Though Bhagawaan Gopi
Nath Ji never moved out of the Kashmir Valley, he was well-known amongst the
numerous saadhus who came to Kashmir from the remote corners of India and who
even now remember Him as a unique siddha and avadhoota, a realized soul and man
of great compassion. They miss His physical presence even now. They say that in
India such unique saints, who remain absorbed in the Brahma Swarupa all the
twenty-four hours of a day, are very rare to find.
In Kashmir, too, Bhagawaan Gopi Nath Ji was very well
known, as he helped many men in spiritual advancement and others in their
During my life-span of about 77 years, I have come in
contact with many saints, some of them highly evolved, but I do not think any
one of them surpassed Him in His realization of the Self in its ego-less state.
People called him 'Bhagawaan' and indeed he was that. I personally knew him for
many years, particularly since the decade 1937-46 when he stayed at my
father-in-law's house, and I always felt great solace in his presence whenever I
went to have his darshana.
The author, Shri Shankar Nath Fotedar, has, therefore,
done a really great job, in putting on record his reminiscences and giving a
vivid picture of the lire activities of this great saint of Kashmir as,
otherwise, these would be lost to posterity.
He is well-qualified to write on this difficult subject
as, by Bhagawaan Ji's grace, he is gifted with a keenly observant eye and an
analytical mind and has passed more than two decades in close association with
Him. Earlier, he was in close contact with Swaami Sona Kaak Ji, an outstanding
saint of Kashmir, for about fifteen years at my ancestral home and, in fact, it
was he (Swaami Sona Kaak) who directed Shri Fotedar to keep meeting the 'Pandit
saint living in Dalhasanyaar Mohalla' (i.e. Bhagawaan Gopi Nath Jl) about six
months before Swaami Sona Kaak attained rnahanirvaana in Baisakh, 1999 (Bikrami).
Bhagawaan Gopi Nath Ji then met Shri Fotedar for the first time at the Shri
Ksheerbhawaani Shrine in the year 1946 AD; He (Bhagawaan Ji) himself came and
sat by his side and offered him his half-smoked cigarette.
Shri Fotedar since then had been calling at Bhagawaan
Ji's place every afternoon, spending three to four hours in His holy presence,
whenever he (Shri Fotedar) was in Srinagar (about seven months in a year) and
was absorbed in saadhanaa in His august presence. He was lucky, as Bhagawaan Ji
sometimes pointed out the short comings in his practice and corrected him in his
characteristic way, and he has progressed well on the road to higher
spirituality under the guidance and blessings of the Master Himself.
It is due to his great devotion to Bhagawaan Ji and his
ideals, coupled with his untiring zeal and assisted by a group of brilliant
young devotees of Bhagawaan Ji (Shri Pran Nath Kaul, Shri Shiban Lal Turki,
Sister Jai Kishori Ji, Shri Gopi Nath Malla, Shri Mohan Kishen Ticku and Shri
J.L. Nehru) that, for the first time in the annals of Kashmir, a monument,
worthy of a great saint has been raised to inspire the future aspirants and
seekers on the path of God-realization.
Shridhar Joo Dhar
Retired Conservator of Forests,
and President, Bhagawaan Gopi Nath Ji Trust.