“There is one God
But with a hundred names.
There is not a blade of grass,
Which does not worship Him.”
Nur-Nama – poem no.6 translated by Prof Rafiqi
In the village of Charar / Char-e Sharif is one of Kashmir ‘s holiest and oldest shrines: The Shrine of Nund Rishi also known as Alamdar-e Kashmir.
According to Prof Abdul Qayyum Rafiqi in his book Sufism in Kashmir “The Rishi Silsilah of Kashmir is an indigenous Sufi order developed amidst the traditions of Buddhist renunciation and Hindu asceticism. In fact the very word Rishi is derived from Sanskrit.” He does not agree with some Muslim scholars of Kashmir who have tried to Islamcise the term and see it as a derivation of the Persian word resh /raish which means the feathers of a bird garment or abundance of means or a beard.
He goes on to say that from surviving sources the order flourished in the first half of the fifteenth century and that Shaikh Nuruddin popularly known as Nund Resh ( b. 1378) was responsible for it’s growth and popularity. He had four disciples Bamuddin, Zainuddin, Latifuddin and Nasr Uddin.
as per legend when the sheikh was born he would not take milk from his mother’s breast. Three days after his birth Lalla the celebrated Shaivite, woman ascetic of Kashmir happened to come by and spoke to the newborn baby saying “you are not ashamed of being born, why are you ashamed to suck”.
There upon the baby immediately started taking milk and Lalla kept visiting the house.
The shaikh was a great mystic who was greatly influenced by Lalla..
In Kashmiri folk lore the personalities of Lalla and Nooruddin are so mixed up that it was impossible to separate them but there seems little doubt that Nooruddin drew inspiration from Lalla even if he did not become her disciple.
The Sheikh died in 1439 and was buried in the village og Char / Charar. One of the mourners was the Sultan Zainuddin.
The Sheikh’s simplicity and purity not only impressed the 14th century Kashmiris but continue to influence the lives of people till date.