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Shriman Shri Papa Ji Maharaj

Sh. Janki Nath Dhar Sahib

Sh. Janki Nath Dhar Sahib

Sh. Janki Nath Dhar Sahib

A pious and religious minded man Sh Kanth Nath Dhar  of Dhar, Sahib family and Bhardwaj gotra living at Khan-kahi-sokhta  Safakadal Srinagar Kashmir  and married to Shrimati Kudmali of Badeepora (Chadoora) from  very renowned pious Bhat family, were bestowed with four sons. The  eldest son born on 28-4-1902, was very lovely charming and shining like a star. The boy was very brilliant graceful,religious minded and well devoted towards his parents and Krishn preima, from his very child hood and named Nandlal. He was given primary education in a nearby school (maktaba) where he learned urdu and persion languages. One Mr Karley taught him English language .For secondary education he joined Mission School Fatehkadal and passed his matriculation exam through Punjab University. He was loved by all his teachers especially one Mr Loosi English teacher was close to him. Name Nandlal was changed as Jankinath Dhar sahib  mysteriously and the devotees latter called him  Shriman Shri Papa Ji  Mahraj. After passing matric Papaji Mahraj  started paying  more attention towards spirituality  and was eager to be a helping hand of his father who had to feed a large family. Papa ji got  appointed in AGís office and was posted at Rajput Boarding school Jammu as accountant .Papa ji Mahraj was bestowed with some anonymous Guru  (Sh. Satyanand from Meerut city) as hinted by Papaji Maharaj once while discussing with his devotees. Shrimanji got well versed with persion, urdu, English Sanskrit, hindi  and mathematics.

Late  Prof. N.N. Dhar called Taya Ji by devotees remained life long devoteeand companion of pooji PapaJi Mahraj. Sh NN Dhar fried of his (PapaJis) younger brother Jagannath  was greatly influenced by Shrimanjis spiritual grace and became  dedicated devotee of PapaJi. Shriman Ji while working hard and with zeal in his office at Jammu he was allotted one small triangular room adjacent to office building where shriman ji was performing his tremendous sadhna  continuously  having full control over his diet which used to be flahar  and no salt at all. Though shriman ji was carved in regrious tapasiya still the office work never suffered because of it, Shrimanji performed both karmas in quite stable state. Impossible was made possible. The  small triangular room became tapoowan and shrimanji attained "bliss" when the sadhna and tapasiya  were approaching  towards final goal shrimanji had fitted a board  on wall where he could look straightway all the time  -- these words were written on this board  "ALERT Ď REALIZATION AT HAND" . After when he was transferred to Srinagar  his highness was a perfect sidh. Physically  shrimanji was  seen engaged in day to day  routine works like office, family matters but  he kept detached internally and was in unison with lord and sadhna.  Shriman ji applied for  long leave and went "Gosanihgund Ashram" in Anantnag district . Great saint Swamy Atmaram Mahraj  lived in this ashram and he personally received Papaji mahraj with great love and honor, arranged for one solitude room in  another adjacent building. Arrangement for required  satvik bhojan and other requirements. Papaji Mahraj got full concentration and bliss in his hard sadhna. After some period of time shrimanji  desired to visit local tirth-sathans. Shrimanji alongwith  Tayaji and  two other devotees  left for the tirthyatra ,visiting Kulwageashwari temple at Kulgam,Tripursundri temple at the hills of Devsar village, Teerath - sathal of Khanbarni ,famous temple of Mata Kheerbawani at village Manzgam and many other local and other teerthsathans in neighborhood. During satsangh  and other religious discourses shrimanji, some times used to narrate about these tirthsathans and his holy face would shine with delight and divine bliss.In addition to this papaji, on returning to Srinagar would frequently visit  Tulmulla, wratshan, Manigam, Laar, Hariparwat, Shankracharya, Khrew, and other teerth-sathans may be to uplift and guide others though shrimanji himself was complete in all respects and had attained sidh-awastha.For this reason only shrimanji would always visit tithsathans,remain busy in prayers, keeping companion with sadhus Dharmic works satsangs and spirituality .While visiting Gowri shankar temple (his ashram) at Sathubarbarsha  Srinagar for paying bliss to his devotees , shrimanji would first pay pradkhina round a big chinar tree there chanting loudly Gowri-shankar, Gowri-shankar,Gowri-shankar Pahimam---- Radha-Krishn, Radha-Krishne, Radha-Krishn  Rakhimam. Shrimanji remained eager to receive,feed and honor sadhus, saniyasees and saints.

