SAI KASHIMIRI PARIVAAR NEWSLETTER
SAI KASHMIRI PARIVAR is a community of the Kashmiri Pandits, founded on 30 august 2017 under the inspiration and guidance of our revered Guru Dr. Chandra Bhanu Sathpathy Ji, a noted scholar, spiritual thinker, author and a humanitarian. Dr. Satpathy is an ardent devotee of Sai Baba and has been spreading the teachings and philosophy of Shri Shirdi Sai and Indian philosophy assiduously over a span of 25 years, not only in India but in other countries as well (https://saikashmiriparivar.org)
Main objectives and aim of Sai Kashmiri Parivar is:
Achievements/ Activities Since Inception:
SAI KASHMIRI PARIVAR under Shirdi Sai Global Foundation organized “Sai Sandhya” on Sunday, 30 July 2017 on the eve of Shravan Ashtami in the auspicious month of Shravan at Club Florence, Sector-56, Gurugram, Haryana, exclusively for Kashmiri Pandit community across the globe. Dr. Chadra Bhanu Satpathy, revered Guruji was the Chief Guest and Key Speaker of the event along with many prominent personalities of the Community. http://www.saikashmiriparivar.org/gallery/
Promotion of Spirituality & Culture
Our beautiful and blessed land of Kashmir has been rightly referred to as ‘Rishi Vaer.’ All our Rishis have been great sages of knowledge and consciousness.
Kashyapa is one of the Saptarishis, the seven famed rishis, considered to be author of many hymns and verses of the Rigveda dating (1500-1200 BCE). The name Kashmir may be a shortened form of “Kashyapa Mir” or the “lake of the sage Kashyapa”, or alternatively derived from “Kashyapa Meru” or the sacred mountains of Kashyapa.
In the first half of the 1st millennium, the Kashmir region became an important centre of Hinduism and later of Buddhism, and later still, in the ninth century, Kashmir Shaivism. This land of Kashyap Rishi, a jewel in the crown of the Indian subcontinent is also known as the fountainhead of Hindu philosophy. This beautiful land, which has been known as a heaven on earth, has produced several saints and seers as well as philosophies which are unparalleled.
Abhinavagupta (c. 950 – 1016 CE)
A philosopher, mystic and aesthetician from Kashmir. He was also considered an influential musician, poet, dramatist, exegete, theologian, and logician – a polymathic personality who exercised strong influences on Indian culture.
He was born in Kashmir in a family of scholars and mystics and studied all the schools of philosophy and art of his time under the guidance of as many as fifteen (or more) teachers and gurus. In his long life he completed over 35 works, the largest and most famous of which is Tantrāloka, an encyclopedic treatise on all the philosophical and practical aspects of Kaula and Trika (known today as Kashmir Shaivism). Another one of his very important contributions was in the field of philosophy of aesthetics with his famous Abhinavabhāratī commentary of Nāṭyaśāstra of Bharata Muni.
“Abhinavagupta” was not his real name, rather a title he earned from his master, carrying a meaning of “competence and authoritativeness”. In his analysis, Jayaratha (1150–1200 AD) – who was Abhinavagupta’s most important commentator – also reveals three more meanings: “being ever vigilant”, “being present everywhere” and “protected by praises”. Raniero Gnoli, the only Sanskrit scholar who completed a translation of Tantrāloka in a European language, mentions that “Abhinava” also means “new”, as a reference to the ever-new creative force of his mystical experience.
From Jayaratha, we learn that Abhinavagupta was in possession of all the six qualities required for the recipients of the tremendous level of śaktipāta, as described in the sacred texts (Śrīpūrvaśāstra): an unflinching faith in God, realisation of mantras, control over objective principles (referring to the 36 tattvas), successful conclusion of all the activities undertaken, poetic creativity and spontaneous knowledge of all disciplines.
Abhinavagupta’s creation is well equilibrated between the branches of the triad (Trika): will (icchā), knowledge (jñāna), action (kriyā); his works also include devotional songs, academical/philosophical works and works describing ritual/yogic practices.
As an author, he is considered a systematiser of the philosophical thought. He reconstructed, rationalised and orchestrated the philosophical knowledge into a more coherent form, assessing all the available sources of his time, not unlike a modern scientific researcher of Indology.
Various contemporary scholars have characterised Abhinavagupta as a “brilliant scholar and saint”, “the pinnacle of the development of Kasmir Śaivism” and “in possession of yogic realization”
The term by which Abhinavagupta himself defines his origin is “yoginībhū”, ‘born of a yoginī. In Kashmir Shaivism and especially in Kaula it is considered that a progeny of parents “established in the divine essence of Bhairava is endowed with exceptional spiritual and intellectual prowess. Such a child is supposed to be “the depository of knowledge”, who “even as a child in the womb, has the form of Shiva“, to enumerate but a few of the classical attributes of his kind.
His mother, Vimalā (Vimalakalā) died when Abhinavagupta was just two years old; as a consequence of losing his mother, of whom he was reportedly very attached, he grew more distant from worldly life and focused all the more on spiritual endeavour.
