An Explanation of the Ismaili Ginan “Kesri Sinha Sarup Bhulayo” — by Shiraz Pradhan



With “Kesri Sinha” I want to continue the exploration of the Spiritual Dimensions of Ismaili Ginans. “Kesri Sinha” is a parable of a lioness, which as she jumped upon a flock of sheep, gave birth to a cub and died. The cub grew up in the flock of sheep, eating grass and bleating like a sheep. An old lion saw the majestic, saffron manned young lion behaving like a sheep and took it to a pool of water to show the young lion its reflection, so it could know its true identity.

This “Crisis of Identity” grips humanity. In reality, this Crisis has two dimensions. Man has not only forgotten his true identity but is also disoriented. Depth Psychology [1] recognizes this dilemma. Each individual, it says, has configured in his heart an image of his universe, what it calls “Imago Mundi”, upon the stage of which he is to play out his destiny. He is not conscious of it, and feels that this universe is imposed upon him and that he is held captive in it. In reality, the limitedness he feels, the sense of being imprisoned in the body and held captive by the five senses are the shackles he has put upon himself.


The Urdu poet Allama Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938) touched upon this inner vastness of man, hinting on the higher realities beyond the sense world:

Tu shaheen hai parvwaaz hai kaam tera
Tere saamne aasmaan aur bhi hain

You are an Eagle, flying is your passion
Beyond the horizon, there are more skies for you to scale


Ismaili Ginans announce this same message [4]:

Unche thi aayo baande, niche kyu dhiyave,
Char din rhena,
bande juth kyu kamave

From high above you have come, why aim low?
Four days you have to abide here,
why accumulate this profit of untruth

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