Tag Archives: KASHMIR BLOG

Genealogical Tables of Kasmir Dynasties according to Kalhan

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Source-Rajatarangini by M.A.Stein

Maps of srinagar and parihaspura by A.Stien

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Yaarbal..

As a teenager and -that too in Kashmir- The Mountains, valleys, lakes , streams and rivers just looked so familiar,natural, perennial and Ubiquitous .Even in my imagination and dreams, I would see myself somewhere surrounded by these elements.

Swimming was my all time favorite activity. Being a Rainawarian, I used to swim in Dal Lake very often . And whenever I used to stay put for night/s at my ‘Matamaal’ in HabbaKadal during summers, I used to make it sure to go for a swin along with my friend Sanjay to River Jhelum near the bridge of Habba-Kadal .

We had chosen the ‘Yarbal’ (Bathing Ghat with steps)of ‘Purushyar Temple’ as a base for our swims.We used to  swim across the River and reach The opposite bank of Yarbal , then swim back. Because of the drift of river, we were flown down and while coming back towards the purushyar, we were further drifted away downwards. We used to run barefoot in the bylanes and reach back to The Yaarbal. The River was deep and many a times , we would hear about the incidents of drowning. But we were expert swimmers and that hardly bothered us.

Sometimes, we along with other teenagers and children would jump from the Bridge of HabbaKadal straight into the Vitasta.The exhilarating feeling of jumping and hanging in the air for some seconds was awesome.So was the feel of the adrenaline rush ,  when our feet touched the Sandy bed of the Jhelum.

I re-visited Kashmir last year in the month of August.I had hired a taxi and directed the Driver-Ajaz to take me to Habba Kadal.Once we reached the Bridge, I told him to stop.I looked around but could not identify most of the New Habba Kadal locality.I alighted the door and stepped down.

The  KP’s once formed the majority population of this area.Their conspicuous absence added to the feeling of being at an unknown, yet familiar place.

A new Bridge has been constructed just adjacent to the Old bridge. When I looked down from the bridge to River Vitasta, she looked emaciated. I tried to compare her with the images of Jhelum,that were imprinted in my memories. She looked as if someone had drained out all her water and her vigour.The shallowed-Vitasta, looked as if   she was ashamed of her present condition.

I ambled further the bridge and turned right towards a by-lane.I was told that it will lead me towards the famous ‘Purushyar Temple’.I walked ahead in the claustrophobic , stinking , narrow bylane and within a couple of minutes ; I had another glimpse of the temple. It was already late evening.I stood for some time at the mouth of the wider staired lane ,that lead to the temple . Few steps further downwards , I could see the barren Yarbal.

I could recall vividly , how the ‘Yaarbal’ abuzzed with activity.In the mornings, KPs  from the adjoining locality visited the Purushyar temple, some even used to take a dip in the waters of Vitasta before entering the temple.Other’s  used to come in the Late morning and take a bath with the River-water.They rubbed and covered their bodies with the thick froth of the Soap. The bubbles of the froth would many a times float in the air for a short distance and then  blow off silently. Some people would be seen washing their clothes. A few people would just sit on the stairs and watch the River passing by.

I turned my sight towards the Temple.It looked as if somebody had turned on a Bulb.I peered through the late evening light , but could not see any figure. Nonetheless, it was evident that , some KPs are coming to the temple and are offering their prayers.However, I could not see a single soul around the temple.The so familiar waft of the incense sticks and ‘Dhoop’ too was absent.So was the resounding peal of the temple bell.

Few Passerby’s looked astonished at my behaviour. After all ,how many people would stand at that junction and look at the Yaarbal and Temple in that late evening ! For them , my behavior was suspicious.A group of men gathered at some distance from where I was standing and started murmuring something.

Finally a man from that group came forwad and  asked me in Kashmiri, “Are you looking for someone?”. I smiled and in a friendly way, I answered, “Oh Nothing”. I gestulated. “Well, I have spent some of my early days in this area.I just wanted to see the places where I had lived”. “Are you a Kashmiri Pandit?” he asked exitedly. “Yes, I am.” I replied. “I am looking for a KP friend’s house, who too lived in this locality, but can’t locate it”. I added.

“Most of the people who live here now, have come from other localities. But, there is this fruit-vendor at the start of HabbaKadal.He knows about all the Pandits of this area.I will lead you to him”. He said warmly. “Yes, I saw that Vendor.I will speak to him just now.” I feigned.”I think I should go now.” I informed him. He shook my hand firmly and went away in the lane and disappeared from my sight.It was dark now.I decided to go back and in no time, I reached the bridge, where the driver of the cab was waiting for me.

Ajaz-the cab driver was waiting for me anxiously. As soon as I approached him, he said impatiently, “Should we go now Jenab?” Without looking at him, I answered , “Just give me two more minutes.”

I walked a few steps further on the HabbaKadal bridge.I again looked down at the Vitasta.I could just see the reflection of the shimmering lights on it. I looked at the Purushyar temple once again for the last time. It was dimly lit.The Windows were still closed.

And the Yaarbal still barren……

Dilapidated temples of kashmir

 

 

 


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Queen Didda of Kashmir

The Kashmir of the yore ; is draped in the tales of Kings and queens. Though many rulers came , ruled over Kashmir and then were erases by the Time, yet some of these rulers had an indelible imprints on the History of Kashmir. Traditionally it has been the fiefdom of the Kings, Yet, there had been brief instances, when the Queens of Kashmir ruled over the land of Kashmir.
IT was not easy for these Queens to rule with an Iron grip; But they somehow managed and found their own place in the History of Kashmir. One Such Lady, who rose against all the odds and decimated her enemies by following the proverb, ‘everything is fair in love and war’ is Queen Didda. She is an epitome of mystery, lust and an intense desire to Rule.
And till date she retains her position of numero uno as the Queen whose rule spanned for almost half a decade.
Diddaksema( Didda and Ksemagupta)
Queen Didda was married to King Ksemagupta(950-958 A.D) of Kashmir. She was the daughter of King Simharaja-The lord of Lohara and Grand Daughter of King Bhima-Sahi of Kabul. She had transfixed the King Ksemagupta, and had wholly engrossed his mind. The King had engraved the image of Didda on the coins and was thus also known as DIDDAKSEMA.It was a derogatory appellation used for Ksemagupta. The King was also married to ‘Candralekha’-The daughter of his Minister(Dvarapati) Phalguna. Didda had developed an animosity towards the minister. Didda had a son named ‘Abhimanyu’ with Ksemagupta.
In 958 A.D, King Ksemagupta died of the disease-‘luta’, that accompanied high fever. The king was known to have lived an epicurean life and Kalhana in his epic, ‘Rajatarangani’ had deprecated his Sybarite life.
Kshemagupta’s Child Son-Abhimanyu became King under the Guardianship of Queen Didda. And thus began the love-hate relationship of the infamous Queen with anyone, who came in between her and the urge to Rule.

Kalhana has portrayed her as an merciless and suspicious character, with many paramours, incapable of making her own decisions and who used to get influenced by others, Particularly those, who would feign to be her ally or confidants, and provoke her to sideline a rising benefactor , for their own personal gains. And almost always, she fell into the trap of the conspirators and removed the persons in question.
But in spite of everything, she survived, and ruled Kashmir directly or indirectly for almost 45 long years.

Rise and Fall of Phalguna
After the Death of her Husband, Phalguna had become the Prime Minister( Sarvadhikara) and thus exerted great influence. ‘Rakka’-The commander-in-chief (Kampanesa) had become resentful of the might of Phalguna and embittered Queen Didda about the apprehensions that the Prime Minister might usurp the Kingdom.
Phalguna’s son Kardamaraja had gone to take the bones of ‘Ksemagupta’ to the Ganges, The prime minister, who distrusted the palace and apprehended (evil) from his enemies, resolved to stop at ‘Parnotsa’(poonch) until his Son’s return. He left the city followed by numerous troops, and had arrived near ‘Kasthsvata’, and then to ‘Varahakshetra’ (Varamullah/Baramullah).
Didda at the instigation of ‘Rakka’ and others, took a quick resolve, and instead of polite requests sent staff bearers after Him. Phalguna was grieved by this dishonor and turned back and marched to Baramullah, attended by a large armed force.Didda and her ministers feared that he might attack them.But instead of attacking them, Phalguna laid his sword at the feet of ‘Varaha’ (Lord Vishnu).Kalhana writes that by this act of Phalguna, The ministers rejoiced as the boys when left by their teacher.
But Didda could not rejoice for a long time as new problem had come up.

