The connection of Baba Farid and Amir Khusro

Aas - Composition by Shivpreet Singh; Sung by Kaushiki Chakraborty

Baba Farid and Gurbani

I love the poetry of Bhagat Farid. His poems, known as Shabads, are found in the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of Sikhs. Some experts believe these hymns were composed by a Sufi named Farid Shakarganj from Pak Pattan, who was a follower of Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki. Others think they were written by a different Sufi from Pak Pattan, also named Farid.

Baba Farid was a special and miraculous child. His mother used to pray all day and night during her pregnancy. He was born in the sacred month of Ramzan in the year 1173. On the night of his birth, the moon was hidden behind clouds, and people didn't know when to start their fasting. A holy man came and said that if the newborn baby refused to breastfeed, then it meant the fasting had begun. And indeed, Farid didn't suckle during the day, following the Muslim fasting tradition.

As a child, Farid was named Farid-ud-Din Masaud, but he became famous as Baba Farid of Pak Pattan. His mother used to reward him with sugar hidden under his prayer carpet when he finished his prayers. One day, when she was absent, he prayed a lot and found an even greater amount of sugar. Delighted, he shared it with his friends. When he told his mother about it, she realized it was a divine gift and gave him the surname Shakar Ganj, which means "treasury of sugar."

Farid ji has been honoured by the Gurus of Sikhism and his verses were collected and subsequently compiled into the Sikh holy book, Guru Granth Sahib (normally referred to as Gurbani) under three different sections as detailed below:

First section:

The first section comprising of two shabads is in Raag Asa at page 488 of the Guru Granth Sahib. The Bani starts " ਆਸਾ ਸੇਖ ਫਰੀਦ ਜੀਉ ਕੀ ਬਾਣੀ - Āsā Sekẖ Farīḏ jī▫o kī baṇī - Aasaa, The Word Of Shaykh Fareed Jee:"

Second section:

The second section comprising of two shabads is in Raag Suhi at page 794 of the Guru Granth Sahib. The Bani starts " ਰਾਗੁ ਸੂਹੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਸੇਖ ਫਰੀਦ ਜੀ ਕੀ ॥ - Rāg sūhī baṇī Sekẖ Farīḏ jī kī. -Raag Soohee, The Word Of Shaykh Fareed Jee:"

Third section:

The third section is by far the longest section comprising about 8 pages in Raag Jaijaiwanti starting at page 1377 of Guru Granth Sahib and ending at page 1384. The Bani starts with the line: " ਸਲੋਕ ਸੇਖ ਫਰੀਦ ਕੇ - Salok Sekẖ Farīḏ ke - Shaloks Of Shaykh Fareed Jee:" This section consists of couplets which have become very famous among the followers of Babaji.

The connection of Baba Farid with Amir Khusro

After Baba Farid ji, his successor was Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya from Badayun, Uttar Pradesh, India (1238 - 1325). Sadly, he lost his father when he was just five years old. Together with his mother, he moved to Delhi. At the age of 20, he became a devoted disciple of Baba Farid, deeply inspired by his teachings.

Nizamuddin Auliya had a strong connection with the holy shrine in Pakpattan and would visit especially during the month of Ramadan. Just before Baba Farid ji passed away, he chose Nizamuddin Auliya as his successor. However, Auliya Sahib decided to return to Delhi instead of staying in Pakpattan. He dedicated his life to serving the poor people of the region, carrying forward the message of God.

Nizamuddin Auliya gained immense popularity and had millions of followers and students. One of his most notable students was Amir Khusrow, a renowned poet and musician. Amir Khusrow is credited with introducing Qawali to Indian music for the first time. Additionally, he innovated the Tabla by modifying the South Indian drum called mridang or pakhawaj. His contributions to music are truly remarkable and have left a lasting impact on Indian musical traditions.