The Sacred Verses of Shaikh Farid

I have been hearing and also reciting the hallowed verses of ‘Bhagat Farid ji’ ever since I was a child. But when I read about his life and works he went up in my esteem by several notches. The Wikipedia introduces him as follows:

Farīd al-Dīn Masʿūd Ganj-i-Shakar ( 4 April 1179 – 7 May 1266) was a 12th-century Punjabi Muslim preacher and mystic. He went on to become “one of the most revered and distinguished Muslim poets” of the medieval period. He is known reverentially as Bābā Farīd or Shaikh Farīd by MuslimsSikhs and Hindus of the Punjab.

Bhagat Farid in the Sikh Scripture

The ‘vaani’ of Bhagat Farid ji appears in Sri Guru Granth Sahib at several places, but has a distinct place of pride as ‘Slokas’ at page numbers 1377 to 1383 of the holy book. This year when I was going through the verses, I was struck by something I had never noticed before. I found a mention of ‘Nanak’ in one verse. A closer look revealed that within those slokas, there were a few which had been written by Guru Amar Das ji (the 3rd Sikh Guru) and Guru Arjan Dev ji (the 5th Guru). That led me to do some more detailed research.

The Timeline

Shiakh Farid ji was born in 1179, and that was nearly 300 years before Guru Nanak (b 1469) and our holy book was compiled by Guru Arjan Dev ji (1563-1606). There is no mention of Bhagat Farid in Guru Nanak’s works. And yet, if his ‘slokas’ were considered worthy of inclusion in the holy book, it is apparent that the followers of the Sikh Gurus had been singing Bhagat Farid’s rhymes, for the nearly four centuries that had elapsed. Three things become evident from this:

  • Punjabi, as spoken in the twelfth century was much the same as it was during the time of our Gurus.   

  • The fundamental philosophy of the Sufi saints was quite similar to the vision of the Sikh faith.

  • The slokas of Shaikh Farid had apparently come down to the disciples by word of mouth, since the ‘gurmukhi’ script was evolved by Guru Angad Dev long after the demise of Shaikh Farid.

A Few Shlokas of Farid ji

For those who may not have read his works, I am giving below four of his shlokas, along with their English translation.


Shaikh Farid on Old Age

Shaikh Farid lived to the ripe old age of 93. He could, therefore, comprehend the specific problems of the old people better than anyone else. The renowned singer, Jagjit Singh recorded an album which has some of the verses, under the title, ‘Buddha hoya Shaikh Farid’ and this album has been converted into a ‘sing along’ format. In this you get the original verses along with the English translation. The lady who joined Jagjit is Neelam Sahny.  Please click on the link given below to listen to the shlokas:


The Tailpiece

Yesterday, I entered the eightieth year of my life. And my personal feelings about the old age have been described so accurately in these sacred verses, that I beseech all my friends who are in the same age bracket to listen to these ‘shlokas’ intently. It also gives me great pleasure to place below, a picture of the shrine built by the admirers of Farid ji in a town called Faridkot, which has been named in the memory of the great saint.

 tila baba


  1. Lt Gen Jagdish Chander says:

    jagdish chander
    2:34 PM (3 hours ago)
    to me

    Dear Sir,
    I am sorry I have been out of touch with you for some time ; and trickle in only once in a while, when I manage to open this account of mine on hot mail.
    What a beautiful explication, after very detailed research. Brilliant would be an understatement.
    The technical linkings and attachments can only be expected from someone as endowed as you Sir.
    With very warm regards,

    • Maj Gen Surjit Singh says:

      And who can express his appreciation in better words.
      Your messages take me back to Sikkim, which is one of the best tenures in my service career. And you gave me the maximum affection.

  2. Maj Gen JR Bhatti says:

    Thanks General Surjit Singh for sending write up and Bhajan based on Baba Sheikh Farid. regards.

