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Paramhans Swami Poornanand ji Saraswati

The Man and the Legend

 Kashmir has  produced  great sons, many of them remain unknown to the people. It has been our endeavor to trace out details about these outstanding Kashmiris. Recently, we got in touch with Razdan family of Udaipur. Paramhans Swami Poornanand ji Saraswati, a freedom fighter used to stay with this  family . Kashmir Sentinel had a detailed conversation with Dr. Tej Razdan,a scion of this family.  We are reproducing this converstion for the benefit of our readers.                                                                            - The Editor

It was sometime in 1958 our family came in contact with a saint of great merit,  Paramhans Swami Poornanand ji Saraswati.  He was staying at Shesharma, a village on the outskirts of Udaipur district.  Hehailed from Kashmir.  It was on our intense persuasion he agreed to stay with us.

Swamiji came from the well-known Dhar clan of Safakadal,  Srinagar. He was born on 21st August, 1912. Few details are available about his family and the circumstances in which the family left its homeland.  He had erased his original name from his horoscope.  According to Prof.  DK Bhatt of Udaipur university,  who knew Swamiji intimately,  the latter’s father had held a high position in  J&K State’s revenue bureaucracy.  He had good access to the ruler, Maharaja Partap Singh. When Swamiji was 10 days old,  his family was involved in some dispute with their neighbours. They had to leave Kashmir and landed in Lahore.  An influential member of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s clan was able to help the family return to Kashmir and get their property back. Swamiji’s mother, sister and younger brother finally settled in Mumbai. When his mother died she had willed that the property of the family be divided equally among the three children.  This was objected to by Swamiji’s brother.  Swamiji gave his share to his sister.  As a revolutionary and as an ascetic Swami ji talked little about his personal life.

In 1922 some Kashmiri families were on Bharat Braman to visit different holy places.  Swamiji,  a student of 3rd standard then,  too was in this group along with close elderly family member.  The pilgrims also visited Omkareshwar on the bank of Narmada, near Khandwa.  There is a famous seven-mother goddess temple (of Varahi,  Chamunda,  Brahmini,  Vaisnavi,  Indrani,  Kaumari and Maheshwari).  These temples are visited by people in large numbers throughout the year.  At its Dheodi Ghat was an ashram of Govindanand Saraswati.  On seeing Govindanandji Swami felt deeply impressed and expressed desire to stay at the ashram permanently.  He made request to Govindanandji to take him as his disciple.  To this Govindanandji replied,  "I make Gurus, not disciples. " The precocious child replied,  "Then make me a guru. ” Govindanandji told the close relative of the child, ”Please tell the father of the boy that the child feels like staying here and as and when  his father wishes to take him back he can do so. ”   

Diksha :  Diksha started with Trikal Sandhya and  Gayatri Purus-hacharan during the day. During night the students had to recite KALI beej MANTRA.  The discipline was quite rigid,  the boys had to take self cooked  meals once a day and attend to every work themselves. Swamiji’s other companion was Karim, a muslim by birth.  When someone suggested to Govindanandji to give new name to Karim,  he objected saying, ” Karim is one of the Beej shabad of Maa shyama” hence no need to change the name The Guru was closely linked to Holker Princely family of Indore.

After the formal training was over, Govindanandji asked Swamiji and Karim to jump into the struggle for India’s freedom. Indore was a centre of revolutionary activities those days. Infact, the British govt.  had implicated another Kashmiri Pandit, Jagar Nath Zutshi, a medical student in King George Medical College,  in infamous Indore Conspiracy Case.  It is not known whether Swamiji had any links with Zutshi’s group,  but he attended Tripuri session of Indian National Congress as a follower of Netaji Subash Bose. The latter had  contested in this session for Presidentship  against Pattabhai Sitaramaya.  Both Nehru and Gandhi opposed Bose.  In his address  Nehru said, ”If Subash Babu becomes the President then all of us would be holding swords. ” Such a statement infuriated Swamiji and he lost his cool and brandished his pistol at Nehru.  Seth JamnaLal Bajaj intervened and pleaded to Swami ji to calm down.  The latter retired to his camp.  In the evening Bose went to Swamiji and asked him, ” Do you know what would have been the consequences had you pressed the trigger?Swamiji shot back, ”It could have taken the life of Jawahar. ”Bose said, ”Pt.  Nehru is also our brother. ”Swamiji angrily asked, ” Are we your enemy then?”In anger Swamiji threw away his pistol and other revolutionary paraphernalia at Bose. ” Bose was re-elected as Congress President.

