Saints & Sages

Ancient and Modern Ascetics in Kashmir

- An Introduction by Sh. G. N. Raina

The history of India has for its landmarks not wars and emperors but saints and scriptures.

- Dr. S. Radhakrishanan

The nations have a history as well as geography. They grow not by the sun and stars, the wind and rain but by the creative Spirits who by precept and practice, work toward the establishment of universal brotherhood of man, overcoming the artificial barriers of caste, creed or colour.

In the last millennium, Kashmir, as also the rest of India, has produced a galaxy of great saints, seers and savants who have enriched, elevated and refined life and helped the people at large in distress. In India, we have had illustrious God-men like Kabir, Tulsi, Surdas, Tuka Ram, Srikrishna Chaitanya, Eknath, Narsi Mehta, Tyagaraja, Dhyaneshwar, Tiruvalluvar, Namdev, Mirabai, Dayanand, Guru Nanak, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, Vivekananda, Swami Ram, Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi, Ramana Maharishi, Sri Satya Sai Baba, and Sri Aurobindo. In Kashmir, too, we have had the great fortune of producing greatsaints like Lalleshwari, Rupa Bhawani, Sheikh Nuruddin, Parmanand, Rishipir, Jeewan Shah, Lassa Sahib, Anandji, Ramji, Sahib Kaul, Manas Razdan, Zaikak, Kakaji Mastana, Grata Bab, Ramjoo Tabardar, Vidya Dar, Shankar Razdan, Bhagwaan Gopinath Ji, Kashkak, Sona Kak, Nandlal Ji, Swami Lakshman Joo, Sati Devi and Mathura Devi.

These saints belong to all times and to all nations. They transcend the bonds of communities and conventions, place and time. They are born to serve God by serving His creatures. A saint, a seer and a sage is, indeed an universal phenomenon.

In the present troubled times when the people of the Valley, Kashmiri Pandits in particular, are passing through untold miseries, the only solace comes from our glorious philosophic and spiritual traditions enriched by our saints and sufis. The sayings of Lalla Arifa echo and re- echo to this day. She sang in the language of the masses. A mystic of the purest ray serene, Lalla urged the people to rise above caste, creed and colour and see the light within.


    (Siva is all-pervading and present in each particle. 
    Never differentiate between a Hindu and a Muslim.
    If you are shrewd and intelligent, know THY SELF. 
    There lies acquaintance with god".)

Long after her, Parmanand gave us a recipe for attaining peace of mind.

(Contentment leads to perennial joy and bliss.)

We have not been able to collect details of most of our saints and seers. But a good number of them are represented here and most of these have been drawn from our special numbers issued in the past. We are grateful to the learned authors whose articles on various saints have been reproduced here for the benefit of all, particularly our youth, who, I am sure, will derive inspiration and strength from the lives of these Sages and Seers.

Krishna Joo Razdan

Razdan Sahib is proud of Kashmiri language which is the principal medium of his poetic expression. He regards it dearest to the Mother Goddess. He is convinced that salvation for Kashmiris is attainable only by singing praises of the Mother Goddess in Kashmiri language.

Swami Kish Bab

He was a Siddha, a Mystic, a man above rituals, ever conscious, awake and alert. A firm believer in the law of Karma, he had seen his previous births and would not hesitate to tell that he has been head of fishermen in one of his previous births.

Mathra Devi

Our mystic-saint Mathra Devi, came in the 19-20th century. The Devi threw off her mortal frame, after 106 years, at Verinag on January 5, 1985. An embodiment of sadhana and tapasya, Mathra was in many respects the Lalla reborn.

Swami Anand Ji Maharaj of Villagam

The life of Bab Sahib as wide and deep as the infinite ocean in which we can dive deep so as to take precious gems of Bhakti. The stories are wonderful and give peace and happiness to those who are afflicted with distress and heavy miseries of this material world.

Pandit Satlal Siboo

Mysterious are the ways of nature, which produce vibrations for accelerating the psychophysical potential in the embodied soul. Para-Prakrati is evolutionary process explained in the Kashmir-Shakta school of thought.

Pandit Raghu Nath Kukiloo

While he had fathomed the depths of the Shakta philosophy of Kashmir, which he would interpret in his own unique manner, Pandit Kukiloo understanding of the Vedantic and Shaiva philosophies was equally profound.

Swami Mast Ram Ji

Swami Jee is full of siddhis, but doe not believe in performing miracles, except where the need arises for the benefit of his devotees and humankind. It is not possible to illustrate and mention about his miracles. These must be seen to be believed.

Swami Neelkanth Sharma Ji

Pt. Nilakanth Sharma was born at Dab Wakoora, Shadipur (Tehsil Ganderbal, Srinagar), on 21st June, 1888 to Pt. Shankar Joo and Sukhmal. His family originally belonged to Ganpatyar locality of Srinagar. Pt. Ramjoo, one of his ancestors, had gone in adoption to a Sharma family of Dab Wakoora.

Karunamai Maa

Karunamai Maa believed in purity in all phases of life. She taught that cleanliness of mind is as essential for the spiritual growth as physical one. She adored deities in temple with choicest dresses and ornaments and was herself dressed well.

Master Zinda Kaul

Masterji built his personality brick by brick. The foundation for this was provided. by the Hindu mystic lore especially by the Kashmir Shaivism. Vedanta and the Upanishads also acted as the cementing link to make it more broad-based.

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