorted out.

Yaari's guru was Biru Sahib, a Hindu, and Biru's was Bawri Sahib, another Delhi Muslim. Haridas adds an unusual twist to that, presenting Bawri as Bawari Sahiba, a Muslim woman! Yaari was also important for who came after him, his disciples and so on down the line. Belvedere presents a chart on Yaari's bio page that makes him the guru of Bulla Sahib, with Gulal, Jagjivan, Doolandas, Bhika, Paltu and others downstream. Bulla Sahib, sometimes rendered as Bulle Sahib, appears not to have been the same as Bulleh Shah, who was sort of contemporary but stayed largely around Lahore and had a different guru or Murshid.

Some 22 of Yaari's verses are presented as transliterated text in Bhajan Sagar, a blog.

  • Osho on Yaari, Hindi first edition, 1979

  • first English translation, 2019