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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Panun Kashmir

Milchar

Symbol of Unity

 
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Introduction

India, the home of sages and savants for centuries past, heir to one of the oldest civilizations in the world, temple of inspiration for the seekers of the truth and spiritual knowledge, is now a witness to cataclysmic changes within itself. The society that is taking birth is sans the roots which helped to sustain it, when avalanches swept away many other civilizations in the past. Soon enough, we may find ourselves rudderless and enslaved, 1ike the West, to the cult of materialism, unless we make positive efforts to arrest and reverse this new, apparently tempting, though dangerous, trend. We must re-discover ourselves and recapture our lost values and faith in the Almighty, the Universal Aatman who sustains and controls the destiny of the World.

Apart from the avataaras, Shri Rama, Shri Krishna, the Buddha and Shri Mahaavira, India gave birth to a galaxy of saints, who played a notable part in raising the moral standards and blazing the trail for God-realization in a manner suited to the times they lived in. What the saints preached and practiced conformed to the basic tenets of our scriptures, but dogmatic ritualism was, to a large extent, eliminated. Because of their super-sensory perception, saints may be regarded as supermen working in all dimensions and can, therefore, guide us, three-dimensional beings, much better on the paths of God-realization and our journey through life.

The names of the illustrious saints like Guru Nanak, Kabir, Mirabaai, Tuka Ram, Ram Dass, Chaitanya, Ramakirshna Parmahansa, Vivekananda, Aurobindo Ghosh, Sai Baba and Chaturbhuja Sahai come instantly to mind. Kashmir, too, was fortunate in having a galaxy of saints like Lalleshwari, Roopa Bhavaani, Sheikh Noor-ud-Din, Zaina Shah, Reshipir, Zai Kaak (Zanaana Zoi), Jeewan Sahib, Mirza Kaak, Aatma Raam ji, Lasa Sahib, Swaami Sona Kaak, Aftab Koul, Aanand Ji, Kailas Koul, Raam Ji (Shaiva philosopher), Zana Kaak Tufchi, Prasad Joo Sahib, Chandra Kaak Buchru, Sahib Koul, Shyaam Sunder Koul, Manas Razdan, Maana Kaak Goja, Kaakaa Ji, Gana Mole, Sobur Sheikh and Trihgam Baba. Some of these were karma yogis and actively participated in moulding the destiny of Kashmir. Saint-hood was a regular institution and people flocked to saints. Some people sought spiritual solace (advancement) but a larger number went to them to seek the fulfillment of mundane desires or to ward off calamities. The situation has changed. Very few good saints are to be seen now-a-days. Perhaps they have gone into seclusion. If you tell a young man that God exists, the chances are that he will scoff at the very idea and, unbelieving, demand of you to show him God on the palm of your hand, i.e., a limited three-dimensional God, perceived with our five senses. All that one can do under the circumstances is to refer him to the saints who know the past and the present, and can predict the future. Their super natural powers may stir up his imagination, and his faith in God may revive.

The institution of sainthood is fast disappearing and in the near future people will be wondering what saints were like and how they lived and behaved. With this background and for the benefit of posterity, I am writing this short biographical sketch of one of the rarest saints of Kashmir of this century, Bhagawaan Gopi Nath Ji who gave up the gross body at the age of about 70 in 1968 AD. People used to call him Bhagawaan Ji or Bub (father) as he had endeared himself to one and all.

I had the unique privilege of being associated with him for the last 22 years of his life. While in Srinagar (7 to 8 months in a year) I used to visit him everyday, sitting before him in humble supplication for 3 to 4 hours, and keenly observe his ways. The facts and events narrated here are those I observed personally or were reported by his relatives or other disciples who knew him relatively closely. From amongst his relatives, most of the information has been given by Pt Gobind Kaul, a companion of Bhagawaan Ji since his early boyhood, Pt Maadhava Joo Sathu, in whose house he lived for about l0 years and his own sister, Shrimati Jaanaki Devi. Much useful information has been collected by Pt Pran Nath Kaul, Pt Shiban Lal Turki and Sister Jai Kishori Ji-all disciples of Bhagawaan Ji. Pt Shankar Nath Zaadu and Pt Gopi Nath Dhar, devotees of Bhagawaan Ji, have also provided very useful information. Pt ShridharJoo Dhar, Pt Gopi Nath Malla. Pt Mohan Kishen Ticku, Pt Shyaam Lal Dhar and Pt J.L. Nehru, though theee ey had limited contacts with him, have also played their part in making this enterprise possible.

As there are few authentic records of the past and the living saints of Kashmir, this biography is published lest we lose memory of the life activities of this great saint of Kashmir also. The subject matter has been divided into fourteen chapters.

Chapter I gives the information about his birth and genealogy in order to maintain an authentic record of them.

Chapter II: As he had to shift residence from place to place on account of the family circumstances in his early life, and later, of his own choosing, the places he lived at and the time he spent at each place, have been given corresponding to his age and the progressive stages in his saadhanaa.

The relevant facts about his education, employment and initiation have been given in Chapter III.

The pilgrimages he went on and a few of his miracles at each place have been given in Chapter IV, to give a connected account of the background of his saadhanaa.

To give an idea of his activities. his daily routine, his dress, food, drink, personal hygiene and fasts etc., have been spoken about in Chapter V.

Chapter VI gives an account of his attitude to marriage and sex. This has a great bearing on the spiritual advancement of saadhakas.

In Chapter VII, his generous nature has been described.

Chapter VIII gives an account of Bhagawaan Ji 's darshana to the general public, his ways Or curing ailments and his attitude to the offerings made to him.

As the places where he stayed are definite landmarks in his life, each period of saadhanaa along with the important events connected therewith are reported in Chapter IX.

Chapter X dwells upon the peculiarities observed in his behavior during the last two years of life.

Chapter XI deals with his giving up the gross body.

Chapter XII deals with some of the miracles performed by him for the good of the country or for some individuals.

Chapter XIII gives a resume of his philosophy.

Chapter XIV deals with his devotees and disciples, past and present.

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