Swami Nand Babh
Table of Contents
   Kashmiri Saints
   Nand Babh
   Chapter I
   Chapter II
   Chapter III
   Chapter IV
   Chapter V
   Chapter VI
   Chapter VII
   Chapter VIII
   Chapter IX
   Chapter X
   Chapter XI
   Chapter XII
   Chapter XIII
   Chapter XIV
   Chapter XV
   Chapter XVI
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Chapter X

Nandababh the Mastana - Panoramic view of Swami Ji's Mysticism, Spiritualism and Humanism

by Moti Lal Bhat "Shafiq"

(We find it too irresistible a temptation to use freely the lucid  description in concrete terms of the Panoramic view of Swami Ji's mysticism, spiritual heights and human sympathy extracted from the scholarly treatise "Nandbab the Mastana" on Swami Nand Lal Ji by Shri Moti Lal Bhat "Shafiq". Some extracts from the book are reproduced in the following pages - authors).

He (Iswarswaroop Paraaswami Nand Lal Sahib Kaul) appeared as a youth on the spiritual scene of Kashmir and strode it for over 50 years like a gentle colossus leaving behind indelible imprints of the paths he trod, places he visited, the people who followed him and those who joined his spiritual congregations.

For his humane qualities of head and heart, he was popularly known by the homely name of 'Nandbab'. In spoken language 'Nanda' is an abbreviation of the name nandlal and 'bab' means father,  elderly person. That was the profundity of the fervour unfathomable reverence which his devotees had for him.

Strangely dressed, as he always used to be Nandbab did not seem, from his outward appearance, to be uninitiated, to be what he in reality was to the initiated. The knowledge of the changeful multitude and of the imperishable changeless reality, the spiritual unity and solidarity of all existence, the One behind the many without a prior or posterior, had fully blossomed in the Eden of his inner self. He was a universal man a 'vishvapursha', integrated within and without. Himself having risen from mortal to the immortal status of existence, Nandbab ever endeavored to lead his devotees from the phenomenal world of appearances to the realm of reality; from the darkness of unawareness to the light of awareness, from the lower nature 'apara prakrati' to the higher Nature 'Para Prakrati'.

While doing so, he did not lose sight of the meaning and  importance of life in the world. The inviolable relationship between the Cosmic Reality and the individual soul was well known to him. He had an intelligent understanding of being a man first and then being a saint. It is true manliness which on fruition leads to godliness, was lucidly clear to this man of Supreme knowledge - the 'mahagyani' and he boldly acted upon this unifying all-embracing message of the Upanishads.

Always wearing a mystic smile which spoke volumes about the divine ecstasy of his transformed being Nandabad the man of the  epoch - the 'Yugapurusha' attracted thousands of people, from far and wide, yearning for his blessing for their solace and protection from major trials and tribulations, crises and conflicts, in which worldly valour and wisdom are of no avail to meet them. Those who came to him were people of all faiths. Caste, creed and social status, being unnatural dividers, had no meaning or relevance, whatsoever, for this great man - the 'mahapurusha'. He poured forth love in abundance to all. Hindus and Muslims revered him alike. It was a sight to see how even highly placed Muslims treated Nandabab with absolute faith and veneration.

Nandabab had a profound sense of observation. All that came his way did not go unnoticed by him. He would react in his own  inimitable ways to what he saw. Abject poverty, despondency, destitution and deprivation invariably moved him. He would always express his deep concern for the suffering and work in his own subtle ways for their upliftment. His soothing words acted as elixir for them.

As a clairvoyant he saw visions with the seership of the one higher up in the hierarchy of the spiritually accomplished. He made prophetic pronouncements, sometimes talking in parables, simi metaphors and through the language of gestures but generally dictating on chits of paper his pithy words in his own-addressing Paul what  is intended for Peter 'tche kun valith mei kun' style of communication. It would either be replies to the mental unrevealed queries of individuals or reflect social or political events to follow.

Once a devote and his America-based brother on their return from the health resort of Pahalgam in Kashmir, while passing through a village Bhavan, came to know about the presence of Nandabab in that village. The devotee could not resist his inner call to pay obeisance to the saint. Making enquiries, both of them went straight to the house of a villager where Nandabab had halted. They were still at the threshold when the saint looking towards this devotee and nodding his head said: "Well! have you performed the last rites?"

The devotee got upset. He became panicky for he mentally interpreted the saint's words as some sort of untoward happening in his family. However, he kept his cool. After paying obeisance, he and his brother took their leave and left for their home at Srinagar.

Everything was normal at home. Next day the news spread that at a place in Pahalgam a massive cloudburst had washed away, down a hillock number of hovels and huts along with the inmates, causing heavy loss of life and property.

