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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Panun Kashmir


Symbol of Unity


My Association with Saints

By Justice (Retd.) JN Bhat

Justice Janki Nath Bhat (retd.) was a member of the Legislative Assembly of the State twice; judge of the J&K High Court from 1963 to 1972; after his retirement held many prestigious assignments both inside and out-side the state. To mention a few: he was Member Services Selection Board of Reserve Bank of India; Chairman Suratgarh Evaluation Committee involving a dispute of 150 crore rupees between the Governments of India and that of Rajasthan; Chairman of Oil Selection Board, Chairman of IIIrd pay commission for State government employees; Chairman of Khadi and Village Industries Board of J&K State. He has been also associated with many social and educational organisations. He has also written scores of articles published in leading newspapers of the state and also those of Delhi. - Editor

I come from an orthodox family. My parents observed all Hindu festivals and rituals-- fasting over a month at a time (Magh). My father taught me Sandhya when I was only ten years old. When I completed the tenth year (Primary Classes) in my native village school of Murran, I went for further studies to Srinagar, as there was no scope in my village. In Srinagar I regularly had Sandhya in the coldest months of winter with a bath in river Jhelum and performed puja in Batyar temple which I visited at least once a day and at times twice. My rigidly following the rituals, Sandhya and other things attracted the attention of some well-to-do Pandits of the locality who took a fancy for me and would invite me for dinners and associating their children with me so that they could imbibe religiosity and good manners from me.

This practice continued till I passed My BA Honours from SP College Srinagar and proceeded for further studies to Lucknow.

From my childhood I had a keen desire to meet saints of any religion and as a matter of fact at one stage or the other met them and paid them my respects. Whenever there was any discourse/meeting/conference I would invariably attend it. This keen desire made me to meet almost every saint outside Kashmir and even be close to him.

Now I turn to another aspect of it. Hinduism is a vast, complicated system with many schools of thoughts and ideology. Reincarnation is one of its first principles. Geeta Ji says in most emphatic terms that you change your physical body as you change your old garments and birth after death is an established formula. I have read so many books on life after death. But I cite examples of living persons both non-Hindus who caught with certainty their past lives. In Australia an Australian told me now he vividly remembered his past three lives. Justice Murtaza Fazal Ali, the then Chief Justice told me the following story more than once. His father Sir Fazal Ali was the Governor of Assam. Murtaza went to see his father when he reached Gauhati, he found everything familiar where he had lived. To the surprise of his escort he located certain place in Gauhati where his escort was astonished to find exactly what he had said. This experience he once repeated in an official party where besides me and himself Mr GM Sadiq then Chief Minister and Mir Qasim were present. When he narrated the story both scoffed at him. On those positive instances and the literature I had studied there is no doubt in my mind that I shall be born again about which indications have been already given by some seers.

With all these eminent seers and saints sometimes my doubt arises whether they or all of them have clairyance. I shall mention three instances, a rich Pandit of Shopian wanted to marry his daughter and perform the Yagnopaveet of his only son. They had a well known family saint who was respected by almost all Kashmiri Pandits. He was the person to grace the function and came to the house of the Pandit a week before this ceremony. He was shown utmost respect not only by the family of the Pandit but by others as well. The marriage of the daughter of the Pandit was performed. The barat left, but only at a distance of one or two furlong, the bus which was carrying the barat fell into a nullah where most of the passengers including the bride and the bridegroom were injured though not seriously. The father of the daughter wents to the spot of accident on a Khadewoon and sent the marriage party. As soon as he returned home he died of a heart attack within an hour. This created disappointment, in the family. Consequently the Yagneopavit ceremony was postponed. The Mahatma quietly made good his escape. In another case a saint of national importance is involved. A rich Kashmir Pandit stationed in Bombay wanted to marry his only daughter and he found a suitable match for her belonging to a very high placed Kashmiri Pandit family living in Gandhinagar. The Bombay gentleman hired a house in Jammu and drew up a plan of different functions in connection with the marriage. We knew each other from our boyhood and later improved our relations in Bombay where I was in the Reserve Bank of India. One evening at 10.30 PM this gentleman in a Taxi came to my residence and requested me to extend all the functions from Mehendirat and onwards. The bridegroom wallas had their own plans. They served a sumptuous lunch to hundreds of people, that evening was the Mehendirat function of the daughterwallas when the feast was being served in the premises of the boys. The would be bride went to the house of the would be father-in-law and called out the boy (her prospective husband) she plainly told him that she was not going to marry him, for she was not mentally sound, the whole thing should be called off. Even the intervention of the well-wishers failed to persuade her to change her decision. She straightway went to her father and they left immediately--giving out her father a heart attack. I was then the Chairman Pay Commission of the State government. I was informed on telephone, that the Mehandirat function had been cancelled and the party had left for Chandigarh as the father of the girl had a beart attack. In all this drama a famous saint was residing in the house of the bridegroom who was his cousin. A big question mark about both these functions--Could not these saints foresee what was going to happen and advise the parties accordingly. An unsolved question for me till date. On the other hand Swami Nand Lal Ji of Tikkar once went to a Pandit's house in Nagam to stay for a fortnight. Early next morning he left, against remonstances of the land lord. In the evening the daughter-in-law of the house owner gave birth to a child. The Swami intuitively knew this and wanted to leave the house to avoid the Hoonch and inconvenience to the parties.