Revolutionary activities :

Swamiji came to Bombay. Bose went to persuade him to join the revolutionary movement.  A new group  had been formed with its base at Midnapore . Swamiji,  Karim and some Laxmi were active members in Bose’s new group.  This group was operating all over the country. Swamiji’s main role was to ferry arms,  received from Germany,  to different places in the country.  His area of operation included Bombay,  Mhow,  Indore,  Bhind,  Morena,  Agra,  Delhi,  Lahore,  Peshwar and had warrants in 5-6 states. Swamiji was in active contact with princes to enlist their support for revolutionary freedom struggle and mobilize financial support from them.  How and when Swamiji came to have alias of “PSPS”(Paramhans Swami Purnanand Saraswati) no details are available.  Soon Swamiji became a legend for his activities. 

He used to travel on a motorcycle, (5HP BSA with no shockers and springs) to different parts of the country.  One day he was on way to Indore from Bombay. As he neared a chowk, 30-40 kms short of Indore, British Police engaged him in an encounter. Swamiji was hurt as a bullet pierced his right shoulder.  He kept on driving motorcycle till he reached the fort before Indore.  The guards on duty recognized him and sent a word around that PSPS was injured.  He was taken inside and the gate was closed.  The British had no idea about his whereabouts.  Swamiji remained as the guest of Holker Ruling family under the care of RajVaid. It was here that he acquired knowledge of Ayurveda. For five years Swamiji‘s centre of activity was Indore.

Once  Swamiji shot dead a senior British Officer in a train near Amritsar.  The police cordoned off the Railway station.  Swamiji and his group managed to move out by riding their mobikes over railway bridge sleepers.  They were helped by some Bijli Pahalwan  to  escape from Amritsar. On another occasion in Calcutta a British officer was killed.  The officer used to visit a tawaif. The revolutionary group wanted to teach him a lesson.  Though Swamiji was expert in scaling pipes,  since the pipe was 1\2” in diameter he could not scale it  to reach the officer.  A lady member did the job and the British officer was targeted.  Once while returning from Burma to Calcutta in a Japanese ship they were sighted by the police when they were still 5 kms away from Calcutta. The revolutionaries jumped in to sea and swam across to Calcutta.

Many of INA members after the end of WWII went underground to escape trials by the British Govt. Swamiji went in to hiding in Assam.  During his stay in Assam he did  Bhairvi Sadhna.  From here he moved to Sankaracharya Math in Nepal.  There he met another legend Swami Kaidarh Puri ji and stayed with him for some time.  Some believe he had stayed in Tibet  also during this period. In 1949 Swamiji shifted to Udaipur.  He met here one of his companions, probably Keshav Mukherjee at Pali, Rajasthan. Keshav was also staying underground.   Swamiji asked him, ”Tumhara khana pina to chal raha hai?(Are you able to sustain yourself)”Keshav recognized Swamiji and said, ”O’PSPS how are you here?” Swamiji asked him if he had any problem he could stay with him.  Many legends grew about SWAMIJI.  One of these was that he carried a wireless  set  in his watch.  He had given his watch for repairs.  Some political worker instigated a CID Inspector to investigate it.  The Inspector came to Swamiji for inquiry.  Swamiji told him that he should tell his officer that his file was in Red Fort and cited number of the file also.  He told him that the particular file would tell him everything about him.  Swamiji was pro-Sovietland Pro-German but anti-American.

Shesharma Days:

Before coming to Shesharma village, Swamiji had been staying at 2-3 different temples in

Udaipur. At Shesharma temple he constructed a room for himself.  It was here that he immersed himself in occoult science research.  He served in Panchayat Dept.  as a storekeeper and was scrupulously honest.  He disposed off cases quite promptly and displayed nationalist sentiment.  This was the period when Late Mohan Lal Sukhadia was the Chief Minister.  Some of his loyalists wanted a favour from Swamiji which the latter refused.  Soon after,  Swamiji was attacked by six goons while he was on his way to home from office.  The goons carried swords and spears.  Swamiji too gave them good thrashing. Later,  they set his room on fire after few days. My father on hearing this went to see Swamiji and with great effort persuaded  him  to stay with us.  It was probably 1956.
Swamiji’s attire was quite peculiar.  He wore pheran with rope around the neck.  He had pick cap (Kanwati)or British cap on his head. Swamiji used to tie four rows of Kaladar pasana(sort of a belt)around his waist with a big knife fixed in it.  He wore strong ankle boots.  The staff he carried had a steel ball at one end,  while at the other end there was a spear. Swamiji looked a giant in disposition.  He was a good cyclist too.