Shrimanji had ashram at Gowri-Shankar temple Sathoo Barbar ĖShah Srinagar and swami shankaranand chief disciple along with other devotees were managing the Ashram work. Papaji Maharaj would usually visit the ashram every Sundays and other pious days where devotees were waiting eagerly for his darshan  bliss and guru-kripa. Satsang keertan was being performed throughout the day and shrimanjis bliss spreading everywhere in the environment  every one would get the bliss, hearts filled with happiness. Papaji maharaj with shining, smiling face and    sitting on his asan in a particular mudra, comfortable, calm and still in one posture for hours together looking with divine beautiful eyes and showering bliss on devotees engaged in kirtan and prayers. Papaji was kind to all - every one hindu muslim, sikh who came to him was bestowed. Mahraj Ji  uplifted his devotees both spiritually and in worldly affairs. For any important  work the devotee was asking permission from shrimanji and all good would happen only with the permission and ashirwad from Papaji. Shrimanji started paying less visits to ashram from the year 1987 onwards and was confined to his chhanpora residence up to his Mahasamadhi. Shriman ji did not migrate to Jammu on mass migration of the kashmiri pandits but stayed in his residence at chhanpora, though militants come to his residence but were pushed back by some divine force and could not harm the great saint One ashram was established at Nagrota Jammu "UTKRISHT PARIJAT ASHRAM" Shri Radha Krishan Mandir parisar doak waziarian Nagrota Jammu. Mahant and devotee of shrimanji , Swamy Shankaranand is convener and looking after the ashram. PapaJiís beautiful statue in marble is resting in the temple to perpetuate Papajiís sacred memory. Devotees meet there to offer prayers and seek his blessings as was being done during his life time Papa jiís birthday and his Mahasamadhi day is celebrated by performing yagya.

THE LITTLE KNOWN SAINT OF KASHMIR

- N.N. Dhar

It is soon going to be three years since the demise of Shriman Papaji Mahraj Pandit Jankinath Dhar. Like in many years in the past, before and after his death , his devotees celebrate his birthday on April 13 (vaisakh Krishna paksh saptami) with a yagyna.

Shriman Shri Papaji Mahraj, as he was reverentially and affectionately called by his devotees, breathed his last on July 30, 1990 at 8.30 pm at his last earthly abode at 22,Dudganga Colony, Chanapura, Srinagaar Kashmir. He was about 90 years old.

During the last days of Shriman Papajiís life, militancy in Kashmir valley had acquired a new peak. Terrorist activities, which resulted in curfews, hartals and indiscriminate and wanton killings, posed a great danger to people living in the state. Because of  this, on his death  even a competent priest was not available to perform the last rites of  this great scholar and saint.

The sacred earthly remains of dear Papaji were consigned to flames in a very tense atmosphere in the presence of a small number of his devotees and family members at the crematorium at Rameshwar Temple at Natipora, Srinagar on July 31, 1990. No customary rituals could be performed. I remember that a few years earlier , during an illness, Papaji had somewhat unconsciously mumbled a few words to the effect that there would be  no "Daha Sanskar" as such for him on his death.

Papaji was a rishi of a unique order. Even his closest associates could not fathom the depths of his greatness.  For most of his life Papaji Mahraj worked in the office of the Accountant  General, Jammu and Kashmir Govt. He continued his spiritual quest both while working in the Government and looking after his family. This is remarkable.

For a few years Papaji worked as an accountant in the late Maharaja Hari Singhís Rajput Boarding School started in 1930 or so in Jammu. One captain Kala Singh was its Principal and Papaji, while maintaining the accounts, also assisted and advised him in running the institution. Papaji had been allotted a room (which he would call "the cubicle") at the back of a big building which then housed the state public library. The building has since been replaced by the present secretariat complex.

