Lakshman Joo

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Lakshmanjoo

Swami Lakshmanjoo Raina (9 May 1907 – 27 September 1991) was a mystic and scholar of Kashmir Shaivism or Trika. He was known as Lal Sahib (friend of God) by followers, who considered him a fully realized saint.[1]

Biography[edit]

Swami Lakshmanjoo was born in Srinagar, Kashmir on May 9, 1907. From childhood he spent his whole life studying and practicing Kashmir Shaivism. He was the fifth child in a household of four boys and five girls. His father Pt. Naraindas Raina (also known as Nav Narayan) was the first man to have introduced House Boats in Kashmir and his mother Smt. Arnyamali was a noble and god fearing lady.

By the time his eldest brother Maheshwar Nath Raina had reached the age of eighteen his mother had given birth to three more daughters but no more sons. His parents approached Swami Ram, their family guru, and asked him to help. Swami Ram blessed an almond and gave it to Swamiji’s mother to eat. When the news of the birth was conveyed to Swami Ram, he danced in joy and exclaimed “I am Ram, let the child be called Lakshman.”

At the age of three Lakshman played at making Siva-lingams out of clay for worship. At five he would sit down for meditation. His abnormal behaviour worried his parents, but Swami Ram said the boy was a great yogi in his past life and that his yoga would be consummated in this life. Lakshmanjoo's childhood was spent under the spiritual care of Swami Ram who taught him to repeat the Gayatri Mantra and conveyed the principles of Kashmir Shaivism. Before Swami Ram died he entrusted the seven-year-old Lakshman to the charge of his principle disciple, Swami Mehtab Kak, who taught the boy the oral tradition of Shiva Shastra.

In school the boy used to become deeply absorbed. One of his teachers asked him what he experienced, and he replied "Badi Bod" - the highest. Another teacher asked him to do physical exercise but Lakshman gathered a group of students and sang bhajans, so that the teacher gave him 25 cane strokes on him.

At 13 his parents thought of arranging his marriage, but Lakshman's refused. When he was in pre-matriculation his father fell ill, so he, along with his brothers, was asked to look after the business so that he had to give up school. He devoted most of his time to study with Mehtab Kak and the practice of Yoga. He used to practice meditation from 2AM till dawn.

At the age of 20 he experienced self-realization. After this, he would go into Samadhi even at work and lost interest in business, for which his father reprimanded him. He left home. His brothers found a piece of paper with the following note; "My dear brothers, I am leaving in search of the Supreme, kindly take care of my parents".

It emerged that he was practising yoga at the famous ashram of Sadhamalyun (Sadhuganga) in Handawara, Kashmir. Eventually his father succeeded in persuading him to come to the city and live in a newly built house in the factory premises. Here he continued to study Kashmir Shaivite literature. His father engaged the most knowledgeable pandit, Maheshwar Razdan, to teach his son at home. He also studied Sanskrit grammar and the schools of Indian philosophy.

During 1934-35 Brahmachari Lakshmanajoo chose a secluded place in the foothills above Ishber village in the vicinity of the Nishat garden, where his ideal teacher Abhinavagupta, one of the most prominent authors of Kashmir Shaivism, had lived nine centuries before. A bungalow was constructed by his parents at the selected site.

When he was about 30 he visited certain places in India to confer with saints. He spent some time on the Bombay beach and a short time with Mahatma Gandhi at Sevagram, then Sri Aurobindo at Pondicherry, where Aurobindo's mother evinced interest in him. Therefrom he found his way to Tiruvanamalai to meet Ramana Maharshi. There he spent some weeks, and later commented; “I felt those golden days were indeed divine”.

He attracted the attention of western writers such as Paul Reps, whose rendering of the Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, later used by Osho, brought Swami Lakshmanjoo and the meditation methods of his school to international prominence, and Miguel Serrano, the Chilean mystical writer. Throughout his life numerous scholars paid respects to him an received teachings free of charge, among them Paul Reps, Lilian Silburn, Andre Padoux, Jaidev Singh, Rameshwa Jha, Jankinath (Kamal) Kaul, Professor Gherardu Gnoli, Professor Alexis Sanderson, Mark Dycskowski and John Hughes.

Lakshmanjoo founded the Srinagar-based Ishwar Ashram Trust, which continues his teachings on Kashmir Shaivism and Trika philosophy.[2]

Publications[edit]

Lakshmanjoo was involved in teaching Kashmiri Shaivite texts throughout his adult life. He translated the texts he considered the most important of his tradition into both Hindi and English;

  • 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
  • 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
  • 2005 – Revelations on Grace and Spiritual Practice, original audio and DVD recordings
  • 2006 – Trika Rahasya Prakriya, by Swami Lakshmanjoo (Sanskrit verses with Hindi commentary)
  • 2007 – Vijnana Bhairava, original audio and transcript, introduction by John Hughes
  • 2009 – Bhagavad Gitartha Samgraha of Abhinavagupta (Revisited), Chapters 1–6, translated by Swami Lakshmanjoo, DVD
  • 2013 – Bhagavad Gītā, in the Light of Kashmir Shaivism, Chapters 1-18, translated by Swami Lakshmanjoo, DVD

Kashmir Shaivism – Library[edit]

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

  • Bhagavad Gitartha Samgraha 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 Lakshman joo, original audio recordings (Kashmir, 1975).
  • 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)[edit]

  • 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)[edit]

  • 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[edit]

  1. ^ "Swami Lakshmanjoo". Retrieved 2008-02-28. 
  2. ^ "Swamy Lakshmanjoo's Birth Centenary Celebrations". One India. Retrieved 5 Jun 2012. 

External links[edit]