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Articles from Pre-1998 Issues 

Bhagawaan Ji After 1968

by Shri S. N. Fotedar

Shri S. N. Fotedar
Association with a Saint or even a mere touch or a single glance from him can transform a man and make him Divine. His heart is full of universal compassion and he works ceaselessly for redeeming suffering souls from ignorance. He guides them to a life of joy, freedom and immortality. The Saint is verily God in flesh and blood.

During the present century one such saint of exalted dimensions was Bhagawaan Gopinath Ji of Kashmir, who graced not only the sacred soil of Kashmir where he was born and lived (1898-1968) but also played his part in the spiritual upliftment of India, though he had never moved out of Kashmir in his physical body.

The people of Kashmir had the good sense to realize this in his life time, they gave him the name Bhagawaan while he was still in his earthly existance, a unique phenomenon indeed. Such is a rare saint for whom a monument is raised and relics enshrined. In his Ashram at Kharyar, Srinagar, where his marble statue has been installed, regular Aarti is held everyday. His Mahanirvana and Jayanti festivals are observed every year, where a Yagnya performed on the former occasion and a Sadhu Bhandar and prayers are offered on the latter. A Trust (Regd) has been organised for maintenance of the institution and other activities for spreading of Bhagawaan Ji's message of universal love and brotherhood. The aim is to awaken a higher level of consciousness amongest the masses. This is styled as "Bhagawaan Consciousness" by his Australian devotees. Attempt is made to develop this consciousness for the betterment of the whole world.

Since it is not possible to give an exhaustive picture of Bhagawaan Ji's life, sadhna and his other manifold activities in a small article, I shall confine myself to give a brief sketch of his life.

Bhagawaan Gopinath Ji was born in 1898 A.D. at Bana Mohalla, Srinagar. His revered father Pandit Narayan Joo Bhan was a Pushmina Merchant and a man of liberal mind, Bhagawaan Ji's pious mother Smt. Har-Mali was the daughter of Pandit Prassad Joo Parimu, a mystice saint popularly known as "Zad-Bharata". In a vision at Khir Bhawani the Divine Mother had told him that she would be taking birth in his house and thus the blessed girl (Haramal) was born, who later got Bhagawaan Ji in her lap. On account of strained family circumstances, Bhagawaan Ji had a very troubled time in his early days. He had to give up his studies after passing the middle school exarnination.

He had studied Sanskrit, Persian and other languages but all along he was detached, attending to 'Raslilas' and other Bajan Mandalis and also visiting saints usually. He would sip at all cups but drain none.

From his early boyhood he had started going to Sharika Bhagawati Shrine at Hari Parvat, Srinagar. It became routine for him to circum-ambulate the hill every day. When his age was about 25 years he was blessed with Darshan of Sharika Bhagwati. He did not rest at that but aspired for attaining perfection. He girded up his loins and plunged himself headlong into intense sadhana for exploring all the aspects of the Divine Reality and gaining mastery over Tattwas, with no hold barred and with scant attention to his body welfare. This process was the same as Swami Ram Krishna Parmahansa had adopted after having Sakshatkar of Maha-Kali. For some time he continued to live with mundane affairs which gradually waned off and later he took no interest in such matters whatsoever.

The most crucial period of his Sadhana, a do-or-die effort, was while he was residing at Rangteng in Srinagar (1929-36). He lay stretched on a bed all the 24 hours of a day, absorbed in the Supreme with a small wick lamp kept lighted. He would sometimes fast for months together and sometimes take large quantities of food at a time. His body got swollen. He at times spit large quantities of blood. A rat had bored a hole in one of his heels and he did not seem to be conscious of it. On occasions he would eat handfuls of Datura and other lethal intoxicants. The Sadhana continued for about 7 years after which he emerged a radiant soul but with a battered body. His 'Chelum smoking' continued to be his constant companion from an early age to the day he gave up his mortal coil.

Questioned why he was fasting so often he said, "that he was taking tons of energy through his puffs (smoking) and food was not necessary. "

After this Sadhana of 7 years, came to be recognized as a great saint and he began his saintly mission of improving the lot of humanity and alleying the distress of people who called on him for succour and hope. He even started helping sadhus and other people monetarily and the practice continued till the end of his days in this physical world.

