Home > General Knowledge and Information, Religion > Bullah Ki Janna – I know not who I am

Bullah Ki Janna – I know not who I am


Bulla Ki Janna, a kafi written by Sufi Saint Bulleh Shah (1680 to 1758), from Kasur, (now in Pakistan), is a great aesthetic, spiritual and metaphysical composition.
This is a great, inspirational kafi which has always indulged a divine thought in me. I have always looked for it’s good translation and tried to translate it, but could not do it better. Recently I found it and I am pasting it after a bit of pruning.

Bulla ki jaana main kaun
[Bulla! I know not who I am]
Bulla ki jaana main kaun
[Bulla! I know not who I am]
Na main moman vich maseetan
[Nor am I the believer in mosque]
Na main vich kufar dian reetan
[Nor am I in the rituals of the infidel]
Na main pakan vich paleetan
[Nor am I the pure in the impure]
Na main andar bed kitaban
[Nor am I inherent in the Vedas]
Na main rehnda phaang sharaban
[Nor am I present in intoxicants]
Na main rehnda mast kharaban
[Nor am I lost nor the corrupt]
Na main shadi na ghamnaki
[Nor am I union nor grief]
Na main vich paleetan pakeen
[Nor am I intrinsic in the pure/impure]
Na main aaabi na main khaki
[Nor am I of the water nor of the land]
Na main aatish na main paun
[Nor am I fire nor air]
Bulla ki jaana main kaun
[Bulla! I know not what I am]
Na main arabi na lahori
[Nor am I Arabic nor from Lahore]
Na main hindi shehar Nagaori
[Nor am I the Indian City of Nagaur]
Na hindu na turk pashauri
[Nor a Hindu nor a Peshawri turk]
Na main bhet mazhab de paya
[Nor did I create the difference of faith]
Na main aadam hawwa jaya
[Nor did I create adam-eve]
Na koi apna naam dharaya
[Nor did I name myself]
Avval aakhar aap nu jana
[Beginning or end I know just the self]
Na koi dooja hor pacchana
[Do not acknowledge duality]
Mai ton na koi hor syana
[There’s none wiser than I]
Bulle shah kharha hai kaun
[Who is this Bulla Shah]
Bulla ki jaana main kaun
[Bulla! I know not who I am]
Bulla ki jaana main kaun
[Bulla! I know not who I am]
Na main moosa na pharoah
[Nor am I Moses nor Pharoah]
Na main aatish na main paun
[Nor am I fire nor wind]
Na main rahnda vich Nadaun
[I do not stay in Nadaun (city of innocents)]
Bulle shah kharha hai kaun
[Bullashah, who is this man standing?]
Bulla ki jaana main kaun
[Bulla! I know not who I am]
Bulla ki jaana main kaun
[Bulla! I know not who I am]

  1. Tosueef Liaqat
    September 15, 2006 at 6:09 am

    Great Kafi.

  2. October 3, 2006 at 2:00 pm

    wow.. great

    • October 25, 2015 at 8:40 am

      this is great then when u understand it. my dear i do research of other religions and then tell him/her that it is true or not.

  3. Isra
    January 24, 2007 at 7:22 am

    Im still confused about the first line. it says ‘Bulla ki janna mein kaun’, wouldnt that translate as ‘Bulla, why know who i am’? like he is questioning – what is the point of knowing who i am?

    if you could help me out it would be great! thanks

    • simran
      April 25, 2010 at 2:46 pm

      my friend , it is “ki” instead of “Kyon”
      ki implies the state of not knowing
      and kyon means why which implies ignorance & it can not be assigned to man like bulle shah

      • August 27, 2016 at 1:22 pm

        Thanks a lot for this ,me too had this problem_it’s helping.

  4. February 13, 2007 at 10:19 pm

    Thats wicked poetry i love it.
    to isra
    Strange cause i thought if you actually read it in urdu/punjabi and then translate properly in english, it would mean
    “Bullah doesnt know who i am” or “what does bullah know who i am”
    however its the word to word translation that has been done above which makes it confusing.

