Swami Nand Lal Ji
SWAMI Nand Lal Ji was born in the year 1902 at Gurgari Mohalla, Zaina Kadal Srinagar. His father, Pandit Sahaj Kaul, belonged to a well-to-do Kaul family, also known as "Kothdars". Swami Ji's fore-fathers were prominent bankers; they were bankers even to Maharaja Pratap Singh. They were ardent devotees of Goddess Jagadamba Sharika Devil Be it the pleasant summer or cold winter, both males and females in the family would go for Parikrama to the Holy Mother at Hari-Parbat. Swami Nand Lal Ji's mother died very young, leaving behind her two sons and one daughter and it was the beginning of the orderly yatra for Swami Ji towards the goal which he had left halfway in his previous Janama. His step-mother was his first Guru whose way of life had forced the great saint of this century to adopt the Godly way.
In his youth, Swami Nand Lal Ji was very energetic and would command his fellow companions as is the case with a normal rich youth. His friend - late Pandit Naranjan Nath Ji Kaul, who was his cousin brother also, and Late Pandit Sham Lal Ji Saproo (Bad Toth) were his juniors in the school and he used to dominate over them. Swami Nand Lal Ji himself studied up to 8th class in that school. Both of them later turned into his ardent devotees when Swami Ji became a perfect Yogi. Swami Ji had left for his Sadhana at the age of 17 or 18 years after starting some business for a brief period of just a year and a half. Thereafter, young Swami Ji was not traceable for a long period of almost twenty years. Once he left his parental house, he never looked back.
Swami Nand Lal Ji was a brahmachari and was incarnated with sainthood by His Holiness Swami Lal Ji of Banaras. Swami Lal Ji, a great yogi, was so much impressed with the deeds of his shishya that at one point of time, he would offer his Aasana to him, which the latter would not accept as it is not right in the Guru-Shishya relationship. Swami Lal Ji is said to have observed that Swami Nand Lal Ji
had done great Kirya in the shortest possible time; it had taken Swami Lal Ji a couple of years of Sadhana to master it. Swami Ji's way of life and Sadhana had left a lot of impact on his Guru Maharaj. Swami Lal Ji would often say: "Baot bane gi wo hi jo Nand Lal ki ichha ho " From the above statement, one can gauge as to what heights Swami Nand Lal Ji had gained in his youth alone.
Swami Nand Lal Ji had done most of his Sadhana in Bomai Sadhamaleun in Sopore, Kashmir. He was very much fond of nature and this had influenced greatly his way of life, be it living, wearing or eating. He was a total vegetarian and was fond of sofiana music. All singers of repute in this style of music would come and enthrall him by their ragas. After completion of his Sadhana, Swami Ji settled in Sharada town in the Tanghdar area of Kashmir, where he had a small Ashram in the famous shrine of Sharada temple, a place even today called as "Sharda Mai Temple" by the inhabitants of that place, who are mostly gujjars. Swami Ji had a set of local followers who were basically from Tikker Village (Kupwara) and were traders based at Sharada.
It was in the
year 1947 when Pakistanis occupied that place that Swami Ji shifted to
Tikker village, with his followers, and established his Ashram there on
the hill top. It will not be out of place to mention here that at Sharada,
when a Sikh gentleman was being followed by Qabailis to kill him, he found
refuge in Swami Ji's Ashram. Upon inquiry, that Sikh gentleman mentioned
to Swami Ji that he would be killed by the gunmen and begged for his life.
While seeking for mercy, the gunmen asked him to come down and face death.
The Sikh wept bitterly and begged for life from both. On this, Swami Ji
consoled him and advised him not to worry but go down and see what they
do. When the Sikh gentleman came down weeping to face the gunman and was
asked to stand near the tree and face bullets because he was a "Kafir",
God's grace was showered upon him. When they tried to press the trigger
of their guns the bullets failed to come out of their guns. After trying
thrice, the Qabailies bowed at the feet of Swami Ji and asked for his mercy
and so the Sikh gentleman was saved. The Qabailies then beseeched Swami
Ji to leave the place as they were aware of what kind of people would follow
them into the Valley. Swami Ji ultimately left the place for Tikker. When
he was establishing his new Ashram and digging was under process, he advised
his devotees not to be afraid if they came across snakes, reptiles and
other deadly creatures. His devotees, who were involved in digging and
construction work were convinced that the site chosen by Swami Ji appeared
to be the place where he had observed Sadhana in his previous birth. Big
snakes and reptiles did appear at the site during construction work but
left the place without causing any harm to the devotees. While going down
under the earth just a few feet, they found a pair of Tongs, a Kangri,
a chilum and some rice strewn along the Kangri, a Dhooni with ash and one
saligram (Shivalinga) and fresh flowers. While seeing all this, one of
his devotees, Pt. Niranjan Nath of a nearby village, who was lame by one
leg, looked at Swami Ji in absolute astonishment. At this, Swami Ji repeated
these words: Nera Langyo, kya vanay hal
yath jayi kotah chhu mal." (How shall I tell you, Nera Lungu, the secrets of this place, how many riches are hidden here). Swami Ji was very fond of using chilum and charas. When these articles were located, he told them to stop there, take out chilum the Kangri, tong and saligram and start filling up the place with bricks and stones for raising the plinth.