 

Mahiman, Patala and rise of Yashodhra

When Kshemgupta’s Father, Parvargupta(Father-in-law of didda) was aiming at the crown, he had married two daughters to the ministers ‘Choja’ and ‘Bhubata’, who had taken (with him) the oath of sacred Libation (Kosapitin). The two sons, who were born from these, the renowed ‘Mahiman’ and ‘Patala’, grew up in the King’s palace as if they were his own sons, and had remained there up to that time. These two eager for the throne, entered a conspiracy with Himmaka( a Turk) and others who knew no restraint.
Mahim and Patala were turned out by the Queen Didda from the Royal Palace and thus they developed hatred for her and yearned to retaliate and oust the queen. She had sent office bearers in open hostility behind Mahiman, in order to have him banished. They followed him to his Father-in-law Saktisena’s house too. In spite of Saktisena’s request, they did not leave. Hence, Saktisema gave open shelter to Mahiman. Thus having found a refugee, he was joined by Himmanka, Mukula, Eramantaka, Udayagupta and Yashodra.
They formed a confederacy, sided with Mahiman and raised a rebellion. At that time of great danger, the faithful minister ‘Naravahana’ was the only one who, together with his relatives, did not abandon the side of Didda.The battalion of enemy with glittering weapons came into the vicinity of temple of Padmasvamin(in pampore), eager for battle.

Didda sent her Son to Suramatha( in Srinagar), and in distress sought various means for averting the disaster. She gave away plenty of Gold to Brahmins of Lalityadidtapuram(litpur) , and thus broke up the league of her enemies.The Brahmins took an oath of Libation (Pitakosa), declaring that if one were attacked, they would all resent it, and then brought about a reconciliation between Mahiman and the Queen.
To further weaken the power of her Enemy camp, she bestowed upon Yashodra and the rest the command of the Army(Kampana) and other( offices).After a few days she put Mahiman, out of the way by Witchcraft, and her Rule became undisputed in the land.
Yashodra’s rebellion and the rise of Naravahana
The new commander-in-chief Yashodra, out of spite, along with his relatives undertook an expedition against the ‘Sahi’ ruler ‘Thakkana’ and humbled him.Yashodra took a tribute from the King, who did homage, and watered afresh the creeper of fame with the water(sprinkled) at the inauguration ceremony (Abhisheka).
Rakka and some others, who had become resentful of the rise of Yashodra, who had access to the Queen, stirred up enemity in her against the commander-in-chief. They incited Didda by falsely reporting her that Yashodra was betraying her, and that he had taken money for keeping ‘Thakkana’ on his throne.She took their Slander for the very truth.
Swelled with pride over his victory, when Yashodra reached back to his residence, the Queen dispatched staff-bearers with the evident intention of banishing him.When ‘Himmaka’, ‘Eramantaka’ and others heard of this insult, they remembered what they had agreed upon under their oath by the sacred libation( Kosa) and raised a rebellion as before.
Didda’s troops became disaffected, but ‘Naravahana’ and those with him did not desert her side. And when ‘Subhadara’ and other enemies of her entered the city with fury, She sent her Son away to ‘Bhattarakamatha’( Bradmaer, Srinagar).Thereupon, fighting commenced between the troops of the two hostile groups, that had held positions extending near ‘Jayabhattarika’( a possible temple in precincts of Srinagar) to the vicinity of ‘Suramatha’( a building in Srinagar).
The Royal force panicked and started fleeing. At that time the Ekangas( probably the palace guards or a marital race) displayed their array at the main gate of the palace. They rallied the routed force, attacked the enemy’s troops, and turned to flight some of their opponents. ‘Rajakulabhatta’ too joined the fight and with his valor scattered the ememy’s army and humbled Himmaka-who was slain in the fight, and the rebellious Yasodhara was captured by the soldiers. Eramantaka was caught alive and ‘Udayagupta’ escaped somewhere.
As soon as Didda secured victory, she in wrath, punished Yashodra, Subhadhara and Mukula along with their relatives. Eramantaka was thrown in the waters of ‘Vitasta’(Jhelum) , with a large stone bound to his neck.
The Queen placed ‘Rakka’, and others, once again, in charge of the chief command of the army, and of the other state offices.
Naravahana, the best and the loyal of the ministers was coroneted with the title of ‘Rajanaka’. Their mutual respect for each other grew as the days passed by, and he became the most trusted aide of the Queen. Kalhana writes about their relationship in these words , “When he kept within his house, she was not happy without inquiring about his health, without requesting his advice, and without sending him things of her own.
Suicide of Naravahana
‘Sindhu’, the son of a litter-carrier, had become a favorite of Didda’s father-in-law Parvagupta, and in due course became the treasurer. He had obtained charge of the treasury from the Queen. Kalhana has depicted him as a wicked person, who poisoned the mind of Didda against his trusted-aide Naravahana. He told her that He took from her most of her royal power. At the time, when the conversation between the Queen and Sindhu was going on, the minister, by chance, out of fond devotion, requested her to his house for a meal.

