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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri




by T.N. Dhar 'Kundan'

Miracles happen and miracles are performed. These are performed by men of highest spiritual standing. Many of us may have read about many such miracles, many may have heard of them and many may have been witness to such miracles being performed. We have heard and read about innumerable miracles performed by great sages like Guru Nanak Devji Maharaj, Shri Rama Krishna Param hansa, Raman Maharshi, Swami Ram Tirtha and many others. This has not only enhanced their esteem in our eyes but also further strengthened our faith and belief in the Divine. I have not been very close to any of the contemporary saints to have been able to see these for myself. I have, however, heard and read about many such miracles performed by various saints and sages of Kashmir. Let me narrate some of these for ‘Vinoda, sukha, laabhaya’ or entertainment, happiness and benefit of the readers.

Let me start with Alakheshwari Bhagavati Roop Bhawani. She was standing on the bank of a river and on the opposite bank was a Sufi Shah Qalandar. He called aloud to Bhawani in these words, ‘Ropi yor tar son karath’, Roopa! (literally silver), come to this shore and I will make you gold.’ Bhawani replied, ‘Tsuy tar yore mokhta krath’, better you come to this side I will make you a pearl (another meaning: I will liberate you.) Shah Qalandar was seen rowing a boat in which were seated Shiva and Parvati and crossing over to her side. Bhawani sent him back saying that that was not the desired way of crossing. Soon the Sufi saw a boat coming to his side, in which were seated Shiva and Parvati and he found that Parvati was none else than Bhawani herself.

Lalleshwari has the unique distinction of being not only the Valmiki of Kashmiri poetry but also a distinguished yogini of Shaiva order. Her sayings called ‘Vakhs’ are not only recited with reverence but are also sung in the beginning of various ragas of the classical music ‘Sufiana Kalam’ of Kashmir. Many miracles are narrated about her life. Once she went to visit the new born baby, who was later to become Nunda Rishi, the originator of Rishi order. His mother complained that the baby would not drink his mother’s milk. She held the new born in her lap and asked him this question: ‘Zena mandachhok na, chana kyaza Chhukh manda chhan – you were not ashamed to take birth, why are you ashamed of drinking your mother’s milk?’ The baby started sucking the mother’s breast instantaneously.

During the Pathan rule persecution of Kashmiri Pandits was at its peak. They would be tied, put into sacks along with heavy stones, carried to Dal lake at a place called ‘Batta Mazar’ or burial ground of Battas, and drowned there. A lady whose husband was taken for such drowning approached a saint known as Shakar Shah Mastana. She begged of him to save her husband. The saint wrote on a broken piece of earthenware this line: ‘gar chi hukme qaza ast, ba hukme Shakar Shah Mastana nav garaq shud, huma Brahman bar aayad. – Even if death sentence has been ordered, by the order of Shakar Shah the boat should sink and the Brahmin should be saved’. He asked her to drop this piece from the bridge into the river by which way the Pandit was being carried to the lake for drowning. She did the same and waited. When the boat reached the spot where the earthenware piece had been dropped, the boat capsized and her husband was thrown on to the bank. The same night the Pathan governor saw the saint riding a lion and he ordered him to stop this genocide or else he would meet a violent death. Next morning he ordered that this practice of drowning the Pandits be stopped.

Krishna Kar was walking on a footpath in a village when he found two bulls yoked with a ploughshare tilling the field without any person behind the ploughshare. He looked around and saw a young man sitting under the tree. He realized that it was a miracle being performed by him only. He took him away with the permission of his father and brought him to his locality, Rainawari. Later he came to be known as Meeshah. It is said that a huge boat laden with a load of food-grains was being towed up stream. The boatmen were singing a labour dirge, ‘Badshah padshah  -  Badshah Zainulabdeen is the King.’ Suddenly the boat got stuck up and would not move an inch. The boatmen approached Krishna Kar and asked his help. He came to know from them that a young man (Meeshah  Saheb) was at the bank at that time. According to his directions the boatmen changed the wording and started singing, ‘Meeshah Padshah  -  Meeshah is the king.’ And lo and behold the boat moved with ease.

