An epitome of religious syncretism and Hindu-Muslim harmony, social cohesion and communal integration, Amir Khusrau, closest disciple of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia, is known as one of the founders of the Hindustani language — Hindi or Hindavi. Khusrau’s teachings in form of his Persian and Avadhi poetry stressed the pluralistic Indo-Islamic tradition. Born in 653, Khusrau was a spiritually inclined poet right from his childhood. But his avid inner devotion was satiated only when he could become the disciple of his murshid (spiritual guide) Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia.
Apart from the different Persian forms of poetry like rubaee and masnavi, Khusrau preferred the indigenous poetry in Hindi, Hindavi and Avadhi languages. His dohas often paint a lyrical miniature such as the one which he composed after the death of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia. Translated to English: The fair beauty sleeps in the bed, hairs fallen to her face Khusrau, go home, evening has set in every direction.
Most remarkably, in his dohas and masnavis, Khusrau popularised the Sufi notion of unity of the existence — Wahdatul Wajud — which draws parallel to the Vedanta philosophy of advaita. Like the Vedanta philosophy of advaita, the essence of Sufi doctrine of Wahdat-ul-Wujud is also universal. It exemplifies whatever exists in the universe as an aspect of divine reality diffused through different things. Thus, advaita and Wahdatul Wajud are two expressions of the only one essence.
Khusrau advanced the harmonious values of the Indian culture with his focus on Khidmat-e-Khalq — service to mankind — a humane notion conceived by his master Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia. He also promulgated the practice of sulh-e-kul. He stated: “Almighty holds dear those who love Him for the sake of human beings, and those who love human beings for the sake of Almighty.” As Nizamuddin’s closest disciple, Amir Khusrau beautifully articulated his Murshid’s philosophy of Sulh-e-Kul in his Persian poetry:
Kafir-e-ishqam musalmani mura darkaar neest;
Har rag-e man taar gashta hajat-e zunnaar neest.
I am a pagan in my worship of love: I do not need the creed (of Muslims); Every vein of mine has become taunt like a wire, I do not need the (Hindu) girdle. Khusrau’s poetry and musical innovation continue to be part of the soul of Hindustani music.