Swami Lakshman Joo

Swami Lakshman Joo

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He was known as "Lal Sahib" or friend of God by followers and considered by them to be a fully-realized saint.cite web|url=http://www.koausa.org/Saints/LakshmanJoo/index.html|title=Swami Lakshman Joo|accessdate=2008-02-28]

Family

Swami Lakshmanjoo was born into a Rajanaka Kashmiri Pandit family, the third son of father Narain Dass Raina (Nao Naran) and mother Srimati Arni Mal. He had three brothers and three sisters, including brothers Pt. Maheshwar Nath Raina, Pt. Sarwanand Raina, and Pt. Neel Kanth Raina. His great grandfather Pandit Bhawani Prasad Razdan (Bhoon Razdan) was an accomplished scholar of Persian language and culture. Cousins include Diwan Anand Kumar (Vice Chancellor of Undivided Punjab University) and also Tapishwar Narain Raina, Chief of Indian Army staff and High Commissioner to Canada. His father pioneered the construction of the first Kashmiri Houseboats to meet the needs of European visitors who could not acquire immovable property.

His parents were ardent devotees of priest and guru Swami Ram. Followers believe he was blessed before birth, when Swami Ram gave a single almond to Swamiji's mother to eat and Lakshmanjoo was born nine months later. He was named after the Ramayana epic, a reference to the brothers Ram and Lakshman, by Swami Ram who said at his birth "I am Ram; let the child be called Lakshman".

Chronology

Followers believe as a child Lakshmanjoo showed clear signs of spirituality and would become easily absorbed in his own nature from the age of three. Too young to find the appropriate yogic expression, the child described this state as "badhi bhod" which in Kashmiri means "greater than the greatest."

Up to the age of seven his spiritual progress was watched closely by Swami Ram. When Swami Ram died he entrusted the young boy to his disciple, Swami Matabakak. At the age of sixteen Swami Matabakak initiated the young Lakshmanjoo into the practical aspects of Kashmir Shaivism and told him that with regular practice he could experience the reality of consciousness within six months. Followers believe he approached his practice with such zeal that he had his first taste of God Consciousness within a month, at the age of sixteen. After that glimpse of the Divine he took a vow of lifelong celibacy and dedication to the realization of the highest state of God Consciousness.

In 1934, when he was twenty seven, his father built an Ashram at the foot hills of Ishbher/Gupta Ganga (Nishat). He began teaching Shaiva Sutras to his disciples there, the chief amongst them being Sushree Sharika Devi d/o Pt. Jialal Sopory who in later years was considered by followers to also be a saint.

During the next three decades Lakshmanjoo immersed himself in Kashmir Shaiva philosophy. He believed intellectual understanding needed to be tested with personal experience. By 1965 he had acclaim as a lineage holder of the oral tradition of Kashmir Shaivism and until his death he received a regular stream of visitors from India and abroad. He was well known then in Kashmir. He gave teachings to people of any race or religion or economic situation and did not require recompense.

The following notable authors came to study with Lakshmanjoo: Paul Reps, Lillian Silburn, Andre Padoux, Thakur Jaideva Singh, Rameshwara Jha, Prof. Alexis Sanderson, Dr. Mark Dyczkowski, Pandit Jankinath Kaul, John Hughes, Dr. Bettina Baumer,.

Before he died in 1991, to continue his teachings he established in India the Ishwar Ashram Trust at Srinagar, Kashmir and in the United States he established the Universal Shaiva Fellowship. Ishwar Ashram Trust now governs four ashrams in Kashmir, Jammu, New Delhi, and Mumbai.

Lineage

Lakshmanjoo dedicated his life to Kashmir Shaivism. Followers believe the lineage originates and reached Lakshmanjoo in this way:

In the beginning of the present cycle of sat-yuga Lord Shiva appeared in the form of Svacchandanath with five heads and his wonderful eighteen arms. In this form he narrated the various scriptures (Agamas and Tantras) of our Shaivism.

