M.L. Khar

M.L. Khar

Moti Lal Khar
Moti Lal Khar

Shri Moti Lal Kher (Khar) comes as a simple, honest and a religious person. Originally from Vicharnag in Srinagar and later at Chinkral Mohalla Habbakadal he now lives in Navi Mumbai. He served in the Education Department of the state and retired as Headmaster in 1992.

As one of devotees of Sharika Devi he continued to visit the Hari Parbat temple every morning since his childhood days till his retirement during the peak of militancy in the Valley. A strong believer of  Swami Vivekanada he also was a regular member of the Ramakrishna Ashram at Shivalaya (Chota Bazaar) for many years. During the early eighties he decided to revive the Puran Raj Bhairav temple whose location was not even known to be existing in downtown Hawal. He with the support of some of his friends and the local Muslim residents was able to do a renewed construction and restore its sanctity.

Shri Moti Lal ji has been regularly contributing articles to Milchar and other Community publications like Koshur Samachar.  Through his articles he has been sharing his experiences about life, the issues of our community and his insights about how the challenges facing our community can be addressed. Off late he has been not keeping good health and we have been missing his contribution. We wish him to get well soon so that we can have his rich contributions once again.

Text provided by: Dr. Surinder Kher



The Qualifications of a True Devotee

By Moti Lal Khar

Love of God is in a dormant state in everyone's heart and this love of God is manifested in different ways. But it is contaminated by material associations. Now the human heart has to be purified of the material associations and that dormant, natural love for God has to be achieved.

 This Bhakti-Yoga-Love for God, as described in the Bhagvad Gita and in other holy scriptures, is the purification of the senses. In material existence, the senses are always impure, being engaged in sense gratification. By the practice of Bhakti Yoga, these senses can become purified and in the purified state, a person can come directly in contact with the Supreme Lord. Such a person is called as devotee of God. To follow the regulative principles of Bhakti Yoga, a true devotee of God should follow certain principles. One should rise early in the morning, take bath and offer prayers and chant Lord's name. This practice can help a person to rise to the level of God and is sure to get progress into the spiritual kingdom of God. A true devotee of God is never disturbed in any circumstances nor is he or she envious of any one; wherever a devotee is in distress or has fallen into difficulty; he/she thinks that it is the Will of the Supreme Lord and is calm, silent, quiet and patient; despite many distressful conditions. A true devotee of God is always kind to everyone, even to enemy, tolerant and joyful. God's devotee is not swayed by false arguments and is always fixed in devotional service. All these qualifications enable a true devotee to fix mind and intelligence entirely on the Supreme Lord. Since such a devotee is kind to everyone and does not act in such a way as to put others into anxiety, he or she is not disturbed because of the grace of God. A devotee is always expert to know the essence of all activities of life and is carefree. A true devotee of God is neither happy not distressed over material gain and loss, nor is much anxious to get a son or disciple or wealth and by losing anything which is dear; he or she does not lament and is prepared to accept all kinds of risks and surrenders before the Divine Will.

A true devotee is always free from all bad associations. Sometimes one is praised and sometimes one is defamed; that is the nature of human beings in this crooked world, but the devotee is happy in all conditions; sometimes getting good food to eat and sometimes bad, but always satisfied; nor cares for residential facility, sometimes living under a tree and sometimes living in a decent building. Without good qualifications, one can not be a true and pure devotee of God. One who wants to be a good and true devotee of God in the real sense should develop the above mentioned qualifications. Through good association of holy persons and realised souls, one develops such good qualities for pure devotional service. Devotional service is the only path for self-realisation through 'Sat-sang', the company of virtuous persons. The way for cultivating devotion is; keeping company with God's devotees; always serving God and his devotees; fasting; celebrating the festivals connected with God; hearing, reading and expounding God's glories; worshipping God with continuous devotion. It does not matter whether you are a man or a woman, your caste, name and position are not taken into account. Devotion is the only thing that is essential to worship God. Such a devotee of God gets vision, even unasked as having no other refuge. Fortunately, if one develops directly a desire to engage in God's devotion, one need not bother about materials to keep body and soul together, because by the grace of God, everything is carried out automatically. By following this path of devotion, Mukti  (liberation) comes to anyone, whether one is a man or woman of low or high birth. Devotion means universal love.

