Lal Ded

b. 1355
Born in modern-day Kashmir, 14th-century Kashmiri saint and mystic poet Lal Ded (Mother Lalla), also known as Lalla or Lalleshwari, was married at the age of 12 into a family that was reported to have regularly mistreated her. After becoming a disciple of Sidh Srikanth, she renounced her material life and marriage to become a devotee of the god Shiva. As a mystic, she wandered naked, reciting her proverbs and quatrain-based poems. Lal Ded often used her poetry as a peaceful means of engagement with both Shaivism and Sufism.

Her poetry has been translated widely, including English translations by Jane Hirshfield in Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women (1994), Coleman Barks in Naked Song: Lalla (1992), and K.C.I.E. Sir George Grierson in Lalla-Vakyani or The Wise Sayings of Lal-Ded, A Mystic Poetess of Ancient Kashmir (1920).

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Poet Categorization

POET’S REGION Asia, South

LIFE SPAN 1355–

Biography

Born in modern-day Kashmir, 14th-century Kashmiri saint and mystic poet Lal Ded (Mother Lalla), also known as Lalla or Lalleshwari, was married at the age of 12 into a family that was reported to have regularly mistreated her. After becoming a disciple of Sidh Srikanth, she renounced her material life and marriage to become a devotee of the god Shiva. As a mystic, she wandered naked, reciting her proverbs and quatrain-based . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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