History and Conception
From the year 1989-90 and onwards, the valley of Kashmir saw turmoil and upheavals due to ethnic cleansing by Pakistan sponsored terrorists. This resulted in the mass migration of Kashmiri Hindus who were forced to live in temporary camps at Jammu, Delhi and other parts of India without basic necessities of life. These Hindus left much more than their physical properties back- they left an ancient culture and heritage rooted in Kashmir in form of art, architecture, scriptures etc. These refugees in their own land were almost homeless, jobless and penniless overnight. Shri Jagmohan, who was the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir at that time, was the lone crusader of their cause. The Central Government at that time was not of any help at all. Meanwhile, the properties of Kashmiri Hindus was plundered and looted, which was a part of a well hatched plan to ensure that the Hindus do not return to their homeland. This property was assembled and distributed among militant Muslims as “Mal-e-Ganeem”. This used to be a practice of dividing loot during medieval times when the armies of Mohammad Ghaznavi, Mohammad Ghori and other Muslim invaders attacked Indian temples and other places. Thus the Kashmiri Hindus lost their traditions, socio-cultural activities and their ethos. Many lost their mental balance; neither could many sustain the sudden upheaval and turmoil. Many lost their near and dear ones in militant attacks and yet many could not face the hazardous climatic conditions. Most elderly people and a reasonable number of middle aged people perished slowly.
Normally Kashmiri Hindus are worshippers of Lord Shiva and Shakti. Lord Shiva is the main deity while Shakti is worshipped in three forms. The first is Mata Ragina, commonly known as Kheer Bhawani whose temple is located at Tula Mula, 25 km from Srinagar. The other deity is Mata Sharika located on the hillock of Hari Parbat adjacent to Srinagar fort and the third deity is Mata Jwalaji located on a dormant volcano in Khrew area, 30 km from Srinagar. Every Kashmiri Hindu family is a believer of any one of the above three female deities of Mother Divine.
After mass migration from Valley, the Kashmiri Hindus found themselves lost in concrete jungles of Jammu, Delhi and elsewhere. During this time, many Hindus felt a need for a socio- cultural organization that would reflect their way of life and give them a foothold in an alien culture. Under these conditions, in 1999, a group among the devotees of Bhagavaan Gopinathji, (1898-1969), came together to form Jagat Guru Bhagavaan Gopinathji Charitable Research Foundation at New Delhi. Led by Shri Pran Nath Koul (now Chief Patron), this group formed a democratic constitution and registered it in the office of Registrar of Societies at New Delhi. Its first meeting was held in December 1999 and first copy of its official organ, “Prakash Bhagavaan Gopinath”, came out on 3rd July 2000.
Activities on Literary front-
Quarterly Magazine-As mentioned, the magazine “Prakash Bhagavaan Gopinath” is a quarterly magazine with a circulation of 1000 copies. It is published in four sections- English, Hindi, Kashmiri (in Devnagri script) and Sanskrit. Recently, an Urdu section has also been added on public demand. The main aim of this magazine is to preserve our ancient Kashmiri heritage and culture. Special emphasis is laid on the teachings of Bhagavaan Gopinathji and the magazine identifies the places of Hindu worship, Hindu tirthas (pilgrimages) and the history and sanctity of religious places in Kashmir. New writers, poets and thinkers are constantly encouraged to contribute.
- Jagat Guru Bhagavaan Gopinathji Foundation has printed and published the biography of Bhagavaan Gopinathji in 2003. Titled “The Saint Extra Ordinary- Bhagavaan Gopinathji”, this book is written by a well known Kashmiri Pandit writer, Shri T. N. Dhar (Kundan). This book has received wide appreciation within and outside India.
- Another English book, “Lord Gopinath- Brevity, His Beauty”, written by Shri B. L. Kak, (Journalist of repute) was also printed and published by the foundation. Among other things, this book elaborates on the Sanskrit verse “Om Namoh Bhagwate Gopinathaya Desh Rakshaye Namoh Namah”. During the wars of 1947-48, 1971 and the Kargil war, Bhagavaan Ji is believed to have helped Indian soldiers in re-conquering our territories grabbed by Pakistani forces. The details of these incidents are given in the book.
- For the first time, Bhagavaan Gopinathji’s biography has been published in Urdu by the Foundation. This book, “Bhagavaan Gopinath Akaid-O-Afqar” authored by Dr Premi Romani, has received good response from Urdu readers. It was released on Sep, 10th 2006 at Jammu by justice (Retd) B.L. Bhat.
- Printed and published by the Foundation, “Sadgurudevaseya Namawali” is a book in Sanskrit written by Prof M. L. Kukiloo. Due to its popularity, this book has been translated into English by Prof C. L. Raina, a Professor of Religious Studies in Florida, USA. His wife, Mrs. Sibu Raina, translated the same book into Hindi too.