Whither Kashmiri Pandit Community

By Moti Lal Khar

A dying language and fading cultural heritage, Kashmiri Pandit community as a whole at present are a worried lot. After their migration from their homes and hearths in Kashmir valley more than a decade ago, feel the strain of keeping their identity alive.

What bothers the community most is the fate of their language. A dying language threatens the culture and heritage of a community. The new generation in the community does not even speak and know it. The community's sense of let down has been compounded by their own community members who feel it below their dignity to talk or speak in their mother tongue among their children. They adopt western style of life, ignoring the rich culture of their ancestors, although the well wishers of the community are worried how to preserve their traditions.

A deeply religious community, Kashmiri Pandits worship all Hindu gods and goddesses and have established many such temples like Hari Parbat, Tulmula (Kheer Bhawani) temples and other such 'ashrams' of the Valley, wherever they are scattered in the country and elsewhere. Inspite of this, the fact is that they have westernised their lives and have had too many inter-caste marriages outside their community, forgetting their own roots of rich heritage. No doubt, their rituals are important but they perform these rituals and other social customs with pomp and show and spent lavishly even after migration, and in present distress, they ignore the moral values thus damaging the image and identity of their culture and heritage. Traditionally, Kashmiri Pandit community is an educated community having produced executives, patriots, ministers and bureaucrats in the country. Kashmiri Pandits were also known as great religious preachers, preaching Kashmiri Shaivism. Kashmir was considered a seat of learning and literature. Scholars from different parts of the country and from abroad used to come here to learn.The community at present is on cross roads after their migration from the Valley. Though patriotic and peace loving citizens, they have become refugees in their own country. A leaderless and rudderless community, at present in distress, is fighting for its survival. May God come to rescue the community and its culture and identity.

The community should follow the path declared in Rigveda as under:

'Meet together, speak together, let your minds be of one accord - May your Counsel be coomon, your assembly common, common the mind and thoughts of these united - Let your aims be common and your hearts of one accord, and all of you be one mind, so you may live well together.'


Let Us Take The Responsibility Of Our Actions

By Moti Lal Khar

After India got independence, Kashmiri Pandit community suffered enormously and lived as unwanted second class citizens in Kashmir. Let us introspect and take some responsibility for this, ourselves.

One of the most unfortunate and painful thing in our community is that we are disunited and hesitate to confess our mistakes and actions done by us and by our so called leaders, both in pre-independence and post-independence periods. We are equally reluctant to express regret and try to make amendments or even simply render a heart felt apology. On the contrary we glorify and justify our actions. An unforgiving, unrepentant nature – whether among individuals, families, communities or nations – is responsible for misunderstanding that leads to unity and selfishness. This applies to our leaderless and rudderless community at present in distress.

We all need to examine our inside where we have gone wrong. For it is almost impossible to change ourselves. If we all decide to do that and rise to the occasion here and now, there will be no need to change anybody else anyway. Another thing that we need to change is our negative attitude to life which leads to anger, jealousy, egoitism and to frustration. A positive attitude will make us grow. We will be able to achieve our goals making our community a better one to live with harmony and unity in the near future.

Unfortunately Kashmiri Pandit Community has been disinherited by the conquerers from time to time. This has fed us to adopt escapiest attitude which is reflected in our social behaviour and a defeated complex in our psyche. The community at the present in exile is required to investigate and reject the selfish and negative approach and find the practical solutions for the future survival with full determination, will and vision.

We have to admit that vast majority of our community after migration are relatively at safe stations, major portions belonging to rural areas continue to be livng in tents and rented houses. Bvut we cannot forget that there are still people in our community though in less number now, scattered in the valley who are braving the barbarities at great risk due to their own compulsions. Yet, we cannot ignore the fact that our progeny are fortunate to be part of the world of opportunities in our country in India and in the wide world where they will not have to face discrimination. We have to think coolly and unitedly about the future of our community. With the material progress we have to think about our spiritual and moral values which we are ignoring by adopting Western style of life leading to extravagancy and alcoholism which will make our community lop-sided in future. 