Sindhu warned Queen that if she goes to his house, he would imprison her and her attendants. The queen turned down his invitation and sent him a word that she had got her menses. The Minister too got the feelers that the Queen no longer trusts him, and thus suspicion grew between them and mutual respect ceased. She exasperated Naravahana on repeated occasions to such an extent, that tormented by his disgrace, he committed suicide.
Re-induction of Phalguna and death of Abhimanyu
After The Death of Rakka, She had apprehensions that the Sons of ‘Samgrama’-The Damara(feudal lord) might attack her . she needed a man with strong administrative capabilities and thus she recalled ‘Phalguna’ back. He had exhibited his prowess and martial capabilities in the past when he had conquered the ‘Rajapuru’(Rajauri).
Kalhana writes that her son-Abhimanyu, fell into consumption owing to the evil-deeds of Didda.He further writes that His(Abhimanyu) eyes resembled lotuses, was learned, cherished by the sons of the learned men and versed in the sastras; learning and youth rendered him brialliant.
His young son died on the third day of the bright half of karttika in the year 972. She was grieved at his Son’s untimely death. Out of contrition for her past actions and for the peace of her departed son, she constructed several religious monuments.
But, after one year, when her grief was allayed, she displayed her true character yet again.
Throning of her Grandsons Nandigupta,Tribhuvana, And Killing them by Witchcraft
When Didda’s Son Abhimanyu had died, she had installed her Grandson ‘Nandigupta’ at the throne in 972 A.D, while she retained the position of the Regent. In fact, it was she-who had the complete hold over the Kingdom. Kalhana writes that she killed him(Nandigupta) by a witchcraft in 973A.D.She then installed her other Grandson Tribhuvana at the Throne in 973AD.She killed him in the same fashion as Nandigupta in 975A.D.
Thereupon, she installed her last Grandson Bhimagupta at the throne in 975A.D.
Rise of Tunga and killing of her last Grandson Bhimagupta
‘Tunga’ was the son of ‘Bana’, whose native village was ‘Baddivasa’ in ‘Parnotsa’(Poonch). He had come as a herdsman of Buffaloes. After reaching Kashmir, together with his five brothers-‘Sungandhisiha’, ‘Prakata’, ‘Naga’, ‘Attayika’ ‘Sanmukha’, He had attained employment as a letter-carrier( Lekhaharaka).Once before the minister of foreign affairs he was seen by the Queen and won her heart.Kalhana writes that, she had the youth brought up secretly by a messenger, and took, as fate willed, an affection for him, though she had already many paramours.
Rakka’s Son-‘Devakalasa’ acted as a procurer and had access to the Queen.The other high ranking official such as ‘Kardamaraja’-Lord of the Gate and other officials too did the procuring.
The Child ‘Bhimagupta’, after living 4 or 5 years in the Palace, had become a little more developed in intellect, and recognized in his mind that the affairs of the Kingdom and his Grandmother’s ways of living were not right, and in need of reform, he became an object of suspicion to Didda.Kalhana attributes his (Bhimagupta) intellect to a noble family and further writes that ‘Abhimanyu’s’ wife had secretly substituted him as her own son.
On the advice of ‘Devakalasa’( son of Rakka), The Queen openly imprisoned him and was subjected to various tortures until he died in 980/81 AD. Thereupon , She ascended the throne and ruled Kashmir for another 23 years(980-1003).The Queen’s infatuation for ‘Tunga’ made him insolent and his impudence knew no bounds when he was appointed as the Prime Minister(Sarvadhikarin) and was raised above everybody.
Vigraharaja’s rebellion and Shieding Tunga
The former minister whom ‘Tunga’ and his brothers had ousted, were filled with dissatisfaction, and exerted themselves to raise a rebellion in the Kingdom. For this Endeavour, they approached Prince ‘Vigraharaja’-The Son of Didda’s Brother.He was strong and possessed formidable valour.He induced the Brahmans holding the chief Agraharas to enter upon a solemn fast( Prayopavesa), in order to cause disturbance in the Kingdom.
When the Brahmins had united, the whole of the people was in uproar too, and searched daily in different places for ‘Tunga’, wishing to kill him. Didda, fearing a revolt, hid Tunga for some days in an apartment with closed doors. By presents of Gold, she gained over ‘Sumanomantaka’ and other Brahmins, and then the fast ended. This weakened the grip of Vigraharaja , his power was broken and he went as he had come.
Tunga and his people having again secured the power, strengthened their position, put to death, in due course, ‘Kardamaraja’ and others who had raised the rebellion. When dissatisfied, they exiled ‘Sulakkana’-Rakka’s son, and other chief councilors, and brought them back again, when pleased. Vigraharaja, whose animosity was growing, again by secret emissaries caused the Brahmans to begin a solemn fast(Praya).
The Brahmins met again to hold a fast, but as they were willing to take bribes, ‘Tunga’, who had firmly established himself, got rid of them. ‘Sumanomantaka and the other Brahmins, who had taken the Gold of Didda, were all caught and put into prison by Tunga.
Tunga had exhibited his valour and skills, he had become the most trusted aide of the Queen.He showed his temerity and cleverness when he successfully subdued ‘Pritvipala’-The king of Rajapuri(Rajauri) and forced him to pay tributes.
Samgramaraja made the Prince
Didda without scruple raised the son of her Brother ‘Udayaraja’ called ‘Samgramaraja’ to the rank of Prince, after testing him as follows:
In order to test her Nephews, children all, who were assembled before her, she threw down before them a heap of apples (palevata). “How many of these fruits can each get hold of?” thus she spoke and caused thereby a scramble among the princess. She saw that the others had got but few fruits, but had received their knocks, while ‘Samgramaraja’ held plenty of fruits and was yet untouched.
When she asked him in surprise how he had secured that large number of fruits without getting a blow, he replied to her thus:
“I got the fruits by making those boys fight furiously with each other, while I kept apart, and thus I remained unhurt.” On hearing his reply, which showed his collected mind, she who was timid by a cautious course, and this could not be otherwise.
Queen Didda died in year 1003.The Hindu calendar of that day was Bhadrapada shukla Paksh Ashtami.Before her death, she made Samgramaraja and Tunga take an oath by sacred libation(Kosa) not to harm each other.
During the rule of Samgramaraja, Tunga was a force to reckon with and was seen as a threat by The king .He got him murdered by his own brother Naga.
Was Didda Lame?
There are three verses where Didda has been termed as lame.In Book 6 of Rajatarangini, she has been labeled as lame in the verses 226,276 and 308. Some scholars opine that the word ‘Lame’ here refers to her ‘ incapability’ and ‘lack of morality’.Some opine that may be the word ‘lame’ in reference to Didda is actually , ‘ physical’.

226. The lame (queen) whom no one had thought capable of stepping over a cow’s footprint got over the ocean-like host of ( her enemies), Just as Hanumat( got over ocean).
276.That foolish( queen) who was unable (to use) her feet (caranahina) became, through her want of moral principles ( srutibahyata), an object of reproach, being in character just like a stupid Brahmin {( Who, Being foolish and ignorant of the ritual (carana), becomes an object of reproach through his want of vedic knowledge(sruti)}
308.’Valja’, a porter women, who used to carry about on her back the lame queen at games which required running, caused the ‘Valgamatha’ to be erected.
Physical or allegorical aside, She was an intriguing forceful figure- who inspite of all ups and downs, praises and condemnations, overcame all and ruled Kashmir directly or indirectly for almost half an century.
And her indelible imprints on History of Kashmir shall remain forever..

REFERENCE:Kalhana’s Rajatarangini(A.stein)

some photos of Rainawari, Srinagar, Kashmir

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The Shankaracharya Hill

‘O! Shankaracharya’,-the holy Hill

answer my prayers.

I tried to woke him up.

 

He opened his eyes

He looked intensely at me.

Like a  father

who has met his Son

after a long time.

 

 

‘You seem familiar, but wait!

Let me ask my Heart,

That has started beating again’

 

it looked as if he

Was  searching in the leaves of past

And matching my Heart-beats with the

Beats of his Heart.

he closed his eyes

And he became silent.

 

Atop the Hill

To wake him up

I pealed the Bell

And Screamed

‘O! Shankarcharya’

Why are you silent?

 

 

He opened his eyes again

and said

‘Nobody talks to me like you do

For them I am a huge

Mass of boulders

I am Lifeless for them

For you

I am your creator

I am your identity

I long for you

As much as you do for me

I live in your Heart

As much as you do in mine.

 

I am not silent

And you were

never away from me

In my silence

I was working within you

he said

 

I ask the sun in the morning

I ask the moon in the night

About my sons in the

Far away lands

I ask them to light your path

That leads to me

And I ask the cool breeze of the Night

To embrace you

And lead you to the Dream land

Where you find yourself in my lap

 

 

‘O! Child

I look silent

But in the silence

I become your motivation

I become your patience

I become your desire

I become your courage

And inspire to lead you

A step further

To regain what you have lost

And become determined like me

To achieve your Goal

And become me-The Shankaracharya Hill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leftist-Jihadis; where is my free speech?

 

On the name of ‘Free Speech’-The sloganeering at the JNU in early Feb, in Support of the Terrorist Afzal Guru was meticulously planned by the Jihadists and supported by the leftists. This combination of leftist-jihadi in India is very peculiar and rather Unusual. The Islamist are the religious zealots, and they propagate Islam and its ideology. The communists on the other hand are known to be Atheist. So, how come they have become the Blood-Brothers!

The slogan, “Bharat tere tookde Hoonge, InshaAllah InshaAllah” is no way an expression of Free speech, Rather it shows, how much tolerant Hindu-India is. Had the slogan, “Pakistan/China tere tookde ho” been raised in Pakistan/China by any minority, He would have been hanged to Death by now.

I wonder, “What is a free speech”?

“Free-Speech”-reminds me instantly of the sloganeering that was witnessed by me in Kashmir, when every Mosque in my vicinity gag-ordered my community to either mingle with them( and become a Muslim) or else be ready to die. I was a victim. I was the oppressed. But, I didn’t had the freedom of ‘free speech’. There is no way, any minority group in a Muslim Majority area can have the privilege of a ‘Free Speech’.

For Leftists, all the problems existing in India is merely because of the Brahmins. Being a Kashmiri Hindu, that too a Brahmin, I am by-default deemed to be fit to be called a Fascist, communal and any attempt to raise my voice against the atrocities meted out to me in a Muslim Majority state will be turned down by the leftists and term it as a Threat to Indian Muslims and the secular fabric of India. The terminology of the “Victim” changes when it comes to the Kashmiri Hindus.

My lands have been encroached illegally by the Muslim Majority, My temples desecrated or burnt Down by the Jihadis, My Brethren murdered in the most inhuman way. But for the people of Leftist-Jihadi mindset, I remain as an oppressor.

The leftists claim to be the messiahs of the oppressed; and they often term their opponents as fascists. USA is a Fascist. Japan is a fascist, so are all the powerful nations where communism failed miserably. They often quote, “The violence of the oppressor is unjustified, but the violence of the oppressed is Justified.”

