I was Passionate Poem by Lal Ded Summary, Notes and Line by Line Explanation in English for Students


“I was passionate” is a poem written by the 14th-century mystic and poetess, Lal Ded. Although the exact year of the poem’s publication is unknown, it was released in the work  Women in Praise of the Sacred. Published in the year 1994, Lal Ded’s poem was translated by Jane Hirshfielfd. In this poem, Lal Ded describes her spiritual journey towards finding God and attaining unity with Him. 

About the Author 

Lal Ded, also known as Lalleshwari or Lalla, was a 14th-century mystic and poetess from Kashmir, India. She is considered one of the most important and revered figures in the history of Kashmiri literature and spirituality. Lal Ded is often referred to as the “Mystic of Kashmir” or the “Lone Voice of Kashmiri Spirituality.” Her poetry, composed in the form of vatsun or vakhs (verses), is written in the Kashmiri language and reflects a deep engagement with the themes of spiritual awakening, divine love, and the search for ultimate truth. Lal Ded’s verses are marked by their simplicity, yet they convey profound insights into the nature of existence and the path to self-realization. Lal Ded’s spiritual teachings emphasize the universality of divine love, the importance of inner contemplation, and the recognition of the divine within oneself. Her poetry has transcended time and continues to be celebrated for its timeless wisdom and spiritual depth. Although her exact historical details remain elusive, Lal Ded’s impact on Kashmiri literature and spirituality is enduring. Her verses have been translated into various languages, and her legacy lives on as a source of inspiration for seekers of truth and spirituality.


Lal Ded’s poetic teachings are called Vakhs or Lal Vakhs. This poem consists of 8 short lines that are divided into 2 stanzas, each containing 4 lines. In the English version at least, the lines are enjambed. 

Lines 1- 4

I was passionate,

filled with longing,

I searched

far and wide.


The poem starts with the speaker admitting her true feelings to the readers. The speaker expresses an intense passion and longing for a spiritual connection. Filled with a fervour, the speaker embarks on a journey, exploring far and wide, in a pursuit of truth and spiritual fullfilment. 


Here, Lal Ded sets the stage for a profound transformation, and describes her emotional state as she goes on a soul-driven quest. This stanza establishes the themes of passion, spiritual seeking, and the anticipation of a significant encounter with truth, laying the foundation for the subsequent revelations in the poem. The poet also believed that the only way to attain God was through the means of love, whose reflection can be seen in the speaker’s passionate state. Owing to this, one can also interpret erotic undertones in this verse, which are present in Lal Ded’s other poetic works. 

Lines 5-8

But the day 

that the Truthful one 

found me,

I was at home.


Here, the speaker reflects on the day when the “Truthful One” finally found her. Despite her fervent search spanning far and wide, the transformative encounter with truth occurred unexpectedly within the confines of her own home. 


As the Truthful one finds the speaker in her own house, one can see two things. Rather than the speaker finding the divine presence, it is the other way around. Apart from this, although the speaker tried searching for God “far and wide”, at the end of the day, she became united with Him in the comfort of her own home. Thus, this revelation signifies a spiritual homecoming, emphasizing that the ultimate truth and fulfillment are discovered within oneself. This ,in turn, challenges the notion of an external quest for truth, highlighting the importance of the inner journey and the recognition of the divine within one’s own being.