Intuitive Mysticism of Masterji
''He rejected the dross and assimilated the pure"
Professor Kashi Nath Dhar
Mysticism is a continuous exercise in self-realization. It is an incessant mental
drill in which the self and the super-self are fully identified. In Kashmir
from the hoary times to the present day, this urge of the soul for becoming
one with the super-soul has been always emphasized. Monistic Shaivism,
as propounded in the 'Shiva Sutras' of Acharya Vasu Gupta, and later interpreted
profusely by Abhinava Gupta, is the first milestone of the human spirit
on its pilgrimage to self-consciousness in Kashmir. The Kashmiri version
of Persian Sufism has also influenced the Kashmiri thought to a large extent.
This veritable quest for self-education and self-discipline is therefore
not at all foreign to the mental fiber of a Kashmiri. It is in his blood.
Lalleshwari and Nund Rishi (14th Century AD) epitomized this mental trait
in their Vakhs and also gave it the most homely and appropriate expression
in Kashmiri, pure and simple. Till then either Sanskrit or Persian ruled
the day in this field.
This torch of interrogation and consequent self-
satisfaction, the hallmark of mysticism, was kept alive by- a host of Kashmiri
thinkers like Parmananda, Rupa Bhavani, Gobind Kak, (Vanapoh), Shamas Fakir,
Ahmed Rah, Samadmir, Shah Ghafoor and others and its virgin heights were
admirably scaled by these stalwarts.
In mysticism two distinct trends are discernible.
The first, born of experience, is termed as 'revealed' and the second,
attained by intellect, is named 'intuitive'. The goal of both these media
is the same; firstly, locating clearly the frontiers between the immanence
and transcendence, and finally, fusing these into each other. The acme
of such intellectual pursuit is rising above the Finite and getting closer
to the Infinite as speedily as possible, thereby minimizing the distance
between the two. In Islamic Sufism also, similarly, two forms of mystic
exaltation are noticed, abnormal and supernormal. Ibni Farid calls these
respectively as intoxication and sobriety of union. It can therefore, be
said safely that intuitive mysticism is a non-stop intellectual process
and is more arduous than the revealed for reasons obvious.
In this context of mystic discipline, Masterji
has earned by his own right a prominent place in the galaxy of such thinkers
who churn their intellect incessantly and groom it to explain the ideal
spurning the actual. This should not be treated as self-deceitÑfleeing
from the life in all its naked realities instead of facing it with courage
and patience. Masterji did not forget life around him, he did not abjure
life even though it was always bitter to him. He was a civil servant by
profession but a Savant by nature. As long as he remained in -government
service, he acquitted himself very well with undivided dedication to his
profession. He drank at the fountain of life most voraciously. He wore
his profession on his sleeves, so to say.
Perhaps, this acute sense of responsibility to
his profession ignited the first spark of the mission he had to undertake
in future. This formative period in his life ushered in the mental ferment
which is so necessary for reaching the mystic plane. It is the moment of
self-forgetfulness when the 'actual' with all the teeth is incapable to
bite; the soul commences its flight to touch unknown horizons and the body
has no meaning at this stage.
Masterji's life was no bed of roses. It had nothing
palatable to offer to him, it only enabled him to keep the wolf from his
door. He never lived in affluence. The cruel hand of death snatched away
his dearest son; he had to fend for his widowed daughter-in- law and her
children. He did not succumb under the weight of such calamities. He fought
his life's problems in the most detached manner conquering these bit by
bit, never losing hope. These came as a blessing in disguise and made a
mystic of him, not out of spite for life, but for making it more meaningful.
Masterji was a profound scholar of Persian. He
could not escape the influence and impact of great Persian mystics like
Shams Tabrez, Maulana Rumi, Hafiz Shirazi and others. He had fully assimilated
all that they had to say. The echo of Shams Tabrez's 'Man tu Shudam, tu
Man Shudi' can be unmistakably understood from his verses also.
Masterji built his personality brick by brick.
The foundation for this was provided. by the Hindu mystic lore especially
by the Kashmir Shaivism. Vedanta and the Upanishads also acted as the cementing
link to make it more broad-based. Both are portrayed most eloquently in
his 'Sumaran'. Masterji's intuitive mysticism is a happy blend of Hindu
mystic thought and Islamic Sufism. He toiled hard to attain to that plane
of self-consciousness where the material contours melt away before the
effulgence of the 'spirit'. A hand-to-mouth living gave him the required
tools for rising above it. Erudite scholarship in Persian and Sanskrit
opened for him the vistas of mystic exuberance achieved by a host of his
predecessors. Self-discipline in the case of the first and self-education
in the case of the second, are in themselves a worthy preamble to self-dependence,
and this in its turn paves the way to self-consciousness. Masterji's unambiguous
attitude to mysticism is of synthesis in which intuition and intellect
form the woof and the warp. The didactic content is, therefore, somewhat
subdued in his poetry. He does not claim to be a preacher. He only unravels
the conclusions that he has arrived at in life. He does not even analyze
these but only clothes these in most pulsating words as they ooze forth.
The intensity of feelings does not afford him even a breathing time to
ruminate on what he has written or expressed. He goes on serializing his
heart-beats most candidly. His approach is suggestive and not direct. His
innate introspection rejects the dross and only assimilates the pure -
the yard-stick for it being his unerring intellect. So 'Sumaran' is a codified
version of his feelings and not a treatise on morality or ethics. His poetry
is clear and more intelligible than that of Lalla or Nund Rishi, because
his discriminating intellect has an edge over their on-rushing experiences
by which they feel overwhelmed. Masterji is always sure of the ground under
Masterji was a conscious artist like Goswami Tulsidas
who without mincing words beckons to us in undertones, by implication,
to make this life a veritable bridge to the life-beyond. He makes a happy
compromise between the self and the super- self, matter and spirit, enjoyment
and renunciation, intellect and intuition. He does not leave us guessing.
That is, perhaps his most substantial contribution to our unbroken heritage