Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Pandit Krishan Joo Razdan:Unsung Divine Saint of Kashmir Valley

By Sanjay Pandita

In the mystical land of Kashmir, where great personalities have adorned the realms of literature, poetry, art, and mysticism, one name remains sadly forgotten, the unsung divine saint - Pandit Krishan Joo Razdan. Amidst the celebrations of renowned literary figures, his name has been left unmentioned, and his day never commemorated.
The profound irony lies in the lack of recognition from platforms and cultural academies that are meant to honor and celebrate the contributions of great souls. It seems as though a veil has been drawn over the mystic poet's legacy, and the think tank behind it remains shrouded in mystery. This act of neglect distances the lovers of literature from discovering the true essence of his divine words and the profound wisdom that lies within.

Pandit Krishan Joo Razdan, a mystic saint of the highest order, left behind a treasure trove of spiritual verses and soul-stirring poetry, yet his work lies hidden in the shadows of time. The state government and sahitya academy, responsible for acknowledging literary giants, have regrettably overlooked his immense contributions.

The reasons for this negligence may be numerous. Perhaps the passage of time has led to the fading memory of his greatness, or the challenges of preserving and promoting his works have been overlooked. The diversions of modern life and the hustle-bustle of society might have cast a shadow on the profound wisdom he once shared.

Additionally, the tumultuous political history of Kashmir might have played a role in diverting attention from his celestial poetry. The focus on external struggles may have hindered the appreciation of internal spiritual journeys, which are the heart of his writings.

Furthermore, the divisive influences of religious and cultural identities might have blurred the vision of recognizing the universality of his messages. The failure to transcend barriers and appreciate the essence of his divine words has kept the masses from realizing the richness of his contributions.

In a land known for its rich literary heritage, the lack of seminars and celebrations dedicated to Pandit Krishan Joo Razdan raises questions about the collective consciousness of the people. The neglect from across religions signifies a deeper societal issue that must be addressed to uphold the legacy of such divine poets.

It is time for a reawakening, a revival of appreciation for the unsung heroes who have graced the valley with their divine presence. Let us transcend the barriers of time, politics, and identities, and bring forth the ethereal wisdom of Pandit Krishan Joo Razdan. Through seminars, literature, and dedicated celebrations, let us honor the mystic poet and restore his rightful place in the annals of Kashmir's literary history. Only then can the world truly bask in the splendor of his celestial verses and experience the divine essence he sought to convey .
But Alas! His contributions as a Bhakti poet has not been given that recognitions which he deserved. This is the biggest irony .

Through this piece of writing I want to bring before the posterity the autobiographical sketch of the graet saint who has remained an UNSUNG poet and wish that this saint is given due recognition as for as his literary contributions are concerned .

Pandit Krishan Joo Razdan ,was born in 1850 A.D. in Vanpoh Village in Distt.of Ananatnag.That Krishna Joo Razdan was a Kashmiri poet of very high order and has written beautiful poetry in Kashmiri, is too well known and documented.His poems reflect a blissful blending of poetry and mysticism which has elevated and refined life and helped the people at large in distress.

Pandit Razdan Joo was a devotee of Shiva. He praised Lord Shiva in all his forms. His work and mystic poems give clear idea about his personality and about his inner consciousness of soul.
His creative ability in writing is completely different and his poems are very musical in approach.Swami Krishan Joo Razdan Sahab had intense knowledge of Kashmiri language and used it very intelligently and with fine smoothness.

Achhe Posh Gav Lachhi Novuy Heth
is a great devotional lyric in Pt. Krishna Joo Razdan's Shiva Pranae. Here the poet shows deep devotion for Lord Shiva and his Divine Consort, Shakti.

The lyric, as a whole, reflects the unique sanctity of Kashmir Hindu wedlock. The chief mood objectified is devotional repute and ecstasy. This devotional literary work narrates the story of Shiva's union with Shakti.

Bel Tai Madal yenn gulab pamposh dusty
Poozayi lagay param shivus shvnsathustai.

This is the most popular ethenic Kashmiri shiv Leela where in Pandit Krishan Joo Razdan glorifies Lord Shiva and it has the reflection of his spiritual quest .This famous Leela was sung by Late Ustad Mahmad Abdullah Tibatbakal (a legendary sufiana singer ),who has immortalized this leela by his soulful and melodious singing .

For Swami Krishan Joo Razdan , Sad Guru is none other than Lord Shiva himself. He prays for the nectar of bliss and light amidst enveloping gloom. He longs for the realisation of Shiva amidst the illusory cosmos. Through the exercise of self control, he desires liberation from the shackles of lust, wrath, greed, pride and possessiveness. He earnestly desires being ranked amongst saints who attained Shiva hood through intense Sadhana, taught by Kashmir Shaivism.
Pt. Krishna Joo believes that spiritual bliss is realizable through the exercise of Yogic discipline and seeks divine grace for the purification of his mind and soul through Yoga. He prays for Lord Shiva's grace in directing his sense perceptions of the eternal truth of Advaita Vedantic monism. The poet is perpetually conscious about the essential divinity of man. What, however, is not known is that he used to write poetry in Dogri, Hindi and surprisingly, even in Persian. Those who had seen him personally, would recall that Krishna Joo did poetry almost under impulse or what you call 'vaikhuri' in Kashmiri or even in Hindi. He would recite a poem sometimes at the prodding of his daughter in law. Using his buttocks as substitute for drums he would go on outpouring stanza after stanza that were rhyming beautifully even as the theme in his mind would also be accomplished simultaneously.