Usually Nandabab's movements were unpredictable. Way back in the sixtees, he had left Srinagar for Delhi on a certain mission. On reaching old Delhi railway station, he suddenly changed his mind and asked his whole-time caretaker disciple to arrange for a horse-cart for going to the residence in old Delhi of a lady whom he neamed with paternal feeling. The disciple knew the lady as the daughter of a pious family of Tankipora mohalla in Srinagar with whom Nandabab had lived, as a son of the household, for over a decade of his initial shining out. But he did not know the Delhi address of the lady and without address it was impossible to locate the lady in a big city like Delhi.

Had Nandabab given the slightest inkling to him before their departure from Srinagar, he would have collected the Delhi address of the lady' the disciple thought to himself. But that had not been done. He mentioned his difficulty to Nandabab. But, Nandabab insisted. A horse- cart was arranged.

Nandabab seated himself alongside the cart-driver and guided him all through from area to area, colony to colony, street to street, lane to lane, till they reached the particular house at Shakti Nagar in old Delhi where the lady and her husband were residing.

That was Nandabab and his spiritual insight.

At the spiritual level, Nandabab seemed to have been assigned the paramount seat of the perceptible aspect of power as kinetic force by the whole host of contemporary mystics, which he manifested as and when required. He had been accorded the epithet of the 'supreme commander of peace'. The rise and all of governments in Jammu &  Kashmir State, social changes, political developments and many other aspects of major significance were under the orb of his spiritual influence. It is incredible. But it is the truth.

It is amazing that even before the Jammu and Kashmir Governments  had thought of working out the modalities of the land-to-tiller  policy pronounced after independence, Nandabab, as 'amicus human genres' - a friend of humanity had issued his commandment - a hukamnama, on chits of paper, distributed then in hundreds, spelling out the modus operandi of distribution of land between the landlord and the tiller. The hukamnama read - "Yak hissa wa hardu hissa hawala."

That was Nandbab's heart religion.

During Pakistan's invasion on Kashmir in 1947, as Pakistani forces advanced and organized their forward movement to besiege the city of Srinagar and capture the only airport a few kilometers form the city, Nandbab rose like the force of light to destroy the force of darkness. He got going like a giant to repulse the incursion.

In the top-floor balcony of a house in Tankipora mohalla in Srinagar, where he was staying those days with a family. Nandabab fixed pieces of household firewood in different directions, symbolising artillery power, which he himself maneuvered, frequently changing their position and direction. He shouted. His shouts sounded like war cries. He swiftly moved hither and thither making strange gesticulations. Panic-stricken onlookers, watching Nandabab in action, differently interpreted his movements, according to their individual understanding.

Circumambulating the big fire, which he had lit in the courtyard  of the same house, he looked furious beyond description. From here, he went back to the balcony and sharply glanced around as if viewing distant objects from a gazebo. After a pause, he gazed skyward with a mysteriously smiling face and loudly uttered some typical words which for the understanding ones meant: "invasion thwarted ... invasion thwarted.. ".

Immediately thereafter, it so happened that the Indian armed forces, which were airlifted, landed in full strength at the Srinagar airport and launched a massive counter offensive swiftly pushing back the aggressor.

In 1965 Indo-Pak war, Nandabab repeated the miraculous feat. Standing firm as a rock, under the still more catastrophic conditions he once again provided impenetrable umbrella of protection to the people of the State.

That time Nandabab was putting up in the house of a devotee at Dewan Bagh in Srinagar. One day he started showing signs of alarm. His close devotees, as were present, asked him about the immediate cause of his extra anxiety. He did not mention it, but asked them in a commanding tone to light instantly a holy fire in the courtyard and to prepare oblation food which he wanted them to keep ready by a certain hour of afternoon of the next day. The devotees followed the command. The holy fire was lit then and there and preparatory work for the oblation food was started same day.

Next day as the word spread, a large number of devotees thronged the place with their offerings. All these offerings were  consigned to the holy fire as and when brought. As the indicated hour approached two platefuls of the oblation food were placed before Nandabab. One of the plates he kept for himself and the other one he asked a devotee to consign to the holy fire which had been alight all through. The principal devotees present on the occasion interpreted it as a calculated counter move which bore the desired outcome.

Almost the same time, some sabre jets of Pakistan Air Force appeared on the skies of Srinagar and hovered around with the airport being their principal target. But their mission was foiled and their  design frustrated.

Again in 1971, during the Bangladesh war, Nandabab exerted at the metaphysical plane, bringing into action, in his own way, his supernatural powers for the overall good of the humanity. He stretched his ethereal personality to re-establish true humanness with re-inforced foundation of moral and spiritual life. There was nothing cradle, dogmatic,   parochial or sectarian about it. It was all universal and human. It was broad and inclusive.

Nandabab was ill and confined to bed in his parental house in the village called Nuner. He was unable to move by himself. One day he suddenly asked one of his close disciples to shift him to Srinagar. The disciple was surprised. The saint was sick and why should he have asked to shift him to Srinagar? Apparently there was no reason. But then the disciple did some pondering and concluding that Nandabab would not have asked him for no purpose to move him to Srinagar, he made preparations for Nandabab's departure.

