(Born 1791, Death 1879 A.D)
and his Poetry
(The Famous Saint poet and Philosopher of Kashmir)
With the mystic sayings of LAL DED based on her Yogic experiences and the didactic ones of NUND RESHI begins the history of Kashmiri literature through one Shieti Kantha's book "Mahanaya Prakash" existed a couple of centuries or two before.
Whereas LALLA remains unparalled upto date in her mystic sayings, yogic practices and depth of thought in the whole field of Kashmiri literature, NUND RESHl and PARMANAND are the undisputed topmost Rishis of the Religious philosophical thoughts of their respective cults. All the three are held in high esteem by the Hindus and the Mulsims alike in Kashmir for their unity of purpose and divinity of nature.
PARAMANANDA is said to have been served and generously financed by one Salih Ganai, the Vilage Moqdam (Nambardar) after the former resigned his post of the Village Patwari.
Born of Saraswati Devi, (goddess of eloquence and Wisdom also is called by the same name) wife of Krishna Pandith (Svamina Bharadhvaja) in 1791, in the Village SEER near Mattan, he was brought up in that rustic atmosphere and educated in Persian up to the elementary stage according to the prevalent custom. Inspite of this handicap, however, he wrote Poetry in Persian early in life under the poetic title of GARIB. During his tenure of office as the Village Patwari of Mattan, his father had transcribed a big MS of MAHABARATA into Persian which is said to be well preserved upto date.
From a portrait of his, drawn by one of his disciples Narayan Muratgar, it seems that, at the age of three score years and ten, he still enjoyed robust health and wore gray hair above his broad forehead and a long nose on his ruddily face between two bright eyes. His large head appears to be sitting on his broad shouldered trunk over a thick neck
Parmanand of Seer Village really became a tender hearted saint-poet and rose to be a Seer of Wisdom with satire and humour. Married to his elder, childhood -playmate, Malded early in boyhood, his wife, being harsh, was a contrast to his poetico-philosophical genius. She continued to Lord over him throughout his life.
died and he succeeded him as the village patwari of Mattan at the age of
twenty five years. It is here at Mattan that Parmanand must have read his
father's transcription of Mahabarata in Persian, and himself transcribed
in his own beautiful hand the Persian translation of the UPNISHADS made
under the supervision of Prince Dara Shikoh under the title of UPANIKHAT.
It is here at this All India Tirtha of Martand that Parmanand is said to
have listened to the discourses of great Sanskrit scholars on Shaivism
and Vedantic Philosophy and heard stories of Bhagvata and Puranas as well
sayings of LALLA and NUND RESHI. He is said to have been a regular listener
to the recitation of Granth Sahib by a Sikh Sadhu at Martand. His family
Guru and his (guru's) son. Pt. Atma Ram are said to have given him descriptions
of KUNDALINI yoga or Shat Chakra in addition to what he had learned from
his father, Krishna Pandith whom he calls his father and his guru.
is my guru,
and He is my dear father.
The vast universe
is his body.
And He is its soul.
Krishna Pandith is Paramanand's father and Nand that of Krishna Himself, feeling one with the Lord, he playfully and yet reverently and endearingly addresses Him and says.
is my father,
And Nanda that of Thine,
How are we related then
Thou can't alone decide;
Parmanand visited some of the contemporary Muslim Faqairs like Wahab Sahib of Khrew and Sadhus like Pt. Tika Ram, a Persian writer of religious philosophy living in his neighbourhood, and one Pt. Nidhan Kak of Bijbehara. Once he is said to have remained closetted for months in his own house, with one Swami Atma Nanda, a sanyasi Parmahansa from Benares, busy in yogic practices and religious contemplation.
He was once invited by Pt. Nidan Kak to give a sitar (Madham) recital at his house at Bijbehara. The musical concert went on throughout the whole night. Most of the listeners were overpowered by sleep one after the other. The master singer rose to the heights of ecstasy and vibrated the quiet atmosphere with wave after wave of devotional songs which found him virtually merged with the Divine spirit. Nidan Kak closely followed and appreciated the music of his songs, but he too was soon found sleeping for a while. During these sweet moments of his sleep he is said to have seen RADHA and KRISHNA sitting in either arm of the sage smiling. Immediately he awoke and bowed in reverence to his honoured guest, musician and saint-friend-Parmanand. Thereafter the two became more intimate and the former often visited him, walking the whole distance of eight or nine miles from Bijbehara to Martand with offerings of humble rice cakes. The latter took these as sacred Navid and distributed small pieces of it amongst his disciples and friends alike.
Parmanand had a marvelous command over his language. He could write in a highly philosophical tone in Sanskritised Kashmiri as well as in a pure unadulterated one as and when he wanted to. There was an exuberance of apt words and thought processes at his command. And he could wield his pen on either in any manner he liked. He is said to have at once responded to the complaint of his saint friend, Wahab Sahib of Khrew about his Sanskritised language, by dictating, on the spot, a poem for him in pure Kashmiri, to his companions.
Nor was Parmanand not affected in choice of language, by his discourses with the pilgrims to Mattan. He wrote many songs and bhajans in a mixed Panjabi-Hindi language. He is also rightly regarded as the first Hindi writer of Kashmir though the saint poetess, Rupa Bhawani, had already broken the ice in this direction by making a smaller beginning much earlier.