Seami Krishan Joo Razdan Sahib is proud of Kashmiri language which is the principal medium of his poetic expression. He regards it dearest to the Mother Goddess. He is convinced that salvation for Kashmiris is attainable only by singing praises of the Mother Goddess in Kashmiri language. . No wonder that some critics have said that Swami Krishna Joo Razdan was the first devotional poet to highlight the spirit of patriotism in the beginning of 20th century. This created a basis for poets like Azad and Mahjoor for strengthening the trend of patriotic poetry in Kashmiri.

Pandit Krishna Joo Razdan was married into the well-known Kaul family of Vessu, a small village off the National Highway leading to Srinagar, roughly midway between Quazigund and Khannabal, two tiny townships again on the National Highway leading to Srinagar. The well-known Kauls had traditional access to the durbar of Maharaja Pratap Singh. Kauls were prone to flaunt the poetic genius and the astrological prowess of their son-in-law, among the king's courtiers in the durbar.

Once it so happened that a cousin of Maharaja Pratap Singh, himself a ruler of Poonch, fell seriously ill. The Maharaja was, naturally, very worried. A pall of gloom fell upon the durbar in Srinagar. Kauls were summoned from Vessu and dispatched to Krishna Joo Razdan to give his astrological advice. Swami Krishan Joo Razdan thought for a while after making some calculations and advised that the king be advised to do "anna daan", (offering of food) indicating that his days were numbered. By the time this message was carried to the Maharaja, he had received a telegram stating that the health of his cousin King had shown signs of improvement. The Kauls went back to Swami ji for consultation.Swami ji reiterated his earlier advice of "anna daan" and when they reached Srinagar again, the Maharaja had received another telegram stating that his cousin and King of Poonch was no more.When this story reached the ears of Maharaja some weeks later, he expressed his desire to see Swami ji . Since the annual festival of Mata Khir Bhawani was round the corner and swami ji was an ardent devotee of Maej Raagnya Bhagwati ,a meeting was arranged on the sidelines between His Excellency, Maharaja Pratap Singh and Krishna Joo Razdan. Formalities over, the first question that the Maharaja is said to have asked of Pandit Razdan Joo was as to whose pooja would the king perform as a morning ritual. Pat came the reply, "Shiver" - a bird whose worship is believed to bring good luck to the rulers. Surprised though, but without looking so, the shrewd Maharaja told swami ji that he would accept him as a saint if the colour of the water of the spring holding the statue of Mata Khir Bhawani would change there and then. It is said that Pandit Krishan Joo instantly won the respect of the Maharaja; because the water changed its colours as His Excellency, the Maharaja had wished.

Having put to test the spiritual prowess of Swami Krishan Joo Razdan , the Maharaja told him that the former had been writing bhakti poetry in Kashmiri and that he would accept his poetic genius if he would compose a a bhakti bhajan in Dogri, again, there and then. KJR had passed such trials by fire even before his Guru when other disciples had alleged that swami Krishan Joo only fiddled with the poetry written by others and that he could not write on his own. To silence his detractors, there and then, the Guru had asked him in the very presence of his disciples to sing a bhajan on dal lake because the entourage was enjoying the scenic beauty of the lake in a boat. And thus was born the famous Kashmiri bhajan that reads thus:

Sara kor samsaar nadurui draav,
Dal ma hasha tseta kiya pamposh chhaaw"

This bhajan described the entire Kashmiri advait shaivite philosophy while drawing parallels between the spiritual terminology and the names of the things that abounded in and around the dal lake. The instant use of the sweet metaphors, similes, alliterations and assonances in the musical quatrains devised on the spot had gone a long way in establishing not only his spiritual authority but also in regarding him as a "poet of poets" for the simplicity of language that demystified the Kashmiri shaivism and his style started being copied by his contemporaries and his juniors.

And now it was the Maharaja's turn, in a way, to baptize Pandit Krishan Joo by the same fire! His honour and prestige were at stake. How could Pandit Krishan Joo not dispose when the King himself had proposed? And after a brief moment of contemplation, swami Krishan Joo Razdan composed the following Dogri bhajan, there and then, to the delight of the Maharaja:
Shiv Shiv kariyo jeeta mariyo
Man mein phiriyo Shiv simran
Shiv Shiv kar ke din raat bhariyo
Man mein phiriyo Shiv simran
Man ke Shiv shivalay mein jayiyo
Us mein paayiyo Shiv Keshav
Us Shivji ko kariyo pratikshan
Man mein phiriyo Shiv simran

It is said that Pandit Razdan Joo never visited the Maharaja in his durbar. Nor did he ever ask for any favour from the King. This was apparently because he was a firm believer in "Prarabdha" or what we, in common parlance, call destiny, about which he has written eloquently in so many of his beautiful poems.
President awardee, Dr (Prof.) Mathura Dutt Pandey, was so impressed by the depth of Krishna Joo Razdan's poetry in general that he rendered nine of his Kashmiri poems into Hindi poetry, which were published separately under the title 'Navrattan'.

Well Life is a passage through series of deaths. Such a thought might baffle the masses but not the seekers of reality. What actually life is and what death is? The quest has taken innumerable thinkers to an endless voyage and most of them have surrendered before the question as this cannot be understood by reason for it is the realm of heart and only the enlightened hearts can understand it .And verily, very few people are born with such a heart like Pandit Ji who attained Nirvana in the year 1926 .

(The author can be reached at [email protected])

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