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Swami Sonakak Ji

"A benign Saint who helped the country and people in distress"

SWAMI Sonakak, one of the greatest mystic saints of Kashmir was known variously as Sona Bab (father), Sona Bayu or Sona Matoo (spiritually possessed).

He was born in the year 1878 AD in Srinagar and attained Mahanirvana in the year 1942. His younger brother Swami Rugh Bayu too was a saint but no where near the spiritual advancement his brother had achieved.

Swamiji's father, though a priest by profession was a well recognized "Grahasd Saint" and was popularly known as "Lori-Pir" wielding a stick all the time. He had permission from Maharaja Pratap Singh Ji to roam round the Palace wherever and whenever he liked. The Maharaja knew him as a saint who could not only foretell the future but also help people in their advancement.

From his early boyhood, Swami Sonakak was man of dispassion. In his early youth, he assisted his father in his profession an right, but he would also find time to visit the cremation ground near Khak Chowk for a daily round of Upasana, presumably of Suchindnath Bhairow. He appears to have attained Sakshatkar whilst there, but this had unhinged him both physically and mentally. It did not take people long in discerning that there was a method in his madness and no wonder those who did not have a discerning eye to see in him a "Trikal Darshi" looked upon him as an unsound man.

While roaming through the streets of Srinagar he would sometimes suddenly fall into a fit of temper and start abusing people. Presumably he did this to scare away people who would otherwise naturally have pestered him with their personal problems. The next moment he would sit on a shop either demanding tea or smoke his "Chellem" all at peace with himself and the world around. He would even offer tea to people around him and answer queries indirectly, rarely directly.

Though he seldom changed his clothes which looked filthy and dark with oil stains standing out as sentinels in a desolate desert, he invariably changed while going to answering the ca11s of nature followed by a bath soon afterwards with cold water even in sub-zero temperature. Rarely he would sport a Tilak.

Throngs of people gathered round him wherever he went. He saw to it that everybody around was served tea or given a bit of whatever was available. He rarely accepted presents but readily accepted what he himself demanded.

Swamiji had many devotees but few disciples. One of his well known devotees was Dr. Gwash Lal, a renowned and gifted physician of his time in Kashmir. To humble his pride (Ego) Swamiji once made him go along the streets of Srinagar with a bund1e of firewood on his shoulders. Of his initiated disciples Shri Bishember Nath Zutshi was a great 'tyagi'.

Swamiji left his ancestral home in Kharyar, Srinagar in Baisakh 1985 (Bikrami) as his single storey house collapsed. He shifted to the residence of Shri Shridharjoo Dhar at Alikadal. Occupying a room in the ground floor he continued to live there for 14 years. A couple of months before his Mahanirvana he moved to the residence of Dr. Gwash Lal Kaul at Sheikh Bagh for sometime and then shifted back to his Alikadal residence. On the 8th of Baisakh 1999 (Bikrami) he started on the Last lap of his journey. Before doing that, he vacated the room he had occupied for 14 years, made a bonfire of his bedding, mats etc. returned the metallic utensils (after heating) given him by people for use. He left behind no relics whatsoever. He then went to one Shri Sham Lal's house who was his devotee and spent the night there. Next day he ordered a pot of curd which he took to 4th Bridge and facing the sacred shrine of Mahakali, immersed it in the river Jehlum. He then went to the residence of Dr. Mela Ram, his another disciple. While there he ordered a "Doonga" (covered boat) and moved to Pokhirbal Shrine next morning with a few people along with some rice and other Hawan Samgrih. Soon after the boat anchored at Pokhirbal. Swamiji declared that he had the Divine Mother's permission to leave his mortal coil and saying this he put the Hawan Samagrih, rice etc. in the Shri Sharika Bhagawad's spring there. This done he ordered the boat to turn back keeping two lighted lanterns on his either side. These lanterns continued burning till he gave up his mortal frame the next evening. As soon as the boat reached near Gadadhar Temple next evening and just before his Mahasamadhi, he ordered all the occupants out of the boat except Shri Bishember Zutshi, Shri Bishamber Das and Shri Said-ud-Din. Shri Bishamber Nath was asked to prepare tea immediately which he served to him. Said-ud-Din and Bishamber Das were asked to take the remaining tea outside. He then removed all his clothes, sat in Padmasama with Bishember Nath supporting his back and attained Mahasamadhi on Chaitra Durga Ashtami just before sunset. The boat was moved to Kharyar and his body placed in his ancestral home for Darshan till the next noon when it was carried to the cremation ground followed by a large assembly of people. The cremation was done at a particular place, which according to the attendant had been selected by Swamiji himself two days earlier, though he had never gone there in the Sthula Sharira but presumably by Sukhshma Sharira.

Though Swamiji is no more he still inspires, many who have known him and helps them out of their difficulties and protects them all.

Both Swamiji and his brother were life long Brahmacharis and left no direct descendants. His devotees had got erected a temple in his name in the premises of his ancestral home but after his younger brother's death, his younger sister claiming right to the ancestral house, sold it on the plea that the sale proceeds would be utilized to perform their "Baah" (Nirvana ceremony). The purchaser was a Hindu but he mutilated the memorial temple. Apparently Swamiji did not approve the idea of such a memorial.

He was a benign saint who helped the country and its people.

Source: Koshur Samachar

 

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