by Shanker Nath Fotedar


Chapter XIV

Sakori Baba, a great saint, has aptly remarked, 'The work of saints is the saving of souls or their absorption into the Source where from they have sprung, putting an end to the cycle of birth and death. They guide, but never compel anybody. The chief function of saints is on the astral or the spiritual plane; which it is impossible for the intellect to understand or appreciate.'

Shri Aurobindo has also said, 'Saints do not live in their outer actions visible to people.'

Bhagawaan Shri Gopi Nalh Ji, whose philosophy I am trying, in all humility, to interpret, was an introvert. He spoke very seldom and always remained absorbed in the Supreme. When his attention was drawn, he would come down to this plane, speak a few words to the questioner and then again get absorbed in the Supreme. No one dared disturb him while he was smoking his chillum. with the eyes turned towards the sky, and emitting vibrations and also receiving them; A discerning eye could see this. One does not, however, know about the depths of his spiritual experience. I had of necessity, therefore, to depend on the cryptic aphorisms uttered by him in my presence or in that of others, on various occasions, and on his response to the environment, in order to draw up a mental picture Or his philosophy and then make an attempt to interpret it. From a perusal of some notes in his own hand, and Or what some people, associated with him in his young days, had to say in this connection, it is reasonable to conclude that he practised, to begin with, the old Sanaatana Panchanga Upaasanaa in which Maha Ganesha, the Divine Mother, Lord Naarayaana, Lord Shiva and the Sun god are worshipped. In Kashmir, Shiva-Shakti Upaasanaa is known to have been practised from time immemorial. It was natural, therefore, for Bhagawaan Ji's mind to be swayed towards Shakti Upaasanaa at the impressionable age. His first ideal was Shri Shaarika Bhagawati. It is said that he had the saakshaatkaara of the Divine Mother before he was 27. This was to him, like his illustrious predecessors (most saints and mystics of Kashmir), the stepping-stone for the exploration of the higher realms of spirituality.

In Bhagawaan Ji's own handwriting, we find two Omkaaara symbols in the Shaarada script (which was then common in Kashmir and which is slightly different from the Devanaagri script) written somewhere about 1925 AD, when he was about 27.

All the space around and within Omkaara I is filled with Raama Raama except that inside each double line forming the Omkaara. This suggests that Raama is an adjunct of Omkaara. Likewise, Shiva Shiva is written in the case of Omkaara II, the space between the two lines forming the Omkaara being blank. The blank spaces in the case of each Omkaara seem to represent the Formless, Immutable and Eternal Brahman round which everything centres.

Above Omkaara-II, the following mantra is written:

Shrimat Param Brahma Gurum Vadaami
Shrimat Param Brahma Gurum Bhjaami
Shrimat Param Brahma Gurum Smraami
Shrimat Param Brahma Gurum Namaani
Om Tat Sat Om
These two Ornkaaras clearly point to the two paths of realizing Brahman: one through devotion to Raama (i.e. to Vishnu or Naaraayana) and the other through devotion to Shiva; the mantra above Omkaar suggests the recognition of the guru as Parambrahma.

Shri Ramakrishna Paramahansa has observed that he appeared lost wilhout taking refuge in Naaraayana. Bhagawaan Ji, too, would often utter the word Naaraayana. Once he told me that Naaraayana's was the highest Maayaa. Pointing towards his dhooni he said, 'It is Naaraayana's Paada (feet or an aspect). Is not Naaraayana within your heart (hridaya)? Become a Naaraayana."