'Panchastavi' and 'Bhawani Sahastranam'

By Moti Lal Khar 

Panchastavi is a collection of five hymns sang in the praise of Mother Goddess. It personifies absolute God-head of the Lord and lays stress on the Mother's worship as God of this Universe. 'Panchastavi' appears to have been composed four centuries before 'Bhawani Sahastranam - thousand names of Divine Mother', revealed by Lord Shiva Himself to his favourite 'Gana' and 'Vahana - Vehicle' Lord Nandikeshwara. 'Sundurya Lahari' written by Jagat Guru Shankaracharya in praise of Divine Mother resemble in technique and style with that of 'Panchastavi' and 'Bhawani Sahastranam'. It is said that Jagat Guru Shankaracharya did not first believe in the God-head of Mother Divine, and later he had to yield and surrender himself before the Divine Mother's existence in this Universe and had to write 'Sundurya Lahiri' in praise of the Divine Mother.

The composer of 'Panchastavi' has maintained silence about his name, time and lineage throughout his versified composition. The author could be Kashmiri by birth who was also well versed in Kundalini Yoga, besides master of Shiva/Shakta monism who had also imbibed southern names too, conveying the importance of 'Kundalini Yoga' as the main means of unity with the 'Absolute'. The only important common element between the Sadhana of the Trika system and Panchastavi is the worship of Tripura - the three different forms of Divine Mother as Trinity - Saraswati (Consort of Brahma), Lakshmi (Consort of Vishnu) and Parvati (Consort of Shiva); common factor of nearly all Shiva/Sakata theology systems and traditions.

Late Gopi Krishen, a reputed social reformer and founder member and President of Sudhar Samiti in Kashmir had also written a commentary in English on 'Panchastavi'. Being himself an expert in 'Kundalini Yoga', having his own disciples mostly foreign, had laid great emphasis on it. late Jia Lal Saraf, a devotee of Divine Mother at Hari Parbat Pokhribal has translated 'Panchastavi' in lucid Kashmiri verse, and it is very common and popular among Kashmiri Pandits. His composition of verses are available both in the form of a book and in melodious audio cassettes.

'Bhawani Sahastranam', the thousand names of Divine Mother, is another sacred book of Hinus written in the praise of Shakti. In this book, Nandikeshwara, the favourite among the 'Ganas of Lord Shiva' enquire from his master Lord Shiva, the secret behind His (Lord Shiva's) meditation. Since Lord Shiva is the Master of this whole Universe and Cosmos, why does He (Lord Shiva) meditate and on whom. Lord Shiva replies that He is incomplete without 'Shakti' and this 'Shakti' resides in Him as Cosmic Energy and it is in this form that He evokes Her during His meditation. The dialogue continues and Lord Shiva reveals and recites the thousand names of Divine Mother as a blessing to Nandikeshwara.

'Bhawani Sahastranam' is very popular among Kashmiri Pandits and they recite it almost daily. According to Nilamata Purana, Nandi under the name of Nandikeshwara existed in human form as a sage before achieving the status of Lord Shiva's Vahana (Vehicle) in the form of a bull who supports earth and heaven as per 'Atharaveda' as a symbol of righteousness or Dharma. We find Nandi's idols in every Shiva temple. There are famous shrines of Nandikeshwara at villages Sumbal and Seer in Baramulla district and at villages Gulgam and Villagam in Kupwara district in Kashmiri valley. The writer, during his service period in J&K Education Dept. has visited these shrines in Kashmir.