    • Younus Saleem Wani
      December 13, 2015 at 6:26 pm

      Bulle shah is great poet, no one can compete him in poetry.
      I am non Punjabi person but many a time asked my Punjabi friends to translate the song ‘ bulle ki Jana mein kon’ but my Punjabi friends were not able to translate this song for me up to my level of satisfaction.
      Hereby as the first line is concerned, therein Bulle Shah talks to his inner soul and asks to himself ‘I know not who I am’.
      The discrimination made among the people of this world on the basis of religion, caste, race etc., confuses a man to know who he is on the basis of such man made discriminations and may b this concept Bulle Shah tried to impart in this song.

  5. saurabh
    March 15, 2007 at 1:17 pm

    godd 2 find my city`s name in this gr8 song.i am frm NAGPUR

    • KJ
      December 2, 2014 at 9:14 pm

      It’s Nagaur. Not Nagpur!

  6. Arizona Home Equity Loan Ohio#
    April 18, 2007 at 12:05 am

    Nice! We very enjoyed your site .

  7. rajiiv
    July 16, 2007 at 3:02 pm

    What a fantastic translation. One song to unite all religions and very deep in eaning.

    • SB
      January 25, 2010 at 5:55 am

      Why is it difficult for Desis to enjoy something for what it is? Why this eagerness to use anything and everything beautiful to “unite all religions”? Is it that difficult to just simply enjoy?

      • vk
        May 3, 2010 at 7:52 pm

        Why does it burn your blood when people express liking for a beautiful poem?

  8. rabinder
    July 28, 2007 at 11:27 am

    in these lines bulleh means to say that there is nothing as mine or yours. We exist with each others support so he canot define himself as belonging to anything in particular in other words life is universal.
    Bulleh ki jaana ma kaun gives us the feeling that he was a selfless man and one line says that besides all this dont mistake me to be innocent(naadan)

  9. Joe Tareen
    November 1, 2007 at 3:56 am

    “Bulla Ki Janna Me kaun?”
    I believe he is asking himself what we would call in Western philosophy an Existentialist question. Please correct me if I am wrong but the word “Atish” is Seraiki not Punjabi. I think this is not a Punjabi poetry rather Seraiki.

    • irfan ashraf
      June 3, 2016 at 2:20 pm

      Na main Aatish Na main Paun;;;;
      Aatish is a hindi word, mean fire and Paun is rain

  10. lanumenla
    January 25, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    its a great lyrics…i loved it so much. Actually i was trying to download the song but i couldn’t get it because i don’t know the singer’s name nor the title of the song. Can anybody help me??? i am desperate to have the song. Thank you!!!!

  11. February 23, 2008 at 10:37 am

    I like and I very love the poetry of baba bulle shah………….

  12. February 23, 2008 at 10:39 am

    wow I like it………

  13. April 21, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    Amazing 😛

  14. May 13, 2008 at 7:28 am

    Bulleh shah is great and his poetry is real and True.

  15. pc
    July 7, 2008 at 5:14 am

    poem as a song

  16. Keerti
    August 16, 2008 at 3:08 am

    Definitely agree that its a touching song with touching lyrics…yet, as a Hindu, I sorta feel offended by the following line: “Nor am I in the rituals of the infidel”

    Makes me wonder that if the great Bulla Shah was so religion neutral then why call any religion, specifically Hinduism, a religion of infidels?

    • Amit Vyas
      November 21, 2013 at 7:55 pm

      Oh Keerthi, If you want to get offended so easily, you will never find stable peace.. Please reduce your sensitivity… Did you or me or parents decide to be born a Hindu/Muslim.. Why bother about a random phenomena.. Be good.. Love all.. Region that divides will not lead you to God.. because god loves everyone equally.. Ram, Allah, Jesus, Nanak, Raman Maharshi, Shirdi Sai are all synonyms.. so I am happy when someone says Allah is great and equally when they say Rama is great.. I know by whatever name I call him, he knows and he loves me back..

      • KJ
        December 2, 2014 at 9:14 pm

        And in this case infidel is being referred to as a “Non-Believer”.

