Sarmad Kashani or simply as Sarmad (b. 1590 – d. 1661) was a Persian mystic, poet and saint who travelled to and made the Indian subcontinent his permanent home during the 17th century. Originally Jewish, he may have renounced his religion to adopt Islam. Sarmad, in his poetry, states that he is neither Jewish, nor Muslim, nor Hindu.
Sarmad, Martyr to Love Divine, 1st Edition (2005)
- In Life's experience of varied kinds, this have I seen:
Your grace, O Lord, far outweighs my sins.
Strange, your mercy has become my excuse for more transgressions–
The greater your generosity, the greater my sins!
- Sarmad, Martyr to Love Divine, p. 238
- O Beloved, in your mercy forgive me my sins
and accept my night-long weeping.
I live in bewilderment, full of transgressions–
Only your grace will bring me release.
- Sarmad, Martyr to Love Divine, p. 240
- Death is hard on your trail in this wilderness–
the end of you and all that you amass.
Suffering at the beginning, regret at the end,
and in the end your attachment trample you.
- Sarmad, Martyr to Love Divine, p. 240
- Except not a moment of peace from love of self,
except no lofty position from lack of will.
Worldliness brings no profit –
Become insignificant, seek no increase.
- Sarmad, Martyr to Love Divine, p. 241
Rubaiyat-i-Sarmad, translated by Fazl Mahmud Asiri
- He who understood the secrets of the Truth
Became vaster than the vast heaven;
Mulla says “Ahmad went to heaven”;
Sarmad says “Nay, heaven came down to Ahmad.”
- [Asiri 1950, No. 126] Asiri 1950 — Asiri, Fazl Mahmud. Rubaiyat-i-Sarmad. Shantiniketan, 1950. Quoted from SARMAD: LIFE AND DEATH OF A SUFI by N. Prigarina
- O Sarmad! Thou hast won a great name in the world,
Since thou hast turned away from infidelity to Islam.
What wrong was there in God and His Prophet
That you hast become a disciple of Lacchman and Rama?
- [Asiri 1950, No. 334] Asiri 1950 — Asiri, Fazl Mahmud. Rubaiyat-i-Sarmad. Shantiniketan, 1950. Quoted from SARMAD: LIFE AND DEATH OF A SUFI by N. Prigarina
Quotes about Sarmad
- One day I was reading an Urdu translation of Sarmad's Persian poems when the sufi came into my room and sat down by my side.... [Later] I found the sufi reading the same book by Sarmad. A few days earlier I had heard him talking about Sarmad with reverence and in a language of fulsome praise. So I sat down quietly in a corner and waited for him to read out and explain some significant lines from that book. But I was taken aback when he suddenly threw the book against the opposite wall with some violence and shouted, 'The bastard was an infidel indeed!' I picked up the book, brought it back to the sufi, and asked him to show me the lines that had enraged him so uncontrollably. He leafed through the book and finally put his finger on two lines almost towards the end. I cannot recall the exact words of the couplet but I remember very well the message that was conveyed. Sarmad had addressed himself as follows: 'O Sarmad! What is it that goes on happening to you? You started as a follower of Moses. Next you put your faith in Muhammad. And now at last you have become a devotee of Rãm and Lachhman.' I could see nothing wrong or improper in this couplet. Sarmad was only telling the story of his seeking which had led him from Moses to Muhammad to Rãma and Lakshmana. I had not read the book as fast and as far as the sufi had done. Nor did I know the real reason for which Sarmad had been beheaded in Delhi by the order of Aurangzeb. All I had heard was that Sarmad used to roam about naked on the roads of this imperial city. I had supposed that he had been punished for his impudence in the midst of a polished society which placed immense importance on being properly dressed. It was years later that I learnt the real nature of Sarmad's 'crime'. It was apostasy which is punishable with death according to the law of Islam laid down by the Prophet himself during the days of his tussle with the polytheists of Mecca.
- When Sarmad, a famous Sufi, came to Delhi from Hyderabad towards the end of Shah Jahan’s reign, DSra Shikoh had sought his company and paid him many marks of respect. But when Aurangzeb came to the throne, the things took a different turn. Sarmad cried out ‘whoever gained the knowledge of His secret became able to annihilate distance. The Mulla says that the Prophet ascended to the heavens, Sarmad declares that the heavens came down to the Prophet’. The Mullas now found their opportunity. But Sarmad did not deny the ascension of the Prophet. Aurangzeb sent the chief Qazi to Sarmad to question him about his nudity. Sarmad explained it by declaring that the devil had the upper hand. His answer was so worded as to offend the theo- logian by a pun on his name. But this in itself was not enough. Sarmad was summoned to the royal court and asked to repeat the whole of the Muslim creed . Sarmad went so far as to declare that there is no God. When asked to repeat the rest he said his realization went no further. He could now be easily condemned . When the executioner brought forth his axe for his hateful task, Sarmad welcomed it crying ‘I know You in whatever form You care to come’ and embraced death like a martyr. His contemporaries associated many miracles with his death and his tomb is still venerated as that of a great saint
- Sharma Sri Ram. 1988. The Religious Policy of the Mughal Emperors. 3rd ed. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal. ch 6
- Sita Ram Goel: Defence of Hindu Society, New Delhi, India, 1983
- Isaac A. Ezekiel: Sarmad, Martyr to Love Divine, Radha Soami Satsang Beas Publishers, Delhi, 1st edition, 2005