Lala Yogeshwari & Nund Rishi
Kashmir has produced an array of saints and sufis in line, generation after generation, to tell the people that the real bliss lay not in hankering after the worldly pleasures but in seeking union with the supreme power, God. Two of them stand out – Lala Yogeshwari & Nund Rishi. Lala Yogeshwari was also known as Lal Ded (Mother Lala) and real name of Nund Rishi was Sheikh Noor-Ud- Din. They belonged to different religions but had common followers among Hindus and Muslims alike. Lala sang the songs about Shiva. Her Vakhs’s, underlining the importance of search for God, touched the hearts and minds of the Kashmiri people, Hindus and Muslims alike and became folklore for them.
Nund Rishi is known as Patron saint of Kashmir and he had is 99 followers (Khalifas). They were messengers of not only delightful religious tolerance but a crusade for understanding and assimilating the messages that Hinduism and Islam stood for. The aim was to shun the frivolities of mortal existence. It is this incredible faith in unity of existence that marks the core of Kashmiriyat. Nund Rishi was unable to read and write but uttered hundreds of beautiful sayings with both terrestrial as well as celestial meaning. These are preserved as Rishi Nama and Noor Nama. Please note that the last proponent of the Rishi cult developed by Nund Rishi was none other than Swami Parmanad, a Hindu saint.