Lalla Arifa or Lalla Ded is seen as a blend of Hindu-Muslim amalgamation. The Hindus regard her the reincarnate whereas the Muslims, a perfect mystic saint. The Hindus say that her name was Lal Ishwari born of the Hindu parents and remained absorbed in meditation and praise of God. The Muslims hold that she was averse to the Hindu religion, embraced the Islam at the behest of Syed Hussain Samnani, disliked the Pundits and the Brahmins.
She is called by several names in Kashmir: Lal Vaid, Lalla-Ji, Lalla Ded or Lalla-Ishwari. In fact she was the lamp of Kashmir who benefited all the communities, Hindus as well as Muslims. Both love and respect her.
Lalla Arifa was lost in spiritual wonderment; walked about naked; fought against her self; and renounced the world. Her teachings gave new lease of life to thousands of people. She was a blessed soul and could move the hardhearted man. Lalla Arifa was a poetess and sang of spiritual and divine bliss.
Lalla Arifa was born in 1335 AD. To Shri Zaida Pundit or Zindia Bat, the landlord at a village Pander – then, three miles from away form Srinagar. He was God fearing gentleman.
From the very beginning Lal Arifa was inclined to the matters spiritual in nature and engrossed in deep thoughts and was not interested in worldly matters. Pundit Shri Kanth, a mystic and Yogi of High order and the family teacher, realized the spiritual virtues in her and took over the responsibility to educate her in the matter.
She was married at an early age to the illiterate son of the landlord of Pampore village. Apparently she performed her household duties, but inwardly she was given to meditation and knowledge. This resulted in the neglect of the house, which caused her mother-in-law, and husband complains. The mother-in-law treated her badly; put pebbles in a plate and placed some cooked rice around them. Lalla Arifa ate the few grains of rice and made no complaints. One day her Father-in-law came to know of it and he rebuked his wife. This angered her further, said untrue things about her to her husband, and turned him against her. He too treated her cruelly.
One day Lalla Arifa carried a pitcher full of water on her head. Her Husband arrived, and struck the pitcher with his stick in anger. The pitcher broke but water remained in body. She came to the house, filled in all the empty pots with water, and the remaining she threw outside into a forest from where ran a spring of water. The episode made her famous and people came to see her in large numbers and disturbed her. She then renounced her house and married life and engaged herself whole heartedly in prayers and meditation. At all times she recited verses, in Kashmiri language, in low tones in praise of God.
To mention here the practice of Lalla shall not be out of place that in a state of extreme ecstasy and wonderment that she roamed about the forest and human habitations naked. Once she was going through a bazaar, she saw a saint, was terrified and exclaimed, “Here is a man, should cover myself.” She ran to a baker’s shop and jumped into the blazing oven. People raised a hue and cry that Lalla had been burnt. The saint also came and asked her to come out. Lalla Arifa came out, dressed in, a long shirt with a beautiful, coloured shawl on her shoulder.
It is also said that during the condition Hazrat Makhdoom Jalal-Uddin Jehanian Jehan Gard met her, pacified her, and told her the good news that soon her teacher and guide, Hazrat Husain Samnani, would arrive and relieve her of her restlessness and sufferings. Eventually came Hazrat Samnani and Lalla Arifa, under his benign guidance, attained peace.
Lalla Arifa said verses in the Kashmiri language on subjects of spiritualism and mysticism reaching the common people with the message that color; castes, envy, prejudice, narrow-mindedness, and greed are worthless. Real thing is search for the Truth. In brief, Lalla Arifa gave people of Kashmir the message of fraternity and equality and served them irrespective of caste and creed.