      • October 25, 2015 at 8:33 am

        my dear there are many religions in the world but GOD made religions are four in which islam is the last religion of ALLAH .my dear the other religions are rejected due to some old persons whose did addition in their books to enjoy their life according to thier own wishes.and now u can herself observe that chirstains in usa and uk don”t marry and do sex.even the wisdom urge donot do this deed. but they do.

      • October 25, 2015 at 8:38 am

        Why so Many Religions?

        If there is only one God, then why are there so many religions?

        All religions originated with Allah and then people began to add or take away from the teachings so as to take control over each other.

        This day, those who disbelieved have given up all hope of your religion, so fear them not, but fear Me. This day, I have perfected your religious Way of life for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you to surrender and submit to me in peace as your religious way of life..
        [Noble Quran 5:3]

        Allah does not force anyone to submit to Him. He has laid out a clear path and then made it known to them the two ways (Heaven or Hell). The person is always free to make his or her own choice.

        There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the Right Path has become distinct from the wrong path. Whoever disbelieves in taghut (false gods and false worship) and believes in Allah, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break. And Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower.
        Allah is the Wali (Protector or Guardian) of those who believe. He brings them out from darkness into light. But as for those who disbelieve, their Auliya (supporters and helpers) are Taghut [false gods and false worship.], they bring them out from light into darkness. Those are the dwellers of the Fire, and they will remain there forever.
        [Noble Quran 2:256-257]

        There is no compulsion in the way of “Islam.” Whoever chooses to worship Allah without partners and is devoted to Him and is obeying His commands as much as possible has grasped the firm handhold that will never break. Whoever denies God and chooses some other way to worship or not to believe at all, for them there is an eternal punishment that is most horrible (Hell).

        People began to separate into different groups due to their rejection of truth and denial of clear proofs becoming evident to them from their Lord.

        And the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) differed not amongst themselves until after clear evidence came to them.
        And they were not commanded anything more than this; to worship Allah, alone (without making partners with Him in worship) and establish regular devotional prayers and pay the charity due to the poor; and this is the correct Way (way of life and religion). [Noble Quran 98:4-5]

        Allah warns the Muslims not to fall into the same trap as the people before them, by disputing with each other and separating into different religious groups:

        And be not as those who divided and differed among themselves after the clear proofs had come to them. It is they for whom there is an awful torment.
        On the Day (i.e. the Day of Resurrection) when some faces will become white and some faces will become black; as for those whose faces will become black (to them will be said): “Did you reject Faith after accepting it? Then taste the torment (in Hell) for rejecting Faith.” [Noble Quran 3:105-106]

        People lied about the revelations, changed their scriptures and abused and even murdered the prophets whom Allah sent to them.

        And verily, among them is a party who distort the Book with their tongues (as they read), so that you may think it is from the Book, but it is not from the Book, and they say: “This is from Allah,” but it is not from Allah; and they speak a lie against Allah while they know it.
        It is not (possible) for any human being to whom Allah has given the Book and Al-Hukma (the knowledge and understanding of the laws of religion, etc.) and Prophethood to say to the people: “Be my worshippers rather than Allah’s.” On the contrary (he would say): “Be you Rabbaniyun (learned men of religion who practice what they know and also preach others), because you are teaching the Book, and you are studying it.” [Noble Quran 3:78-79]

        Prophets of Allah only ask people to worship Allah, as One God without partners. They would never ask people to worship them or anyone or anything else. Allah tells us in the Quran:

        Nor would he (a messenger of Allah) order you to take angels and Prophets for lords (gods). Would he order you to disbelieve after you have submitted to Allah’s Will?
        [Noble Quran 3:80]

        Man made religions are an abomination before the Lord and will never be accepted.

        Do they seek other than the religious way of life of Allah (the true Islamic Monotheism worshipping none but Allah Alone), while to Him submitted all creatures in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly. And to Him shall they all be returned. [Noble Quran 3:83] reason is giving u. think before do and this is true or not.

    • Younus Saleem Wani
      December 13, 2015 at 6:48 pm

      @ keerti
      Bulle Shah the religion neutral poet has nowhere said Hinduism a religion of infidel. I think you interpret the word ‘kufur’ wrongly. This word does not reflect any particular religion but all those people who are not believers in a particular or major religion.
      Hope that you will read and analyse the line once again.

