I have heard and seen this song on TV in India and did not pay much attention to it. I recently stumbled on Karmatube which opened my eyes to Bulleh Shah, the Sufi poet who wrote this.
Bulleh Shah was a Sufi poet who lived in Pakistan from 1680 to 1758. His given name was Abdullah Shah, Bulleh was a nickname and it is the name he chose to use as a poet. Bulleh traveled to Lahore in search of a Murshid(Master). He found Hazrat Shah Inayat, a well-known Qadiri Sufi and gardener by profession. He asked Inayat, “I wish to know how to realize God.” Inayat Shah replied, “What is the problem in finding God? One only needs to be uprooted from here and replanted there.” Inayat graced Bulleh with the secret of spiritual insight and the Knowledge of God.
Bulleh Shah’s poetry reflects a turbulent period in Punjab history and highlights his mystical spiritual journey. He is critical of those in power – intellectuals, academicians and religious authorities – who put obstacles in the way of the common people in discovering the love of God.
Sufism has produced a multitude of saints, Bulleh Shah is arguably one of the greatest Sufi saints and Punjabi poets. His tomb is in Qasur (Pakistan).
Tear down the mosque and temple too, break all that divides
But do not break the human heart as it is there that God resides.
– Bulleh Shah