The natural phenomena of his environmental surrounding as well as the experiences of his profession as Patwari, and village life all have had their share of impact on his character, mode of expression and his precious expositions.
The most authentic research scholar, a confirmed authority on Parmanand is Master Zinda Koul Sahib, of revered memory, who is also popularly known as Masterji. He groups Parmanand's poems into five divisions according to their sublimity of thought as follows :-
(1 ) Litanies to gods and goddesses in which the poet meekly pleads for mercy for his sins and lapses.
(2) Karamabhomika & Amarnath Pilgrimage containing his most numerous references to yogic practices
(3) Three longest poems of his namely.
(a) Sudama charitra depicting the mutual love of Sudama and Sri Krishna,
(b) Radha Syayamvara with the central theme of mutual love of Sri Krishna, Radha and the Gopies.
(c) Shiva Lagana
culminating in the Re-union of Shiva with Uma. These three long poems symbolise
the boundless love of
God for the human soul and the love and aspiration of the latter towards God.
One cannot but agree with Masterji that Parmanand is at his best in expressing his unfettered flow of love with all his heart and soul to God especially in the form of Radha and Krishna LILA, Hence the name for all devotional songs as observed by Masterji.
(4) Didactic Poems laying stress on the Sadhana or preparations and purifications necessary for the attainment of Janana e.g. control of senses, quietude and concentration, Vairagya as well as Bhakti and surrender to God on the part of aspirants to spiritual fife.
(5) Vedantic and philosphical poems of matured wisdom stating therein the Siddhanta or ultimate Truths of Vedanta-Aparoksha, Darshan Sahaja -Vichar, "Tar ivam asi". Anirvachaniya Maya etc.
Here, according to Masterji, Parmanand rises above external exercises and pranabhyasa- even above the sadhanas of Shama and Dama, not to speak of Dana, Tirtha-Yatra, Homa and Vedantic rituals, and these poems of his read like the meditations of a Jivanmukhta.
Herein below l venture to quote specimens from the poems of each of the five groups mentioned above with their English renderings, as my limited mental faculty in this direction understands them, by way of illustration before the article is concluded.
THE RELEVANT QUOTATION
mother of the universe.
Shed thou Thine haloed light on us.
And merge our finite into Thine infinite
For, are we not sparks of Thy light?
field of action with
The spirit of duty and devotion,
The seeds of contentment will then grow
And bear the fruits of external bliss.
Harness the oxen of Twin-breath
To plough the field day and night.
Lash them on to work hard
With the Kumbaka whip;
Arise awake and work, on to see.
That not a patch remains unploughed.
Sow thou the seeds of contentment
To grow the Crops of bliss!
the Jiva, friend of the Lord arrived
Thither went God Sudharshan to receive him
And Sudama, the Jiva resigned himself to His care!
takes, Radha to her Palatial home
And Lord Krishna, Sudama, the Jiva to His!
will only relate, what is happening;
Shiva will free the Devi of her ego and pride.
And the story is long enough wherein
Sati gallantly, meekly and innocently
Consumes herself in the fire;
was heard a sound;
It was the musical flute-call of His (Lord Krishna)
Though the note came from afar,
Yet it seemed to come from near by
Allured by the musical note, the daughters
Rushed out bewitched and,
The mothers followed;
(e) None but
the Lord (Krishna) is seen there,
He is seen alone making love with Himself,
None but he, and he alone
Is seen all around;
(f) The Gopies
of my mental dynamics
(Flashes of my desires, aptitudes and likings)
Are absorbed in Thy thoughts and,
Maddened by the bewitching lure
Of the sweet call of Thy flute, they
Overcome the innateness of
The pulls and counter pulls
Of the senses and,
Forgetting their self and non-self, they
Run to Thee, O Lord,
Follow Thee and seek Thee and Thee alone;
(Vedantic and Philosophical Poems)
(a) To die
while living is a gamble,
It is to forget the-self.
And seek the Truth
It is to study
And contemplate on
Of actions and feelings.
(b) Some may
call it Shakti (energy)
He is born of nothing nor
Is his existence dependent on
Cause and effect;
During day, and at night, he
Is all bliss and,
All light and light and light;
(c) He is all
There is no
I or you or he in Him,
He is, because He is;
And all that, which
Inspite of being.
Also is He;
Towards his last days, Parmanand contracted fever and yet sat on his seat as before. At last he directed his disciples to keep by his side on the last day of his life. He sat, as usual, in Sidhasana, uttered 'OM' and, something was seen bursting forth through his large skull and, peacefully flying off in all its glory. Thus was this great Soul taken back by the Lord to the heavens whence he had come, never to return.
1. His dates of birth and death are recorded as (1791--1885) in "Hindi in Kashmir" by the writer P.N. Razdan; With encouraging comments by Dr. Suniti Kumar Chatterjee the then Chairman Sahitiya Academy New Delhi and others.
2. (1791-1879) in Parmanand by Prof. S.K. Toskhani.
3. (1846-1934 S.M) in Parmanand by Master Zinda Koul who quotes the same lines of a poem in Persian by Lakshman Bulbul Nagami as quoted by Shri Toskhani in his book on the saint.