A few years later, while I was contemplating on the saakaara form of Naaraayana, Bhagawaan Ji struck me with his pincers. Curiously, this had the effect of shifting me to the contemplation of Naaraayana without a form and attributes. The Supreme Entity, Ishwara, or Brahman is regarded by the devotees of Vishnu as Naarayanaa Who transcends the trinity of Brahmaa, Vishnu and Rudra. Aadi Shankaraachaarya regarded Him as the qualified or saguna version of the unqualified or Nirguna Brahman. Shankara's attitude towards this was one of a constant awareness of His being Brahman in association with, but in complete control of Maayaa Shakti. When the Supreme Being is recognised through a higher gnosis, He is Nirguna Brahman and when He is realised through emotion, He is Vishnu or Saguna Brahman. Bhagawaan Ji was a man of cold logic. Although he was often seen in an ecstatic state, he did not display any emotions outwardly. During the last thirty years or so of his life, he was never seen shedding tears of emotion or sss showing any signs of distress, as those following the Bhakti Maarga or the path of devotion often do. I asked him once whether the vibrations he was emitting, through his chillum-smoking or from the various parts of his body, could be indicative of Ajuz or Inquisaary (humility and entreaty). He replied that that might be so but did not elaborate. It is obvious, therefore, that he regarded Naaraayana as Saguna Brahman. But the proposition becomes somewhat complex when we see it in the context of what follows.

Bhagawaan Ji often uttered the name of Shlva also. Just before he gave up his mortal frame, he uttered the words 'Orn narnah Shivaaya'. In the year 1946, he went on a pilgrimage to Shri Arnarnath Ji. There, he gasticulated and said, 'Shiva is dancing everywhere', and he was in a state of ecstasy the whole day.

To my mind, Bhagawaan Jl's philosophy was something akin to the Trika Doctrine of the Advaita Shaivism of Kashmir, with Jnaana Icchaa (will) and Kriyaa (action) predominating. This doctrine means the recognition of the Self and the return of the Self through realistic thought, to the state of perfection from which It has fallen. This philosophy represents and harmonises the triplicate doctrine of Man, the Universe and the 36 tattwas. Its primary purpose is to explore the nature of the Reality and the experiences gained from the regular system of practice for the exposition of thought and the oneness of the individual soul with the Universe, through improved materialism. Though there are many principles common to the Vedantic and Shaiva philosophles, Shakti ls special to the latter. The Shaivas believe that the Universe is created, preserved and dissolved in Shiva alone . In Vedaanta, it is Maayaa alone that is responsible for creating the Universe, the whole of which is a delusion. The recognition of the Selll lf and the return to Its original, pristine state of absolute perfection, where we need nothing or lack nothing, is, according to this system, the state of moksha (salvation). The Shaivas argue that the Purusha (Shiva In a limited form) because of the association with the body, takes up the three taints (malas) Aanava, Maayiya and kaarma which are responsible for obscuring the true nature of the Self, for differentiating between the Self and the environment on the one hand, and between good and bad on the other; and are responsible for higher and lower births. It is in the nature of Shiva's Supreme will that He hides His real nature from Himself and manifests Himself in the form of jiva and then again as one with His true nature. They say that anything created by Shiva cannot be unreal, and so this phenomenal world is not unreal. Trika is regarded as an experience of the individual awakening to the level of the universal consciousness, and is believed to carry a man on the path of equilibrium. This philosophyyy y be1ieves in self-recognition, action and devotion. This is borne out by Bhagawaan Ji's actions over a number of years.

Bhagawaan Ji used the word 'we' and not 'I' when he was to do something: if a meal was to be served and he alone had to take it, he would say, 'We shall take'; likewise, he would say, 'We shall do this or that thing', even if he alone had to do it. This clearly points to the path of evolution from the 'I' stage (Idanta) to the egoless Ahantaa Tattwa. This Sadaa-Shiva state is regarded as the unmanifested Omkaara form of Shiva.

It is said that Yogis feel the presence of Shiva in the Aatman (the Soul) and not in the pratimas (idols). We cannot say whether the Naaraayana Cult or the Shiva Cult predominated in Bhagawaan Ji's mind or whether his was a synthesis of these two cults; it has been said:

Shivaaya Vishnu roopaaya,
Shiva-roopaaya Vishnave;
Shivasya hridayam Vishnuh,
Vishnosh cha hridayam Shivah,
i.e. Shiva and Vishnu are one and the same.

