Readings — From the March 2015 issue

What Do I Know About Who I Am?

Download Pdf
Read Online

From Sufi Lyrics, by Bullhe Shah, published by Harvard University Press in January as part of the Murty Classical Library of India. Bullhe Shah was an eighteenth-century Sufi poet and philosopher. Translated from the Punjabi by Christopher Shackle.

Bullha, what do I know about who I am?
I am not a believer in the mosques, nor do I follow the rites of unbelief. I am not among the pure or the polluted. I am not Moses or Pharaoh.
I am not in the Vedas or in the scriptures; I am not in drugs or in liquor. I am not among the drunken reprobates. I am not in waking, nor am I in sleep.
I am not in joy or in sadness, nor am I in pollution or purity. I am not of water or of earth, nor am I fire or air.
I am neither an Arab nor from Lahore, nor an Indian from the city of Nagaur. I am not a Hindu, nor a Turk from Peshawar. Nor do I live in Nadaun.
I have not discovered the secret of religion, nor am I born of Adam and Eve. I have not given myself a name, nor am I found in sitting or moving about.
I know myself to be first and last, I do not recognize anyone else. No one is wiser than I am. Bullha, who is the lord standing here?

You are currently viewing this article as a guest. If you are a subscriber, please sign in. If you aren't, please subscribe below and get access to the entire Harper's archive for only $23.99/year.

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Download Pdf
Single Page

Get access to 169 years of
Harper’s for only $23.99

United States Canada


October 2019


You’ve read your free article from Harper’s Magazine this month.

*Click “Unsubscribe” in the Weekly Review to stop receiving emails from Harper’s Magazine.