The Virtues of Leadership

By Moti Lal Khar

Robert Greenleaf, the founding father of the 'Modern Empowerment Movement in Business Leadership', who coined the term, described 'Servant Leadership' as follows: "The servant leader is servant at first...... It begins with a natural feeling that one wants to serve first" 'Servant Leadership' is a practical philosophy for present so-called leaders, may be political, social or religious. This leadership is concerned with the ethical use of power and authority. Such leaders believe that power and authority are for helping others to grow, not for ruling, exploiting or gaining personal advantage by setting individuals or groups of community and society at large against one another.

Followers of Greenleaf's philosophy have identified ten virtues of leadership as under: Listening, Empathy, Healing, Awareness, Persuation, Conceptulation, Fore-sight, Stewardship, Commitment to the growth of people and Building Community and Society at large. Some of these virtues come more naturally to some people than others. But these virtues are necessary for successful leadership. Indian polity in general and Kashmiri Pandit Community at present in distress in particular should be mature enough to appreciate the virtues of these leadership inspired by humility and sincerety. Both the political and socio-religious leaders should develop in themselves the attributes and virtues of a servant leader and not a master leader for the common good.

Sage Veda Vyasa was given a unique assignment to study all the philosophical and spiritual literature and sum it up in short. After intense study with the help of his Yogic power, he declared, "The act of greatest merit is to help others and the greatest sin is to cause intentional pain to others." This is the ultimate in any religion, philosophy or spiritual school. Swami Vivekananda said, "So far as a single dog is hungry in the country, my whole religion is to feed it." Max Mullar, the great oriental scholar of Germany said, "Given the option and choice by God, I would like my next birth as a woman (mother) in India to serve." Parents in general and Indian parents in particular are concerned about the welfare of their children. To err is human, even if parents make mistakes, their intentions can be good; we can not hold their 'mistakes' against them. Same can be true to those leaders who are sincere and who want to serve others. Another important way to serve the community, society, nation and humanity at large is to help those in need and in distress, as are we Kashmiri Pandit community at present. Dole out money based on show is likely to be counter-productive. Assistance in education and health would help people to help themselves. It will give them confidence and boost their self-esteem.

The Signs of a True Devotee of God

By Moti Lal Khar

Describing the signs of totaldevotion, the true devotees of God are constantly engaged in listening to, discussing the stories associated with God and singing His praises. They are completely dependent on the Lord and His grace. They have taken refuge in the Lord and are completely devoted to Him. They do not desire anything material or even spiritual. They are neither attached nor have greed for anything. They have no sign of pride or ego in them. They do not care for the material and heavenly pleasures and possessions. They are ready to give up everything including their lives for the glimpse of the Lord. Their only desire is to have His Darshan, to see Him and to get bliss.

Such devotees of God are loved by everyone. They are indifferent to pleasure and pain and heaven and hell. They are happy to see others prosper and are sad to see others suffer, and are eager to help them in any way. Ignoring the misdeeds of others, they adopt their good qualities only. They believe that everything good that happens to them is due to Lord and their misfortunes are the products of their own doings either of the present or previous 'Sanchit' or 'Prarabdha' Karmas. Everyone is their friend and no one is their enemy. They love everyone and no one. For them there is no sense of 'mine and thine'.

This resolve of the Lord to live in the hearts of the people who are totally devoted to God and take refuge in Him and be present in a place where there is an assembly of the devotees is not unique in Hinduism. The saints and seers of the yore advocated for such gatherings and 'Sat Sanghs', the company of the virtuous. In the Holy Bible, Mt. 18:20 Jesus promises, "Where two or more are united in my name, there I am in the midst of them." The Holy Quran declares, "Let the soul reflect upon what it sends ahead for the morrow." No special place or dwelling is to be sought or invented for this. Those who are united in God's name experience the fruits of the spirit in the form of new joy, a new peace, love, patience, benevolence, goodness, faithfulness, meekness and self control.

It does not cost them even a penny and only their attitude and approach to life counts. The ideal of such a true devotee of God in the words of Bhagvata Purana is "I do not wish for a kingdom, heaven or re-birth; but I wish for the destruction of the anguish of living beings subjected to sufferings." God is not in temples, churches, mosques but in the heart of such true devotees. The present political, religious and social leaders should develop in themselves such qualities of a true devotee of God before posing themselves as leaders.

