Kashmiri Pandits' Association, Mumbai, India


Lalla-Ded Educational and Welfare Trust

  Kashmiri Pandits' Association, Mumbai, India

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April-May 2003 issue

Maa Sharika Temple, Hari Parvat, Village Anangpur, Faridabad.

Table of Contents

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri


Spirituality & Religion

 … Sushil & Sunita Vakil

Swami Gagangiriji Maharaj

Gagangirji Maharaj

Swami Gagangirji Maharaj

Though the denizens of this world may follow myriad cultures and religions, the eternal master is only ONE, by whatever name we may call him. God is the supreme Guru, but we are not physically and  spiritually attuned to seek God, wrapped as we are, in a thick shroud of the worldly vices. So God speaks through his chosen ones, his spiritual disciples who teach the seekers of God, ways of realising him and consequently leading a more fulfilling life. They show us the much needed guiding light for the attainment of our divine purpose.

     Among the many followers of God, Mahayogi Gagangiriji Maharaj has a profound uniqueness in the way that he has transcended all those mighty realms of spirituality in such a short span of time. His illuminated inner being lending its ethereal light to the suffering multitudes of humanity. His message of spirituality and love has got universal appeal. He treats all persons as God's own creations and does not divide humanity on the basis of caste, creed and religion. All men are equal in his eyes.

     Swami Gagangiriji is on a different plane than other yogis, in the sense that he gives more importance to the soul than the mortal body, that is anyway no more than an outer garb for the immortal treasure within. People who have the good fortune of listening to him, experience vibrations of divine pleasure and a serene peace within. Whoever has come in personal contact with the Mahayogi, has been touched by his overflowing love for mankind and his devotion to the service of his fellowmen. He does not hesitate in serving the lowliest of the lowly and the poorest of the poor. He is performing a divinely assigned job. His message is simple - strive to reach God through meditation and self-realisation and don't stop midway in the quest for truth.

     Yogiraj Sri Gagangiri Maharaj, who is as revered and worshipped as Emperor Chalukya Pulakeshi, hails from Patankar family. His original personal name is Sripad and he hails from village Mandure in Patan district of South Maharashtra. At the age of 7, he left his home and was sent to a relatively well known place Battees-shirala. This cult has Math of Nathsampradaya, which has a wide following all over India and has about 1600 establishments.

     Sri Gagangiri Maharaj as a youthful sanyasi, also moved about with mahants (senior sages) right up to the Himalayas. During pilgrimages, he learnt yoga and several occult and religious practices. He travelled far and wide, and finally he reached Badrika Ashram in Himachal Pradesh. This place has ice-clad mountains, embedded in which is a place known as Vyas Gumpha. Gagangiri Maharaj was extremely tired as a result of his peregrinations and decided to settle in a cave. When he was relaxing, a sage wearing saffron robes came there from the mountains. He sprinkled water from his Kamandalu, on the face of Gagangiri Maharaj. He also gave him some kind of green grass to eat which resembled coriander leaves. He said, "You will now attain the state of salvation and you shall be responsible for the welfare of humanity, and you shall go to South. Accordingly Maharaj moved from the Valley. He experienced a lot of difficulties and arrived at Rishikesh. Swamiji then decided to move all over India alone on foot and accordingly his journey started. Attired in saffron robes of a sanyasi, he was revered by people.

     In 1932, the Raja of Kolhapur had been to Dajipur jungle for hunting. Swamiji, who had accompanied him, stayed back in the jungle, where he lived from 1932 to 1940. He spent these years in meditation and deep reflection.

     Swamiji did penance at a number of places. During monsoon, he stayed in the cave at Garbhagiri, Gagangiri. He did penance in a pond near the river at Sangashi, Vazar, Vesraf etc. Later he went to Vidyadurg in the Konkan area, from where he reached Bombay by steamer. During 1945 to 1950, he stayed in Dadi Hirji Parsi graveyards near the temple of Maruti at Shidi near Walkeshwar. Similarly, he did penance in the barren, rocky beach at Breach Candy, Mahalaxmi, Ban Ganga etc. During this period, several rulers and princes such as Sayajirao Gaikwad, Madhavrao Shinde, Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj, Rajaram Maharaj (Kolhapur), Bavdekar Sarkar and Bhausaheb Pant Amatya, Maharani Tarabi (Sayajirao Gaikwad's daughter) and a number of ruling families of Kolhapur came for his blessings.