One could have a panoramic view of Sharada, as far as Sopore, Handwara and other places from the Ashram hilltop. Swami Ji had also established one more Ashram at Hushoora, near Badgam. His selection of places and his architectural tastes were superb.
While it is difficult to recall all the miracles attributed to Swami Ji, an effort will be made here to mention only a few. Some cannot, however, be narrated as it is neither possible to write about them nor mention about them to any, howsoever near and dear he may be.
At Sopore, some time in 1960-61, when Swami Ji was living in a temple, a poojari came to him screaming that his wife had died. Swami Ji took pity on him and told him not to shout but go to the nearby river Vitasta and bring one small tumbler full of water. When he came back, he was told to sprinkle some water from this tumbler on the face of his wife. After doing exactly as he was directed, he found that after a few minutes, his wife came back to life and is said to have lived longer than her husband.
On another occasion, one of Swami Ji's ardent disciples passed away. While his body was being bathed, he suddenly woke up to the chagrin of people around him. They were virtually frightened to see the dead person coming back to life. The dead devotee, back in life, told them "please, don't be afraid of me, give me some clothes to wear, I will narrate to you the reason of my revival" which he later on did. But since such revelation was not ordered by Swami Ji, the devotee lost his power of speech even though he survived for a long time. This miracle has happened after Swami Ji had attained Nirvana.
Once before leaving for Delhi, Swami Ji stayed at Jawahar Nagar in the house of a devotee. When the 15-year old son of the devotee bowed before Swami Ji as usual in the morning, a thought flashed across his and that the photograph of Lord Shiva adorning the wall was just a fiction. Swami Ji understood the boy's inner thoughts and threw an innocent smile. During the night, when the boy went to bed in his room, where his cousin also slept, at dead of night he suddenly opened his eyes on seeing flashes of light having engulfed the room. Unable to stand the glare, he tried to cover his eyes and head with bed sheets, but the glare flashed even through the sheets. Ultimately, he got up and to his surprise, found Lord Shiva sitting and smiling on a chair with trillions of lights surrounding him. After some time, everything came back to normal. In the morning, he went again to Swami Ji as usual and paid his obeisance at his feet; Swami Ji smiled and asked him whether there was any sense in Lord Shiva's photograph now. The boy prostrated before Swami Ji and begged for his mercy.
Yet another incident concerns one of Swami Ji's devotees working in Revenue Department at Handwara/Sopore. He was to be sentenced for some of his misdeeds and misappropriations by the court. A day before the judgement was to be pronounced, he came to Swami Ji's Ashram and begged for mercy. Swami Ji drew a long puff from his chilum following which a big flash of fire appeared. Swami Ji told him to calm down and forget his worry. To the devotee's luck, the concerned court premises were suddenly engulfed by a ravaging fire, with the entire building and court records being reduced to ashes, thus giving him a reprieve for life.
A Pandit police offer posted in Kupwara used to visit Swami Ji's Ashram in Tikker occasionally after retirement. One day, he had suddenly to be rushed to SMHS Hospital in Srinagar in a very serious condition, accompanied by his wife and some relatives. While the relatives left, his wife was alone in the hospital attending on her husband. During the night, the patient suddenly died and his wife cried and screamed. After confirming that the patient had died, doctors shifted the dead body surprisingly showed signs of life to the utter bewilderment of his wife, who was not prepared to accept the fact of a dead body coming back to life. She was convinced that some evil spirit had overtaken the body of her husband. Watching from a far off distance, she observed the movements of her husband who waived his hand beckoning her, but she refused to go near him. At that moment, a relative arrived early in the morning with some medicines, and to his utter surprise, saw the body lying outside and came to know from his wife about all that happened during the night. The wife was so frightened that she did not allow even her relative to go near the dead person. Mustering courage, he did go near the body and the person who was back to life, entreated him to take him back home. "I have been granted new life and shall narrate to you all the details at my home", he said. Fully convinced that the person was really alive, he convinced his wife as well and took him home. On reaching home, the revived person asked his relative to pull out a thorn from his foot. It was removed instantaneously and was found to be actually a nail.