Swami Ram Tirath and Vedanta

By Moti Lal Khar

am Tirth’s evolution from Mathematics teacher to apostle of Vedanta is an intense search for the self. The man who wanted to serve god through Mathematics became destined to serve humanity at large through his teachings of Vedanta. He re-kindled the poetic vision of the Upanishadas with love and passion. His exposition of Vedanta brought a new transcendental perspective to the ancient scriptures. His concept of Vedanta as experimental religion was that it had to be practiced before it can be spread.

Swami Ram Tirth was a free soul. His vision was a call-back to the real self and the real spirit of Vedanta which he defined as freedom of the spirit. With the life of Swami Vivekananda, Swami Ram Tirth travelled to the next assembly of Religions where like Swami Vivekananda, he mesmerized his audience completely. He had no place for princes, missions, institutions, organizations, name, fame, ambitions, wealth, achievements etc. He met god in the woods, whose message in the form of his lectures and talks was later appropriately compiled, “In the woods of god-Realization.” His lifespan of 33 years encompassed the experiences of many a life–time and his casting off his body on famous Hindu festival of Dushera day brought forth a tribute from his close friend erstwhile colleague at Lahore college, the Urdu poet- philosopher Mohammad Iqbal, who captured the intensity and passion of Rama’slife and work in this Urdu couplet:

Hum-bagal darya see hai!Ay qutra – e – betab tu!Pehle gohar tha!
Bana ab gohar–e–nab tu!”

(Like a restless drop; you have embraced the river. Before that you were a gem, now you are a rare diamond.)

Swami Ram Tirth said, “My religion is a religion without a name, it is the religion of nature. I call it the common path.” His poetic spirit captures the essence of this, “What care I for cast or creed? It is thedeed. What for class or clan? It is the man; it is the man. What for crown or crest? It is the heart within the breast.” According to Swami Ram Tirth Vedanta shows happiness. Realise the truth and be free. It is the faith and hope to see one god and one humanity. Persons like Swami Ram Tirth are born rarely on this earth and according to his friend poet Iqbal:

“Hazaroon saal nargis apni Be-noori Peroti hai, Badi mushkal se hota hai chaman Main deeda-var paida”.

Education and Ethical Education

By Moti Lal Khar

Tension and confusion is building up when and where the students are preparing for their different examinations to pass the tests creditably. The entire year is being spent in studies to get good marks. It has not reached its peak with students spending sleepless nights even taking pills to stay awake to cram and some students soar while others can not and in despair commit suicides!

Having been in the teaching profession for more than three decades, the present writer wants to drive some home truths about the present system of education. Both teachers and parents lay much emphasis of academic side of the studies to get good division to earn wealth in the country or abroad, ignoring the other co-curricular and extra-curricular activities including ethical and moral aspect of education.

One must be exceptionally well in examination even at the cost of one’s physical and mental health. It has been observed that many overage students with right environment both at home and at school have actually gone on to do well in life as compared to those who passed their examination with credit. What will happen if the students do not do well in the examination? Will the world come to an end? Why to commit suicides which is a crime! Let all students along with their teachers and parents realize this fact. In order to live life well and to succeed in the test of life one does not need to be proficient in learning by rote to get degrees which are mere scrap of papers! Each and every person is born with his or her unique talent and we as teachers and parents need to recognize this talent of the child at the initial stage to help students to develop their traits and talents by offering them our understanding, love, confidence and support, faith, courage and perseverance.

If we include the teaching of subjects in schools like inter-faith, peace and ethical values of human life into the present system of education, it will enhance the child’s innate ability to make positive contribution to the well being of peers, family, community and society at large, which in turn will help to enhance sense of peace and justice. Peace education is a matter of attitude, it is not a set of dogmas that have to be taught by mere cramming; it is the entire approach to life for global citizenship, social justice and peaceful linkage with civil society to curb the present violence which we see in the world at present. Ethics is about life as human beings, about relationships, about living together in peace and harmony as we depend on each other for survival. Ethics, faith and peace mean appreciation of beauty. It is striving for truth, pursuit of justice and for spirituality where children will be taught to be the future citizens of the world in the real sense.