The oppressed is always who adheres to their ideology. Otherwise how can we justify the stoic silence of the leftists on some of the issues where the Oppressor was a Communist Country and the Oppressed was someone, who did not adhere to their ideology. They condone the atrocities by any communist Nation or Group.

It will be foolish of me to expect that the so-called-liberal-leftist can ever propagate and live in any Muslim Nation; That is why the ideology of communism could not make any inroads in these nations; except for Turkey, where it showed some strength, some resistance, before it got swallowed by the totalitarian-religious-ideology.

In fact both the ideologies are expansionist, totalitarian and there is no room for the dissent.

Tibetans are still languishing in India. They like the Kashmiri Pandits were forced into the Exile by their oppressors. But for the leftists, Tibetan Buddhists and their supreme leader, Nobel prize for peace winner-Dalai Lama is a Fascist.

Kashmiri Pandits, who were ousted by their leftist cohorts-the jihadis, are not allowed to return to their Homes. In fact there are no Homes left now as 50% of the properties were sold in Duress and the other 50% are illegally occupied by those people whom the leftists term as the “Oppressors”. The reason for being them as Oppressor is merely because of the Prefix ‘Pandits’ to Kashmiri Hindus.

The leftist and the Jihadis dream of balkanization of India. They do not recognize India as a Nation and are often heard opining that with so many linguistic differences between so many ethnic and regional groups, The Title or the Nation, ‘India’ is a misnomer; citing examples from the past when there were more than 600 small Princely states under the Britsh.

The Leftist-Jihadi combination are also supporters of all those groups who are advocating for separate Nations to be carved out from India. In short, they are the enemies of the Nation, who are merely propagating the Chinese and the Islamist Propaganda. And get paid for their Endeavour by their masters.

It is a war waged by the Islamists and the Chinese, through their surrogates, Otherwise, how can the incidents of Muslim-Suppression in China be explained. Islamist are under attack in the province of Xinjiang. Imams from its eastern Muslim majority Xinjiang region were forced to dance in the street and swear to an oath that they would not teach religion to children. The imams were also forced to tell children that prayer was harmful for the soul.The Muslim imams were further forced to brandish the slogan that “our income comes from the CKP [Chinese Communist Party] not from Allah”.

Similarly the Communists were slaughtered by the Islamist forces in Indonesia in 1965-66.It is estimated that in that slaughter nearly 1 million people were murdered. The majority of the people were those, who were active communists or their supporters.

The Jihadis ideology and the leftist ideology though totalitarian and Expansionist, are totally opposite to each other. The leftists who are showing their dissent against India are the puppets of China, and the Islamists represent an ideology, where the world population recognizes Islam as their religion. It is just because India happens to be their common enemy, they have embraced each other. This combination will remain till the Time India remains as a Nation. Otherwise there are ample examples, some of them cited above, that indicate that are these two ideologies can not stand each other.

And for the ‘Free Speech’-As long as it is termed as an expression against Hindus and against the Nation of India ; and as long as India remains a Hindus majority state, they will be tolerated.

Unfortunately…..

 

By-Manish Zijoo

 

The Night-A story of a Kashmiri Hindu.

It was jan 1998. Veenaji was in the Kitchen. Her Husband Roshanlal was reading the newspaper in the living/Drawing room of their cramped two-room Govt. Quarters at Tope Sherkhanian. She could hear the flipping  sound, when her Husband turned the leaf of the Newspaper. She was thinking about her children, who were perusing   ‘B.E’ in Pune. A knock at the Door was heard clearly in the backdrop of the silence of the Quarter. Roshanlal stood up and opened the Door. A man was standing outside.

“Namaskar Roshanlalji. I am Irfaan. Your neighbor from Banamohallah”. Veenaji too had heard the’ knock’, she came out from the Kitchen out of curiosity. Her Husband, greeted Irfaan. “Come inside. Why are you standing there!  “. Pointing towards Veenaji, Roshanlal asked Veenaji, “Did you recognize him?” The face looked familiar, But She could not recognize him. Irfaan, it seemed understood the confusion of Veenaji. “I am the Son of Khatijah. Remember my Mother! “.  Veenaji’s face lit with happiness.“Yes. I remember her. How is she?” asked Veenaji. “ She died last year because of Heart Failure.” Said Irfaan with regret. She was saddened to hear what he said. “I am so sorry. Please have a seat. I will make tea for both of you.” She went back to the Kitchen.

Irfaan had come to Roshanlal to persuade him to sell his share of  ancestral house. Veenaji was listening to them, while she started making  tea . The memories of her last visit to Kashmir were still vivid. She recalled how she along with her Husband Roshan Lal and their two  Children , a Son-Sachin and Daughter- Meenakshi had moved to Jammu .Her Husband was working in the Govt.Secretariat. They used to live in the Govt. Quarters Tope Sherkhanian. They had moved to jammu in Dec-1989.

J&K has two capitals, i.e, summer capital-Srinagar and winter capital-Jammu. Every year,In winters, the employees of the Govt. Secretariat would move to Jammu for 6 months ; and move back to Srinagar in summers for rest of the 6 months. This custom was/is in vogue since the times of Dogra Rulers . This was/is termed as “Durbaar Move”.

veenaji lit the Gas Stove. She put some milk, sugar and water in an utensil and placed it on the stove.  She looked through the Kitchen Window, although she was not looking at anything, But her past.

The memories of the past started flashing in front of her eyes.

Veenaji and her family loved the winters of Jammu. It would be sunny and warm in Jammu, compared to the cold and gloomy weather of the Srinagar winters. But that year,in 1989-90, It was different. In spite of the warm and sunny weather, she would occasionally feel the shivers. Not because of the weather, but because , on T.V and Radio, she would listen to the news . The merciless killing of the Kashmiri Pandits had started.

And then came the horrendous macabre night of 19 jan 1990.And everything changed after that.

In the last week of Jan 1990, that late night, Her elder Brother Makhan lal along with his family landed at their residence in Jammu. He had come by a taxi. His old mother –Amaji, wife-Lalitaji and two sons Rakesh and Sunil too had come.

As soon as they arrived at their residence, Lalitaji hugged tightly Veenaji and started crying. “it is only by God’s grace that we have reached here safely.” She complained amidst sobs . Amaji tried to console her as she said, “Lalitaji, don’t be a weakling. Be bold. You have yet to face the hardships of life. Be always grateful to God.”

They stayed with Veenaji for some days with this hope that the violence unleashed by the terrorists will be abated soon. But  the destiny of Kashmir had its own plans. After a month, They realized that it might take a long time before they would return back to Kashmir. It was decided by the two families that, they would enroll their children in Jammu for studies , as it was safe.

Since Veenaji and her Family didn’t knew that the situation would deteriorate so much in Kashmir; hence when they had moved to Jammu on the eve of annual “Darbaar move”, they had not taken any documents such as the Mark sheets and other educational documents related to the education of their children. Without these papers, it would be very difficult to get the admissions in the Schools and Colleges. Also, She wanted to get  the documents related to banks such as FD, Saving a/c etc.

Somewhere in  March 1990, She decided to go back to her residence at “Bana Mohallah” , Habbakadal, Kashmir.It was decided that Her sister-in-law lalitaji too would accompany her. In fact Lalitaji had volunteered herself to accompany her. The Males of the House were barred to go to Kashmir as they were more prone to be Shot by the Militants.

They flew to Srinagar and  landed at the Airport by 3-4 P.m. It took them almost 4 hrs. to reach their house at Bana Mohallah. The lanes and by-lanes were muddy as it had rained the previous night. Some Muslim neighbors , who saw them entering their Mohallah, murmured something. By their Gaze , it looked  as if they didn’t wanted them to be there. As they were about to enter their House, Khatijah-the neighbor and friend of Veenaji , came from nowhere and greeted her with a Broad smile. “How are you veenaji. I missed you. Now since Durbaar move will be over shortly,   you be staying  in Kashmir till November!” she exclaimed.  Veenaji  warmly asserted “No, I will stay here for a few days and rejoin my family. We will come back in Mid-April.” She half-lied.  Veenaji knew that she will leave Kashmir tomorrow for Jammu and may not come back next month.

