Nund Reshi: Bio-Data
and Background Information
Reshi was the founder and most popular saint of the Reshi cult of Kashmir.
Whereas Hindu scholars call him Sahazanand because of his Hindu ancestry,
but of -late muslim theologists describe him as Noor-ud -Din Noorani or Sheikh-ul
-Alam (the light of religion and the Sheikh of the world). But
as the darling of all Kashmiris, irrespective of caste and creed, and as
per his own repeated reference, as Nunda he was endearingly called Nund Reshi. His pious memory still continues to be cherished by this nomenclature.
according to records, is traced to the Thakur Rajputs of Ujain where from
they are said to have migrated to the Kishtwar township of Jammu and settled
there. Later, after their banishment from Kishtwar, his parents, Salar
Sonz and Sadara (later called Sadar Moaj) crossed into the Kashmir Valley
and finally settled in a village of Kulgam Tehsil called Khehygam Jagipora.
Nund Reshi was born in this village but brought up in another village of
the same tehsil, called Mynoh Katymukh.
of June 1991 records his original name as Nanda, according to what it says
was the saints own statement One of his shruks, quoted elsewhere in this
book, confirms this fact. His father Salar Sonz, took up the job of a night
watchman. On his usual rounds of the village, one night he is said to have
overheard a conversation between a childless hindu saintly couple:-----
we are getting old and we have no child, I wonder what'll happen to us
when we become weaker and weaker with the growing age.
God is with
us, dear, why do you worry prematurely?
of us when we are too weak to earn our livelihood. What if, we fall ill.?
God is merciful, almighty and all providing, if one of us dies, who'll
look after the other, think about our precarious condition, Swami Ji ?
Pray, do something."
I have had a strange dream last night, it revealed that early before dawn
tomorrow, two exquisite bouquets of flowers will bloom out of the nearby
spring, one after the other, it is a good augury"
Swami Ji ? How can it be a good augury for us ? interrupted his wife.
who sees, smells and picks the first bunch of flowers before the other
bunch grows up, will give birth to a son who will turn out to be a great
saint. Any woman who spots, smells and carries away the other bunch will
get another son who will also become a saint."
conversation, Salar Sonz cut short his nightly rounds and rushed back home.
He apprised his wife Sadra Moaj of the Sadhu's dream, forecasting the birth
of two saints. Salar Sonz accompanied Sadra Moaj immediately to the Spring.
They remained awake there till the appearance of first bunch of flowers.
No sooner did
the beautiful flowers shoot up above the surface of the spring water than
Sadra Moaj waded in sniffed it and carried it home.
the Sadhu's wife went there, she got only the second bunch, both
gave birth to a son each in due course. The former grew to become the peoples
darling saint, known by different names, Sahazanand Noor-Ud--Din Noorani,
Sheikh-ul-Alam and popularly as Nund Reshi.
became Buma Reshi of Bumzoo village, a kilometre away from Mattan township
in Anantnag tehsil
by parents of Nunda and the neighbours to feed the infant were resisted
by the new-born. The struggle continued for three days. The parents felt
dejected and dismayed.
Then, all of
a sudden, Lalleshwari (Lal Ded) happened to enter the room she took the
infant in her lap, kissed him, put him on to her own teets and whispered
the following into his ear :-
If thou were
not ashamed of
Why are thee
The baby is
stated to have responded immediately and behaved as a normal baby.
he seems to have preferred to wait for a spiritual feed prior to physical
nourishment as preordained. Nothing but spirituality was practiced by him
all through his life. As expected Nund Reshi lived a life of complete self-abnegation
and renunciation, feeding purely on a meagre, vegetarian diet, herbs or
a cup of milk, if and whenever offered to him by the village women.
spent a full twelve years in meditation inside a cave at Khimoh where (according
to M.L.Saqi's Edited ''Kuliyat-i-Sheikh-Ul-Alam,'' 1985 and, A.
Majoor's thesis, Nund Reshi) he is said to have written a 2,500 verse life
story of Gautam Buddha. But, only three verses of this are said to be existent.
The story is said to have been translated into Persian by a bilingual sanskrit
There is much
confusion among scholars about the precise dates of birth and death of
both Lal Ded and Nund Reshi They are, however, agreed on the contemporay
nature of Lal Ded, Nund Reshi and Budshah' i. e. 14th and 15th centuries,
Nund Reshi's poem quoted by G.N Gowhar in his book 'Sheikh Noor-ud-Din'
records only the life span of 65 years, without mentioning any dates. However,
S/Shri Amin Kamil, Saqi, Majboor, Ganhar, Pushap, Rehbar and Bamzai and T.N. Kaul Joumalist could be trusted with the work of removing the confusion.
Some writers record only of the two dates while others age only.
bird's eye-view of the dates by modern scholars brought upto date, (as
given in the table below) may facilitate their further research work:
up to date by
Behind the Vale
Poem quoted by G.N Gowhar
of Art, Clture & Languages
1. Nund Reshi's
age, according to his poem and as calculated from Sahaz Quosum is the same
ie 65 years.
2. Again according
to Sahaz Quasum the year Lalleshwari's death, and year of birth of Nund
Reshi coincide though they evidently were contemporaries for quite some
pithy saying 'Food will last as long as forests last" is a clear indication
of his innate foresight and intuitive knowledge. He uttered these words
six centuries ago even before the present concept of ecological balance
was born and the U. N. Plans turned into hectic efforts for maintaining
the environmental balance and upholding the eco-system. This conclusion
however, does not and should not be misunderstood to mean any disregard
for such earlier knowledge or practices whatsoever, and wherever they might
have existed even much before that time.
For Nund Reshi,
as for others, forests temperate the climate, help cool the atmosphere
and maintain the parabolic cycle of water, clouds, rain and snow, rivers,
lakes and oceans. For him the forests and the undergrowth check the rapid
flow of rain water down the slopes, enabling it to seep in, only to reappear
in the form of springs elsewhere. They make the snows melt gradually by
regelation, keeping them clod and frozen and thus, ensuring a regular supply
of water all the year round.
Thus they help
in irrigation and food production and other modern medical, industrial
and technological pursuits.
Thus as the
saint-poet conveys in his important message, that cultivation and supply
of good material, so essential for the existence of life, depend on plants
of which forests are a part. If the forest areas are denuded gushing rain
waters would erode the slopes and soft areas. Much land would be lost and
also the grain
Hence the truth
of the saint's pithy saying
Born in rural
atmosphere six hundred years ago Nund Reshi while giving a sermon to the
village folk, cautioned them, on moral and ethical grounds, against damages
to or destruction of plants in general and herbal plants in particular.
For he is believed to have pointed out that plants are living things which
are born, grow and die in due course. He says:
"Let us avoid
harming plants in any way as far as possible. Let us not unnecessarily
trample over green grass. For, each plant has a purpose in life and use
The rural folk,
took no time to understand the true purport of the sermon. But they seem
to have been quick to point out to the saint that they were squatting on
the green turf which had lost its lush greenery and turned dull whitish
under the pressure of their body weight and deprivation of light and air.
the truth of their argument, Nund Reshi is believed to have sat on a big
rock in meditation for twelve years, thus accepting the verdict of the
people as an unparalleled democrat and a botanist by instinct. The honour
of being an instinctive democrat and botanist of Kashmir goes to him indeed.