JagatGuru Bhagavaan Gopinathji Charitable Cultural & Research Foundation, New Delhi
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 & President), 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-
The magazine “Prakash Bhagavaan Gopinath” is a quarterly magazine with a circulation of 1000 copies. It is published in four sections- English, Hindi, Kashmiri 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 Gopinath Ji.
a) Jagat Guru Bhagavaan Gopinath Ji Foundation has printed and published the biography of Bhagavaan Gopinath Ji in 2003. Titled “The Saint Extra Ordinary- Bhagavaan Gopinath Ji”, this book is written by a well known Kashmiri Pandit writer, Shri T. N. Dhar (Kundan).
b) Another English book, “Lord Gopinath- Brevity, His Beauty”, written by Shri B. L. Kak, (Journalist of repute). 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.
c) For the first time, Bhagavaan Gopinath Ji’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.
d) 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.
e) 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 Bhagavaan 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 Bhagavaan Gopinath Ji, Titled (The Saint Extra- Ordinary) written by T.N. Dhar ‘Kundan’.
f) 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-
Ø “Khema Ashtak” in praise of Bhagavaan Gopinath Ji in Hindi written by Shri C. L. Razdan, former Officer of Kashmir University.
Ø “Tathe Bab”, a bunch of Kashmiri Bhajans in praise of Bhagavaan Gopinath Ji by Smt Rani Kaul.
Ø “Shri Guru-Paduka Stuti” a bunch of Sanskrit poems in praise of Bhagavaan Ji’s padukas (wooden sandals) Prof M. L. Kukiloo-Sanskrit scholar and Shri C. L. Razdan- former Officer of Kashmir University.
Ø “Shri Pratah Aradhana”, a compilation of Sanskrit verses in praise of Bhagavaan Gopinath Ji 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 food and other items like blankets, bed sheets and even white cloth to wrap dead bodies. These things are donated to various individuals and organizations like Shanti Avedna Sadan, a hospice for cancer patients at Safderjung Enclave, New Delhi. This hospice has regularly been provided with help in form of rice, vegetables, fruits, sugar and medicines and they have acknowledged the Foundation’s help many a times.
The Foundation also collects new and used clothes utensils and stationery items etc from the devotees and provides it to Arya Anathalaya, Daryaganj, and New Delhi. This is an orphanage run by Arya Samaj which has about 900 school going children who are looked after by widows and destitute women. The orphanage is also given clothes and food items like rice, flour, oil, ghee, pulses and spices for the orphans in form of donation.
Of late, the devotees and members of Foundation have spotted another small orphanage in Uttam Nagar where about 35 orphan or poor girls between the ages of 6 to 16 reside. They are being educated by the orphanage through proper schooling. The Foundation has been donating daily use items like buckets and cooking utensils to this orphanage.
Some of our members also give donations as Gupt Daan (secret donation without the aim of glorification) in the name of Bhagavaanji. Recently we have been able to help a landless labour in Uttar Pradesh whose both children are suffering from serious health problems.
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.
Recently our Foundation donated cash to Kashmir Migrants’ Association at Sector 34 Noida for construction of a building and Dharamshala. This building will also have a prayer hall and a hall for cultural activities for Kashmiri migrants.
Educational Society: The Foundation has floated an educational society in absence of sufficient accommodation at Uttam Nagar, tuition classes of school going and non-going children in the age group of 6-10 years comprising both boys and girls numbering about 15 are held from 4PM to 6Pm at C-13/31, GF, Ardee city, Sector-52, Gurgaon. These children mostly belong lower strata of our society like car washers or rickshaw pullers. These children are provided with writing and reading material like notebook, books, erasers etc.
B. L. Bhan
Jagat Guru Bhagavaan Gopinathji Cultural foundation