- Biography in Hindi released on 25.12.2007 - Smt. Sheela Dixit, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Delhi, released the detailed biography in Hindi of Jagat Guru Bhagvaan Gopinath Ji on Dec. 25th, 2007 at Chief Ministers residence. The book has been translated into hindi by Shri Dalip Kaul with the title “Ek Vilakshan Santh”. This hindi version is also based on original english biography of Bhagvaan Gopinath Ji, Titled (The Saint Extra- Ordinary) written by T.N. Dhar ‘Kundan’.
- Bhav-Sadhur: A Book of Complied Bhajans - In a simple but glittering ceremony the book titled Bhav-Sadhur was released by Gen. S.K. Sinha Former governor of Jammu and Kashmir on Feb. 14th, 2010 at Mavlankar Auditorium, New Delhi in presence of many prominent personalities. The book is a collection of about 200 Bhajans assembled by Prof. Shiela Nakaib. Shri P.N. Kaul Saiyal the famous Kashmiri Poet, writer and linguistic, rendered his full support to shape up this book in the form of a bouquet with aesthetic and devotional fragrance.
Apart from these books, a number of booklets have also been printed and published by the foundation. They are-
- “Khema Ashtak” in praise of Bhagavaan Gopinathji in Hindi and Kashmiri written by Shri C. L. Razdan, former Officer of Kashmir University.
- “Tathe Bab”, a bunch of Kashmiri Bhajans in praise of Bhagavaan Gopinathji by Smt Rani Kaul.
- “Shri Guru-Paduka Stuti” a bunch of Sanskrit poems in praise of Bhagavaanji’s padukas (wooden sandals) written by Dr Baljee Nath Pandit- an authority on Kashmiri Shaivism, Prof M. L. Kukiloo-Sanskrit scholar and Shri C. L. Razdan- former Officer of Kashmir University.
- “Shri Pratah Aradhana”, a compilation of Sanskrit verses in praise of Bhagavaan Gopinathji written by Prof M. L. Kukiloo, a Sanskrit scholar from Kashmir.
The Foundation has purchased an accommodation for its activities which is known by the name of Bhagavaan Gopinathji Ashram at 1/B Dayalsar Road, Bank of Baroda Lane, Uttam Nagar (West), New Delhi- 110059.
Jagat Guru Bhagavaan Gopinathji Charitable Cultural and Research Foundation performs an annual Havan in Uttam Nagar Ashram on the day when Bhagavaan Ji left His mortal frame. This lunar date falls between mid-may to mid-June. The havan lasts for twelve to sixteen hours in which Vedic mantras are recited along with aahutis of dry fruits, sweets, coconuts etc. After the Havan, all devotees are served Prasad.
Bhagavaanji’s birthday as per solar calendar falls on 3rd July and is celebrated in the Uttam Nagar Ashram. The devotees throng in large numbers for Pooja. Special Pooja is also done on Bhagavaanji’s lunar birthday, which falls around 15th June to early July. On this day, Pooja is again done as per Vedic rituals. On both these days, devotees, Sadhus, orphans and poor and street children are served sumptuous lunch. They are also given some cash or gifts with love and respect in the name of Bhagavaanji.
Guru Purnima is celebrated in the Bhagavaan Gopinath Ji Ashram as per the Vedic traditions. Other Hindu festivals celebrated in the Ashram are Shivratri, Navreh (New Year’s Eve as per Hindu calendar- first Navratra), Ram Navmi, Raksha Bhandhan, Janam Ashtami, Maha Navmi, Dusshera etc.
Apart from these, on Ist & third Sunday of each month, a small Havan called Homa is performed in evenings during which the Guru Gita is recited followed by offerings as per Jap Mala (108 names of Bhagavaan Gopinathji).
All these functions conclude with Aarti Pooja which is recited in the evening. Evening Aarti is also recited daily in the Ashram.
Lately it has been observed that our non-Kashmiri brethren also participate in the rituals. They claim that Bhagavaan Ji has solved many of their problems.
It is important to add here that during the lifetime of Bhagavaan Ji, Hindus and Muslims visited Him equally and He treated them without any distinction. He never advised non-Hindus to change their faith.
Jagat Guru Bhagavaan Ji Charitable Cultural and Research Foundation has been giving donations to destitute and handicapped individuals and those poor patients who cannot afford medicinal treatments.
The Foundation also donates books to various libraries. We have presented two of our publications to the Parliament library for reading of honorable members of the Parliament and general public. Some books have also been donated to the in-house library of Shanti Avedna Sadan for reading by patients and their attendants.