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
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.