According to Aadi Shankaraachaarya, so long as one considers oneself a separate and external entity, the Supreme Ishwara, too, is an external entity as also the external Universe. When, however, one effaces, and transcends one's individuality, and wakes up into the unbroken awareness of Brahman, Ishwara and the Universe, too, melt and merge into the one Nirguna Brahman. The following analogy makes the idea c1ear:-

'The jivas are many fragments of the pan-cake ice that surrounds Ishwara, the giant iceberg floating in the polar seas of Nirguna Brahman in the marvellous irrideseent glow of the Aurora Borealis of Avidyaa in the Arctic winter. But the moment the Arctic summer sets in, and the sun of jnanna (knowledge) rises on the horizon, the numerous fragments of pan-cake ice and the iceberg melt and merge in the Arctic sea whence they emanated. So. too, Jiva and Ishwara who are but projections of Brahman, are real, so long as the differential awareness persists. But when the Universal awareness has dawned, Ishwara, the jivas and the multitudinous Universe melt and merge in the undeniable awareness of the non-dual Nirguna Brahman. '

A learned Brahmin from Kashmir who was at an advanced stage of Pranava (Ornkaara) upaasanaa, once put Bhagawaan Ji some questions about that kind of upaasanaa. Bhagawaan Ji replied in a loud voice, 'Omkaara is the throat of the Godhead. Nothing is possible without it.'

Bhagawaan Ji told me once 'Do you think this sort of saakaara upaasanaa will help you in realizing the Aatman?", meaning that theAatman be realized by vichaara and not saakaara upaasanaa.

On another occasion, he told me, 'Why do you shun the actions by which the Aatrnan can be realized?'

Addressing a devotee, Bhagawaan Ji once said in Kashmiri:

'Ahankaaras namaskaar,
Sui gav Omkaar,
Tami saati bani saakshaatkaar.'
Translated into English, this means:

'Bidding adieu to ahankaara (the ego) means concentration on Omkaara, by which one will get saakshaatkaara (self-realization).


Ahankaara means the realization that I am the Universe or the true ego; and that is Omkaara leading to saakshaatkaara (self-realization).

An incident, narrated by Pt Gopi Nath Dhar, who was associated with Bhagawaan Ji for over two decades, is reproduced below, in the former's own words:-

'Once, in May, 1957, an aachaarya from Benaras came to see Bhagwaan Ji early in the morning in order to ascertain what his spiritual evolutionary stage was. He bowed before the Bhagawaan and sat down in front of him. I also happened to be present. After learning from me Bhagawaan Ji's name, the aachaarya asked me at what stage of spiritual development Bhagawaan Ji was. I felt non-plussed as I could be no judge of the latter's spiritual evolution. Bhagawaan Ji, realizing my predicament, smiled and uttered Verse 6 from Chapter XV of Shrimadbhagvadgita:

'Na Tad bhaasayate Suryo,
Na Shashaanko na Paavakah
Yad gatva na nivartante,
Tad dhaama paramam mama.
The aachaarya listened with rapt attention, bowed before Bhagawaan Ji and said that he had got the answer. After some time he left, happy and satisfied.'

An English rendering of the above verse is as follows:-

The Sun does not illumine it, nor the moon, nor fire. That is my supreme state, reaching which one does not return.

Probably, this is what is called the Supreme State, Svadhaama, illumined by the self-luminous Brahma-Jyoti reaching which one does not return to the cycle of birth-death-rebirth,

This state is mentioned in the Upanishads also:

Na tatra suryo bhati,
Na charndra Taarakam,
Nemaa vidyuto bhanti, kotoyam agnih?
Tam eva bhaantam anubhaati sarvam,
Tasya bhaasah sarvam idam vibhaati.
So this was the Supreme State of awareness Bhagawaan Ji had attained.

