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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Panun Kashmir

Milchar

Symbol of Unity

 
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In the Abode of Saints

- J. N. Bhan

The land of Kashyap Rishi standing aloft the northern periphery of the Punyabhumi, called Bharat, has been described as the jewel in the crown of the Indian subcontinent. It is not for nothing, therefore, that Nature has endowed this enchanting land with towering snowpeaks, swinging forests, singing streams, flowery dales and golden meadows - a land of super scenic charms - a heaven on earth. No wonder then that this land of absorbing beauty has, of yore, been the home of gods and goddesses and saints and seers.

As recorded in various works of these seers, Sangamaditya, a "Siddha descended from Sri Kanthanatha, the incarnation of Lord Shiva, in the course of his wanderings reached Kashmir and, bewitched by the sheer harmony of its nature, settled in this land. In the lineage appeared Siddha Somanand, the author of "Shiva Drishti" - the invaluable and pioneering treatise on "Advait Shaiva Darshan". Somananda is said to have been the disciple of Siddha Vasugupta who founded and exponded afresh the "Shaiva Sutras" as revealed to him by the Lord Himself in a dream. Somananda's disciple, Siddha Utpaladeva, elucidated the Advait Darshan in his famous Ishwarapratyabhijnya.

Utpaladeva wrote many other treatises on philosophy and also some devotional poetry of the highest order. After Shri Lakshmanaguptacharya, the illustrious son of Utpala, Shri Abhinavaguptacharya dominated the horizon of philosophical thought. Great Abhinava interpreted and elaborated the basic tenets of the 'Advait Darshan' in his extensive and lucid commentaries on earlier works of his Gurus, and himself wrote original works of the highest order. Hardly anything escaped his masterly pen.

Then came the illustrious disciples of the great seer Abhinava-Shri Khemrajacharya and Shri Yogacharya-who also nourished the vast monistic philosophy with their commentaries as also with their independent works.

This more or less covers the period upto 12th century A.D. in the latter half of which Jayaratha wrote his commentary on Abhinavagupta's great and scholarly work "Trantraloka". Thereafter, due to great political upheavals in Kashmir, nothing is known about the stream of great teachers and seers excepting, of course, the saints like Shivopadhyaya and Siddhas like Lalleshwari, Sheikh Noor-ud-Din-Noorani, Pir Pandit Padshah Mishah, Krishna Kar or Parmanand. Maybe, the historical mist will lift some day to reveal some more luminaries in the line. The link is resumed with the advent of the eighteenth century with Sahib Kaul, Shankar Razdan. Jeewan Saib and others, recorded and unrecorded in the following
pages.

Since his advent in this world, man has tried to understand the why and wherefore of existence. From rudimentary fears and fantasies, he has reached the heights of philosophical thought represented in Shaivism and Vedanta. Without the support of religion or spiritualism, it looks, man would lose his moorings. True religion is in selfrealisation and in the basic truth of oneness of man and the Maker.

Over the last few centuries man has been more and more attracted towards materialism. The trend emanated from the West because of the Western religious thought being unable to answer appropriately the queries about the purpose of existence which arose in people who had acquired a scientific bent of mind. This materialistic trend has engulfed the entire world with disastrous results for the mental health and the physical wellbeing of mankind. Thoughtful among the scientifically minded people have turned to the Oriental philosophy, particularly Hinduism, for the solution of these spiritual problems and for the treatment of the mind, and adopted such practices as Yoga and transcendental meditation in various universities and other institutions on a large scale.

In the event, orthodox Western philosophy is by and by dropping its pretense and has come to accept ignorance about certain fundamental experiences. There is increasing interest in the potency of Kundalini and Tantric practices and ancient concepts. There are fascinating possibilities of discovering new dimensions of the psyche which could bring about a revolution in human values. If the nature of the higher consciousness is understood and widely experienced, it could bring about a social transformation of enormous dimensions.

It is an irony that what is being adopted by the Western countries is being abandoned by people in this land. It, of course, is the result of foreign domination more mental than physical which has prevented us from the study and knowledge of our heritage. We have had spiritual leaders who through their Sadhana not only acquired control over themselves but even the elements and their environment. Very few among us know very little about them and their achievements. There is a genuine fear that whatever knowledge there may still be may become extinct sooner than expected if steps are not taken to record the spiritual attainments of our forefathers. There are rare manuscripts which need to see the light of the day and be researched upon, otherwise they will get lost to posterity.

Source: Koshur Samachar

 

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