  17. abdul mannan chattha
    December 27, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    excellent myth…..gr8 superb
    only 1 with a vision can get dat.simply beautiful

  18. vartik aghi
    June 9, 2009 at 5:19 am

    koooolllll dude>>>>
    what a beatifulsong>>>

  19. Munir
    August 11, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    this is a GREAT service you have done to all the lovers of Sufi poets. You did this effort in 2006, please could you continue this great service translating the famous kafis of great Sufi poets? i am using this piece to arouse interest amongst the younger generation regarding Sufism and Sufi poets.

    August 24, 2009 at 10:10 am

    indeed baba bulhe shah is a great mystic poet of pakistan.his kafi ‘kee janan men koun’ is also a wonderful creation.this also teaches us that there is no room amongst us for any kind of hatred either for muslim or hindu or any other religion whatever is it.not like talibani islam.



  21. Sumit Verma
    November 27, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    this song expresses the euphoric state of a man where he finds himself in this world of religions (mazhab) and he does does not find himself in any materialistic aspects neitheir in religion nor as a man bound to any worldly rituals…… Its truly mystique poem where a person asks god Bulleh Shah.

  22. SB
    January 25, 2010 at 5:56 am

    This is a great translation – Thank you!! I would never have learnt about Bulleh Shah had it not been for the songs sung by Junoon and the other Singer (forget his name – sorry).


  23. owais
    July 12, 2010 at 9:57 am

    wow…..i am really impressed..see the beautiful lyrics of baba bulleh shaha…..jai ho.

  24. May 8, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Great translation 😀 of a sublime piece.. but I think you missed a line:

    “na main jaagon na vich saaun” (which probably would translate to “nor am I awake, nor asleep”) just after the line “Na main moosa na pharoah”

  25. Sundas
    August 27, 2012 at 1:21 am

    “Na main paakaan vich paleet aan”
    does not mean “Nor am I the pure in the impure”
    It means: “I am not in the pure or the impure”

    • July 8, 2016 at 9:24 am

      You are always good in ” correction ” ….

  26. Shubham
    October 5, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    awesome man….now that i understand it… i just love it….

  27. Ahmed sadaf
    April 20, 2013 at 6:44 am

    i know not who i am, based upon reality we realy don’t know about ourself and go on calling Muslim, hindu , jew , christ etc. Its fact that man is mysterious and we can’t predict even about our own next act.

  28. October 27, 2013 at 8:12 am

    Na main shadi na ghamnaki
    [Nor am I Happy nor in grief]
    shadi means happy too which fits more in this context

  29. Piyush
    March 30, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Thank u very much for this translation…

  30. SND
    May 3, 2014 at 1:28 am

    It’s a wonderful song and thank you for doing the translation.

    • October 25, 2015 at 8:15 am

      the purpose of writting this kalam is that u find out true religion which connect u to God. my dear if u says Bullah Shah is true man of GOD then u should followw BUllah shah religion.and u should extract himself/herself from infidelety. as all belive that E=mc^2 which is better explain in holly quran in surahh maraj

  31. April 23, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    I love this song.! I was actually finding lyrics and proper translation for my post on the song and I found your post (how crazy is that!) Thank you so much for writing this. =)

  32. April 16, 2016 at 9:05 am


  33. Shashi
    April 14, 2017 at 10:45 am

    Came to know of this great man & his poetry via Rabbi Shergill who converted that into a beautiful song. But it was the lyrics that made the song. Think Shergill must have closed his eyes & gone back in time & inside the head of Bulleh Shah. Only then you can come up with a befitting music.

    .. classless.. timeless..

    • Aqsa Mahmood
      April 15, 2017 at 4:30 pm

      good job.

  34. shee
    May 30, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    Haran , I feel I can hear his agony and longing for the truth. It touched my heart 🙂 Thank you for sharing the translation.

  35. smriti gautam
    November 11, 2017 at 5:35 am

    Excellent translation. Happy to get one here.

  1. April 23, 2015 at 6:22 pm

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