I may mention the names of a few Sadhus and saints with whom I have remained closely associated. In Srinagar I was very closely associated with Swami (Nand Bab Ji) who had named me (Hari Singh) who was my God Father and directing my all spiritual and temporal activities. He would stay with me at my place in Srinagar and Jammu and made remarkable predictions about my family matters and others whom I took to him. Only that he was anxious and jealous that I or my family should not go to any other saint as I was under his banner (Alam). Sometimes the disregard of this dictum by my wife enraged him. All actions of ours or for that matter of the entire population at his back and without his knowledge were clear in the minutest details to him. In fact he had maximum contact and influence upon me. I need not mention any of his predictions and miracles but one incident I must relate. I was constructing a house for him at Nunar by raising money through subscriptions. A stage came when we required timber for the construction but were short of money. I went to him on a Sunday, he sat in our car and took us to Hari Ganiwan which place he often visited, a station at Kangan--Sonamarg road. There were big slabs of stones with sindoor quoted. He recited some mantras and we were near Vaiyal bridge. There were cars and vehicles standing because a live electric wire had fallen on the road. There was a vehicle carrying the then Chief Conservator of Forests. I was High Court Judge then. He noticed me and came to pay respects to me. Bab Jee was seated in the front seats of the car. As soon as he saw Bab Jee he fell at his feet. Bab began to talk in unintelligible language but he used the word timber once or twice. I at once took the hint and talked to the Chief Conservator that we were constructing house for Bab Jee at Nunar and we were short of Timber. The Chief Conservator showed all respect for Bab Jee and said that he owed his Chief Conservatorship to Bab Jee who physically lifted him from the Conservator's Chair and made him sit in the Chief Conservator's Chair (both the Conservator and Chief Conservator were absent) when I explained to him the quantity of timber required he promised to provide it within a week which he did and our task was simplified. There are thousands of predictions of Bab Jee in different people some of which I have recently published in a booklet 'Nand Bab' written by me.

Next came another important saint of Kashmir Swami Nand Lal Ji of Tikkar. When I first came in contact with him he had a deep look at me and asked a simple significant question "Are you Bhat Sahib'" Thereafter we became closer to him and he was so kind to us.

He loved me, because according to him I was so humble and gentle and I was entirely free from power intoxication. Sh Kashi Nath Bhat Advocate was very close to him, at the same time he was so kind to my wife that he asked her to carry him in our car to the Airport for his final adieu to the State. He gave me Rs 9.000 for constructing a small Dharmashala in the Ambphalla Kashmiri Pandit Sabha premises for stay of transit Sadhus in Jammu. I spent about Rs 19000, the rest were been raised by subscriptions and entrusted the construction to Pt Jaggar Nath Bhat, a noble soul then President of the Kashmiri Pandit Sabha Jammu. I am ashamed to state that the Sabha people gave the construction on rent thus the very object was defeated. He postponed his death two times to save him inconvenience to the host, but ultimately gave his mortal coil on Ist Feb, 1969. This saint left behind a number of devotees like Mastram, Kralabab, Vibhishan who have started so many Ashrams. Mastram has his Ashram at Haridwar, Jammu and Delhi, Kralbab at Udhampur so on and so forth.

Another Mahatma of name and fame was Swami Harikrishen, who according to reports had sat in Samadhi at Sheshnag for six winter months like an ice-berg--was brought to normal life by treatment, physical and mental, by officials headed by Pt Balkak Dhar--the then Wazir Wazarat. He was very kind to us and had special fascination for my wife, which was resented by Nand Bab.