    Major General [Emeritus,Indian Army]
    Dr. J.R. Bhatti,Sena Medal, Vishisht Seva Medal, Ph D, MBA, MSc.
    Fellow AIMA Delhi & DAVV [SDMS] Indore
    Front Line Militay Leader 37 years.
    Professor and Director General Higher Education Institutes 17 Years.
    Mob 9456830055

    • Maj Gen Surjit Singh says:

      Dear Dr Bhatti,
      Thanks. I am impressed by the string of degrees and decorations which you have earned!
      I myself am married into a Bhatti family, and would like to get in touch with you.
      God bless

  3. Brig SL Vash says:

    sl vash
    10:41 AM (1 hour ago)
    to me

    Thanks for sharing. I did go to Baba Farid’s shrine at Faridkot during my service but got to know much more about him after reading details sent by you.
    Thanks once again.
    Brig. Surender Vashisht

  4. Lt Gen Kapil Aggarwal says:

    Dear Sir,

    It is always a pleasure reading your pieces here. One thought which has always remained in my mind is that why Sikh history, beginning 1469, is not taught in our Schools. All we remember of history in School is the Mughal empire and its kings.
    Warm Regards

    • Maj Gen Surjit Singh says:

      I agree with you.
      There is a lot to learn from the lives of the Gurus and the Saints whose compositions are included in the holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib.

  5. Satish Kumar Bhandari says:

    satish kumar bhandari
    8:45 AM (3 hours ago)
    to me

    Thanks sir.
    It is very informative and interesting article.


    • Maj Gen Surjit Singh says:

      Thank you very much Sir.
      Could you tell me the full form of the acronym ‘ASFIC’

  6. colls says:

    We are soldiers and soldiers never die// either they /few// become martyrs //
    rest of us// mostly fade away
    one day
    some day
    any other day

    CORONA//COVID 19//
    DOES NOT at all us sway

    Spanish Flu came and went //left soldiers knotted as cement//

    Glad to see on 6th July your ocean of friends //
    iF you still believe in rebirth// amen /////

    I would like to have you as my SGMT in NDA //
    overhaul me //then teach me how to make friends
    if not today in the next birth ///as you profess and say// educationist master unlike me//
    Have a Happy Birthday 79Th//wait for 20 per cent increase of Pension //
    by mai baaps for a while// let me still lead the queue///
    still stilled SGMT FOR YOU ///
    12 JUL

    WISH ME TOO //THE ONLY FRIEND I have is///
    6 JUL 2020

  7. Wg Cdr Vijay Mayadev says:

    From: vijay mayadev
    Date: Wed, Jul 1, 2020 at 5:10 PM
    To: Maj Gen Surjit Singh

    Hi Surjit,

    Belated Happy Birthday.

    I too am in the same boat and wonder how the years ran by. I think it is wonderful to think of yourself as elderly and not old.

    You have to keep energy and fitness levels high to enjoy 20% increase in pension being bestowed by maibaap sarkar.

    Like Clint Eastwood says. Keep the old man out.

    Cheers and god bless for a wonderful elderly avatar.


    Vijay mayadev

    • Maj Gen Surjit Singh says:

      Thanks, Vijay.
      Whenever I see your mail, my mind’s eye goes to the road that divided your squadron and ours.

  8. Col ABS Sidhu says:

    From: ABS Sidhu
    Date: Wed, Jul 1, 2020 at 2:23 PM
    To: Maj Gen Surjit Singh

    Hello Surjit ,
    Thanks for sharing about life of Farid ji .
    His shaloks written about 700 yrs ago
    are very meaningful and applicable even today .
    Once again happy birth day . From the messages
    exchanged it gave the impression that you had
    completed 80 yrs .However it is now clear you have
    entered 80th yr. Wish you long , happy and healthy
    life .
    With warm regards and best wishes .

    ABS Sidhu

    • Maj Gen Surjit Singh says:

      Thanks, ABS.
      What is the great difference between 79 and 80?
      I think the observation of Shaikh Farid is very profound. Even if we go on to complete the century, we still return to the mother earth, and turn into ashes!

  9. Maneet S Sarla says:

    Dear Major General Sir,

    Satsriakal! It is always a pleasure speaking to you. Once again, I wish you a very happy 80th birthday. It seems to have been a full life and you have earned every moment of these 80 years.