Tribute: Master Kashi Nath Dhar - A Legendry Teacher

By Moti Lal Khar

Late Master Kashi Nath Dhar was a legendry teacher and a sports wizard ofKashi Nath Dhar repute of his times. He joined his services as a teacher in Biscoe Memorial School, Srinagar as an old student of the school and retired as House Master of the school, organizing extra-curricular activities like hiking, swimming, games etc., besides teaching over three decades past. He belonged to a class of distinguished and veteran teachers indeed! His father Late Ram Joo Dhar and his elder brother Late Janki Nath Dhar were working in the same school. Late Janki Nath Dhar while teaching in the school got heart attack and passed away on spot there and then in his young age leaving behind him a large family to support. The school authorities came to his rescue and appointed Pandit Kashi Nath Dhar as a teacher to maintain and to sustain the family.

Master Kashi Nath was born in the reputed Dhar family at Khankai–Sokhta, Nawakadal, Srinagar around third decades of twentieth century. The family is directly linked with Pandit Raj Joo Dhar who after migration had returned Kashmir in the reign of Mughal King Jahangir and the family was also connected with famous saint – poetess of Kashmir, Roop Bhawani, the incarnation of Mother Sharika and daughter of Late Madhoo Joo Dhar also a saintly person. Master Kashi Nath Dhar’s life was not a bed of roses but bed of thorns from his young age but being a Mission schoolboy and a sports person he stood to face the ups and downs of life just like a rock with a true sports spirit!

Master Kashi Nath Dhar was a qualified trained graduate. He had done his B.T. (now B.Ed.) from Kashmir University around 1947-48. As a teacher he was of the opinion that the level of teacher’s sympathy and painstaking for the students was not the same in his times as is commercialized now a days. He was a part of the system of education, when the teacher’s role by and large was missionary one like Late Tyndale Biscoe – the exponent of modern education in Kashmir. As a sports person Master Kashi Nath Dhar was a great player of hockey and cricket with wonderful skills and played matches both at state and provincial levels. He was the secretary of Srinagar Cricket Club, with late Ram Joo Tickoo as president and late Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad, the then Deputy Prime Minister of J&K state as patron – both being hisneighbours. Master Kashi Nath Dhar would lead and organize tournaments both at school and provincial levels.

He was a wizard in sports and had a great passion for games even up to his last life. Scores of sports wizards of Kashmir were his students including his own nephew late Dr. D.N. Dhar and his sons Sh. K.L. Dhar and Sh. M.K. Dhar who played at school, college and university levels, besides their academic merits in their professions. In his later life too Master Kashi Nath Dhar had to see number of tragedies.

His nephews, his elder brother’s sons and only late sister’s son Dr. Ramesh Kakroo, the famous orthopedic surgeon and his elder daughter and grandson (the present writer’s wife and younger son) all died in their young ages and he himself died in exile like his other members of the community far away from their homes in Kashmir. He was really a model of his school motto; “In all things be men”. We salute Master Kashi Nath Dhar as a legendary teacher and a sports wizard of repute.

Parmanand and his 'Krishna Leela'

"Contentment leads to perennial joy"

by Moti Lal Khar

Moti Lal KharThe cultural life of Kashmir has had the impress of great mystics. Often we witness a happy blending of poetry and mysticism in it. Among these mystics a prominent place goes to Parmanand, the great saint-poet of southern Kashmir.

Pandit Nand Ram, Parmanand being his penname, was born in 1791 A.D. in Seer Village near Mattan (Martand), one of the famous holy places of India. Both his father, Krishna Pandit, and his mother, Saraswati Devi, were of religious bent of mind. Child Nand Ram got his education in Persian, the court language of Kashmir those days, in his own village. He also learned Sanskrit from Sadhus who used to visit and stay at Martand temple. Nand Ram was a precocious child and his teachers and schoolmates were greatly impressed by his sincere devotion and inborn knowledge about spiritual matters. He attained mastery over Persian and wrote verses in that language under the pen-name "Gareeb''.