The person was thus relieved of acute pain and agony caused by the nail-like thorn. Narrating his ordeal, he said two persons came to him in the Hospital and took him along with them. He was then taken to a hall, which resembled a cinema theatre. There he saw the entire doings of his life recorded and exhibited before him just like a film, which also featured his presence in Swami Ji's Ashram. After being made to watch all this, he was taken to a hill-top by those two persons flanking him on either side. He was surprised to see from this hill-top two views: On one side there were rich gardens and on the other side dense black forest. One of the escorts forced me towards the forest where the thorn stuck to his foot causing severe pain. And, at a distance he saw his revered Swami Ji puffing the chilum. He directed his escorts to take him back and so life was granted to him again, to survive for a long period. The thorn, which looked like an iron nail, was preserved by him till his death.
Swami Ji was very kind at heart and full of love and compassion for his devotees. It is rather difficult to narrate and write about all the miracles that occurred in his life time and continue to happen with his devotees even after his Nirvana. I am reminded of only some incidents that took place in my presence at his Tikker and Hoshura Ashrams from time to time.
Swami Ji would normally ask his devotees and sevaks in the Ashram to prepare more food as some devotees were on way to see him, be it lunch time or dinner time. I have normally seen more than 15 to 20 persons daily having food in his Ashram both in the morning and evening. The Ashram langer was always open and free. He would never accept a penny from anybody nor would he like very important persons to visit him. He shunned exposure and never used his unlimited powers to impress others. His life was scrupulously clean like the nature he loved. One of his disciples, Jai Kishan by name, one day suddenly thought of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar and wanted to know who they were. One evening when the sun had set and the moon was at its zenith, he heard Swami Ji calling Baba Ji (Vibhishan Ji) and directing him to bring some tea for the guests sitting with him. Vibhishan Ji at once brought tea in Samawar with Jai Kishan accompanying him with Khosoos (Cups). Three old Pandits, 80 to 90 years of age, sporting white beards and wearing round turbans with long-armed ancientpherans were seen chatting with Swami Ji. Atter they had a few sips of tea, Swami Ji directed Jai Kishan to accompany them upto the road down below, about half a mile or so from the Ashram. In deference to Swami Ji's orders, Jai Kishan accompanied the three old Pandits. When he reached the gate of the Ashram a few yards away from where Swami Ji was sitting, he heard Swami Ji calling him. He just looked around for a fraction of a second to verify whether he was actually being called and when he regained his posture, to his surprise he found all the three Pandits missing. Worried, he ran here and there for an hour or so in all directions in their search but all in vain. During the dead of the night he came back to Swami Ji, a broken man as he was after this incident. Finding Swami Ji all smiles, Jaikishan was lost as what he should do now. On this, Swami Ji told him, "don't worry, this is an answer to the question that arose in your mind. You have not realised that they were actually the "Trikoti" - Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar".
There is an incident when, as per Swami Ji's wishes, his devotees had even to proceed on world tours. Swami Ji one day asked Jai Kishan if he would like to go on a world tour. Nodding his head in affirmative, Swami Ji told him to make preparations. Unexpectedly, on reporting at his of fice as usual, he was told that he had been transferred to the security wing in the Prime Minister's office. Normally, a transfer from Civil Aviation to P.M's security wing is rather unthinkable and that too with Mrs. Indira Gandhi. She had to visit some countries and travelled by INS Vikrant; Jai Kishan was in the security wing of the Prime Minister.
Swami Ji had prophesied in early 1967 that Kashmiri Pandits were in for a big trouble in the middle of the year. Kashmiri Pandits actually took to streets in August/September 1976 when Swami Ji ordained that a big sacrifice was required to save the community. Swami Ji possessed highest virtues and was secular in his outlook. In Boomai, where Swami Ji stayed for some time, a Muslim by the name of Mohammed Gosain one day saw Swami Ji sitting in naked form with Trishul in hand travelling on the back of Nandi. He immediately became his ardent devotee. Another Muslim came to Swami Ji one day and told him that his cow was not giving milk any more. He was directed to go with a pot to the cow and tell her to give some milk for Nand Lal. He followed the directions and uttered the same lines before the cow while placing the pot near her and she at once started milking.