     Sri Maharaj built small shelters for himself in the caves of trees as his dwelling place. Usually, he would select a tree with abundant supply of fruit and vegetables. In order to protect himself from rains, he would devise some kind of clothes made from the bark of trees, such as Kumbha, Apte & Palas. As more and more people benefitted by his meditation, more and more people starting worshipping him and respecting him and his reputation spread all around. Ministers like Yeshvantrao Chavan, Balasaheb Desai, Rajaram Bapu Patil, Kapse and several respected officers used to worship him.

     Inspite of all the preoccupations in respect of the society, Swamiji continued his penance for over 60 years, uninterrupted. Even in old age, he continued meditation while breathing, submerged in water in sunshine for the whole day. His lifestyle can be described in words as Aesha Ekantwasi Yogiraja: Sadhali Jeevankal!  Living alone, sleeping on the banks of rivers, listening to the flowing of the river water, drying the entire body by solar radiation, sleeping on rock, meditating continuously staying absolutely still under water, keeping mind completely at rest, keeping all the physical desires under control and having only clean, hygienic pious wholesome pure and acceptable food. All this is the life of the perfect yogi. When you attain such a state of mind and body (which is called the 17th state) all the secretions that spring from mouth flow backwards emitting nectar. Hence a yogi does not need to have any food. Living in jungles, mountains, river banks provide enough loneliness so that a yogi achieves 'Siddha' state. This helps him to take care of the misdeeds and sins of the people around him. When life of Paramatma and Brahma become one, a yogi lives very happily and life for him is 'Anandvan' (Park of Happiness). Finally he attains salvation. Even people who have committed lot of sins are benefitted when they come in contact with such a person of divine gifts. He is the embodiment of knowledge and wisdom.

Ashish Pyaremohan Wazir - An ardent disciple of Swamiji:

Pyaremohan Wazir

Ashish Pyaremohan Wazir

Ashish is a dedicated and ardent disciple of Swami gagangiriji Maharaj. He hails from a KP family of Mumbai. Ashish, after completing his education in 1983, decided to serve Gagangiriji Maharaj and in this spiritual pursuit, he is serving day and night since then. In a conversation with Susil Vakil and Sunita Vakil, few months back at the Khapoli Ashram, Ashish confided that it is a great blessing in disguise to be with a saint like Gagangiriji Maharaj. He further said, "One may get the darshan of Maharaj or one may be able to discuss one's problems with him, but to be with him while he is meditating, is of prime importance." Gagangiri Maharaj explains the details of yoga to Ashish, who notes the Maharaja's words in detail.  Sometimes the words carry a deeper meaning than the sayings of learned men and have a lot of creativity in them. Only people who have a divine wisdom can understand the words, phrases and teachings of Gagangiri Maharaj and can fill in the blanks in his phrases. Ashish further adds that Gagangiri Maharaj pours out knowledge as though he is the Ganges of knowledge, which continuously flows and spreads fresh and new knowledge.

     Ashish shares his personal experience with every body as to how he came in contact with Swami Gagangiriji Maharaj and experienced a 'Kayakalp'. "At that point of life, I was drifting like a rutherless boat in the sea of life. Though I did believe in supremacy of God, I could not find a guru who could lead me to my goal. I had chance encounters with many gurus at different stages, but none could quench my thirst for true knowledge and nobody touched the inner cords of my soul. I desperately prayed to God to show me the way and Swamiji came to me, touching my soul and transforming me completely. I changed in many ways and was able to let go the 'I' in my vocabulary. Thus began my long spiritual journey of 'Atmabodh' or self-realisation with the help of great benefactor Shri Shri Gagangiriji Maharaj."

     Ashish being the youngest disciple of Mahayogi Gagangiriji Maharaj, has composed and recorded all the words and phrases he shared with him during his meditation at Gaganpad, Ambolgad, Dajipur, Vesraf, Himalayas and other places. Ashish has presented the discourses and every word of Maharaj ji in a number of books authored by him. The books give an insight into the spiritual journey of the great Yogi and his divine knowledge.

*Courtesy:  Kashur Gazette, New Delhi. 

March 15-21, 2003.           





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