This Supreme State is described by Kabir Sahib, in his dialogue (Sat Sangh) with Yogeshwar Gorakh Nath Ji, whom he desired to be elevated to this state. Kabir Sahib regards this state, Aatma-Loka, as beyond anything transitory (kshara) or permanent (akshara). and states that the mastery over Pranaayaama or the shatchakras will not take the yogin to Sameer, the highest spot in the brain (Brahmarandhra): it will leave him only halfway. He also says that, if one reaches the stage of Akshara, one will be free from attachment and hatred, and will have true renunciation and freedom from the clutches of Maaya. In the Atma-Loka, there is neither one nor two, neither truth nor falsehood. One should tIy to get merged into it. In that Loka. there is no Sun, Moon, Earth or Sky; no pain or sorrow; no action, and no pleasure or pain, which are the result of karma. There is no question of dependence. The rich, the poor, the recluse, can all reach it. Kabir Sahib also advised Gorakh Nath Ji to suppress his ego, become small and unsophisticated, and abjure the siddhis and the consequent pride of accomplishment; otherwise, the trammels of Maayaa would keep him away from the Reality. Kabir Sahib also suggested to him that he should keep the dhwanyaatmak sound, i.e. Pranava Shabda (Om) as his ideal and, with its help, reach the Atmaloka. The shabdas (sounds) he heard from the Shat-chakras were not real; the Pranava Shabda, after coming down from Kaarana (causal) and Sookshma (subtle) Sthaanas. as Madhyamaa and Pashyanti, had reached his ears so far; proceeding ahead, he would hear the real Pranava sound. That was the state Kabir Saheb himself was in.

Bhagawaan Ji did not seem to be interested in awakening the Kundalini or the Shat-chakras in the spinal cord. Once, when I was emitting vibrations probably according to the method he himself was practising, he admonished me not to emit them so forcefully lest the 'serpents' in me should wake up. On another occasion, he told me that in the vibrations that I was emitting, a concentrated sound of 'Om, Om' alone was heard in the Aakaasha, it was not accompanied by the sound of my ideal. That was to correct my practice in order to make it suitable to the stage of spiritual evolution I was at then.

Saakshaatkaara, according to Bhagawaan Ji, was some sort of divine light coming to an individual. This is borne out by what follows.

1. He told me once in Kashmiri when I was seriously studying the Gospel and some books about Shri Ramakrishna Pannahansa and had Mahaakaali as my Ideal (without telling Bhagawaan Ji what I was about), 'Yi chhu kitab paraan. Tor chhaa gaash?' (This man is reading the book (used collectively for books on a subject). Is there any light there?' Or, 'tor' may mean in the region from where the books I was reading had come.

Once a devotee of Shri Ramakrishna Paramahansa brought a photograph of his to Bhagawaan Ji. The latter scanned it and said, 'He was a Purusha'; and asked a devotee to hang it on a wall of his room, where there were many photographs of some Hindu gods and one of Guru Nanak.

2. Pt Dina Nath Tlcku worshipped God with a form. Bhagawaan Ji told him in my presence. 'You have light to the level of your throat but your body is blank.' He later became a disciple of Bhagawaan Ji . To begin with, he enquired of Bhagawaan Jl as to how he was to proceed on the path of God realization. Bhagawaan Ji replied in a short sentence, 'Do as I do'. There upon, Mr Ticku started imitating Bhagawaan Ji's outer actions. He would smoke a hookah when Bhagawaan Ji smoked his chillum. When Bhagawaan Ji spat, he did the same. He would eat when Bhagawaan Ji ate and so on. He imitated Bhagawaan Ji's rhythmic vibrations also. Of course, he thus made himself ridiculous in the eyes of others but he carried on quite unconcerned about their reactions. Subsequently, he got the saakshaatkaara at the Kshirbhawaani Shrine on a certain night, due to Bhagawaan Ji's grace, when Swaami Amritaanandaa and I, too, were present. Next morning, Bhagawaan Ji told me in a sad tone, 'Light has come to Dina Nath but it is such that it will kill him.' Later, while Bhagawaan Ji was at Bhadra Kaali, he sent Dina Nath away to live at his own house at Rainawari, Srlnagar. There, he attracted much attention by making predictions that came out true. Bhagawaan Ji sent him word to come and see him on several occasions, but he disobeyed, saying that he, too, had become a Bhagawaan. He died of cancer after a few years.

