Maheshwar Nath Ji
Fourteen kilometres from Srinagar city on the foot hills of
Harishwar Hill is a village called Khonmoh. The
original name derived from the word Khenmoksh,
meaning Moksha in a second for the abode was also
there. Harishwar, originally Harshi- Har means the
Lord of Giver of Happiness and eternal peace/Moksha.
village has produced men of high calibre both in
spiritual and material world. It is said that the
famous historian and writer of Rajtarangini,
Kalhana also belonged to this village.
the roadside of this village is a pond known as
Somnag and on the bank of this Somnag is an Ashram
called Shanti Mahesh Ashram. As the name suggests,
the Ashram was built by Swami Maheshwar Nath and
the word Shanti was added by. Swamiji, saying our
aim is 'search for peace'.
village had a mixed population of the Hindus and
Muslims. Among the Pandits lived a pious family of
Dhars. Swami Maheshwar Nath better known as
Bhagwanji among his disciples and devotees, was
born to Vishwa Nath Dhar of this family.
family was poor and so his father could not give
him proper education. About his educational
career, Swamiji would sometimes say "I was a
student of Third Standard (at Khrew) when the
school inspector visited the school for
inspection. Having been extremely happy with my
intelligence and replies, he ordered the Head
Master to promote me to Fifth Standard. This is
all I have studied." Due to financial
strains, Swamiji had to give up his studies and at
the tender age of 10, he was kept as a servant in
the family of Shri Narain Joo Parimoo at Purshyar.
behaviour of the housewife, where Swamiji was
working as a servant, ultimately changed the
course of his life and he took refuge at the feet
of Holy Mother Sharika at Chakreshwar.
visited Mother Sharika daily for many years. He
would do tapasya at the feet of Mahakali and
Saptrishis. Sometimes, while in a cheerful mood,
Swamiji would say: "While I would be busy in
meditation, when it would rain, no drop of water
would touch me and when it was hot, a patch of
cloud would cover me up."
all other saints, Swamiji also had to face a lot
of problems in his spiritual life. He had to
undergo lots of tests before Mother Sharika
directed him to his Guru. The story of the meeting
of the Guru and the disciple is a strange one. I
narrate it here:
was instructed to go to the bank of the Jhelum
(near Bana Mohalla) and asked to follow a Brahmin
who would be wearing a particular dress and would
come there early in the morning for performing the
the particular day, Swamiji reached there well in
time, waiting anxiously and impatiently to have a
glimpse of his Guru, the true friend of both the
worlds. One can imagine the condition Swamiji must
have had at that time - a moment of life for which
he had waited for years and prayed to Mother
Goddess with tears in his eyes.
person arrived on the scene but the suspense was
there; his face was covered with a towel. He did
his Sandhya, took his Kamandal and started back,
Swamiji followed him.
suspense continued as his guide went to a meat
shop, purchased meat and entered a particular
lane. The lane was familiar to Swamiji as in this
lane lived one of his cousin (father's sister's
son). The anxiety increased all the more as he
knew almost everyone there, but had never heard
about any godly man living in the area. The person
entered the house of the cousin of Swamiji.
Swamiji would later said: "At that point I
lost my wits". He followed him to his room
and, to his utmost surprise, found the person now
his guide to be none other than his cousin. On
seeing Swamiji, he said (referring to the Mother
Goddess) "she had none left other than
me," Here started the formal relation of Guru
Guru remained a secret saint till the end with
only Swamiji and a few of his disciples knowing
about it. He was so hidden that even his wife did
not know anything. She once said to Swamiji about
her husband that his body remains cold like ice
during nights. Swamiji advised her not to disturb
him. However, unknowingly she had disturbed him
one night and the result was that he had some
bleeding next day.
was a devotee of Lord Krishna. He would believe in
Satsang. A Sarang would be always with him and
referring to that Sarang, he would say: "This
is my true companion". The famous Kashmiri
bhajans of Kashmiri saints like Swami Parmanand,
Krishan Joo Razdan and Vishan Joo were the
attraction of his Satsang. He would say that in
Kaliyug, the best way of God realization is via
Satsang and Bhakti.
was a firm believer of Prarabdah - the destiny.
Though Swamiji, as we have heard, has done many
miracles in his life, but he would never claim
them. He would stress on praying to Mother
Goddess. Nothing is outside the ambit of Prarabdah,
what God (Narayan) has written on your forehead
cannot be undone. The only way to overcome is to
surrender unto the holy feet of the Almighty. He
would quote the famous Kashmiri saint Lalleshwari
man, why are you trying to make rope of sand. You
cannot pull your boat through this. What Lord has
written in your destiny none can change
would advise his disciples that they should not
crave for material things, not even Siddhis and
Uoksha - our aim should be to go beyond both.
people visiting him for material benefits, he
would quote the local quotations which mean:
the desire of Heaven and due to the worry of Hell,
people come to your Lord, who will come to you
selflessly - who has that much of patience."
would be glad to see a true and sincere seeker. He
would listen to him patiently and advise
is not good for a saint to make himself
public" and would quote Laleshwari:
I wander having locked my heart. Anybody, who
makes a show of himself, has ditched himself into
the well, give him to be fed to a devil."
was revered by all the contemporary saints of his
time. In his youth, he used to visit Swami
Vidyadhar who would both love and regard him.
Swami Gashkak of Gautam Nag held Bhagwanji in high
esteem. People who have seen both the saints say
that they were just like each other.
had written many poems but one day he burnt them
all, only a few remained which give us an insight
into the high spiritual state of Swamiji.
a Muslim saint, alongwith his disciple, visited
Khonmoh. The two met and the dialogue began. The
Muslim saint then said to Swamiji; "Let us
sing a Leela in the praise of Mother Goddess (Khir
Bhawani). I will state the first line and you
follow with others". Bhagwanji gladly agreed
and we got a unique and beautiful Leela in praise
of Mother Goddess which is very much loved and
liked by devotees even now.
went into Maha Samadhi in January 1990 immediately
after migration from Srinagar, after a brief
illness. At that time, Swamiji's age was around 79
years which means that he must have been born
somewhere around 1911.