The father, Narasiṃha Gupta, after his wife’s death favoured an ascetic lifestyle, while raising his three children. He had a cultivated mind and a heart “outstandingly adorned with devotion to Mahesvara (Shiva)” (in Abhinavagupta’s own words). He was Abhinavagupta’s first teacher, instructing him in grammar, logic and literature.
Abhinavagupta had a brother and a sister. The brother, Manoratha, was a well-versed devotee of Shiva. His sister, Ambā (probable name, according to Navjivan Rastogi), devoted herself to worship after the death of her husband in late life.
His cousin Karṇa demonstrated even from his youth that he grasped the essence of Śaivism and was detached of the world. His wife was presumably Abhinavagupta’s older sister Ambā, who looked with reverence upon her illustrious brother.
The emerging picture here is that Abhinavagupta lived in a nurturing and protected environment, where his creative energies got all the support they required. Everyone around him was filled with spiritual fervor and had taken Abhinavagupta as their spiritual master. Such a supporting group of family and friends was equally necessary as his personal qualities of genius, to complete a work of the magnitude of Tantrāloka.
By Abhinavagupta’s own account, his most remote known ancestor was called Atrigupta, born in Madhyadeśa: [Manusmirti (circa 1500 BC, 2/21) defines the Madhyadesh region as vast plains between Himalaya and Vindhya mountains and to the east of the river Vinasana (invisible Saraswati) and to the west of Praya]. Born in Madhyadeśa he travelled to Kashmir at the request of the king Lalitāditya, around year 740 CE.
It is believed that Abhinavagupta had more secondary teachers. Moreover, during his life he had accumulated a large number of texts from which he quoted in his magnum opus, in his desire to create a synthetic, all inclusive system, where the contrasts of different scriptures could be resolved by integration into a superior perspective.
Abhinavagupta remained unmarried all his life, and as an adept of Kaula, at least initially maintained brahmacharya and supposedly used the vital force of his energy (ojas) to deepen his understanding of the spiritual nervous system he outlined in his works—a system involving ritual union between Purusha as (Shiva) and Shakti. Such union is essentially non-physical and universal, and thus Abhinavagupta conceived himself as always in communion with Shiva-Shakti. In the context of his life and teachings, Abhinavagupta parallels Shiva as both ascetic and enjoyer.
He lived in his home (functioning as an ashram) with his family members and disciples and he did not become a wandering monk, nor did he take on the regular duties of his family, but lived out his life as a writer and a teacher. His personality was described as a living realisation of his vision.
In an epoch pen-painting he is depicted seated in Virasana, surrounded by devoted disciples and family, performing a kind of trance-inducing music at veena while dictating verses of Tantrāloka to one of his attendees – behind him two dūtī (women yogi) waiting on him. A legend about the moment of his death (placed somewhere between 1015 and 1025, depending on the source), says that he took with him 1,200 disciples and marched off to a cave (the Bhairava Cave, an actual place known to this day), reciting his poem Bhairava-stava, a devotional work. They were never to be seen again, supposedly translating together into the spiritual world.
Abhinavagupta’s works fall into multiple sections: manuals of religious ritual, devotional songs, philosophical works and philosophy of aesthetics. Here are enumerated most of his works.
* Īśvarapratyabhijñā-vimarśini (“Commentary to the Verses on the Recognition of the Lord”)
* Īśvarapratyabhijñā-vivṛti-vimarśini (“Commentary on the explanation of Īśvarapratyabhijñā“).
Two more philosophical texts of Abhinavagupta are Kathāmukha-tilaka(“Ornament of the Face of Discourses”) and Bhedavāda-vidāraṇa (“Confrontation of the Dualist Thesis”). Abhinavagupta’s thought was strongly influenced by Buddhist logic.
Abhinavaguptas most important work on the philosophy of art is Abhinavabhāratī – a long and complex commentary on Natya Shastra of Bharata Muni. This work has been one of the most important factors contributing to Abhinavagupta’s fame up until present day. His most important contribution was that to the theory of rasa (aesthetic savour).
Other poetical works include: Ghaṭa-karpara-kulaka-vivṛti, a commentary on “Ghaṭakarpara” of Kalidasa; Kāvyakauṭukavivaraṇa, a “Commentary to the Wonder of Poetry” (a work of Bhaṭṭa Tauta), now lost; and Dhvanyālokalocana, “Illustration of Dhvanyāloka”, which is a famous work of Anandavardhana.
Abhinavagupt Acharya in the 11th century (and after him his disciples like Khemraja and Yogacharya) is credited with such great works as “TANTRALOKA” and the TRIKA philosophy of Kashmir Shaivism, Trikashastra or Trikashasana.
One of the most learned spiritual and scholarly figures of our times, Swami Laxman Joo has said and I quote:
“Abhinavagupta was a great scholar and Shaiva teacher, who possessed knowledge in all matters relating to Kashmir Shaivism. Many works like – Bhairavastotra – Malinivijaya Vartika – Kramastotra – Paramartha Sara – Tantraloka – Tantra Sara have been attributed to Abhinavagupta – the pride of Kashmir. It is also said that Acharya Abhinavgupta was in fact, the incarnation of Bhairava-Nath (Shiva).