“Then stay put for the night at my house. The curfew will be imposed very soon and you will not get Rice and any other food-item after 15 mintes ”  Pleaded Khatijah.  “ I have brought some rice and Dried-vegetables with me. Thanks .” Veenaji  kindly declined. But Khatijah kept her conversation going and it took another 20-25 minutes before Veenaji and her Sister-in-law entered their house.

Veenaji’s Husband  Roshanlal lived in their ancestral house along with his three Brothers and 3 cousins. Their house was Big and hoary with a courtyard. Though, the house had 25 rooms, But it housed 7 nuclear families. Roshanlal, his 3 Brothers and 3 Cousins(Brothers) though were living in one house, But the wives of all the 7 brothers had decided to cook separately , in separate Kitchens, for their Families(consisting of Husband and Children).All the 7 Brothers had partitioned the 25 rooms in almost equal proportion. Apart from a Kitchen, Veenaji and her Husband had inherited 2 big rooms.

On a normal day, prior to 1990, their house was abuzz with activity. In the morning and in the evenings, many a times, one would hear the synchronous hissing sound from the steaming pressure-cooker, coming from 2 or more Kitchens of the House at the same time. The floating aroma of Knol Khol(Hak) or lamb-meat would titillate the Olfactory of the whole neighborhood. In the afternoon, the shrilled voices of the Children playing in the courtyard was common .In spite of 7 separate kitchens, Veenaji and her 6 co- sister-in-law would often share their delicacies with each other.

But the House was different this time.

As soon as Veenaji entered her House, she was welcomed by the eerie silence. It was frightening. All her 6 co-sister-in-law and their families too had moved to Jammu. The last family that had moved from this house to jammu was almost 15 days back.As she climbed-up the stairs of her house, a strange fear crept  into her heart. It was almost 8.00 P.M by now and the darkness had covered almost everything.

She and Lalitajee were feeling the Hunger pangs. Into the utensil, Veenaji took a handful of rice from the polythene  bag , she had brought with her from jammu. Soon, she realized that she has forgotten to get a matchbox or lighter to light up the cooking gas stove. “I will go downstairs to Ashaji’s kitchen and get the lighter .” she informed Lalitaji. “Do you have the keys of that Kitchen?” asked Lalitaji. “No, she never locks her Kitchen.” Replied Veenaji. “It is so scary here, I too will accompany you.” Said Lalitajee.

The Kitchen-door was indeed unlocked. As soon as Veenajee, switched-on the light, her face became pale out of fear. Shockingly, she exclaimed “Oh! My God. Someone is cooking here!”  . “Hey Bhagwan ! what will we do now?” asked Lalitajee nervously. She was Gaping and beating her chest. Veenaji  knew that her sister-in-law is weak-hearted and might behave strangely or may even faint.

She assessed the situation quickly. There was a matchbox lying on the ground. Many burnt match sticks were scattered over the floor of the Kitchen. From The cooked rice in the utensils, it looked as if ,just a few hours back, someone had cooked it. She did not waste much time in investigating. She opened the cupboard that was at the right corner of the Kitchen. She swept her fingers over the things in the cupboard and soon took a lighter , a torch and a candle from the cupboard. And switched off the main light of the Kitchen and closed the door.

“Follow me quickly”, she whispered . Lalitajee did not protest and followed the instructions. “As we know, someone is using the Kitchen of Ashajee, It might be a militant or a group of Militants. We cannot afford to switch-on the lights and invite any unwanted trouble. Understand Lalitaji?” she looked at her sister-in-law. Lalitaji was very scared, but she acted Bravado and said , “Yes, I do. You are right. But can we make the dinner for us?” she asked. “No. We cannot, since, the aroma of the Rice might give them a clue, that someone is inside the house.” she explained to Lalitaji. “Anyways, I don’t feel hungry now”, lied Lalitaji.They ran up towards the room.

Veenaji  pulled an iron-Chest, that was placed at the corner of the room . She opened the lid and switched-on the Torch. suddenly, Lalitaji could see A bundle of papers, some folders containing some documents, a photo album, and some books. Veenaji took only a couple of  Folders from the Box, closed the lid and placed it to the original position. Lifting the two folders in her hands, she said to Lalitaji, “This is for what we came here and took all the trouble”. She kept the two folders in the bag, that she had brought with her from Jammu.

They were sitting besides a window, so that they could have a direct and unobstructed view of the main Door, leading towards the courtyard. As it was still quite cold, they had draped themselves in the blankets. The main wooden Door of their House was Huge. A big rectangular latch, may be one feet long and 5 inches wide was connected to a wooden Knob  .The latch moved up or down angularly, if the Knob was rotated. The latch faced towards the courtyard and the Knob towards the by-lane. It would make a lot of noise, if someone would open or close the Latch of the Door. Lalitaji was constantly praying to Mother Goddess for their protection. They had even made a plan, in case a militant or a group of Militants enter their house.” In case any intruder comes here, we will slip beneath the Bed. Understand!” explained Veenaji to her Sister-In-Law. Lalitaji had nodded her head in approval.

Just past the midnight, It began to pour heavily. The staccato of the rain hitting the tin-roofs of the Houses was rather unwanted and irritatingly. The odd street lamp positioned on the pole went off too.  It was pitch dark outside. Because of the pitch darkness and noise, they thought, they have lost the chance of detecting  any intruder. Lalitaji was chanting the Hymns of Goddess Indrakshi rather loudly to invoke the blessings. But the sound  of heavy rains superseded her frequency of voice modulation .It stopped raining after a couple of Hours.

Both of them were feeling very sleepy. Pretending to be vigilant at this odd hour of the night, they were looking at  the main Wooden Door. They were drowsing. Their heads would inadvertently hit the wooden window pane and they would concentrate briefly their attention on the wooden door again. Then, they would drowse yet again. They did not talk to each other for couple of Hours.

And then Dogs began to Bark. They woke up.

 

A pack of Dogs were barking on a Shadowy figure. The figure, it seemed was waving something to keep away the Dogs. Soon, another figure appeared, it was smaller in the size than the one who was waving something. The smaller figure grabbed the Loose clothing, most probably the ’ pheran’ of the larger figure . It looked as if, the smaller figure was trying to stop the larger figure. And then, their conversation became louder.

“Leave me Aapa, I have to follow the orders”, fulminated the  belligerent larger figure . The other voice, that of a female in a protesting tone said, “No. I will not let you do it. I will talk to them tomorrow. I will tell them to leave”.

Veenaji’s heart sank. She recognized the voice of the female. It was unmistakably that of Khatijah. Her neighbor. Many thoughts crossed her mind. “Is somebody coming here to kill me. Am I going to live for another day or not! Will I be able to see my Children and Husband again.” She was weighed down by the weltschmerz. Tears began to roll down from the corner of her eyes .Fortunately for her, Lalitaji’s attention was focused towards the two shadowy figures and was unaware of the upheaval of emotions going on in her sister-in-laws’s mind.

The lone street light began to glow suddenly. They could clearly see the two figures. It was indeed Khatijah. Veenaji recognized the other figure too. It was Ajaz-The youngest Son of Khatijah. And, he was carrying a Gun. Khatijah had held the collar of her Son’s Pheran. Ajaz was approaching towards the main wooden door of Veenaji’s House. Khatijah was getting literally dragged, but she didn’t let loose her Grip on the collar.

Khatijah’s tone was changing constantly. From dominant to Pleading, she was trying her best to stop her son from opening the Door. But Ajaz was equally adamant. He dragged her to the Gate and rotated the Knob of the wooden Door. There was a creepy , unpleasant loud sound of opening of the wooden latch. Ajaz Kicked the door open.

“Oh my God! He is coming to Kill us.” Screamed lalitaji. She threw the Blanket and ran Hysterically from one end of the room to other end. “ Control yourself  lalitaji. Instead of getting nervous, think of a plan.”, she comforted lalitaji . She too came out from the warmth of Blanket and held lalitaji’s Shoulders with both of her Hands. “ Let us see and listen to what they are arguing about”. Lalitaji followed her without protest.