    I thank you for sharing your research on Baba Farid. I will certainly go through it.

    I spoke to Col NJS Pannu Sir and learnt from him that his brother was only engaged at the time of martyrdom and not married. On another note, he suggested to confirm if you were mentioning Mr Gul Pratap or Gur Pratap Singh because both with similar names and seniority were Sanawarians. Col Pannu Sir will be speaking with you soon.

    With every good wish,



  10. Cdr Prem P Batra says:

    Dear Arun Vermaji, Namaste.

    1. I am forwarding a SEND by my Course Mate, Major Gen Surjit Singh. In 1972, we did our Staff Course at Defence Services College Wellington, together. We began our 1 year Course with personal losses. And then our tough and wise, Commandant Maj Gen Ranjit Singh, called me to his Office and ordered me to join Classes where as CI Navy had given me 1 week. And the at conclusion of Course, the Commandant of a few words told me that my Loss had not affected my Course. Same was the case with General Surjit.

    2. To be honest, being from Pakistan/Punjab, I do not understand DOABA Punjabi of Indian Punjab.

    A little on my personal perspective.

    I have a restless soul which seeks THE TRUTH. More one learns, more it exponentially expands.

    As I was growing I remain a HINDU to my Bones. But to seek THE TRUTH, I would have to have an open mind.

    That was true more of every HINDU in now PAKISTAN PUNJAB.

    For the record, my studied Class 2 in GURUDWARA/WARWAAL/CHAKWAAL Paksitan. She knew GRANTH SAHIB by Heart. It was SIKH MILITANCY that drew her apart and towards BHAGWAT GITA, a Book which used to be under the Pillow of my Father. Towards her end, my Mother wanted both GRANTH SAHIB and GEETA read to her.

    General Surjit would not know that my Mother’s 1st Sikh Cousin by the same name, was in my BAKER Squadron but a Batch. Never acknowledged much because in JSW/NDA there is no quarter to keep you away from Academy Treatment. Later, his Daughter and my Son had the option of being Life Partners. But Militancy in Indian Punjab, seperated Brother from Brother.

    3. My Father belonged to a TEHSIL/TOWN/TALAGANG/CHAKWAL/PUNJAB/PAKISTAN/CULTURE of Urbanity. And my Mother was from a Villager and a Daughter of RICH SEED MERCHANT. Both Cultures are very different. My one Family, refused to marry his Daughter with JAT SIKH Culture is different.

    In my Mothers Village, it was all Arab Healers and which crude but very effective. My NANA had a Son from a Muslim Woman, RESHAM KHAN, and he was a pillar of strength to the Family. My Grandparents made him a Legal Heir to all their vast Properties but not being, educated, others took it away from him. He was never BEYGANAA to the Family and me.

    My Mother had been twice to PUNJA SAHIB, before marriage.

    4. My Father was posted to Rural THANA/LILLE/LALA MUSA/PUNJAB/PAKISTAN. Some body convinced my Father that the FAMILY should seek Blessings of a PIR there. We went to his small Cottage, I remember, he gave us the Boys TAWEEZ. LILLE was a huge ANAAJ MANDI belonging to HINDUS. It is in disuse today, if one searches on GOOGLE EARTH.

    Then in 1996, my PUSSER was KADRI/who are original Leaverned Ones from S Arabia. His Elder Brother was personal Astrologer to late Sachin Pilot. In fact, he bought Muslim Almanacs, told me few things, very true and put TAWEEZ on my Arm.

    5. It was a stable composite culture but strict lines were drawn and respected.

    6. My LODE STAR of seeking the Absolute Truth took me to a different direction. One can never get pass any learned one, step by step. So told my self why seek MOKSH and JENNAT. Then it is easy to see Millions of before, today, and Millions of years ahead.

    When one looks from ZENITH, Miles atop, every thing looks small and when visualise the past, the present and tomorrow.