In his "cubicle" Papaji underwent tapasya of a very high order. Here he studied the various Hindu schools of Philosophy. He mastered the Sankhya and the Vedanta. Quite late in life, once it just happened that he had to admit that he was a Shat Shastri. Considering his innate unassuming nature,it was an amazing revelation.

During this period, he practiced Patanjali Yoga, performed pranayama and underwent many other yogic exercises of rare kind. These necessitated diet restrictions and strict physical discipline. He survived only on milk and fruit and avoided the intake of salt completely. He drank deeply from the immortal fountains of Upanishads. He studied thoroughly the Brahmasutras and other sutras .He imbibed the true meaning and spirit of the Bhagwat Gita through all available Sanskrit commentaries. Intensive study, physical and mental discipline and meditation as prescribed by shastras culminated in his Aprokhsha Sakhshatkar, coming face to face with the ultimate reality. With regard to his studies, Papajís main thrust in life was on Vedanta which may be called his first love to which he stuck to the very last. At the same time the true aspirant that he was, he could not possibly ignore the great Shaivic Philosophy which has its origin in the land of his birth . Enough was not enough for Papaji! The great saints, Somananda, Utpaldeva, Abhinavgupta and other propounders of  Kashmir Shaivism were as familiar and dear to him as the Vedantic acharyas, Gaudpada, Shankara, Madhusudana, Vidyaranya and others. Papaji grasped the subtle difference between the two philosophies. According to him,only a true student of  the two could exactly sift the essence of the one from that of the other.

Before taking up the learning of Sanskrit, Papaji had managed to have a good command over Persian and Urdu languages. He had read the classical works of a horde of  great Persian sufi writers and poets like Hafiz, Roomi, Saidi and others, including the renowned sufi poet, Habibullah Nawsheri of Kashmir and also the poetical compositions, "leelas" of the great Kashmiri Pandit saints, like Parmanand, Rajkak, Mirzakak, Lalishwari, Prakashram and many others.

He learnt Sanskrit and Hindi later, at the age of 22 Ė 23  when he started with the Devnagri alphabet in a Sanskrit Pathshala attached to Som Nath temple, Habbakadal Srinagar. Before launching on the study of the various philosophical and religious works in Sanskrit, he had to study thoroughly Sanskrit prose, poetry and drama to gain necessary proficiency and fluency in the language. He succeeded  in this task with remarkable speed, not ordinarily possible. He became a great admire of Kalidasa, especially his Shakuntala.

Papaji was also well conversant with the Ayurvedic and Unani schools of medicine. He possessed sound knowledge of varied subjects like dietetics, physical culture and sex. He was a lover of music. He had a special liking for Persian and Kashmiri Sufiana music. He patronized a few existing kashmiri sufiana musicians, now an extinct lot, and would himself play on the sitar.

By the time the end came, Papajiís  devotees were spread all over. Except for a visit to Delhi for treatment a couple of years before his death ,and very brief visits to Calcutta, Bombay, Pune, Agra and Brindaban, in earlier years and the service period in Jammu, he remained confined to Kashmir, mostly Srinagar. After retirement from service, he would meet his devotees either at his residence or at his ashram Utkrishta Parijat Ashram,at Gouri Shankar Temple,Upper Sathoo, Srinagar. When he became very week, he spent most of the time in meditation,blessing all those who came to him.

In pursuance of a proposal made in October 1990,a trust, Shri Papaji Memorial Trust, has been registered in Delhi. Initially, a memorial  is contemplated to be built, a temple with Papajiís statue in marble, having an adjoining assembly hall of a suitable size. The primary aim of the proposed memorial is to perpetuate Papajiís sacred memory. His devotees can meet there to offer prayers, jointly and individually, and seek his blessings as was done during his lifetime. Other charitable, social, cultural and religious activities, like celebrating Papajiís birthday and his Mahasamadhi day, can also be carried on there.

Papaji spent the major part of his life in Srinagar and a brief span at Jammu. For reasons obvious enough, the memorial cannot be raised at Srinagar, the place of Papajís birth. Under the prevailing constraints, Jammu seems to be the most appropriate place to have the memorial. In fact, it was at Jammu where, authentically speaking, Papaji attained God realization.

A managing  committee composed of some of his devotees is now working out a plan for the memorial.

Courtesy: Koshur Samachar

 

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