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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Panun Kashmir


Symbol of Unity


Swami Nandlal - The Clairvoyant

"Lived in a world of omniscience and spiritual ecstasy"

J. N. Bhat

Swami Nandlal, who was endearingly called Nandabab, strode the spiritual scene of Kashmir for well over 50 years till he received Mukthi on October 30, l973. Nandabab had acquired a clairvoyance which could not only read the present and the past, but could even predict events to come. To all appearances he behaved like a man out of his wits, quaintly dressed and muttering incoherently which made no sense for those uninitiated in his ways. But every word that he uttered was pregnant with deep meaning and was of great consequence for those who sought his blessings. If he chose he would relieve the faithful who sought his protection from the mundane trials and tribulations that momentarily afflict every individual and disturb his or her equilibrium.

Swami Nandlal 

Great Seer

Swami Nandlal was one in the line of great seers which the valley of Kashmir has produced over the centuries. Originally coming from village Nunar near Ganderbal, he rarely stayed in his house, although a new one was constructed for him by his devotees.

Wherever Nandabab lived, he would be mobbed by people of all faiths right from dawn to midnight to seek blessings. Even people from foreign lands would go to him. He would seldom talk directly to any person present in the audience. He would address one person whereas it was a reply to the unrevealed personal queries in the mind of another person also present there. He would talk in parables, similies, paradoxes, metaphors; sometimes he laughed, sometimes sang, but generally he would be dictating something or the other to anyone present on chits or in a register kept for this purpose. The writings on these chits or in the register would usually be replies to the mental queries and problems of the different members of the audience or other matters of general public importance, but all these were in metaphorical language.

Indifferent to Diet

About his cleanliness, Nandabab would be very particular. He would bathe every morning, comb his hair and sometimes apply oils also. But he was totally indifferent to diet, which would generally be light. It did not matter whether you offered him varieties of meat or other dainty preparations or just one vegetable. He would take a little from the preparations presented to him, leaving the rest to be distributed amongst the audience. He usually had a small Katori with vermillion (Sindoor) which he would paste on the foreheads of people present, irrespective of their faith or origin. But he would never offer any food from his Thali, or affix the holy mark on anybody whom he intuitively felt would not like it. Once a Muslim friend persuaded me to accompany him to the saint for getting something done through his miraculous powers. When the saint began to offer the left-overs from the food of his Thali to people assembled there, my friend whispered to me that he would not like to take it. Curiously enough, Nandabab did not call him at all to have one. On another occasion, another Muslim friend whom I carried to the saint to get a complicated problem of his solved (which was, of course, solved exactly on the date that Nandabab predicted) requested me that the Tilak may not be applied on his forehead. While asking all the members of the audience to get the holy mark affixed on their foreheads Nandabab did not call him.

In the hierarchy of Siddhis a stage comes when a spiritual aspirant gets a vision of the universe and through his mind's eye sees the past, present and even the future with perfect accuracy. At this stage, it is said that the spiritual aspirant is all powerful; he cannot only foresee things but can also mould the course of events. Accomplished saints seldom take recourse to this display of power. According to them, Nature must have its own course and they would not interfere with the same, so much so that, even being all powerful, they themselves suffer from ordinary human ailments, diseases, etc. which they could easily get rid of.


Nandabab also had passed that stage or Siddhi of spiritual evolution when a seer acquires the power of clairvoyance. He could enumerate problems and make prophesies - personal, social and political - with accurate precision. Suffice it to say that he could read the mind of people around him and understand their problems; sometimes offer solutions also. But he would take particular care of those whom he considered to be his main devotees or, in his own words, who were under his banner (Alam).

Nandabab could and did predict the rise and fall of various governments. As another mystic of Kashmir had told me, Nandabab was in the spiritual field 'the defence minister' of Kashmir with a whole host of other mystics, unknown and unidentifiable, working under him on different grades and posts. Later on, his jurisdiction extended to India also. I shall mention only two or three instances which, apparently unbelievable, are nonetheless true.

