by Prof. P. N. Pushp
enviable eminence not only as a saint, but also as a poet articulating spiritual
insights. Born in the family of a village Patwari he was named Nanda or Nanda
Ram, and his persistent endeavour transformed him into Parmanand (Parma
Ananda, i.e. Supreme Bliss) His father, Krishna Pandit, belonged to the
village Seer, about three kilometers away from Mattan where he was working as
Patwari. His mother, Sarswati, was a pious lady thoroughly conversant with the
spiritual heritage of the community, despite her illiteracy.
Parmanand received his formal 'schooling' in a Maktab
where he was given a smattering of rudimentary Sanskrit witb a working knowledge
of the Persian courses deemed essential for a prospective patwari. Persian was,
those days, not only the language of administration but also the language of
cultural transmission of even the Sanskritic lore, including religion and
philosophy, astrology and ritualistic tracts. Parmanand availed of this
traditional facility too as is obvious from the copy of the (Persian) Upanikhat
left by him. Yet, it was the live contact of Nand Ram with the saints and
spiritual aspirants at Mattan and around that deepened his longing for
self-realization not withstanding the demands of his profession, and the
resentment of his ambitious wife Maalded. She was the daughter of a succesful
patwari and naturally expected her husband to make hay while the sun shone.
Parmanand braved the stress and strain of the times,
and persisted in his Sadhana under competent guidance of a genuine Paramahamsas.
His admirers like Saleh Ganai, the Zailder of Mattan, looked after his material
needs and provided him a congenial atmosphere for spiritual preoccupation, so
that he could articulate his aspiration as well as realization. In his utterance
we therefore, find the unfolding of a variety of spiritual layers. During the
Amarnath pilgrimage days he had witnessed the multidimensional manifestation of
spiritual quest at Mattan and had realized the need to "proceed from the
(external) cave to the personal cave (within)' and to face the selfless Self,
meditate on the Sahaja (In boro Truth)." The interplay of the individual
Soul and the Cosmic Soul was for him a Leelaa (sport of the Spirit) which he
presented variously in his verse, particulary in his three Leelaa poems,
Shiva-Lagan (Siva's Wedding), Raadaa-Svayamvar (Radha's Choice of Her Own Man)
and Sodaam- Tsareth (Sudama's Story).
The allegorical nuance has all through remained
unobtrusive yet significant, within the convincing depiction of personal and
interpersonal contours of social behaviour such as: parental solicitude to see
the daughter suitably married away, and the girl's ambition to secure the boy of
her own choice Parmanand has thus achieved remarkable success weaving the
Pauranic legends into contemporary realities of pervasive import artlessly
harmonized with the allegorical significance, such as in the following
Parmanand's Raasleelaa (in his Raadaa Svayamvar)
symbolizes the universal dance of cosmic consciousness, integrating the secular
with the spiritual:
"Gokul is my heart wherein thrives the pasture
of your kine;
O Lord, shining in consciousness !
Mindways are the Gopi's running reckless after you;
maddened by the call of Krishna's flute,
Losing sentience and feeling, forgetting self and
The Shiva-Lagan, similarly signifies the union of Shiva
and Shakti at both the immanent and the transcendental levels; while the
Sodaam-Tsarete reflects the unshakable ties between the Oversoul and the
individual soul, in the ideal friendship of Krishna and Sudama. Similar concern
with the essential rather than the ephemeral reverberates in the smaller poems
of Parmananda, and quite a number of them sound as spiritual rhapsodies
over-flowing with spontaneous lyricism. He left the Kashmiri language positivity
richer than he had found it.
"Wandering all around they find him at
they hear from far away the flute alone.
None plays there with anyone else,
none but Krishna there; Krishna alone, cowherd lads
men, women, none is there who is not He
.... Trees and plants and stones with eyes agape
unravel secrets of the inner depth."