If Mr Ticku had obeyed Bhagawaan Ji's summons and gone to see him, would the latter have been able to change the nature of the light that killed him ? But this is a moot point.

3. Bhagawaan Ji had a strong affinity for light (Jyoti Swaroopa); he would keep dhoop and agarbatti in flame and not smouldering, as also his dhooni on many occasions. A few days after his giving up the gross body, one of his disciples was to sleep in the room where his (Bhagawaan Ji's ) aasana was. He switched off the light and was about to fall asleep when he felt a violent kick on the sole of one of his feet. He understood that he had committed a mistake in switching off the light. He switched on the light and slept peacefully thereafter.

4. Once, I was sitting in front of Bhagawaan Ji, poking the fire in his dhooni. Bhagawaan Ji said, 'You think these are ordinary embers. Trikoti devataas come to this dhooni' This means that, when the devataas are invoked, there should be light as, otherwise, the spirits of darkness may come and cause trouble to the man, or take possession of him. This was probably the reason why, during the period of his intense saadhanaa, (1930-37) he kept a small earthenware lamp burning.

5. On another occasion, while Bhagawaan Ji was at the Kshirbhawaani Shrine (Tulamula), a devotee asked him why he did not go to the holy spring to offer flowers, milk etc., as all other worshippers did; why did he keep aloof in his hut, away from the spring? Bhagawaan Ji said, 'There is a dazzling light there (in the spring)'; This clearly was a reference to the veil of Brahma-Jyoti the dazzling divine light enveloping the devas and the Divine Mother, without the removal of which one cannot see their personal transcendence. (A prayer in the Ishaava aasyopanishad reads, 'Lord, shift your dazzling effulgence so that the devotee can see the Reality.'). Bhagawaan Ji further said that our seeing the Divine Mother is not important; what counts is that She should look towards us', i.e., shower Her grace upon us.

Looking towards the sky, Bhagawaan Ji once told me, there is nothing else there except the chetan Bhandaaras of tej (i.e. conscious masses of light).

As has been stated previously, Bhagawaan Ji was a Tattva-jnaani who, with his intuitional eye, (the third eye, or jnaana netra), could see the nature and colour of the elements and their division and subdivisions. Those chosen by him for a higher degree of realization could, according to their individual capacities, be intuitively guided by him, or directed to blow continuously into fire, or, in other ways, to gain some knowledge of some of the elements.

Bhagawaan Ji once told me, 'Think of Brahman as a tree and sit on any one of its branches (representing Shiva, Naaraayana etc.). The same goal will be reached in each case.'

He would not dissuade anybody from pursuing his own ideal in upaasaana. Nor would he suggest an ideal directly; he always did that indirectly.

Bhagawaan Ji, once at Kshirbhavaani, asked for a copy of the Vishnu-Sahasranaama out of the many religious books a certain man had. He scanned the pages, turning over the leaves many times and looked towards me. Then he returned the book to the man. This was a hint to shift me over to the upaasanaa of Naaraayana, as my previous ideal had not proved helpful to me.

Bhagawaan Ji once told Shri Pran Nath Koul, a devotee of his and at present Secretary of the Bhagawaan Gopinath Ji Trust, to get framed a picture of Lord Vishnu on Sheshanaaga, which somebody had given to Bhagawaan Ji. Just after he had returned the picture, duly framed, Bhagawaan Ji told him, ' Look, how beautiful this picture is' This was an indirect instruction to him to start the upaasanaa of Lord Vishnu.

