Goddess Sharda Devi at Purmandal: Ajar Door Awaits Search || By Bhushan Parimoo || LIVE IMAGE

 The links of Kashmiri, Sanskrit &; Dogri Provenance.

Sharda Devi by late M.M.Munshi, 2013, at Chedia.

It was while paying obeisance in the temple the other day, the attention of this writer got drawn towards an idol inadvertently. In the normal course, it appeared to be a  Shivlingam. Since it was smeared with vermilion (Sandhur) ,an unusual sight because of the fact Shivlingam is never red smeard. That became the reason for the inquest. Was told that the idol is Sharda. It was a surprise. Nowhere in th Duggar Desh has I heard of the existence of the Sharda Devitemple. Sharda Devi in its many forms is regarded as the presiding deity (Ishta-Devi) of KashmiriPandits .

Ancient Art at Ghora Gali, Gool,Ramban by late M.M.Munshi, 2013, at Chedia.

Duggar Desh inhabitants have their own presiding deities barring Bhagwati Sharika Devi that is common with Kashmir. Sharika Devi at Purmandal takes this writer back to mid seventies, when blessed with a son.As per the advice of elders, one was expected to seek the   blessings from the Ishta-Devi. Our elders used to take us, during the spring in particular, for the blessings of Maa Sharika  to Hari Parbat, Srinagar, the abode of Sharika Devi. 

However, following my son’s birth, this time for the consideration of convenience to get the blessings I thought of going to the local temple of Sharika     Devi , but couldn’t find any such Asthapana,  in Jammu or elsewhere in  the Division then.

The Kashmir Valley known as Satisar has been the cradle of various religions. To begin with  ,  it was Nagamat. That gave way to Buddhism in the 3rd-4th century. Buddhism was replaced by the Saivites in the 9th century. Kashmir Shaivism or Trika Shaivism  is a non dualistic  tradition  of Shiva-Shakti which originated sometime after 850 CE. The worship of Shiva and Shakti  continues  till date? Where the traditions and philosophies are assimilated in the non-Vedic Shiva- tradition as the Creator and Destroyer of the world. 

An engraving on rock near Katagi above Muth Gala in Ramban Dist. I am unable to decipher,by late M.M.Munshi, 2013, at Chedia.  

The belief in the superiority of knowledge (gyana) over ritual (karma) looks beyond divisions that create dualities (dvaita) and affirms non-duality (advaita). Wisdom is seen here as the tool to transcend caste and the Shivling or Lingam the union of mind and soul.  While all these faiths did travelle far and wide from Kashmir, there is very little to write home about its  transition on this side of Pir Panchal.

 Although it is hard to believe  when  these religions crossed  Northern Sonamarg- Razdan Pass to go in to Gilgit Baltistan, , east to Ladakh , Tibet Central Asia, then why couldn’t have come this side in the south , as there are about 22  mountain pass routes to go to and fro  between the Valley and Jammu plains. 

There  are  important ancient and medieval, archaeological Buddhist, sites  in Jammu region  such as Ambaran and Sakhi maidan (Mendhar) or Sankhaya Parivein of Miling Panho Ram Kund (the hermitage of Acharya Ayupala), Kalaban site of Buddhist Kundalvan Vihara, (where 4th Buddhist Conference seems to have been held, in the times of Kanishka, and where the account of deliberations of this conference were carved on copper plates and deposited in the Vihara) the Nag Seni region of Kishtwar with rich archaeological sites, (where Acharya Nag Sen of Milind Panho was born and educated under the guidance of’ Acharya Assaguta (or Asav Gupta), Demzi ‘with the residential hermitage of this very Acharya, Sai Draman ruins in Nag Seni the place of deliberations of Assagutta with his disciples, also in Kishtwar, Gupteshwar temple site where Brahmi Inscription of 4th-5th century A.D. has been traced and deciphered, the site of Bindraban in Kishtwar, where an important and prolonged epigraph in Brahmi or Sharda (still un-deciphered) exists, , Sudh Mahadev and Bher Nag sites (Bhairav Nag) Jammu with two thousand years of epigraphic history, Kaul Kandohlis temple architecture, and extremely rich Naga sites and cultural heritage at Bulandpur, Pasyal, Duggan, Bari, Karla, Kudgram, Jakhed etc.Additional important explorations of Kushana period in Jammu region at Babe-da- Tibba, Kot Bhalwal and Bodh Viharf Manda, with relics and gold coins  were found .

