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Reminiscences
Homage to Bhagawaan Ji on 96th Mahajayanti celebrated at Delhi

by R. C. Kaul "Pamposh"

On this auspicious occasion, I feel the greatest pleasure in recalling to my mind the particular birthday of Bhagawaan Gopinath Ji that was celebrated at the shrine of Mata Khir Bhawani. Tulamula, Srinagar some time during the period 1953-56 (I can't recall the exact year). I was very fortunate in accompanying BhagawaanJi in a "doonga" (a wooden boat with several cabins inside) from Sehyar, Nawakadal to Tulamula. The 'Yatra' started from the house of the late Shri Gobind Kaul. He and his three brothers Shri Dinanath Kaul, Shri Shyam Lal Kaul and Shri Lassa Kaul were great devotees of the Bhagawaan. They had made elaborate preparations to perform a 'Yagnya' at Khir Bhawani on BhagwaanJi's birthday in His very hallowed presence there. Of the four brothers mentioned, Shri Lassa Kaul is still alive, residing now at Jammu as a displaced migrant. His nephew, Shri Pran Nath Kaul (S/o Shli Dina Nath Kaul) too is living at Jammu, well known as the Secretary of Bhagawaan GopinathJi Trust. I quite remember how affectionately all the members of the Kaul family would call BhagawaanJi "Tathi Bab".

It was actually in two "doongas" that the Kaul family, their close relatives and friends, accompanied by BhagawaanJi and many devotees (including me) started our "Yatra" from Sehyar. I was then a young man in my early thirties, working as a teacher at Rangteng High School, Bulbul Lanker, Srinagar. I distinctly remember the words that BhagawaanJi spoke to me in the 'doonga'. " You are blessed as much as you are linked with the children of God; you don't need any thing more. You do not smoke, but pass on the 'Chillum' and the 'Tobacco-daba' to me." I prepared the 'Chillum' with his eyes turned skyward the Bhagawaan puffed it. He was deeply absorbed in meditation, transmitting and receiving vibrations (as I could make out).

The "doongas" sailed smoothly down the river Jehlum for a good length. All of a sudden, Bhagawaan Ji stopped puffing his 'Chillum' and said to Shri Govind Kaul, "Don't you see what has happened to the Malla (Boatman) ? The boatmen rowing the other "doonga" hired a labourer at Mujagund to assist him in handling a long, thick and strong wooden pole (called 'Hamtul' in Kashmiri) to ensure speedy movement of the 'doonga'. Thereupon, Tathi Bub (BhagawaanJi) again puffed his "Chillum", and then, pointing towards the north east of the valley, said in an angry tone - " A whiff of strong wind from that side will blow them over." At the moment it was very sunny and calm. All of sudden, the sky was over-cast with clouds and a strong wind started blowing. It grew into a fierce storm, and there was thunder and lightning. Consequently, all the pilgrims in different "Shikaras" and "doongas" got panicky, shivering with cold. The miracle of miracles was that our two "doongas" stood steady and unharmed; Only the Malla (boatman) fell into the river but he too was saved. The storm continued for 45 minutes. Tathi Bab stopped puffing altogether and he came to the prow of the "doonga". He lifted the "Hamtul" and asked Shri Dina Nath Kaul (who was a renowned medical practitioner) to bring a piece of red cloth. Tying the cloth around the top of the long wooden pole, the Bhagawaan addressed the raging storm: " you settle down at once in this vitasta (Jehlum)" In no time was the sky clear of the black clouds and the yatris resumed the journey happily. Our two 'doongas' reached Khir Bhawani safe and sound. I still cherish the memory of having spent a full week, along with other devotees, in the company of BhagawaanJi at Tulamula in the cool shade of chinar trees, in Kashmiri parlance a "Bonishehjar" of Mata Khir Bhawani. It was a great joy indeed to watch the Bhagawaan's divine participation in the holy 'Yagya' performed by the father and uncles of Shri Pran Nath Kaul. Simultaneously, the birthday of Tathi Bab (BhagawaanJi) was also celebrated with great religious fervour.

I was fortunate too, in having BhagawaanJi's darshan many a time at his several places of residence. On such occasions, I also came into contact with the Bhagawaan's dedicated Bhaktas, who were stead fast, in selfless devotion to Him. I specially remember the names of Shri ThakurdasJi of Thakur's Agency (father of Shri M.L. Pandit, President of Bhagawaan GopinathJi Trust), Shri Shambunath Tufchi and Shrimati Padmavati Naqaib. One day after having Parikrama of Hali Parbat, they and I (four of us) called at BhagawaanJi's residence at Dalhasanyar. The Bhagawaan received us like a simple and earnest grahasti, got tea (Kahawa) prepared for us and then during the course of conversation, talked to us about the upliftment of our community in his characteristic way, making an economical use of words and conveying 'wisdom' through suggestive hints. He did not discourse on things at length nor spoke like a preacher. What I could gather from his words was his utmost concern for the allround development of our youth and his emphasis on our cultivating the spirit of selfless service as members of trusts and social organizations engaged in religious activities. I believe that BhagawaanJi's devotees at the various centres today are mostly dedicated and disciplined, following his teachings in letter and spirit. May the Bhagawaan bless us all.
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