Side by side with materialism the people of this country have their remarkable heritage in the domain of spiritualism. In different eras, bards, as well as spiritual thinkers, were born here as torchbearers of mysticism. It is they who have amalgamated a pristine tune of spiritualism with the flute of the rural people, made them ascetics and inspired many to renounce family life in search of the Almighty. It is held that Lalon Fakir is the leading one among such minstrels or spiritualists. Though once his popularity and familiarity was limited among the illiterate and semi-literate people of his time, currently he has turned out to be a sub-continentally reputed celebrity-unquestionably he has occupied a vital position in the field of literature, music and melody of our country by dint of his outstanding contribution.
Lalon Fakir’s identity of religion and caste, birth, parentages etc. have touched off controversy and the lack of unanimity among us. Needless to say, still now whether he was a Hindu or a Muslim is an unsettled issue to his followers. But we believe that birth or family background of a man actually matters a little or nothing and what a man does matters most. So, we should thrust this aspect aside to pass on to things which he has presented us. It can be simply noted that he was born in 1774 and his lifespan covered 117 years throughout which he has served his society abundantly.
His biographers tell us that since his boyhood he got lost in spiritualism in defiance of commonplace materialistic obsession. Hence, disillusioned from family ties, marriage and the conventional life; he embarked upon a career of a bohemian on purpose to satiate his insatiable thirst for spiritual knowledge. He dedicated himself to exploring the very depths of subjects like God, creatures eternity etc. Most importantly, he vowed to grasp the essence of all religions of his time.
With this end in view, he attended the congregations of Sadhus, Gurus and Hermits to learn from their insight. He carried on with his mission ceaselessly until he learnt as much as he needed. It is a fact that before his permanent settlement at Cheuria in Kushtia in the subsequent phase of his life, numerous fairs (Melas, Sadhu Sango) held across so-called East Bengal and West Bengal was his whereabouts.
At last Lalon Fakir emerged as a great philosopher, a maverick thinker and a mystic bard to overwhelm not only the people near him but also even Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore. He composed around two thousand songs pertaining to theological belief and these earned him extensively wide acclamation. As a great spiritualist, he could realise the meaninglessness of this material world, its fatalism, the uncertainty of human life, and man’s utter helplessness to his creator. Human beings, be thought, sink into sin under the impact of evil instincts lust, greed, anger etc. He had had his relentless bid to perceive Islam and Hinduism in their deepest layer with the juxtaposition of these two theological dogmas, his lyrics deal with their fundamentals. He has rejected religious distinction supposing that all men belong to the same creator who loves all indiscriminately.
He is the upholder of the concept of the interaction between the guru and the disciple. So far as this concept is concerned, none but a guru can show his disciple the path to spiritual uplift, which is a must for a meaningful mundane life. The former indoctrinates the latter with the necessary things needed to combat insidious forces in his mind. Furthermore, he has opined that omnipotent god is an omnipresent entity living in the innermost recess of every human heart and until and unless he is merged into him; his manhood will come to no effect. Thus, he has laid stress on the theory of “Know Thyself.” Apart from it, his philosophy has comprised the need of union between physical soul representing man’s entity and inner soul embodying God’s entity. Notwithstanding god’s nearness to the human being, he (god) is inaccessible, unreachable and unapproachable to him (man). A guru can act as the human intermediary between the duo by facilitating this much-needed affinity. This negotiator can bring his redemption and the purifications of his soul, that is, a little bit pity of the Sadhu, he means, can dispel his ignorance, mental barrenness and darkness from his disciple’s heart.
Lalon Fakir’s heart bled when he observed his contemporary society that was sick with prejudices, fanaticism and religiosity. In fact, he himself fell victim to casteism, bigotry, orthodoxy and other vices of the people in the name of piety. Additionally, he realised the misinterpretation and misapplication of religion for the gratification of the upper-class people’s interest. The reformative zeal that he harboured in him stemmed from these societal scenarios. This uncertificated philanthropist carried out a protracted campaign for uprooting these evils from the society with his well-tuned language. Being a champion of humanitarianism, he inculcated the lesson of universal love into his followers. He synthesized Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam with the thread of love.
On 17 October night, 1890 (1 Katrik, 1297) while signing, Per Koro He Doyal Chand Amarey (oh! Merciful God bring me to the eternal world) he dropped down into the lap of death leaving behind hundreds and thousands of followers to mourn him. But it is not that time has snatched away his legacy from us. On the contrary, it is undeniable that in the present world of materialism, the songs of this mystic poet will ever kindle the spirit of spiritualism in people’s heart. Like the ancestors, today’s people, as well as the posterity, will hold him in high esteem considering him a monarch in the realm of mysticism.
The writer is a lecturer of English in Moheshpur Government College, Jhenidah.