Though he suggested saakaara upaasanaa to the beginners, he did not seem to relish that kind of upaasanaa. He would say, 'yi gav taaph parun' (this means worshipping sunshine) i.e., worshipping the effulgence of the Sun and not the substance. In this connection, he once said, 'yi gav veeri shihilis tal pakun', i.e., this means moving about under the shade of willow trees. Willow trees have a cool shade. Walking under the shade means a lackadiasical form of upaasanaa and not plunging into the field of God-realization with complete surrender, come what may.

Though Niraakaara Upaasanaa bristles with difficulties and tribulations, Bhagawaan Ji.would, gradually wean away his devotees from the Saakaara to that type of upaasanaa. This was in keeping with the Upanishadic dictum:

Tasmaat saakaaram anityam,
Nityam niraakaaram iti.
Once, a devotee of Bhagawaan Ji, mustered courage enough to enquire of him who his guru was. Bhagawaan Ji replied, pointing towards a copy of the Bhagvadgitaa lying near him, 'Any verse out of the 700 verses of the Bhagvadgitaa can be one's guru. In reality, it is Ishwara, the real Self. who is one's guru.'

On another occasion, devotional songs were being sung before Bhagawaan Ji to the accompaniment of instrumental music. A verse in a Kashrniri song extolling the virtues of the guru meant, 'O devotee, worship the lotus feet of your guru, uniting your manas (mind) and praana ('the vital breath that sustains life in a physical body'). Pointing towards me, Bhagawa;an Ji said, 'Yi gatshi yatshun', that is, it is an indication of God's grace if one surrenders at the feet of one's Guru. I had been worshipping Ishwara and in this remark I read a clear instruction that Bhagawaan Ji wanted me to switch over to the upaasanaa of the guru as I had probably passed the first stage, at which God draws near a devotee who thus attains His grace: Bhagawaan Ji wanted me to proceed to the next stage at which the guru is worshipped as God. This saadhnaa leads to the manifestation of the real Self in the egoless state, and the devotee and the guru merge in the universall Aatrman.

Bhagawaan Ji guided his devotees according to their capacity to absorb his teachings, and this was done by induction and rarely by word of mouth or directly. The devotees who could not follow his own method of emitting rhythmic vibrations in consonance with cosmic vibrations were not given up by Bhagawaan Ji as lost. He would help them in the upaasanaa of the deities with forms and they, too, advanced slowly.

Bhagawaan Ji once told a devotee, that the requisites for God-realization are 'mehnat pananya beyi guru-kripaa', i.e., one's own effort and the Guru's grace.

One night, some time before he gave up the gross body, Bhagawaan Ji recited from memory four out of the five chapters of the Panchastavi in the presence of a devotee. He suddenly stopped after reciting the following verse from Chapter V :-

Ajaananto yaanti kshayam avasham anyonya kalahair
Ami maayaa granthau tava pariluthantah samnayinah;
Jagan-maatar janma jvara-bhaya-tamah Kaumudi vayam
Namaste kurvaanaah sharanam upayaamo Bhagavatim.
Probably, he did this for the benefit of the devotee who was a worshipper of the Divine Mother and could not advance further though Bhagawaan Ji had attempted to shift him to his own method of emitting vibrations, in which he did not succeed; or, may be he slid into the plane of the aesthetic perception of the virtues of the Divine Mother to impress upon the devotee that She is no different from Brahman, or, it was all his 'man kaa mauj', i.e., the mind in ecstasy.