On reaching Srinagar, Nandabab was escorted further to the residence of a devotee at Karan Nagar, as it was here that he could be given continual medical treatment for a member of the resident family was himself a doctor and besides there were some proficient doctors practicing in the same locality. But who knew or could know the fixed purpose of Nandabab's coming to Srinagar even in sickness. It needed the clear eye of understanding 'bodhachakshu' to realize the true form of reality.

While Nandabab had outwardly given himself to medical treatment of his bodily ailment, he was psychically engaged seriously with something behind and beyond the world of appearances, creating a situation for establishing tranquility and harmony in the temporal life and living in a part of the world, which had been under heavy gunfire for long. The situation was grave. The movement of the seventh fleet of the United States of America had all the more aggravated it. The whole country was tense.

In those extremely anxious moments, Nandabab once again intervened. He wielded his sceptre and majestically asked one of his close disciples to prepare a Kashmiri nonveg. delicacy called roganjosh and cooked rice. So it was done and offered to Nandabab. He ate some of it. He paused for a while. He looked in all the six directions a observed in a satisfying manner - everything is alright now.

The following day it was on the Air that the Pakistan armed forces in Bangladesh had surrendered en masse and the war was over.

Nandababh seldom stayed at his home. He had forsaken his personal comforts. He was a selfless and sublime man of action - a  'Karmayogi.' As a roving ambassador of the Lords of the Universe, he went about indefatigably distributing the treasures of higher wisdom in the spirit of service to mankind. The wooden staff in his right hand, the dagger tucked in his waist band and the big axe on his left shoulder,  which he always carried with him, wherever he went, symolized the power of action - the 'Kriyashakti' the Divine had vested in him.

Ever established in the beaming bliss of the pure consciousness of the great self in him, Nandabab was not an ordinary mortal. He was an embodiment of super human acumen and achievements. While living fully in the world of entanglements, he had completely disentangled  himself from the meshes of the world like a lotus in a swamp.

Born on the 30th December, 1896, at Purshyar, district Srinagar in Kashmir, Nandabab entered 'mahasmadhi' on the 10th October, 1973, in the capital city of Delhi. His mortal remains were reverentially flown to Srinagar for the last rites. Profusely bedecked with bunches of bouquets,  wreaths and garlands of flowers of rainbow colours, the gun- carriage carrying the mortal remains of the saint, ever worshipped by the constant devotees - 'nityam-ashrit pujitah', was wheeled round the city of Srinagar on Public demand.

Thousand of people in tears of mourning moved, shoulder to shoulder, in the funeral procession chanting from the holy Srimadbhagwad Gita and other holy scriptures. Many more, longing for the last glimpse of the One seated in Godhood 'adhirohah' showered flowers of obeisance from their house-windows and house-tops en- route the funeral procession which was lined on both sides of the road by vast numbers of plaintive people.

Winding its way through the streets of Srinagar, as the funeral procession reached near the cremation ground, the large number of mourners who had already assembled there, for making meticulous arrangements for a befitting finale, joined the procession, showering flowers and flowers and flowers, all the way and all the time, till the funeral pyre was lit. Some of the mourners prostrated themselves before the pyre, some of them circumambulated the pyre and many others sorrowfully sobbed - "Vai! sani tathi Nandabab". In the forepart of mourners one could see late Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah with his hands raised in prayer and his head bowed in reverence. It was, indeed, an unprecedented spectacle of offering shradanjali' on the last journey of God's chosen one, never witnessed before in whole of Kashmir.

That was Nandabab -- the Friend of All, 'sarva lalsah; the Doer of Good to All, 'sarva shubhankarah'; the Uplifter of the poor, 'dinasadhakah '; Pure in Body, Speech and Mind, 'trishaklah' Throughout  his wordily existence he bloomed like a lotus in the lake of ambrosia of Paramashiva's Grace wafting all the time, all around, in the ethereal   form of pleasing fragrance, the message of humility, virtue, uprightness,   purity, compassion and humanism.

It was after 'mahanirvana' of this eternal and infallible spiritual  guide, that some of his disciples organised themselves and  established an 'ashram' at Shalakadal, near Karfali mohalla in Srinagar. Soon this 'ashram' hummed with pious activities and became a place of pilgrimage for all.

It is most tormenting even to think that with the hapless eruption of violence and subversion in the land of Abhinavgupta and Utpalacharya; Vikramaditya and Budshah, Lalded and Sheikhul-Alam, who taught tolerance and togetherness, and consequent displacement of Kashmiri Pandits from their own homeland the 'ashram' has  become a sanctum of the 'Sound of Silence'.

The roar of the gun has gagged the speech of the sacred. But for how long?



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