Experiences/ Miracles of our Saints as Narrated by our Elders:
Some of miracles of our Saints, which are indelibly impressed on people’s memory are narrated below:
Swami Jeewan Shah:
During the year 1783 AD, the valley was governed by a cruel Pathan Governor Azad-Khan. He tyranized Hindus greatly. On one occasion a group of Pathan soldiers while marching through Misha Mohalla (Rainawari), abducted a Hindu girl, forced her into their boat and rowed away. Since her parents and their sympathisers could not fight the Pathan Governor and his soldiers, they appealed to Jeewan Shah for help. He was visibly moved and within the hearing of all those present, summed up his sentiments in a Persian couplet thus –
AGAR HUKMI KHUDA NAIST,
BA HUKAM JEEWAN SHAH!
KISHTI GARKI AAB KHUD,
HINDVA AZAAB BALA SHUD!!
“If it is not the God’s command, by my (Jeewan Shah’s) own command then the boat should capsize drowning all except the Hindu girl”. The boat capsized and the Pathan soldiers got drowned, only the Hindu girl landed ashore safely.
Swami Nand Bab Ji (Nand Mout)
Nanda-Bab Ji was well built and his face would always radiate with a spiritual grace. After finishing his education, he joined the Police Department and was posted as a Mohrarir in Police Station, Pukhribal. It is said that Swami Ji had the vision of Sharika Maa at this very place. One day, one of his colleagues advised him to remain properly dressed as a Senior Police Officer was to visit the Station next day. Ignoring this advice, Swami Ji went to Devi-Angan, next day, and got absorbed in a deep meditation there. It was witnessed by some of his other colleagues. When the Inspecting Officer visited the Station, he found Swami Ji present to the great astonishment of everybody present there. From this date on, the miracles of Swami Ji came on light.
Swami Ji would always carry three Holy Books of Quran, Gita and Bible with him, living up to the established belief that Sat-Gurus have no cast or religion or domicile. During his last days while living at his native place Nunar, a couple from Mumbai came to see him. The lady had a hunch-back. Swamiji beat her physically and she ran away and fell into a mire. Swami Ji gave her a bath and her physical deformity had completely disappeared in the process. Swami Ji was held in great esteem by all he then Chief Minister, Bakshi Sahab, as also by the Prime Minister of India, Smt. Indira Gandhi.
Personal experience from one of our ardent follower is narrated below:
It was during the preparation of first ever Sai Sandhya being organized in Gurugram by Kashmiri Parivar. I was sitting in Baba’s room at home busy and thinking we have 15 days and Baba had asked us to organize the Sai Sandhya. It was my wish that Gautam ji should perform at the first Sai Sandhya when there was no trust involved. I was convinced that I don’t have to do anything. Gautam ji is here, and I don’t want anyone else. So, I called Gautam ji and told him, “You have to do this. I don’t know how, but you have to.” Gautam ji said, “Okay then, alright.” He agreed initially and the programme was set.
After some days, maybe a week or so, I was in Baba’s room engaged in finalising the programme and sorting out what I needed, where I needed it etc. My brother was with me, too. Phone rang and it was Gautam ji calling. He enquired about the event, the status of planning, as if he were building up to telling me something that’d shock me. And then he said, “Purnima, I’ll not be able to perform, but don’t worry at all, I’ll make the arrangements for a replacement.” I said, “What do you mean? I don’t want anyone else but you to perform, and you will.” He paused for a bit, composed himself and then again said, “Okay okay, don’t worry, I’ll make some arrangement.” But I reiterated what I said earlier and emphasized that I didn’t want anyone else to perform. I put the phone down and looked at my brother, who by now had a tense face. He asked, “What will we do now?” Nobody knew about this development; I hadn’t told my husband, either. I told my brother – and I don’t know how, it was some Guru Shakti as I was sitting in Guru’s room – that, “Why have you turned pale? Don’t worry at all, Gautam ji will perform and he himself will call me in two days and will tell me that he’s coming.” I don’t know who was talking but I kept on going.
Two days passed, I was very engaged with the team and the organisation. I had completely forgotten about what had happened two days prior. In my mind, it was only Gautamji and musicians who would perform, I didn’t have to worry about a thing and Baba will see to it. Meanwhile, my phone rang. It was Gautamji on call. I attended the call without any prior thought and Gautam ji told me that he was going to come and perform. I told him that I had completely forgotten and knew that he’d do it. Somehow, everything panned out the way Baba wanted.
This was a big experience for me. Gautamji is a part of my family and I’m grateful to him for that day. He had had a death in the close family and had called me to inform. He’d told me of how since it was within the family, it gets really difficult to manage, one doesn’t feel like it and parents are involved. I had tried to convince him to come and perform, told him that I’d send him the flight tickets, too – he should come such that even the departed soul will find its peace. I told him to come and at the least, I asked him if I should send the tickets? He brushed it off and then said that he’ll see what he can do about it. He finally did come all the way and performed and I’m very grateful to him for that.
This whole experience was big and overwhelming for us all.