As far as I could understand from my personal contact with Bhagawaan Ji for over two decades, the Devis are chetan (conscious) units of teja (effulgence) that come down to the Earth and remain there at various places for a thousand or two thousand years, and then revert to the source from which they had emanated. This way we can explain why the Shaarada Bhagawali Shrine in the Kishen GangaValley fell to the raiders from Pakistan in 1947. Probably She had left the site. About a hundred years ago, it is said, that Shri Raajnaa Bhagawati of the Kshirbhawaani Shrine moved away to the adjacent swamp; but in response to the supplication of her devotees returned to Her original spring in the Shrine. In the Kashmir Valley, there are many shrines of the Devis, but some are not worshipped now. These chetan energy bhandaars (stores of conscious effulgence, in the shape of Devis, too, appear to be having different qualities. While to some vegetarian offerings are made, to others mutton is offered.

A devotee sitting in front of Bhagawaan Ji was wondering once whether the truth should be told even if doing so involves others in trouble. Bhagawaan Ji answered him, saying 'Satyam shivam sundaram'.

Bhagawaan Ji would put on a tilak, wash his yajno- pavit (sacred thread) daily, and observe other daily rites also, but only in a casual manner. He would not differentiate on grounds of religion. Shri Shiban Lal Turki once told Bhagawaan Ji that his official duties involved him now and then in inter-dining. Bhagawaan Ji replied, 'Is Hindu one and Mohammedan another?'

Nila Bub, a saint, lived at Zaindar Mohalla, Srinagar. He used abusive language often but was clairvoyant. He would come sometimes to see Bhagawaan Ji during the period 1957-68 AD and always sit at a particular window of Bhagawaan Ji's room. One day, a lady brought some cooked rice in a cooking pot and placed it before Bhagawaan Ji. Normally, he would observe religious purity and take his meals from a thaali placed on a woollen cloth. But this time, he placed the pot on the ground, took out some food and offered it to Nila Bab, who refused to take it as it was unclean, having been placed on the ground. Thereupon, Bhagawaan Ji finished all the food himself. Nila Bab was an orthodox Brahmin saint still in the trammels of caste, and Bhagawaan Ji wished him to rise above caste and creed. Whenever Nila Bab called later, Bhagawaan Ji was indifferent to him.

Bhagawaan Ji never advised anyone to give up his household, wife or children, in the pursuit of God- realization. He said a worldly man, too, could be a man of dispassion (vairaagya). But he was adamant in not guiding people until they practised celebacy. The two centres of Brahma-jnaana are said to be present in the intellect (buddhi) of an individual, one being near and the other beyond, at the back of Chidaakaasha; and both these are well-preserved by the brahmachaari (celebate). Bhagawaan Ji used to be pleased whenever a brahmachaari came to him for guidance.

Bhagawaan Ji showed great consideration for the spiritually advanced. Master Shankar Pandit who was Headmaster of the Biscoe High School, Srinagar, was a scholar of Vedaanta and saint, who had contacts with several saints throughout his life. He used to come frequently to pay his obeisance to Bhagawaan Ji. On one occasion, I was sitting before Bhagawaan Ji, when Master Ji called. Bhagawaan Ji treated him with tea and was happy to see him. I wondered why Bhagawaan Ji showed so much consideration for him. After an hour or so Master Ji left. Reading my thoughts, Bhagawaan Ji said, 'Why are you so cross? He (Master Ji)is a Surya (Sun).'

Being decrepit in body, Master Ji could not come to Bhagawaan Ji in the last years of his life, but Bhagawaan Ji used to send him food every year on his (Bhagawaan Ji's) birthday, except the year during which Master Ji died. Master Ji said that, since Bhagawaan Ji did not send him prashaada during that year, he would pass away, and he died a few months later, while reading the 11th Chapter of the Bhagvadgita, by Bhagawaan Ji's grace. Master Ji had said that, if anybody could save Kashmir from 1947, onwards, it was Bhagawaan Ji. Working with an indomitable will and a heroic effort, unmindful of the physical privations Bhagawaan Ji underwent for about 21 years, he saved Kashmir from the calamities that engulfed the rest of India.

