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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Panun Kashmir

Milchar

Symbol of Unity

 
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Chapter XII
Giving up the Gross Body

Bhagawaan Ji gave up the gross body on 28th May, 1968 AD (corresponding to Jyeshta Shukla Dvitiyaa) at 5.45 p.m. Many people, who had intended to have his darshana on that day and about that time, including his younger sister (his elder sister having passed away in the year 1965) could not come, for this or that reason. This was probably so as he did not wish to be disturbed, while giving up his gross body. Only three people, including the present writer, were in his room at that time.

On that fateful morning, he, as usual, washed his face, tied his turban, put on a tilak and reclined on his left side. Some people had come to see him, though their exact number is not known. My youngest son, who had come from outside Kashmir, went to pay respects to him at about 2 p.m. Bhagawaan Ji blessed him, saying that he would pass the final Engineering Examination in the first division, would get a job soon after, and also be married outside Kashmir. Then he gave him an unusually large quantity of prashaad. The prophecy came true subsequently.

At about 3 p.m., three saadhus came and Bhaga waan Ji threw his cloth purse towards one of his devotees asking him to pay them Re. l /- each. This was done. He then had a few puffs at his chillum, though he felt difficulty in smoking. A devotee, Shri Badri Nath Kaul Khudabali started making tea for him but Bhagawaan Ji said, 'We shall not take tea any more.' He then remained in samaadhi till 5.30 p.m., when he asked for water, and was helped to drink about a tumbler of sugared water. At 5.45 p.m., he uttered 'Om namah Shivaaya' in a low voice, and looked around with infinite love towards those present. He then closed his eyes and all was over. At this time, his eyes had developed some sort of aura, particularly his left eye which had also got a little enlarged. A doctor was called in and he confirmed the cessation of all the functions of the body.

Soon the tragic news spread and people started thronging the room. The ground-floor compound and the lane leading to the house were filled with the mourners. Some people wailed as if they had lost their father; others mourned the loss of their guardian angel and benefactor, and said that all hope had gone out of their lives as there was none left to look after their welfare. Some said the prospect of their future was bleak.

Many people poured spoonfuls of water into his mouth as the last drink offered to the departed soul; although advised not to do so, they persisted, failing to comprehend the meaning of his cryptic words, 'Amar chhaa maraan) i.e. 'Does what is immortal die?'

Some men of wisdom explained to the people present that even after the death of the physical body, he lives, in his sat-chit-aananda form and, being immortal, he will be ever present with them and continue to guide them not only in reaching the higher realms of spirituality but even in their worldly pursuits. We have to look for him within us with dispassion in our hearts, love for all creatures and malice for none, and we will find him. This has been confirmed since, as some people have seen him in a trance in a transcendental form, and others in dreams with a smile on his face and a look of compassion. Bhagawaan Ji's marble statue, installed at the Ashram established for the purpose, where prayers are held morning and evening, has become a sacred place of pilgrimage and inspiration to many saadhakas and laymen, who get peace of mind there and whose worldly aspirations also are fulfilled.

Regarding the rites, an altercation ensued between his devotees and blood relations. The latter wanted the regular kriyaa ceremonies to be performed, arguing that even Lord Raama had done so, while the devotees contended that Bhagawaan Ji, being a jivan mukta, kriyaa was not necessary for him. However, his sister and some other relatives had the upper hand and kriyaa ceremonies were performed for the first twelve days and, later, during the rest of the year at intervals, according to the Karma Kaanda rites, by his sister's grandson; he was regarded as having been adopted by Bhagawaan Ji, who had invested him with the sacred thread. During the first twelve days, all those who called were fed.

In the park adjacent to the house, where Bhagawaan Ji had lived for the last eleven years of his life, about 5,000 devotees had already gathered. The coffin, containing the sacred mortal remains and draped in shawls and bedecked with flowers, was carried to the park at about 12.30 p.m. on 29th May, 1968. All present there offered an aarti to it. Then the funeral procession proceeded slowly towards the Karan Nagar cremation ground.

The procession swelled enroute and people showered flowers from balconies and windows on the coffin. By the time the procession reached the cremation ground, there were above 20,000 people from all communities. Such a large gathering of people had never been seen in the cremation ground in the living memory. Most of them broke up into bhajan mandalis and satsang parties; others were too depressed to do anything and kept just sitting. It was a very touching sight. The Nirvaana rites were started by the pundits at about 5 p.m. and concluded at about 10 p.m. when the holy mortal remains were laid on the pyre which was then lit. The holy ashes were collected a few days later and immersed at Shadipore, a place about ten miles from Srinagar at the confluence of the Jehlum and the Sindh river. A part of the ashes was preserved. It was immersed in the Gangaa at Haridwaar about seven months later.

The man incharge at the cremation ground said that he had never seen a purusha (Atlas vertebra) remaining intact and in perfect shape after cremation as in the case of Bhagawaan Ji, although the former had cremated numerous bodies so far. He showed the purusha to all present at the time of the collection of the ashes.

Swami Nand Lal Ji, a saint of Kashmir, said metaphorically, with tears in his eyes on the day of Bhagawaan Ji's passing away, that Kashmir was being rocked by an earthquake and that a huge burden had been placed on his shoulders that day.

Four or five days earlier, Swami Ji, with a devotee of his and of his own accord, went to a place adjacent to Bhagawaan Ji's residence. Looking towards a window of Bhagawaan Ji's room he started weeping and said, Why is he going away and placing such a heavy burden of responsibility on my shoulders?' Swami Ji got the room, where Bhagawaan Ji had lived and the route of the funeral procession bedecked with banners. He himself took his seat (as he could not walk) on one of the windows of the room to watch the procession.

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