    7. Lastly Arunji, you would sing more melodiously than the CD.

    Great regards,

    Commander Prem P Batra Retired


  11. Brij Kakar says:

    Baba Farid or Sheikh Farid was a twelfth century Sufi saint and first punjabi classical poet. We have no record of any written poetry prior to him. He could not have mentioned Guru Nanak who came three centuries after him. The poetry referring to Guru Nanak and other gurus must have been of Khwaja Farid an equally eminent poet saint of Punjabi classical Sufi poetry and his time line was nineteenth century. Both mention themselves as ‘Farid’. Hence confusion.

    B M Kakar.

  12. Brig S S Jaswal says:

    Dear Sir,
    Wishing you a very happy 80th birthday and many, many more to come. You have entered the Super Senior Category and eligible for additional pension.


  13. Col Surindar singh says:

    Greetings Surjit

  14. Ram Mishra says:

    Dear General Surjit, Please accept our belated greetings and best wishes on your birthday. May God bless you with very long healthy and peaceful life.

    AVM Mishra

  15. Brig Dr CP JOSHI says:

    Wish you a very happy 80th birthday Sir. Many more to come to cross century. God bless.

  16. Rajinder Ahuja says:

    Dear Sir,

    Thanks for sharing.

    Not the least , BELATED HAPPY BITHDAY , Sir.


    Lt Col R S Ahuja

  17. SBS Kochar says:

    To begin with our heartiest congratulations on your birthday. We wish you good health and may you cross the figure of the great mystic. Lucky are those who step into older years

    • Maj Gen Surjit Singh says:

      Dear SBS,
      Thanks for your kind words.
      Whenever your message appears on the screen, my mind’s eye goes back to CI camp. And I them think of your poet father and the forever cheerful mother. Then I think of Guddi, Kiki, Pichkoo, Babbo and Cukoo.
      जाने कहाँ गए वोह दिन !

      • Maj Gen Surjit Singh says:

        I knew that Kiki is gone. But the passing away of Cuckoo, has come as a news to me. He was the youngest, and I think he was the darling of the family!

  18. randhir singh says:

    Thanks for sharing belated happy birthday stay blessed

  19. Harikumar Krishnannair says:

    A belated Happy Birthday Sir. I understand the octogenarians stay safer than the septuagenarians health-wise, statistically. Wish you good health and happiness for years to come.
    Warm regards

  20. zal kabraji says:

    Dear General,
    You are 80 young ! Wish you many happy returns of the day & keep on giving us the very interesting news & writings you have been doing for the past so many years.
    With warm regards,

  21. Harbhajan Singh says:

    Dear Surjit Jee,

    You are our Farid for bringing us such master pieces.!!


    However, let us look at it in another way. We are so blessed to be living so long and in reasonable health. let us make the best of it. LET US KEEP CONTRIBUTING TO THE BETTERMENT OF OUR SECTOR, CITY, STATE, COUNTRY AND THE WORLD.


    I am a teetotaler, but CHEERS!!

    Harbhajan Singh

    • Maj Gen Surjit Singh says:

      Bhai Sahib,
      I am overwhelmed!
      Indeed I am a pygmy when compared with the likes of Shaikh Farid, Kabir and Bulle Shah.
      Thanks, nevertheless for your kind words. If I am able to write, it is because of your words of encouragement.
      May the Lord give you many more years to bless us.

  22. cs Institute of defence and management bhopal says:

    Happy birthday, Sir.
    Many happy returns of this lucky day.

  23. Dhiraj Mullick says:

    Dear Sir,

    On his joyous occasion, Hina joins me in extending our best wishes and congratulations to you and your family. May God Almighty bless you with the best of health, peace and happiness!

    I enjoyed reading about Shaikh Farid and listening to his verses which bring forth the truth and finality of life. As always there is so much to learn from you. Thank you sir.

    You are among the few who has always, very deftly, used the pen as a medium of expression. But here, I feel that you have gone beyond expression.

    For as someone has said…..
    More important than the freedom of expression is the freedom of acceptance:
    You can hear but need not listen,
    You can read but need not absorb,
    You can see but need not believe,
    You can understand but need not accept.

    Best wishes & warm regards

    • Surjit says:

      Dhiraj and Hina,
      In the next birth, if I am given the choice to select just one friend, I will choose you, without any hesitation!
      Covid does not worry me; but what is going on at the borders does bother me. I do hope that better sense will prevail.

