The Birth, The Antecedents and The Family
Bhagawaan Gopinath Ji was
born on the auspicious Friday, the 19th Har, 1955 (Bikrami), corresponding to
3rd July, 1898 AD at Bhanamohalla, Srinagar (Kashmir), in one of the most highly
esteemed Bhan families of the Kashmiri Pandit community.
Bhagawaan Ji's grandfather was Shri Lachhman Joo Bhan,
a Wazu Wazaarat (the equivalent of a Deputy Commissioner of these days) in the
Dogra regime in the princely State of Jammu and Kashmir.
His father, Pandit Naraayan Joo Bhan, did the pashmina
wool business. He was spiritually very advanced and devoted most of his time to
religious pursuits. He gave up his ancestral home and other possessions in
favour of his stepmother.
Bhagawaan Ji's mother, Shrimati Haara Maalee, was a
very pious lady. She was the only daughter of Pt Prasaad Joo Paarimoo, a saint
whom people used to call Zada Bharata. He had no issue and adopted a son.
Shortly after, while in samaadhi at the Kshir Bhawaani Shrine at Tulamula, he
had a vision of Shri Raajnaa Bhagavati, who chided him for having adopted a son,
as She Herself was taking birth in his house. Soon after, was born to him a
daughter who was destined to be Bhagawaan Ji's mother.
According to Shri J.P. Paarimoo, a flrst cousin of
Bhagawaan Ji from the mother's side, Pt Prasaad Joo Paarimoo was a co-disciple
of Swaami Anand Ji of Jamanagari, Shopian. Kashmir. 'Satsang' was held as a
matter of routine at his house. His second daughter, Zapri Dedi, lost her
husband at the very early age of thirteen. She was initiated by her father into
japa-yoga and progressed well on the spiritual path, being recognised as a saint
when she was around fifty.
Bhagawaan Ji's maternal uncle, Pt Bhagawaan Dass
Paarimoo, was a devotee of the Divine Mother in her Shaarikaa Bhagawati form. He
performed every day the parikrarnaa of Haari Parvat, the abode of Shri Shaarikaa.
'He would be back home at dawn. De- silting the holy spring at Pokhribal (at the
foot of Haari Parvat) once or twice a year was a regular practice. Gopinath was
the man to descend into the spring and perform the laborious work of removing
the mud, the accumulaled rotten flowers and other things which had settled at
the bottom of the spring because of the indiscriminate offerings of the devotees
to the spring. An annual yajna was performed at Pokhribal. Sat-sang, and the
teaching of the various scriptures like Yoga Vaashishtha was a regular feature
of our domestic routine'.
Bhagawaan Ji had two brothers. The one elder to him was
called Pt Govind Joo Bhan, He was an employee in the Customs and Excise
Department, and died in 1946 AD. He was a bachelor and maintained Bhagawaan Ji.
His younger brother, Pt Jia Lal, was a draftsman in the State PWD and had been
adopted in a family of the Kaaks living at Sathu, Srinagar. He was married but
had no issue. He, too, was spiritually very advanced and very liberal towards
saadhus and the poor. He passed away in 1964 AD.
Bhagawaan Ji had two sisters. The sister elder to him,
Shrimati Deva Maali, was widowed at an early age after giving birth to two
daughters. It was her tender care that sustained Bhagawaan Ji during the period
of his rigorous saadhanaa. She remained with him for a major portion of his
life, taking care of his food, clothing and so on. She died in 1965 AD. She had
two daughters. The elder one, Shfimati Kamalaa Ji, died after giving birth to a
son and two daughters. It was in her house that Bhagawaan Ji lived for about
eleven years at Chondapora, and gave up the gross body. Shrimati Dev Mali's
younger daughter, Chaandaa Ji, is alive. Before Bhagawaan Ji moved to the house
of Kamalaa Ji, he lived in her house for about ten years at Rishi Mohalla,
Srinagar. She served him very well during this period and also when he lived at
Rangteng, Srinagar (1930-37) during the period of his intense saadhanaa.
Bhagawaan Ji's younger sister, Shrimati Jaanaki Devi,
was widowed at an early age after giving birth to two sons and two daughters.
She, too, used to serve him on specific occasions and was very much devoted to