Bhagawaan Ji did not belong to the class of the advaitins of the Jnaana Maaraga (the School of know- ledge) who believe themselves to be actionless souls; they do not assist virtue and destroy vice. (He participated actively in moulding the environment at great personal sacrifice.) This will be clear from the example of Lalleshwari, one of the greatest saints of Kashmir. She lived in the 14th Century and has left a large number of vaaks containing the highest principles of the Shaiva philosophy. She did not, or possibly could not interfere with the changing picture of Kashmir then. But Bhagawaan Ji, participated actively in moulding the environment, though at great personal sacrifice. It is said that, if there is ajnaani in this world, his influence should benefit not only his disciples but the whole world.

When Bhagawaan Ji's younger brother, Pt Jia Lal Kaak died, his sister came to inform him about it, stricken with grief. He told her. 'What had he to do in this world now? He has gone over to become a Raj Yogi, and it is meaningless to grieve over his passing away.'

We did not actually perceive what he recited, or whether he recited anything while emitting the rhythmic vibrations from the various parts of his body, or while smoking. The vibrations caused by the chanting of mantras are believed to correspond to the original vibrations that arose from iranyagarbha. The rhythmic vibrations from japa are believed to regulate the unsteady vibrations of the five sheaths.

Once, BhagawaanJi was lying down, emitting vibrations by the rhythmic movements of his intestines. I started imitating this; Bhagawaan Ji said, 'What are you doing? These vibrations, if not properly emitted, will overturn the world'. He told me on another occasion that the vibrations emitted by me might reach the ceiling of his room or at best the roof in the next higher storey, but that they would die there. Once he told me that the vibrations emitted by me were still-born. I cannot throw any light on the nature of these vibrations, but Bhagawaan Ji had complete mastery over them. I got a clue to the nature of these vibrations when he told me that I was throwing out vibrations from the nerve centres, which was the kriyaa (action) of Devaloka (sphere of the gods) and not of Manushya Loka (sphere of man). He further said that I could not come out of these vibrations, i.e., these would become automatic and I would not be able to stop them. In my boyhood, I saw a saint called Nila Kaak (living in the house of Mr Gopi Chand Zutshi of Shehliteng, Srinagar) who continued with this practice till the end of his days. as he probably could not check the vibrations. This practice of emitting vibrations is very common among Sufi saints and is known as 'Zikri-Haq'. Sufism was initially a product of Indian thought but it travelled to West Asia and back to India from there: 'old wine in new bottles'. It is my belief that Bhagawaan Ji regarded this as a very superior and direct method of Self-realization though it involves much taxing effort and causes many tribulations.

Bhagawaan Ji said once that a yogi may attain the realization of God but a vichaaravaan can attain the realization of all the aspects (i.e., Paadas) of Brahman. By vichaara (Introspection) the capacity of the intellect of an individual increases, and he is enabled to catch the sukshma vichaara waves (subtle currents of thought) and newer and newer thoughts are produced, which remain in the Chid Aakaasha, as vichaaras never die. All the vichaaras of an individual get into the all-pervading omniscient life force, pervading throughout the creation, and remain there (Say, like genes in chromosomes). Similar vichaaras get mixed up and generate a tremendous potential force for good or evil, as the case may be. This probably was one of the reasons for the rhythmic movements of Bhagawaan Ji's body-parts, or smoking rhythmically, as if he was throwing his vibrations Into the all-pervading life currents and also reacting to the vibratiions from them. It will thus be clear that an emotional appeal had no place in his accc ctions, so far as I could understand. He was a rnahaa purusha (great soul) believing in action.

Before closlng this chapter, I wish to recall an incident related by Shri Som Nath Kaak. Shri Janki Nath Bhan of Shaalakadal, Srinagar, once confronted Bhagawaan Ji with the intriguing question whether saints should render assistance to people in the spiritual and temporal spheres. Does such help not exhaust the spiritual treasure acquired by a saint after great penance and sacrifice? Bhagawaan Ji replied, 'A man or an animal with a muscular and bulky body can afford to swim across a river. Can a small insect like an ant do so without help? It has to be helped.'

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