I have met scores of saints of all religions outside the State. I shall mention only two outstanding saints. Mahesh Yogi, the world famous saint, came to Kashmir in 1968. In keeping with my quest for the saints, I met him, became close to him and was initiated by him. He had a proposal of constructing a nine storied 300 room building on an American style near Boulevard. We arranged 100 kanals of land from Dr Karan Singh near Pari Mahal. The eminent saint's ambition was that this building when completed should at once attract the attention of aeroplane passengers as soon as aeroplane crosses Banihal. This project required fabulous amount. When I told the Mahatma Jee that this construction would require fabulous amounts, his remark was "Bhat Ji money is no consideration, whatever you require, it will be placed at your disposal". He would call me in the evening and would keep me in his camp Bakshi Gh Mohd's house at Boulevard and let me off very late in the night. I had warned him that the government would not permit him to construct such a building and infact the government did not permit, leaving the saint angered who spent such a huge amount in Bangalore.

This eminent saint had a simple living. His body covered by a single white silk Dhoti. He would have three chapaties for a day with a glass of milk. All the time busy translating some religious books with the assistance of a Professor from London. He had five apartments for buildings in Rishi Kesh. I have not been there. He had 100 foreign disciples who had 3 months training in Kashmir, most of the time they spent in Pahalgam. There would be strict coaching, morning classes, tea break then lunch break then again at 4.30 tea break. The coaching would end at 7.30 PM in the evening. On the day when the party had to leave for Delhi he requisitioned five buses which came to Pahalgam to carry the devotees straight to Srinagar Airport as there was some disturbance in the city to save any mischief. He ordered five Ribbons of different colours and alongwith a English lady his secretary slipped from the ribbon to different persons and couples indicating the building they have to occupy at Rishi Kesh with room number on the slip. The different coloured ribbon pieces were given to different buses. The luggage the buses would carry to Srinagar Airport and at Delhi each bus having a particular colour would be unloaded and the luggage placed in the room in the particular building given on the ribbon piece cause least inconvenience to concerned. Himself he left Pahalgam at 11 PM in my car and reached his camp in Srinagar at 1 AM. The same car was requisitioned by him next day to the airport.

Another saint who had taken a fancy for me was Saint Kirpal Singh who was the President of "All World Religions". He had a big Ashram called "Bavan Ashram" worth crores of rupees with many structures used as office, tailoring house, laundry, kitchen, store and a number of other appartments. One fully furnished apartment was reserved for me and there was a plan of constructing a much better suit for me. The saint had proposed to make me the administrator of his vast estate and the Vice-Chancellor of a University which he proposed to start at Dehradun where he had acquired a large area which was being developed. High class ladies with costly sarees--worked as labourers.

In Delhi he had a number of buildings one fully furnished occupied by him. Whenever I would go to him and would sit on the carpet, the saint would either come down from the sofa and sit with me or would pull me upto the sofa. Inspite of lakhs of rupees in kind or cash that would come to the Ashram, he would live on his pension. He would make me share his meal with me on his table. This was a rare distinction. He celebrated his last birthday for a week in Ram Lila grounds where thousands of devotees were fed and looked after. Religious heads of different countries and 100 American disciples of Sant Kirpal Singh Ji came to Delhi. All lodged in costly hotels. There was absolute discipline in the camp and even scavenging was done by volunteers. Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister, was there for more than an hour listening to the melodious recitations from Granthji sung by American disciples. I was assisted by a dozen members of the Ashram. The president being the Sant Kirpal Singh Ji himself. His plans of making me the administrator and Vice-Chancellor of the University did not materialize because the Mahatma died just after a month of the whole show. I was in America with Sant Jee's permission to return soon to assume the charge of administrationship of his vast estate. On his death there was some dispute about his succession but ultimately his son Sant Darshan Singh Je ascended the throne, after Darshan Singh's death the son of Darshan Singh Jee Maharaja Rajinder Singh who is generally touring the world as head of the institution. Besides the huge property of 'Bavan Ashram' and Dehradun they have acquired 100 kanals of land in West Delhi where so many constructions for various purposes including a palace for the residence of Maharaj Jee having put up. Four years back Maharaj Rajinder Singh Jee invited half a dozen distinguished guests including myself to a nice dinner followed by Bajans. By my side there was a gentleman clad in White Kurta and Pyjama the Manager of the Organisation whispered in my ear that gentleman had donated Rs 11 lakhs cash to the Ashram only three days back.

A young aspirant, Vasudeva by name from outside the State started meditation in Kashmir first in Rainawari in a private house and then in Dharbagh near Harwan. He went on in a pursuit and spent a lot of time in the Himalayas wherefrom he returned a perfect Yogi changing his name to Yogeshwaranand. He got all India importance and visited the world four times. He has written a number of books. He established his ashrams in Germany, America, Toronto etc. In India he has a very big Ashram at Rishikesh another in Delhi, the third one in Brindaban and the fourth at Haridwar. He created a trust of which I was and am a member. We purchased a house in Pahalgam for the trust where Mahatmaji would stay during the summer months. He had devotees from all over the world some of whom would come to India and to Kashmir at Pahalgam they would stay in hotels but would regularly attend the meetings and the discourses regularly. We celebrated certain functions with great clad, in Pahalgam, Delhi and Rishikesh. I also had the honour to listen to his discourses. He was very kind to me.