In sat-yuga, treta-yuga, and dvapara-yuga, masters and disciples were so great that they remembered everything instantaneously. There was no need to write anything down or refer to books, hence in those ages they were initiated verbally.

When kali-yuga occurred, these Masters and disciples became disappointed, they hid themselves in unknown places in order to avoid the touch of worldly people. Because of this, the theory of the Bhairava Tantras and Kashmir Shaivism was lost. Lord Shiva, however, always wishes to illuminate the universe, and so He reappeared in this world on Mount Kailash in the form of Shrikanthanath. In this form He again taught the theory of the Bhairava Tantras to Durvasa Rishi. After telling Durvasa Rishi to expand the thought of Bhairava Tantras in all the universe without restriction of caste, creed, color, or gender, Shrikanthanath disappeared into the ether.

After meditating completely to acquire a real and fit disciple Durvasa Rishi became disappointed. He could not find anyone in this world fit to be initiated, so out of his mental power he created one mind-born son whom he called Tryambakanatha. Durvasa 'initiated him completely in the way of monistic Bhairava Tantras. Afterwards, he created two more mind-born sons, Amardakanatha and Shrinatha whom he initiated into the dualistic Shiva Tantras and the mono-dualistic Rudra Tantras respectively. All of this was done by Durvasa Rishi for the upliftment of humankind.

Durvasa Rishi created one mind-born daughter Ardhatryambaka, whom he initiated completely in the monistic way. Known as the Ardhatryambaka school of the Bhairava Tantras, this teaching manifests itself secretly from one woman to another. Unlike some other spiritual traditions in India, Kashmir Shaivism does not recognize women as inferior. In fact, Swami Lakshmanjoo tells us, "if a woman remains one-pointed in her spiritual practice, she can achieve in twelve days what would normally take one year". There is no history of the Ardhatryambaka school in kali-yuga.

Durvasa Rishi's mind born son Tryambakanatha, also created his own mind-born son and named him Tryambakaditya, which means "the expansion of Tryambakanatha". Tryambakaditya created his own mind-born son, and after initiating him he disappeared into the ether.

In this manner fifteen generations of Siddha's were created by mind. When, however, the fifteenth Siddha attempted to create a mind-born son, he was not successful. It is said he was not fully introverted, as he was also given to worldly pleasures. However, after sitting in long meditation, he found in this world a girl with good qualities, and went to her father and made arrangements to marry.

They had one son named Sangamaditya who came to the valley of Kashmir. Like his father, Sangamaditya married and produced a son named Varshaditya, whom he initiated completely in the thought of the monistic Bhairava Tantras. Varshaditya married and produced a son named Arunaditya, whom he initiated fully. Arunaditya also married and created a son named Ananda, whom he initiated and who was also completely informed in all practical aspects of Shaivism. This sage Ananda was the father of Somananda, the originator of the Pratyabhijna School of Shaivism and author of the 'Shiva Dristi'.

Up to this time (800 C.E.), initiation into the monistic thought of the Bhairava Tantras took place from father to son only. After Somananda this initiation took place from master to disciple. Somananda was the master of Utpaladeva. Utpaladeva was the master of Lakshmanagupta. And Lakshmanagupta was a master of the great Abhinavagupta, (950-1025 C.E.).

Abhinavagupta had many masters of whom he considered Shambunatha, his master in Kaula System, to be the most illustrious. Abhinavagupta was a complete authority on Kashmir Shaivism and although he had many disciples, both men and women, his chief disciple was Kshemaraja and the chief disciple of Kshemaraja was Yogaraja.

Since its beginning the sacred lineage of Kashmir Shaiva masters has remained unbroken, yet due to the rise and fall of Kashmir over the past 700 years, it has been practically hidden from view.