Ajaz opened the wooden door. Khatijah’s Grip loosened from the collar. But she grabbed the left leg of her Son. Ajaz kept her dragging. Her pheran was smeared in Mud. “ I will kill myself, if you do not listen to me”. She was crying. Ajaz stopped. He lifted up his Mother and began to clean the dirt from the pheran of his mother. She was still crying Helplessly. Something happened. Ajaz hugged her mother and said, “OK, As you wish. Let us go back”, in a comforting tone. Khatijah kissed the forehead of his Son. They both went back and closed the big wooden door. The dogs started barking again.

Veenaji and Lalitaji had a sigh of relief. They kept on looking at the wooden door until the Dawn. With the first azaan of the mosque, they left the house. Veenaji opened the wooden latch of the Door. She looked back at her House. Little did she realized that she was looking at her hose for the last time.

Within no time, they were at Habba Kadal. The security guards stopped them and asked, “Where are you going?”. Lalitaji’s face lit up. “We are Kashmiri Pandits. We are going to RTC. From there, we will board a Bus for Jammu”. The security Guards let them go. They were intersected and stopped by the Security guards at many places. Upon hearing that they are KP’s, they were let off immediately. It took them more than an Hour and a half to reach RTC by foot.

There were Buses and Taxis waiting for the passengers to take them to Jammu. A sardarji approached them. “Where will you go sister? Jammu! Come sister, in my taxi. Let me take you”. Both Veenaji and Lalitaji were exhausted both physically and mentally. They decided to go by Sardarji’s taxi.

They reached Tope Sherkhanian, Jammu by 4.00 p.m. Lalitaji  narrated the whole incident to everyone present there melodramatically. Veenaji had not interfered lalitaji. She wanted her to vent off her feelings.

Veenaji’s Brother’s family had stayed with them for more than four months, before they moved to a rented accommodation at Subash Nagar.

The tea was boiling in the utensil. Some portion of the boiling tea fell on  the Flame of the cooking gas stove. The burning smell of the tea, drew back Veenaji from her Past. She closed the knob of the gas and  cleaned the Stove with a cloth and washed her hands with a soap. After pouring the tea in the cups, she put the cups in the tray and came out of the small kitchen to the living room.She placed the Tray on the top of the Central table.Irfaan and  Roshanlal  took one cup each from the tray.

Irfaan and Roshanlal were engrossed in a conversation and were oblivious to veenaji’s presence. She was wringing her hands impatiently. “How is your Brother Ajaz?”, She interrupted Irfaan, with a tone of anger. Irfaan looked at her, Put the cup down,  and with a deep sigh, he  said with regret, “He died in an encounter with the security Guards 4 years back .He had become a militant. My mother pleaded with him to give up arms .But he did not listen”. And then he looked the other side. “I am so sorry.” Said Roshanlal apologetically. Veenaji did not tried to comfort him. “You carry on. I have some work in the Kitchen. Excuse me.”She said casually as she did not wanted to be a part of the conversation. She stood up and went again to the Kitchen.

She pretended to dish-wash. But for some reasons, once again, the Flashes of the Horrendous night kept coming to her mind…

 

 

 

 

 

The Legend of Sarda, Shankaracharya and mysterious Sandalwood idol…

 

I had heard of the Mysterious  Sharda Temple at Village Sardi(P.O.K) many a times in the past. The word ‘Sarda’ itself is as mystical as is the Goddess Sarda. Kashmir in the past was a synonym to the Goddess. The ancient script of ‘Sarda’ that was once the vernacular of the Kashmiris ; or was widely spoken and written by the learned Scholars of Kashmir, clearly indicates that ‘ Sarda’ had a very deep impact on the lives of the Kashmiris and thus Kashmir.

Namaste Sarada Devi, Kashmira Mandala Vasini (Salutations to Goddess Sarada who resides in Kashmir’. This hymn unambiguously states that the Mystical Goddess was widely believed to live in Kashmir.

The Sarda temple was  just like any other venerated temple of KP’s for me and did not arose special attention, until I read the account of the pilgrimage of King Zain-ul-Abidin(AD 1420-70) to Sharda  possibly in the year 1422 A.D. I found the mention of the pilgrimage in Rajatarangini of Kalhan by  M.A.Stein, ” in the Chapter “The Shrine of Sharda”.

It was rather interesting to note that Sarda temple at one stage in the long History of Kashmir attracted many devotees and Scholars. The area where the temple is situated, was not under the sovereignty of the Rulers of Kashmir in continuity, and intermittently, the area of Sardi was out of bound  for rather long stretches of time. This political constraint dissuaded the Kashmiri Hindus to visit this place as frequently as they used to,  when it was a part of the Kingdom of Kashmir. The rough terrain  and the inclement weather too ensured that the Temple maintained its Aura of mystery , solitude and Spirituality.

For some reasons, I was intrigued to know that  there was a wooden(sandalwood) image of Goddess Sarda at Shardapeeth(Kashmir) and that the original idol was taken away by the Shankarachraya.It crossed my mind that If the original idol was taken away by Shankaracharya,; was the wooden idol of Sarda at the time of Zain-ul-Abidin, a different one then!

Traditionally, and may be historically, if we look into the past, we can easily conclude that the KP’s worshipped the God/Goddess mostly in their natural state/form. For example, KP’s worship Goddess Sharika as a ‘Srichakra’, believed to be inscribed naturally on a Boulder, smeared in vermilion. Again at Raithan temple, Goddess Ragya is venerated in the form of a natural Boulder. A Stone slab is revered as Goddess Bala Devi in Balhoma. Mata Jwalaji in the form of  an uninterrupted, continuous flame is worshipped at Khrew. There is also a stone slab, that too is venerated by the devotees. At other places, the object of worship is either a natural spring or a lake. The exception is for the Stone Shiva-Linga, which is widely worshipped throughout the state.

But a Wooden Idol, and that too of Sandalwood ! seemed incongruous. Before coming to any conclusion, some historical facts documented in the form of Books of History and legends can not be ignored.

The legend of Sharda

According to Mahatmaya, The sage Sandilya, son of sage Matanga, was practicing great austerities, in order to obtain the sight of the Goddess Sarda, who is a shakti embodying three separate manifestations. Divine advice prompts him to proceed to the place-Syamala. There at GHOSA, i.e ‘Gus’, appears to him ‘Mahadevi’, and promises to show herself in her true form( Shakti) in the Sarda’ forest. The Goddess vanishes from his sight at Hayasirsasasrama, (Hayhom), situated about 4 miles to the N.N.E of Gus.

The Sage next proceeds to the Krisnganga, a spring now usually known as Krishnganga, in which he bathes. Thereupon,  half his body becomes golden, emblematic of his approach to complete liberation from darkness. The Naga is situated above the village of Drang also known as Son-Drang. It is this appellation which the Mahatmaya wishes to reproduce by calling the place of Sage’s miraculous transformation ‘Suvarnardhangaka’.

From thence, Sandilya ascends the mountain range to the north, on which he sees a dance of Goddesses in a forest called Rangavati (Rangvor), immediately below the pass by which the route leading from Drang towards the Kisanganga crosses the watershed. He then passes the Gostambhana forest, i.e, the Marg Gthamman and arrives at TEJAVANA, the residence of Gautama, on the bank of the Krisnganga. The Mahatmaya describes at some length, the sacred character of the latter place which is identical with Tehjan(Thagain), a small hamlet on the left bank of the Kisanganga. It then relates how the sage after crossing on the way a hill, on the east side of which he sees the God Ganesha, arrives in the Sardavana i.e, at the present Sardi. After a Hymn in praise of Sarda in her triple form of Sarda, Narada(sarswati) and vagdevi, an account is given how the goddess at that sacred spot revealed herself to the Sage and rewarded his long austerities by inviting him to her residence on Srisaila.

Pitrs also approach there to Sandilya and ask him to perform their Sraddhas. On his taking water from the Mahasindu for the purpose of the Tarpana rite, half of its water turns into honey and forms the stream hence known as Madhumati. Ever since baths and Shraddhas at the Samgama of the Sindhu and Madhumati assure to the pious complete remission of sins, etc.

The mention of this confluence leaves no doubt as to where the Mahatmaya places the site sacred to Sarada. By SINDHU can be meant only the Kisanganga which, as in Kalhana’s days, is still locally known merely as ‘Sind’ , the river. Madhumati  is the name which local tradition gives to this day to the stream that joins the Kisanganga at Sardi from the south.