A famous saint (Mahatma) from Bengal wanted to start a Langer at Baltal for Amarnath Yatris and tourists via Baltal road. He formed a trust of which I was the President and the renowned Dharmveer Batra the Vice-President and there were other members also. After a great struggle Sheikh Mohd Abdullah, the then Chief Minister of the State, was kind enough to grant some land (3 or 4 kanals) for storing things needed for the Langer. After his death his son, Farooq Abdullah, did not grant permission to put up a construction there. None-the-less we constructed a big room wherein articles for running the langer was stored. The Mahatma sent us truck loads of food grains and other eatables, edible oil, sugar, kerosene, rice, flour, spices and other things with full bags of fresh lemons. The free langer would be there for two months round about Rakshbandan and feed all and sundry, tourists, yatris, locals etc. I and other members were in-charge of the whole show for years together and after militancy I understand that the langer continues.

A young Muslim boy by name Sonaullah popularly known as Sonabab, resident of Vesu village near Qazigund came to be known as a clairvoyant saint. I came in contact with him and visited him a number of times. He also loved and respected me. He was Muslim by name but a Hindu by practice. He had kept a separate Hindu kitchen managed by wives of respectable High Class Hindus who would prepare and serve meals to Hindu visitors. He himself was very fond of and would recite Hindu Bhajans and locals, he was a pacca vegetarian. Scores of people would approach him for solution of their problem. He would grant some bodies request but to others he would clearly tell that he could do nothing for them. In our case, we only put him one question and his prediction came out to be true. I am told during the militancy he was brutally murdered by the militants.

An engineer in the telephone department by name Pramod Kumar for his predictive powers, I became friendly with him and in Delhi we would visit each other often living only at a distance of a furlong from each other. He had put up a large picture of Lord Shiva in his room and any person approaching him for solution of a problem would be taken before the picture of Lord Shiva and would be conveyed the saints reply. He used the expression "Bhole Teri Marzi".

I have mentioned saints with whom I had close contact and would trust me and love me. There is another class of saints with whom my association was short but very effective. In this behalf I must mention with utmost respect the holy name of Sant Gangeshwaranand a world famous saint. He was blind at the age of four but in later life made discourses of highest spiritual significance. He would Cite from memory different verses of four vedas to the astonishment of the audience. He made one Veda out of four and placed the new Veda in Delhi, Bombay, Brindaban managed by hundreds of his disciples. He died at the age of one hundred and ten. His birth anniversary was celebrated in Bombay for two weeks which was attended by thousands of people and saints from all over the world. I also spent a week there. He was very kind to me and would make enquiries about my health in my absence.

All the saints I met I would tell them that I had not come for any favour but to have their Darshan. This attitude of mine perhaps created a soft corner for me in their hearts.

Now-a-days I pay my respects to one Swami Chaityananda Vasudeva who has constructed a palace like ashram at Bohri where hundreds of devotees visit daily. Audiences are granted to devotees after two months giving them a pass for that date. Almost all IAS officers, Army Generals and other VIPs are at his door. He has a number of rooms well furnished where people of different sorts are accommodated. There is a room in the ground floor well furnished used by me when I go to him as I cannot ascend stairs in the first floor. All vehicles have to stop outside the premises but there is special permission for my car to reach the ashram and I have only to come out of the car and enter the room with a person waiting for my arrival. I have been entertained in that very room with lunch or tea with Dossa specially prepared for me on four festivals in the year. Thousands of devotees have their lunch at the Ashram but I get everything in any room. The Mahatma visiting me more than once from amongst thousands of his guests.

I must end this narration with a unresolved enigma a famous powerful doctor saint Dr K Krishna by name born in Katara often visits Jammu and gives long discourses on spiritualism preaching a novel interpretation to spiritualism. Huge gatherings with pin drop silence listen to his discourses each one of which extends for more than hour at a stretch. Some very close devotee takes me to attend to some of his discourses, being an old person suffering from old age ailments make me to take a chair in the last row without causing commotion in the congregations if I move out without causing any commotion. I was embarrassed one day when he paid a surprise visit to me at my place and presented me a nice memento in beautiful broad letters as a present from Spiritual Awareness Society of India of which he is the President. I had never met him face to face. He again embarrassed me by paying another surprise visit, ordinarily I am told he does not go to private residence of anybody. The disciple accompanying him both times told me that the Mahatma after coming out from his meditation directs the devotee to carry him to my place.

Source: Kashmir Sentinel



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