by Shanker Nath Fotedar

Chapter III

From the information gleaned from various sources, we have been able to ascertain that Bhagawaan Ji had passed the Middle School Examination. The Middle standard of those days, it is said, was equivalent to the Matriculation standard of these days. In his ecstatic moods, he would sometimes utter beautiful English sentences. He could read and write Sanskrit in both the Devanaagari and Shaaradaa scripts. He had attained mastery over Urdu and Persian as well. Since his earliest boyhood, he had shown great interest in Sanskrit, and would recite from memory beautiful Sanskrit verses in an impressive way. In his early life, he was known to have recited, without any aid, the Bhavaani Sahsranaama, the Indraakshi the Panchastavi the Vishnu Sahsranaama, the Mahimnastrota, the Shivastotraawli and the Vaaks of some Kashmiri saints. In his later life, he would recite verses from the above-mentioned texts whenever he was in a mood to do so. He had great interest in Shrirnad-Bhagavadgita, a copy of which lay before him till he gave up the gross body. But, during the last thirty years of his life, nobody saw him reading these texts. Probably, he had memorized all these in his early life. It is not known whether he had studied any text on the Upanishadic thought or the Trika Shaiva philosophy, for which Kashmir has been so famous. It is however, a fact that he attended the satsangas of scholars and saints in his early life when discussiooo ons on Vedaanta and Kashmir Shaivism were very common. May be, he had studied the Upanishadic and the Shaiva texts as well.

Bhagawaan Ji, since his early youth, had been very reluctant to take up any bread-winning employment. Because of the pressure from his parents and relatives and because of the straightened circumstances of the family. however, he was forced to take up such employment early in life. To begin with, he assisted his maternal uncle in the pashmina wool business, which was a flourishing industry in Kashmir those days. According to Shri J.P. Parimoo, his first regular employment was with the Vishi Nath Press in Srinagar as a compositor. Soon after Bhagawaan Ji had taken up employment in the Press, its business flourished. When he offered to relinquish his job three years later, the proprietor implored him to continue, but he refused, saying that his dass daaraz (dealings of the old incarnations) with the proprietor had ended. He gave up the job. 'It is said that next he got an offer from the proprietor of the Mercantile press, Srinagar... But he spurned the offer.'

After this. he started a grocer's shop at Sekidaafar and, soon after, shifted his business to a nearby place Vaaniyar, Chaayidob. These premises still exist. Probably, he took up this work as it gave him more time for his saadhanaa He appears to have worked at the grocer's shop for about ten years, i.e., till about 1925 AD. Though he sat at his shop, he remained absorbed, most of the time, in meditation, and spent even some nights there.

After he had given up running the shop, he plunged headlong into rigorous spiritual discipline, staking his very life with an iron will and a remarkable determination. Those alive to-day, who saw him at the shop, say that he talked seldom and seemed always to be lost in thought.

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