The temple is believed to be one of the Shakti-peethas(out of 51).It is believed that the right hand of Shiva’s consort-SATI-had fallen here.

 

 

The Mystical wooden(Sandalwood) idol of Sharda

A.Stein has mentioned that the Sharda temple is found in “Jonararaja’ Chronicle. The passage containing it belongs to those additions of the text with which Professor Peterson edition(1896) had first acquainted them. It is mentioned that the tolerant King Zain-l-Abidin(Bada Shah), whose attitude towards his Brahman Subjects was well Known, is believed to have accompanied the regular pilgrimage, apparently in the year 1422 A.D, in order to witness the miraculous manifestations of the Goddess. From the description in the  verse 1057, it seems that these were ordinarily the appearance of Sweat on the face of the image of the Goddess, the shaking of the arm, and a sensation of the Heat on touching the feet.

After bathing and drinking at the Madhumati Stream, the King seated himself at the Sacred spot which was thronged by pilgrims and Temple priests. Owing to the baseness, he witnessed in these people, the King is said to have displayed anger and to have lost faith in the goddess. Having failed to see her manifest herself in a visible and material way, which Jonaraja plausibly explains by a reference to the Kaliyuga and the want of faith in the worshippers, he then endeavored to obtain her sight in a Dream. For this purpose,   the King went to sleep on the night of the 7th day of waxing moon in the month of Bhadrapada in the court of the temple. Sarada, however refused to vouchsafe any sign of her presence to the King in his sleep either. From due regard for the prince’s high personal qualities, the author is forced to ascribe this disappointment to the Wickedness of his servants and the conflux of Mlecchas. Having thus disappointed, the virtuous Zain-ul-abidin, the goddess is said to have, herself, crushed her image to pieces.

It is mentioned unambiguously,  that the idol self-destructed itself. However much later, Alberuni , too has written that a miracle-working image of Sarada, was yet in existence in the early part of the fifteen century, and that its destruction, rightly or wrongly, was connected with a pilgrimage which Zain-ul-abidin made to this site.

In the Sixteenth century, the temple of Sarda must have enjoyed yet considerable reputation in Kashmir itself. This is proved by “ABU-L-FAZL’s” notice of the site(Ain-Akb.,ii.p 365): “At two days distance from Hachamun is the river named padmati(Madhumati), which flows from the Dard(Dard) country. Gold is also found in this river. On its Banks, is a stone-temple called “Sarda”, dedicated to Durga and regarded with great veneration. On every eight tithi of the bright half of the month, it begins to shake and produce the most extraordinary effect.”

Here Haehamn stands plainly for Hayhom: Padmati is an evident clerical error for Madmati, i.e, Madhumati. From the statement which makes this River come from the Dard country, it appears that there is here some confusion between the Madhumati and the Kisanganga, which latter alone can be described as flowing from that region. It must, however, be noticed that a not very clear passage of the Sardamahatmaya,120, seems to ascribe to the Kisanganga also the second name Madhumati.

The notice of Gold being found in the river clearly applies to the Kisanganga, which drains a Mountain region known as auriferous to the present Day. The story told of the Sarada temple Shaking on the eight sudi of each month, is evidently a lingering reflex of the miracle ascribed to Sarda’s image in Jonaraja’s account.

The date indicated is that still observed for pilgrim’s visits to the Shrine, but when A.Stien visited the site in Sep 1892, The legend of the Shaking of limbs or sweat from the forehead of the idol of Sarda was unheard of. In fact, there was no idol of Sarada at all. Instead, a large rough slab on the ground which measures about 6 by 7 feet, with a thickness of about half a foot is worshipped as Goddess Sharda.This stone is believed to cover a KUNDA(spring-cavity), in which Sarada appeared to Sage Sandilya, and is the object of the Pilgrims’ special veneration. At the time of “Stein’s” visit to the temple, a red cloth canopy with plenty of tinsel surmounted the sacred spot. Conches, bells, and other implements of worship filled the remainder of the interior space.

Adi Shankaracharya’s visit to Sarda temple and Kashmir

Most of the Scholars believe that Adi Shankaracharya (A.D-788-820) visited Kashmir in the first quarter of ninth century A.D.

Adi Shankaracharya, a great philosopher is believed to have visited Kashmir in the first quarter of 9th Century (788-820 A.D) .According to writer of ‘Sankara Digvijaya’ — ‘Sankara visited Kashmir after giving a final blow to Buddhism in the rest of India”. PN Magzine,  a research scholar of repute, writes in ‘Shankaracharya Temple and Hill’ that Shankaracharya visited Kashmir with the intention of advancing Vedantic knowledge. That time Kashmiris were culturally and spiritually much advanced and believed strongly in the greatness of both Shiva and Shakti. Shankara did not, at that time, when he visited Kashmir, believe in Shakti cult . PN Magzine mentions that Shankaracharya with his party camped outside the city of Srinagar, without any boarding and lodging arrangements. Seeing the plight of visitors a virgin was sent to meet Shankara. She found the party uneasy and frustrated because of not being able to cook as no fire was made available to them. The first glimpse of Shakti was exhibited to Shankara by this girl, when Shankara expressed his inability to make a fire, in reply to girl’s question that you are so great, can not you make fire. The girl picked up two thin wooden sticks (samidhas) into her hand, recited some mantras and rubbed the sticks and fire was produced to the surprise of Shankara. PN Magzine further adds that later a Shastrarth (religious discourse) was arranged between Shankara and a Kashmiri woman. This discourse continued for 17 days. Shankaracharya yielded before the lady in discussion and accepted the predominance of Shakti cult (greatness of Devi).

According to PN Magzine, after accepting predominance of Shakti cult, Shankara wrote Saundarya Lahari, in praise of Shakti, at the top of the hill, known till then as Gopadari Hill. Pandit Gopi Krishan writer that Panchastavi–gamut of Shakti Shastra–a priceless gem — a peerless hymn of praise addressed to Kundalini. The work has been cited as source book by several eminent scholars, but the name of the author has remained undisclosed”. According to him the only other work in whole gamut of Shakti Shastra in the country, comparable to Panchastavi is Saundarya Lahari. PN Magzine says that Saundarya Lahari is acclaimed as master-piece in Sanskrit literature. After the visit of Adi Shankaracharya to Kashmir, he became staunch believer of Shakti-Shri Chakra – the symbol of Devi (Goddess) as mentioned in ‘Shankara Digvijay’ – Life history of Shankaracharya. Thus we know that even, a very knowledge philosopher, a Saint of greater order- Adi Shankaracharya – gained further depth in spiritualism and mysticism in Kashmir.Kashmiri Pandit – great ‘Mehman Nawaz’ – highly appreciative of knowledge (which has at time proved undoing for them), awarded a degree of the Sharda Peetha, the highest honour conferred on any dignitary of knowledge when Shankaracharya visited Sharda, a famous temple, Shrine of Goddess Saraswati and a famous university of learning.

 

It is believed that was  Adi shankaracharya entered the Sarda temple from its Sothern gate and had a debate with the Scholars of that Area/Temple. He emerged as a winner and was conferred to sit on Sarvanjnanapeetham or Sarvajna peetha(Throne of Wisdom).In his Honor, the southern gate of Sarda temple was closed for ever. The Śāradā image at  Shringeri Shardamba temple was once said to have been made of sandalwood, which is supposed to have been taken by the Shankaracharya from Sarda temple Kashmir.

Adi-Shankaracharya according to Sringeri Sharda peetham

Jagadguru Sri Adi Shankara Bhagavatpada established the first of the four Amnaya Peethams at Sringeri more than twelve centuries ago to foster the sacred tradition of Sanatana Dharma.

Hallowed for all times by Sage Rishyashringa who stayed and performed Tapas here, Sringeri attracted the great Acharya with a remarkable sight.