Nag Mandirs  (Snake temples)of Doda and Ramban Districts , by late M.M.Munshi, 2013, at Chedia.

Very rich Naga’s cultural heritage in Jammu has recently been explored and documented from scores of Naga Shrines scattered all over hilly region of Jammu. Unfortunately heritage scattered over different areas in the Jammu that to be studied and preserved is altogether missing .

A few isolated efforts that can be counted on finger tips has been made here and there,  but entire region lacks  scientific search  as norms ask for . Therefore it seems to be high time, when we must make people and coming generations conscious of their cultural heritage and strive for its preservation and development.

Krishna riding Kalia the serpent  at Chedia ,Muttal, District  Udhampur by late M.M.Munshi, 2013, at Chedia.

In spite of the fact J.Hutchison and J.Ph.Vogel  in the history of Jammu State , published by the Journal of the Panjab Historical Society Volume 8, No.21921. mention that  “it is  to be regretted  that the  material  for the history of an ancient State the Jammu should be so scanty and unreliable.

Every available source of information has been drawn upon with indifferent results , and we can only  express the hope that future research may yet bring more material to light.’ 

Further adding that ‘ of the documents relating to the history of  the State the Vansavali of the  royal family is the most important; but unfortunately it is not available in original form, and the only copy forthcoming is a compilation said to have been made in the reign of Maharaja Gulab Singh , and called the Gulabnamah.

Lord Vashnu and Brahma.And Vashnu aa Matsya Avtar. by late M.M.Munshi, 2013, at Chedia. 

It may have been compiled from older records, but it contains little more than  a long list  of names, dating from that of the mythical founder down to the present time. As there are no corroborative evidences for the  early portion, it must be received with caution.

It contains about 120 names, but there are several breaks in the continuity of the line, so that it is difficult to form an estimate as to the formation of the State. We, may however, safely assume that it is of ancient origin, probably dating from the first century of the Christian era or earlier. Considerable doubt is thrown upon the reliability of the Vansavali, by the record of long reign of sixty and seventy years ascribed to a succession of Rajas.

Various religions have seeped into Kashmiri society”. While we find strong links spread over far and wide over more than a century ago, in 1904, the famous Dutch Indologist Jean Philippe Vogel was studying the rock inscriptions of Chamba in Himachal Pradesh.

Lord Kama,God of love mounted on  peacock ,Chadia Udhampur by late M.M.Munshi, 2013, at Chedia.

There, he encountered an old rock which was inscribed by an eulogy in the beautiful Sarada  script in the praise of Goddess Sri Chamunda Devi. Unfortunately, the rock was broken and as a result a considerable part of the eulogy  could not be read.

However, Vogel did not lose  the heart. He sent the replica of the broken inscription to his Kashmiri friend and teacher Prof. Nityanand Shastri with a letter stating " I am sending to you the replica of that and a copy of that in Devanagari script.

Statues  of Shiva and Parvati riding on Nandi and Garuda by late M.M.Munshi, 2013, at Chedia. 

The reason is my utmost hope that you being a great scholar of Sanskrit language may guess and fill the lacunae caused by the breaking in the rock.

A Shivling, temple foundation stones and many figures were found during an excavation, during january 2022 which was being done by the local Panchayat to make a pond at village Morha Sourtha, which is situated about 2 km on right side of Dhar road in block Khoon of Tehsil Majalta.

It is aptly remarked by somebody- Hanumana crossed over the ocean and what is impossible for the great souls. Jammu too has to find its Hanumana who will read the ‘broken inscription’ to fill the historical hiatus that has been caused by neglect and re-connect the centuries old cultural and religious links between Kashmir and Jammu.

Bushan Parimoo
(The writer is a Jammu based environmentalist and a regular contributor to this Website.)
(Feedback at: blparimoo@gmail.com)

Destroyed Hindu Temples In Kashmir | From 1986 to 2018

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