There are three prominent shrines in Kashmir, where there are springs wherein water sprouts forth only on specified dates. These are ‘Tri-sandhya, Rudra-sandhya, Pawana-sandhya”. It is said that Peer Pandit Padshah along with his disciples reached Tri-sandhya on a date when the water was not expected to ooze out. But he wanted to take this opportunity to have a dip in the holy water. He asked one of his disciples to see if there was water there. When he reported that it was stone dry, he wrote these lines on a piece of paper, Chi qudran Sonda-brari ran a aayad ba isteqbali Shahanshahi Reshi – It is surprising that the Sandhya has not come to greet this emperor of sages!’ When the piece of paper was thrown in the dry spring, gushing came the water for Reshi Peer and his disciples to take a holy bath.   

Swami Shankar Razdan lived in Chattabal area of Srinagar. Maharaja Ranbir Singh and Maharaja Pratap Singh used to visit him occasionally to pay their respects. One day Maharaja Pratap Singh suddenly came to his house when he was having fever. When the arrival of the Maharaja was reported to Swami ji, he removed his blanket and had it kept in the corner of his room. While talking to Swami ji the Maharaja observed that there was vibration in the blanket. When asked what it was Razdan Saheb replied that he was having fever, which was kept under the blanket because of the Maharaja’s visit.

Pandit Madhav joo Dhar, the father and preceptor of Roop Bhawani sent a vessel ‘Degchi’ containing rice pudding, ‘Kheer’ to her in laws. The mother in law found it insufficient to be distributed to the neighbours and relatives. On Bhawani’s insistence, the pudding was distributed freely but it did not exhaust till the last family was served. Then there was the problem of sending back the brass vessel to Dhars. Bhawani solved the problem by throwing the vessel early next morning, down the river and asking it to reach Pandit Madhav joo, who would be offering ‘Sandya’ at the bank. The vessel reached him all right and he took it home. It is said that a similar miracle was performed by Bhagavaan Gopinath ji when at a shrine his sister had prepared food for five persons and Bab invited dozens of pilgrims to have food. His sister was perplexed but Bab asked her not to worry and continue serving the food to all the invitees. The food lasted till every single person had his meal.

At least twice did Bhagavaan ji order the clouds to go away without causing any rains, once when they were travelling in a boat ‘Doonga’ to Tulamula and the second time when they were on their way to Swami Amarnath ji for pilgrimage. He is said to have ordered in these words: ‘Hupaer Aeva, yapaer gatshiv – you have come from that side, now you go away from this side. Bhagavaan ji was instrumental in showing Sharika Bhagavati in the form of a girl to one of his companions at Hari Parbat and Shiva and Parvati at the shrine of Swami Amar Nath. 

Reshi Peer’s mother was very old and one day when a neighbor was going for a pilgrimage to the holy Ganges, ‘Ganga-jatan’, she expressed a desire to her son that she would also like to go for a dip in the holy waters on the auspicious day. Reshi Peer asked her to give her gold bangle. She gave it to him and he in turn handed it over to the neighbor to be immersed in the water there. On the auspicious day of ‘Ganga-aetham’ he took her to the bank of the Vitasta and asked her to take a dip. While she was taking a dip her gold bangle came floating on the waters and she held it in her hand. The waters of the holy Ganges had thus been brought into the Vitasta by the miraculous powers of her son, a sage of very high order. Peer Pandit Padshah, as he was popularly known, was once invited by a Muslim cleric to have a non-vegetarian meal with him and a group of some distinguished persons. He agreed on the condition that nobody should have tasted a morsel out of the cooked dishes before the invitees. When the food and some choicest dishes were served and the guests were asked to uncover the plates, everything cooked assumed its pre-cooked state. The rice was raw, vegetables were green and the chickens were alive. To the amazement of everyone present they found that one chicken was limping. The cook had tasted one chicken leg and the condition laid by the sage had been violated.

One of the Pathan governors was named Jabbar. He was a tyrant and during his time Hindus were persecuted badly. He was once told that Hindus consider it auspicious if it snows on Shiva-ratri while they propitiate the deity. He scoffed at it and said that there was no point in it since the festival was celebrated in winter when it rains and snows in Kashmir. As a vengeance he ordered Hindus to celebrate the festival in summer. It is recorded that while the puja of Shivaratri was on, clouds gathered and it did snow briefly. The public ridiculed the governor for this folly in these popular songs, ‘Wuchhton yi Jabbar janday, haras banovun vanday – Look at this wretched Jabbar, due to him the summer was converted into winter.’

Strange are the ways of the Divine and strange are the ways of those who have become one with Him.

T. N. Dhar Kundan's Articles


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