  24. AVM RP Mishra says:


  25. MALIK S S says:

    One thing Corona has done Great is put all poor-rich, young old, all those management gurus, corporate flying buntys and similar others to come and stand in one line. LITERALLY NUDE AND PUT A MIRROR IN FRONT OF US TO HAVE A GOOD LOOK AT OUR KARNIS(DOINGS). KAHIN MAIN PEECHE NA REH JAAOON.!!.

    All those trying to fly ahead of the clock, have been made TO look utterly foolish today(includes me too), with losked up in human ZOOs, mouths sealed to just SHUT UP.

    Manimals we are. deceitful, liars, and at the core of every problem faced on earth. Farid is humble in his approach where he appreciaties, the old age. We are not learning even from WW2, NUCLEAR BOMBS, AND TODAY led by some of US, WHO care too hoots for philosophies. Lion is the king of jungles, but NO JUNGLE LEFT. MACHHALI JAL KI RANI BUT NOT A DROP OF WATER TO DRINK. OUR WATER SAFE IN BOTTLES.



  26. NP Singh says:


    Thanks. Received and read. Nice to hear from you.

    With Regards,


  27. K Ramani says:

    Dear Gen Surjit
    I was in Faridkot
    You may like to explore
    He was returning from Delhi to go to Pakpttan ???
    His stay at Faridkot is interesting
    I read the shlokas which you had kindly posted
    Best regards

    K ramani

  28. Group Capt Tejwant Singh says:


    Thank you vey much Gen Surjit Singh ji for sharing

  29. Lt Gen Manmohan Singh says:

    I admire the way you have conveyed your gratitude to your birthday ‘well wishers’. Also the message is much thought provoking & inspiring. Be blessed. Regards to you both.

  30. Maj Gen PN Monga says:

    Dear Sir,
    Wishing you,
    Many Happy Returns of The Day…. Many more to come with good health and a happy blessed life…

    with Best wishes,

    Maj Gen PN Monga
    (m) 8283825665

  31. Brig Surinder Singh says:

    Surinder Singh
    Mon, Jun 29, 8:13 PM (5 days ago)
    to me

    Considering your health and vigour, it is a bit premature.Satinders Papaji was very fond of saying “ kamban lagi deh” bit that was when he was in his nineties.
    Neverthless, it makes enlightening reading especially because Farids bani is difficult tounderstand..the Punlabi is much older.
    Gurbani is like an ocean full of pearls…the deeper you go the more you gather.
    Well thought of theme..may be the next one you post will unearth more.

  32. colls says:

    khudda karey
    aap hazzaaaroe saal jiyein

    khushwant Singh ji”"

    Excellent is the wine
    you squeez
    out of red roses
    all drink as amrit
    not red wine
    coming from those nimble fingers

    you do oft read poetry
    of mine
    for me you alone are
    my intrinsic
    you must
    like not a diamond

  33. colls says:

    ”I wish to thank everyone
    who has greeted me on the anniversary of my birth through phone calls, Whatsapp ”messages”
    and the Facebook.
    Stay safe, and God bless.
    Thank u 4 tnkng colls
    one out of many friends
    millions you have
    do remember colls
    you may have not forgotten yet
    You have a MILLION FRIEND
    I have one ONLY

    HAPPEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee U Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
    humor not makhan ji
    du peeeeeeeeee and drink red wine freeleeeeeeeeeee

  34. Lt Gen R K Mehta says:

    Many Happy Returns Sir. Have a great year ahead.
    Stay safe and Stay healthy.

  35. Dave sood says:

    Surjit.. Happy Birthday. Have a Super start to the next decade.
    Farid is excellent advise. Each word is well written. Read him for the first time.
    Best advice I can give you is “Don’t let the old manin”.
    This will keep you going for many more years.
    Stay safe Stay Healthy.

  36. J Thomas says:

    Congratulations on entering your 80th orbit around our thermonuclear fireball.

    Thanks for this piece on Shaikh Farid. Glad to hear that a town is named after him.

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