Lakshmanjoo completes that lineage. In 1860, Swami Manakak was recognized in the lineage as a great Master of Kashmir Shaivism. He initiated Swami Raam (1852-1914), who became a lineage holder of the secrets of Trika Shaivism. Swami Raam's chief disciple was Swami Mahatabakak and his disciple was Swami Lakshmanjoo.

Publications

Throughout his adult life Lakshman was involved in teaching Kashmirian Saiva texts. He translated into both Hindi and English what he considered to be the most important texts of his tradition. The following are a list of publications available through the Ishwar Ashram Trust in India and the Universal Shaiva Fellowship in the USA.

* 1933 - Sanskrit Gitartha Samgraha (Abhinavgupta's commentary on the Bhagavad Gita)
* 1943 - Hindi translation of Sambpanchashika
* 1958 - Sri Kramanayadipika (Hindi) on the 12 Kali's
* 1964 - Hindi translation of Utpaladeva's Shivastotravali
* 1982 - Lectures on practice and discipline in Kashmir Shaivism
* 1985 - Kashmir Shaivism: The Secret Supreme, edited by John Hughes (the essence of the first fifteen chapters of Abhinavagupta's Tantraloka)
* 1986 - Hindi commentary by Swami Lakshmanjoo on Abhinavagupta's Bhagavad Gitartha Samgraha
* 1987 - Hindi translation of Panchastavi
* 1990 - English commentary by Swami Lakshmanjoo on Abhinavagupta's Bhagavad Gitartha Samgraha – DVD.
* 1994 - Self Realization in Kashmir Shaivism, Oral Teachings of Swami Lakshmanjoo, edited by John Hughes

* 2002 - English translation of Shiva Sutras of Vasugupta edited by John Hughes
* 2002 - Shiva Sutras of Vasugupta, along with original audio recordings)
* 2006 - Trika Rahasya Prakriya, by Swami Lakshmanjoo (Sanskrit verses with Hindi commentary)
* 2007 - Vijnana Bhairava, original audio and transcript, introduction by John Hughes

Kashmir Shaivism – Library

Over a period of nineteen years John Hughes recorded Swami Lakshmanjoo's translations of the following texts. Transcripts of these lectures are maintained in the Universal Shaiva Fellowship library.

* Bhagavadgitarthasamgraha of Abhinavagupta, translation and commentary by Swami Lakshmanjoo, original audio recordings (Kashmir, 28 Nov. 1978 to 3 June 80).

* Bodhapancadashika of Abhinavagupta, translation and commentary by Swami Lakshmanjoo, original audio recordings (Kashmir, 18 to 22 Oct 1980).

* Dehastadevatacakra of Abhinavagupta, translation and commentary by Swami Lakshmanjoo, original audio recordings (Kashmir, 25 Oct to 12 Nov 1980).

* Interviews with Swami Lakshmanjoo: Questions by John Hughes, Alexis Sanderson, Alice Christenson, original audio recordings (July 1974).

* Janma Marana Vicara: translation and commentary by Swami Lakshmanjoo, original audio recordings (Kashmir, May 1975).

* Kashmir Shaivism, The Secret Supreme, (Special Lectures in English), Swami Lakshmanjoo, original audio recordings (Kashmir, 1972).

* Kashmiri Lectures on Practice and Discipline, Swami Lakshmanjoo, original audio recordings (Kashmir, 1980).

* Paramarthasara (Abhinavagupta’s commentary): Swami Lakshmanjoo’s comments on John Hughes’ reading, original audio recordings (Kashmir, 26 April to 6 Sept 1972).

* Parapraveshika of Kshemaraja: translation and commentary by Swami Lakshmanjoo, original audio recordings (Kashmir, 12 to 15 Nov 1980).

* Pratyabhijna Hridayam of Kshemaraja: Swami Lakshmanjoo’s answers John Hughes questions: original audio recordings (Kashmir, 26 April 1972).