After attainment of perfection he had, in pursuit of his mission, to contend with opposing immical forces which, left to themselves would have harmed our country. He had to exert a lot, to keep these forces in check. On some occasions, you would find him like Aghura with flaming eyes rivetted upwards, parched and foaming lips, fasting, refusing to take water even but addressing some invisible forces. To what extent he was successful in taming those forces is known to all. One wonders at his unrelenting efforts, his determination of not yielding to dark forces, for a number of years with scant attention to his Physical comforts. Such a great saint, with such endurance is really a God and Bhagawaan Ji displayed this.

He seemed always in tune with the infinite and used to come down from a higher plane of consciousness in response to requests and appeals made by devotees and that too for a few moments only. He started the practice of giving Ahutes, after the year 1936 in the first instance into his fire pot (Kangdi) and later into an Iron Sekdi and then offerings in Dhuni continued till the end.

Saints do not live in their outer actions. It is not possible to speak of the inner Sadhana of Bhagawaan Ji which is a closed book. It is possible however, to give an account of his Sadhana as seen by common people in diverse fields and disciplines.

It is apparent that few saints like Bhagawaan Ji emerged from the sacred soil of Kashmir during the last three or four centuries or so, became so active in their spiritual realms. They either seem to be spent up or have gone to higher unfathemable realms and we have to depend solely on the divine protection of the Spiritual colossus Bhagawaan Gopinath Ji, not only for succor but also for effectively combating the satanic forces, bound on destruction of our culture and personality.

I smell and visualise that the decade of nineties will be a period of great test for the lovers of Bhagawaan Ji. They have to strengthen the spiritual exercise, be engrossed in Bhagawaan Ji's worship through bajans, meditation, offerings. Dark clouds are roaming but have to vanish. Bhagwaan Ji is active in the subtle plane we have to develop the attitude to present ourself before Him. All the Ashramities have to undergo strenous Sadhana to get in tune with Bhagawaan Consciousness. I have faith in Pran Nath Ji to hold the internal front and Chrungoo Sahib for the external, because the swallon ranks of devotees need guidance.

BhagawaanJi's very presence is not doubtful. Saints are heelers, masters and Spiritual guides. They seek disciples and hunt for them so that the chord is framed between masters and aspirants Gurus and Shishyas. He knew his sphere.

One day Bhagawaan Ji had to face for a photograph and some close associates wanted to be included, but he disallowed that. There was some annoyance. Next day Bhagawaan Ji very patiently explained, "This photograph has to go to far far corners, that is why I wanted it to be so". Today when thirteen years have passed we have been seeing that Bhagawaan Ji's photograph has reached every home. It is placed in Pooja rooms and Ashrams, that are coming up. The aura of spiritual and mental shelter has spread so wide and far that Bhagawaan Ji's "Parivar" has passed all the geographical boundaries. Devotees have taken him to Australia, New Zealand, Japan and other parts of India. Bhagawaan Ji has been in gracious for those who need Him and for those whom he needs.

In 1975, Justice S.N. Katju a Sadhaka practising shakti worship was in a difficult and there was some conflict in his mind about his sadhana. Bhagawaan Ji appeared in a vision to him and said, "Your Gurdeva and I are one, and you have now been put under my care for carrying out the mission of the masters, What you are doing under the guidance of Papaji was all chalked out by me and your Gurdeva together". Katju said, he spoke in Kashmiri, what I needed. Then he slowly faded out of my vision and I opened my eyes; How keen Bhagawaan;Ji is for spiritual seekers.

In Feb, 1975 Philip Simpfendorfer an Australian Bhakta had come on Kashmir yatra with some friends. He alongwith his friends had came to see the writer and his problem was about the mission and message for him from Bhagawaan Ji. The writer said, "Mr Philip, do you remember how Bhagawaan Ji accepted your request when your daughter was to be married". "Yes every detail of that day", said Philip, "It was Saturday when my daughter Helen was to marry Peter. From Friday it started raining, I went into my room and prayed before Bhagawaan Ji, asking to take care of happiness of the children, give sunshine for the outdoor wedding function. The miracle happened clouds got rolled, bright sunshine appeared till function was over and by evening again clouds came, but it did not rain. I was happy how Bhagawaan Ji helps when, we are in complete obedience."

"Again, it was 15th of Feb. 1978 while in full concentration and meditation I met him in a very awakened state." He said, "For the guidance of humanity we seek people in every land, strengthen their faith. They fight against the dark ocean of destruction. We guided when there was no religion, we do not interfere with religion. Well being of the world and spirituality of man is the goal". "My Mission and goal was made clear", said Philip.
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