Table of Contents

  Index
  Author
  About the Book
  Dedication
  Preface
  Foreword
  Introduction
  Prologue
  Section One: Lalleshwari (Lalded)
  Section Two: Sheikh Ul-Alam (Nund Reshi)
  Section Three: Parmanand 
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Section Two

Nund Reshi: Bio-Data and Background Information

Nund 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.

His ancestry 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.

Sahaz Quasum 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:-----

"Swami Ji, 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?

What'll become of us when we are too weak to earn our livelihood. What if, we fall ill.?

"Never mind, 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."

"My darling, 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"

What then, Swami Ji ? How can it be a good augury for us ? interrupted his wife.

"Any woman 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."

Hearing this 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.

Later when 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.

The latter became Buma Reshi of Bumzoo village, a kilometre away from Mattan township in Anantnag tehsil

POST BIRTH DIVINE FEED

All attempts 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
Being born,
Why are thee
Ashamed of feeding at
Thy mother's breasts ?

The baby is stated to have responded immediately and behaved as a normal baby.

Evidently, 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.

Nund Reshi 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. D. 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 scholar.

THE CONTROVERSY

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.

A tentative, 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:

Research Work
S. No. Date of Birth Date of death Life Span Origin Brought up to date by
1. 1356AD - Dand Mishkit M.J. Akbar
2. 1377AD 1442AD 65 Years - (June 1991)
3. 1677 Bik 1777 Bik 100 Years - S. N. Koul
4. 557 Hijri 842AD 85 Years - A.D. Majboor
5. 1377AD 1438AD 61 Years - Kashmir Behind the Vale
6. 1378AD 1438AD 60 Years - J. N. Ganhar
7. - - 65 Years - Nund Reshi's Poem quoted by G.N Gowhar
8.  779 Hijri - - Kuliyat-i Sheikh-Ul-Alam-1985 M.L Saqi 
JK Academy of Art, Clture & Languages

Note:

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 time.

Eco-Scientist

Nund Reshi's 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

AS DEMOCRAT AND BOTANIST

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 for others."

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.

Acknowledging 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.

 

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