During his Shesharma days a tough called Ladu Pahalwan had struck terror in Udaipur. . He used to stay in Khasodi. A sadhu lived nearby.  One day Ladu threw a bottle of wine at Sadhu’s hermitage. The sadhu narrated his tale of woe to Swamiji. He was infuriated and went to accost Ladu. Swamiji grappled Ladu and abused him, ”O’Ladu why are you troubling Sadhu. Uptil now you were  living on fish in the lake. Now these fish will live on you. . ”Swamiji pulled him down on the bank and sat on his chest, put knife on his throat.  This brought Ladu to his senses.  He apologized to Swamiji and made peace with sadhu. Ladu was to confess later that he could not free himself from Swamiji’s grip.

Scholarship:   

'Swamiji was fluent in Sanskrit, Hindi, Urdu, English Marathi and Bengali. His unpublished work includes:

1. Compilation of  Durga Saptashati:This manuscript has complete 700 slokas commentary.

2. Srividyarnav Tantra:This volume was worked upon by Swamiji while he   was at Shesharma. It took him 6 months,  working for 14-16 hours a day.  An old lady  Kesarbai alias KC looked after his food.  The  decoding of Srividyarnow tantra.   Swamiji worked out details of sunrays  and correlation with Chakras. .  Swamiji said rays changed every 4 secs.  and their number is  21600 in 24 hrs. . This work is in Sanskrit.  He used to be seated on a moda and used 18-20 rims of paper on these calculations.

3. Mantrodhar of Kamkala kali and Guhya Kali from Mahakalsahinta: In this Swamiji has elaborated the mantra of Kamkala and  Guhyakali in 363 pages and 2418 pages respectively.  It is said that in these mantras some words had been removed and or distorted at places. The Kamkala and Guhyakali mantras were thus incomplete. Swamiji worked out these distortions and filled the inadequacies. For work on Guhyakali he received inspiration from NathYogis.

4. Kamkala kali mantra:  Swamiji also had elaborated on Kamkali mantras.

Usualy Swami ji used to do Sadhna in night and used to keep the present Grah as sakshi for his sadhna.  Once keeping Buddha Grah as sakshi for his Sadhna he said if he delays his sadhna by 3 mts.  then he can go in total trance keeping Budha Grah as Sakshi.  He was of openion that Buddha is 3 mts.  behind the schidule as mentioned in all the Panchangs in India.  He insisted Trajectory & timings of rise & setting of Buddha is 3 mt.  late.  The difference of 3 mts.  would make Panchang unreliable.  Later on Nasa, as per a report in Times of India,  had also come to same conclusions after three months of Swami ji gave his openion based on his Sadhna. .

In his last years Swamiji was working on Holy Quran and The Bible but  because of  failing eyesight due to ARMD he could not complete these.  He restricted himself to only Path-Puja and stopped all writing work.  Throughout night he would be busy with puja. He  would say that he  used to  receive divine orders to work on different subjects. Swamiji would say that mantras in Hinduism had to be charged first through  recitation.  He used to  solve difficult questions in the night through Puja. . Swamiji had equal respect for all religions.

Swamiji practiced Sandhya in the evening and used to turn beads the whole night.  As per Dr.  Bhat he had the offer to become Sankaracharya but Swamiji politely declined the offer.

Swamiji even while sitting at home would be aware about everything happening outside.  He would never talk about his family or personal life.  Swamiji abhorred superstitions and charlatanism.  He would say, ” Any day you feel happy is an auspicious day. ” He hated clergy and godmen. . Swamiji, however,  believed in spirits and would suggest to lit some incense to turn these away. Swamiji would always tell us to  lit agarbati on right corner while entering home. He had premonition about his death.  He died of intracerebral haemorrhage and was buried  a samadhiin mudra near cremation ground on 06-10-1996.  

Srinagar Visit: Swamiji visited the place of his birth, Kashmir 2-3 times, once in the company of Trakroo family.  He visited Tulmulla also. Somewhere in its vicinity he happened to meet a Muslim saint who was a devout shaivite.  This saint had good collection of books on Shaivism.  Swamiji  had his  lunch  there. He was able to locate one of the rare books in this saint’s library.

Source: Kashmir Sentinel

 

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