* Paratrishika Laghuvritti of Abhinavagupta: translation and commentary by Swami Lakshmanjoo, original audio recordings (Kashmir, 25 May 1974 to 6 July 1974)

* Paratrishika Vivarana of Abhinavagupta, translation and commentary by Swami Lakshmanjoo, original audio recordings (Kashmir, 26 May1982 to 24 Aug 1985).

* Revelations on Grace and Practice: A collection of Swami Lakshmanjoo’s original audio recordings plus Transcript, ed. John Hughes (USA, May 9, 2005).

* Shivastotravali of Utpaladeva: translation by Swami Lakshmanjoo, original audio recordings (Kashmir, June 1976 to Sept 1978).

* Shiva Sutra Vimarshini of Vasugupta: translation and commentary by Swami Lakshmanjoo, original audio recordings (Kashmir, 7 June 1975).

* Spanda Karika of Vasugupta: translation and commentary by Swami Lakshmanjoo, original audio recordings (Kashmir, 5 Aug to 26 Aug 1981).

* Spanda Samdoha of Kshemaraja: translation and commentary by Swami Lakshmanjoo, original audio recordings (Kashmir, 29 Aug to 9 Oct 1981).

* Special Verses on Practice Swami Lakshmanjoo, original audio recordings (Nepal, 1988).

* Stavacintamani of Bhatta Narayana: translation and commentary by Swami Lakshmanjoo, original audio recordings (Kashmir, 26 Nov 1980 to 17 July 1981).

* Tantraloka of Abhinavagupta (Chapters 1-18): translation and commentary by Swami Lakshmanjoo, original audio recordings (Kashmir, 1976 to 1981).

* Vatulanath Sutras of Kshemaraja: Swami Lakshmanjoo, original audio recordings (Kashmir, 19).

* Vijnana Bhairava: translation and commentary by Swami Lakshmanjoo, original audio recordings (Kashmir, 1975).

* Vijnana Bhairava Questions: Swami Lakshmanjoo, original audio recordings (Kashmir, July 1985).

Audio (Kashmiri language)

* Kalika Stotra of Shivanandanatha, Recitation by Swami Lakshmanjoo and devotees, (Kashmir, 1977).

* Maharthamanjari of Maheshvarananda, translated by Swami Lakshmanjoo, (Kashmir, 1977).

* Paratrishika Vivarana, translated by Swami Lakshmanjoo, (Kashmir, 1982-83).

* Shiva Sutras Vimarshini of Vasugupta, translated by Swami Lakshmanjoo, (Kashmir, 1978).

* Shiva Stotravali of Utpaladeva with Kshemaraja’s commentary, translated by Swami Lakshmanjoo, (Kashmir, 1975-85).

* Stuti Kushmanjail, translated by Swami Lakshmanjoo, (Kashmir, 1977).

* Tantraloka of Abhinavagupta, (Selected chapters) translated by Swami Lakshmanjoo, (Kashmir, 1975-85).

DVD library (English)

* Bhagavadgitarthasamgraha of Abhinavagupta, translation and commentary by Swami Lakshmanjoo, original video recordings (Nepal, 1990)

* Paramarthasara of Abhinavagupta, translation and commentary by Swami Lakshmanjoo, original video recording (Nepal, 1990)

* Revelations on Grace and Spiritual Practice, Selections from translations and commentaries on Bhagavadgitarthasamgrah (video), Paramarthasara (video), and Tantraloka (audio). (Los Angeles, 2006)

* Special Verses on Practice Swami Lakshmanjoo, original video recordings (Nepal, 1988).

References

External links

* [http://www.koausa.org/Saints/LakshmanJoo/index.html Two Articles on Swami Lakshmanjoo] by G.N. Raina, Pandit Jankinath Kaul 'Kamal'
* [http://universalshaivafellowship.org/ Swami Lakshmanjoo, USA]
* [http://www.ishwarashramtrust.com/ Swami Lakshmanjoo, India]


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