Early Life


Picture Courtesy: Anjali Kaul, Austin

After his schooling, Parmanand was married to Mal Ded, a girl from his own village. She was an ill-tempered lady, yet the tolerant nature of the saint took it in its stride. His father was a Patwari in Mattan village and after his death Nand Ram was offered his father's post. A Patwari was looked down upon by people in those days. Parmanand had no aptitude for this post, but compelled by circumstances he had to accept it in order to sustain himself and his family.


Parmanand was greatly influenced by the scenic beauty of his village and its surroundings. He would be found sitting under a tree absorbed in deep meditation. He would compose verses in Kashmiri there and then. Unlike other Patwaris of his time he never accepted bribes. On the contrary, he would at times pay land revenue from his own pocket on behalf of poor peasants. Being bold and frank, Parmanand made sarcastic remarks in his verses about the then despotic rule even at great risk. He was put to severe hardship by his officers to whom he would never bow or flatter. But by God's grace he escaped dismissal or incarceration. Like Guru Nanak Dev, Parmanand spent all he had to feed Sadhus to the great distress and chagrin of his wife. Parmanand's poor wife often rebuked him for not caring for his family.

Seeing this non-attachment to the things of the world even at a young age, people living in the locality came to realise that Parmanand was born to fulfill a definite purpose and held him in high esteem. After he left his job, devotees would arrange for the maintenance of his family. Especially his Muslim neighbour, Salah Ganai, the headman of the village, stood by him through thick and thin, knowing the worth and merit of Parmanand.

The devotional songs of Parmanand are on the lips of all Kashmiris. His poetic collections are available in both Devanagri and Persian scripts. Master Zinda Kaul, the famous poet of Kashmir, who edited the poetic collections of Parmanand was very much influenced by his poetry. Pandit Narayan Kaul, and his beloved disciple-poet, Pandit Laxman Bhat of village Nagam, also have edited some of his collections. Parmanand was an eloquent and a gifted poet endowed with a forceful style. His devotional songs and hymns in praise of Lord Krishna are to this day on the lips of every Kashmiri. His Sudhama Charactar is regarded as one of its best Kashmiri renderings. His spiritual hymns and Leelas are recited in temples and on marriage ceremonies or on festivals such as Janamashtami or Shivratri. His style is direct and effective.


Parmanand's philosophy is best depicted in Karam Bhoomika where he says that the highest good is only attainable when the self is subdued and that perennial joy is the reward obtained by the mastery of one's own self. To overcome one's own self, according to him, is to wage the toughest war in the battlefield of life and to subdue one's own self is the noblest of all victories.

Religion for Paramanand was not mere ritual and formal worship but something far more fundamental and a matter deeply connected with the soul. In the poem, Amarnath Yatra, he describes the different paths and stages an aspirant has to pass in spiritual Sadhna or practice. Most of his poems are allegorical. His poem, Radha Suamber, is his masterpiece and is regarded as one of the most precious contributions to devotional literature. To read Parmanand or listen to his Leelas is to live through a religious experience which gives Param- Anand: eternal bliss.


Parmanand's poetry testifies to a fascinating kinship between mystics all over India. His writings provide convincing proof of the universality of the concept that Truth is one, though sages call it by different names. In his famous poem, Shiv-Lugan, Parmanand propounds the unity of the One and the many. The infinite and the finite are absolutely identical, according to him. In another poem, The Scenes of the Tree and its Shade, he says that God is attained by merging the finite with the infinite. He asserts that by getting freedom from our wordly fetters we can attain salvation.

Parmanand was loved and adored by Hindus and Muslims alike. Salah Ganai gave him succor in his old age, when Parmanand's kith and kin had died before him, leaving him all alone. He had no son or daughter of his own. At about 90, this great mystic poet died in 1879 A.D. Pandit Laxman Bhat wrote his death date in his elegy in which he lamented, "The singing nightingale of the garden became silent making the garden desolate".


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