There is yet another interesting incident in my knowledge. In Hoshura, a young Pandit boy who was working in the Air Force wished to get himself recruited as a volunteer in Congo. Swami Ji asked him, "Congo alone, why not a World tour?" This boy was later selected and given the assignment of a Driver in the army by the Congo Govt. His of fice was strategically located near the Airport where a number of aeroplanes were taking off and landing. One day, he was deputed on loading supervision and while doing so, he himself by mistake, boarded a plane unmindful of the wrong that he had committed. This flight's first destination was Washington, followed by other cities and its return was after one month. While coming out of the aeroplane, the officials concerned discovered a passenger alongwith the cargo and detained him at the airport. After interrogation, the Indian Embassy was approached.
Atter verifying and ascertaining his identity, he was issued with a temporary passport and visa and kept with the Embassy staff for a week or so. During this period he got a chance to see some parts of USA. Thereafter, he was put on board again; the plane reached Brazil with a halt there for a couple of days and then moved to few other countries, before going back to Congo. While disembarking from the Aircraft, he was handed over a dismissal letter, his dues and a ticket back to India. This gentleman, after 'this world tour", came back to India and was serving as a Postmaster when I saw him last.
I would like to mention two more miracles, which happened in addition to the countless I have myself felt.
Swami Ji blessed a lady whose husband had left her and was living abroad. Under what circumstances he came back and could not go back thereafter, was a miracle one is astounded with. This man is now living happily in India with his family. Talking about an incident involving me personally, I was in 1965 appearing in my Matriculation examination in the Physics paper. I had stealthily placed small but thin question-answer series book inside my answer book and thus started copying. The invigilator, becoming very suspicious, came to my desk and started looking at me. In his presence, as is natural, I could not write anything, which made him more suspicious. He at once got hold of my answer book and said, "are you copying?" At that time, I remembered Swami Ji and boldly told him, "no, I am not". He opened my answer book page by page and, to my surprise, I neither saw the book, which I had concealed in my answer book, nor could he find anything objectionable there. He gave the answer book back to me and I once again started copying without any tear. Thereafter, the invigilator never came to my seat so long as the whole examination lasted. After the examinations, it was a routine for me to go to Swami Ji and stay in the Ashram. This time I stayed for more than a fortnight. One day in the morning hours, Swami Ji was puffing the chilum and I sat in front of him solely praying for my success in the Matric examination. Swami Ji smiled at me and I bowed my head, feeling a little shy. Then he told me "do you remember when the invigilator checked your answer book: where had that book gone from which you were copying". I had no alternative except to bow my head further in shame. Then he told me as to who saved me and how all this happened. I became deaf and dumb for a moment and could not stand up till he ordered me to get up and bring some water for him to drink. Thereafter, Swami Ji continued to shower his grace upon me and his other beloved ones. As I have mentioned earlier, Swami Ji's miracles continue to take place even after his Nirvana insofar as his devotees are concerned. He is omnipresent and always available to guide his ardent seekers.
His Holiness Swami Ji attained Nirvana in January 1966 on the day of Gauri Triteya at New Delhi in the house of his beloved shishya, Pandit Prem Nath Sadhu at Malviya Nagar. Swami Ji has a long list of devotees whom he had incarnated in his life time and some of whom were incarnated after his Nirvana.
Swami Ji had nominated Shri Vibhishan Ji, Kral Bab Maharaj and Mast Ram Ji as his successors. Vibhishan Ji is presently at Bordi in his Ashram, a great soul who has conquered all Siddhis. Swami Kral Bab Ji, one of the dearest chelas of Swami Ji, expired a couple of years back and has an Ashram in Gaddi Udhampur. Swami Mast Ram Ji is extremely busy in spreading the name of his Guru Maharaj and has a great following. His Ashram is in Jammu, Karala Delhi and at Haridwar. The Ashram at Haridwar has space enough to accommodate as many as 2000 people at a time and anybody can use the premises free of cost for Yatra purposes.
Before concluding I must make a mention about Swami Sedhmol (Vedha Lal). He was a family man who was first incarnated by Swami Ji and given the name of Sedhmol, followed by Swami Sham Lal Jee Sapru, popularly known as 'Bad Toth'. Both Sedhmol and Bai Toth were the seniormost disciples of His Holiness Swami Nand Lal Ji Maharaj and both have contributed a lot towards the welfare of our community. Both of them, like their Guru Maharaj, possessed immense miraculous powers and always shunned publicity.
[The author, WHO resides at T-48, Sector-12, NOIDA, has had the privilege to see Swami Ji very closely rightfrom the age of ten years, beginning from 1958- 59 to 1967-68].