In 1965, when Pakistan invaded Kashmir, Nandabab was staying in the house of one of his disciples, the late Pandit Balkak Dhar. He started burning a huge fire and kept awake the whole night, sometimes weeping, sometimes laughing and sometimes crying. In the morning, I met him and he said that the previous night was the most difficult one for him. "They wanted to invade the airport", he said, "and I had to fight hard for changing their route''. What transpired later was that actually Pakistani raiders had made all attempts during the previous night to capture the airfield but had failed. When a sabrejet of Pakistan flew over Srinagar, he was performing a Havan; people felt panicky but he reprimanded them and assured that nothing would happen. When he was pressed further by queries he got a little irritated and said, "I have told you; should I give you in writing on a stamp paper?"


Nandabab's movements would be unpredictable. He would leave his residence usually in a car or taxi (sometimes in a Tonga also) and direct the driver to carry him to one place or the other. This trip would continue for days and cover various cities and stations. Once in Jammu he took a taxi for Delhi. On the way, the petrol tank of the taxi became dry and it stopped. Nandabab asked the driver why he had stopped the -vehicle. The driver informed him that the taxi had run out of petrol. The reply was if he had any water, he should pour it into the petrol tank. The poor driver, more out of awe for the saint, poured water into the tank. The taxi started straight-away. It reached Delhi without any petrol in its tank. This incident was narrated to me by the taxi driver himself.

From Delhi, Nandabab took a train to Bombay. There he directed his host to carry him to Santa Cruz Airport. When he reached the airport, a plane had taken off carrying Mrs. Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister, to some foreign country. A bomb scare was spread and the plane returned to the airport. Mrs. Gandhi took a different plane and continued her journey. Nandabab told his companions that he was very much worried till the plane took off and his task was over—nothing more nothing less. He returned to his headquarters and then back to Kashmir.

Basic Principle

All religions preach the same basic principle: that the ultimate goal is God or self-realization. True saints have always had this universal approach. Nandabab also had the same universal approach; to him all the people, from any part of the world, were the same. He wou1d show no preference for the high-ups nor wou1d he treat common people with less consideration. He was always smiling and never in a pensive mood. He was living in a rea1 world of omniscience and spiritual ecstasy which is far above the physical world, as Pandit Gopi Krishna has put it:

"The mystic gains a new power of perception which persists even in dreams. In every state of being—eating, drinking, talking, working, laughing, grieving, walking or sleeping—he dwells in a rapturous world of light. He is always conscious of his luminous glow not only in his interior, but pervading the whole field of his vision during the hours of his wakefulness. He lives in a world of light and burning in his interior, filling him with a new luster so beautiful and so ravishing. Light, both within and without, and a distinct music in his ears, are the two prominent features of his transformed being". In this state did live this Godman, Nandabab.

Multiple Personality

Nandabab had a double or multiple personality. With his nearest disciples, his behavior usually was that of a normal human being; he would talk about their personal matters, advise them on their family affairs and listen to them with patience and affection. But otherwise he would appear to be in his super world, he would not reply straight to a question or a request. A distant relation of mine, a government servant, was involved in a criminal case. He carne to me a number of times so that I would speak to the Subordinate Judicial Officer seized of the case. I was a Judge of the High Court then. I would not do it. One day when Nandabab was at my residence, the gentleman came and became a part of the audience. I narrated his problem to Babjee and added that though he (Bab) was kind to me, I had never asked him for anything personal. I craved his favor to help the man. No reply. I repeated the request a second time and a third too, yet not a word in reply, nor did he care to look at the supplicant. But a fortnight later the accused was acquitted, much against all calculations and expectations.

But Nandabab was very particular that those whom he regarded as his own or, in his words, who were under his banner (Alam), should not take shelter under any other spiritual leader. He was jealous of them and would see that his flock remained intact. With all this, whole mankind was his family. In his madness there was a method, in his ramblings was deep philosophy, in his wanderings the discharge of his political responsibilities, in his reveries and prayers the solicitude of the needy, the diseased and his devotees. He was celestial, he was benevolent, he was magnanimous and above all he was universal. In GMY'S words, he was a "flower who was born to blush unseen and waste his fragrance on the desert air".

Source: Koshur Samachar

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Nand Babh the Omniscient
Who is there in Srinagar who has not seen at one time or the other, a quick-walking, queer-looking nimble man with a big hat on his head and a tight belt round his waist, taking long strides in quick succession along the streets of the city and elsewhere?


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