Tradition has it that after the Acharya had dispersed all the non-Vedic creeds prevailing in the country, He was on the look-out for a convenient and holy place where he could establish an institution to spread the truths of Advaita Vedanta. When the Acharya came to Sringeri, he saw an unusual sight on the banks of the Tunga. A cobra was seen spreading out its hood over a frog in labour pains, to give it shadow from the scorching mid-day sun. Struck with the sanctity of the place, which could infuse love between natural adversaries, the Acharya chose this very location to establish His first Math.

The Madhaviya Shankara Digvijayam describes that the Acharya came across many virtuous people at Sringeri and taught them the doctrine of Advaita. He then invoked the Divinity of Knowledge, Goddess Sharada and consecrated an icon of the Goddess. Thus the Peetham He founded at Sringeri in South India for fostering the Vedas and the sacred tradition of Sanatana Dharma came to be known as the Dakshinamnaya Sri Sharada Peetham.

The Acharya appointed his prime disciple, Sri Sureshwaracharya as the first Acharya of the Peetham. Since then, the Peetham has been blessed with an unbroken Guru Parampara, a garland of spiritual masters and Jivanmuktas representing Sri Adi Shankaracharya. The succeeding Acharyas have led a life of such austere penance that it has led disciples to adore in them the radiance of Sri Adi Shankara Himself.

Sandalwood Idol of Sarda Mata at Sringeri

 

The ancient temple of Sri Sharada, the presiding deity of Sringeri has a glorious history that begins with the setting up of the Dakshinamnaya Peetham by Sri Shankara Bhagavatpada. Originally it was an unpretentious shrine with the Murti of Sharada made of sandalwood, installed over the Sri Chakra that Sri Adi Shankara carved on a rock. Subsequently Sri Bharati Krishna Tirtha and Sri Vidyaranya had a temple built in the Kerala style, with timber and tiled roof. Sri Bharati Krishna Tirtha substituted the sandalwood idol with the present golden idol.

However, it is not clear whether, the installed idol was the same Idol, that Adi Sankara had allegedly brought with him from Kashmir.

Geographical Availability of Sandalwood in Kashmir and Karnataka

The availability of Sandalwood is abundantly found in and around the district of Chikmaglur (Sringeri comes in this district) in Karnataka. While as, it is hardly found in and around Kashmir valley. But, before coming to any conclusion; it will be pertinent to discuss again, here, the Temple and Legend of Kapteshwar Temple of Kashmir Valley; where, a mysterious Sandalwood idol of Siva used to emerge from a pond.

The legend of Kapatesvara(From Rajatarangini)

The valley of the Arpath or Harsapatha, which opens to the east of Anantnag, is also known as Kuthar. The name is in all probability connected with that of the ancient Tirtha of KAPATESVARA, situated on the Southern side of the valley close to the village of Kother. The name of the latter is undoubtedly a derivative of Kapateshwara as the analogy of Jyether<Jyeshthesvara, Triphar<Tripuresvara, etc. clearly shows.

The place of pilgrimage is the sacred spring of PAPASUNDA(Sin removing), situated a short distance above Kother near Acchabal. In it Lord Shiva is believed to have shown himself in the disguise(Kapata) of pieces of wood floating on the water. The legend is related at length in the Nilmata, and the author of the Haracaritacintamani devotes to it a separate canto which has now become the Official Mahatmaya of the Tirtha.

According to Nilmata; Once many sages stood in great penance on the sacred bank of Drsadvati in Kurukshetra to have a sight of Rudra-the lord of the Gods. Impressed by their Devotion, Shiva told them in a Dream to go soon to Kasmira where there is a spacious and immaculate abode of the Naga. He told them that there he would be visible in Disguise. Having heard him in a dream they all reached the abode of the Naga. They could not see even a little water, for the water was all covered with pieces of wood. Moving the wooden logs with their hands, the best sages obtained Rudrahood with their bodies by merely taking bath.

However, one vasistha Brahman, named Graparasar neither took the bath nor touched the wooden logs. He went on prolonged fasting and made his body decay. Rudra then spoke to him in a dream and advised him to obtain Rudrahood quickly by taking bath and touching the wooden logs.  Gauraparasara persisted, ‘that you can be visible after the attainment of Rudrahood is a fact, ‘O father of the world! But my mind is not satisfied without the sight of the lord of the Gods. You have said that you would be visible in disguise in the abode( of the Naga).

The Brahman refuses to leave and continues fasting, Sankara replies:  I have already provided them, my manifestation in the form of the wooden log. Merely by seeing me, they attained Rudrahood, O twice-Born! Now, due to your penance which is greater, I give you the desired boon. Ask for what you desire and Obtain Rudrahood.

The Brahman demands that Mahesvara should manifest in the form of a wooden log, to all the human beings, as it did to the sages. Mahesvara agrees and remarks, ‘O best among the twice-born, all those people who will see(the god) standing in the form of wood, (will see the gods) not always but only occasionally. With a desire to do favor to them, my gana-the Nandi in the form of wooden log shall always be visible to the human beings. And having seen (him) they would attain Rudrahood with their bodies. As I shall appear before men, so I shall obtain the name, Kapatesvara.

Alberuni too had heard of the Kapateshvara tirtha and its legend. He writes ‘ a pond called Kudaishashr(Kapatesvar) to the left of the source of the vitasta, in the middle of the month of Vaisakha, Mahadeva appears annually.’

AB-L-FAZL, Ain-I Akb, ii, p.358, mentions “in the village of Kotihar, a deep spring surrounded by stone temples. When its water decreases, an image of Mahadeva in Sandalwood appears.”

The sacred spring rises in a large circular tank which is enclosed by an ancient stone-wall and steps leading into the water. According to Kalhana’s account this enclosure was constructed, about a century before his own time, at the expense of the well-known king Bhoja of Malava.The latter is said to have taken a vow always to wash his face in the water of the Papasundana spring.

Connection between Sarda temple and Kapteshwar temple

Though, the architecture of Sharda temple (POK) resembles to that of the Kashmiri architecture , which can still be found in the ruins of Naranaag or the the Sun temple of Martand, But for some reasons, Sir A.Stein thought that the ruins of Sarda resemble most to that of Kapateshwara temple.

Also, it is intriguing,   to note that the famous travelers and Historians of the past, like Alberuni and Ab-L-Fazl, both have written that there was the legend of the mysterious and venerated Idol of Sharda at the Temple (POK). Pertinently, both have mentioned that the wooden idol of Mahadeva would emerge from a pond at Kapatesvara, when its water receded.

This clearly indicates, that in Kashmir, there was use of Sandalwood for making Idols of Gods/Godesses; although it is not clear, how it came into existence for religious purposes and how it ended .But, as of today, The Redoubtable temples of Kashmirian architecture, be it Sarda, Martand, or Naranaag are at the brink of extinction and need immediate attention from the concerned authorities. The hoary legends, that once reverberated in the cradle of Kashmir valley, are reduced to dying  echoes .

However, some of the sacred Hymns like- ‘Kashmir Purvasini, Vidhya Dieyinam Shawetambuj Viharinam, Chaturbuj Dharini… Shattantriveena Vadini… Mokshadayini, Papanashneemam … Vitasta Rupenam … Himachidit Girishshobinam … Kalashamrit Dharayae. Translated this means;Residing in Kashmir from ancient times..giver of knowledge.. seated on a white bird {Swan}..having four arms, carries hundred stringed veena.. giver of moksha and forgiver of sins.. just like with grace of Vitasta {Jhelum River}.. gracing a snow clad mountain..carrying a pot with holy nectar-    will remain immortal. And with it, will live- ‘the legend of Sarda ‘ forever.

And so will the mystery…

 

( by:Sandeep Raj koul)

 

 

 

 

 

sharda1 sharda2

(Photo courtesy: Rukhsana Khan)

 

 

References:

the shrine of Sharda-note B-I 37-Kalhana’s Rajatarangini(M.A.Stein)

tirtha of Kapatesvara,p-467,Kalhana’s Rajtarangini-ii volme(M.A.Stein)

http://www.ikashmir.net/saints/shankracharyavisittokashmir.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharada_Peeth

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandalwood

http://www.sringeri.net/history

http://www.sringeri.net/history/sri-adi-shankaracharya/biography/abridged-madhaviya-shankara-digvijayam/part-5

http://panunkashmir.org/kashmirsentinel/maya1999/4.5.html

http://koausa.org/temples/sharda3.html