Hinduism was the main religion of the people of Kashmir till the 14th century. When Islam was brought to Kashmir by Sayyids who fled Arabia as Timur, the Mangol marauder , invaded it. Bulbulshah and Amir Kabir (Shah Hamdan) were the prominent among them.
Renchan, a Tibetan Prince who had sought asylum in the court of last Hindu ruler of that time, Sinha Deva. Later, he revolted against his benefactor, occupied the throne. He desired to study , Hindu Shastras and become a Hindu, but Pandits (local) refused saying that he was a Tibetan and had no right to study Shastra. So he embraced Islam under the name of Saddar-u-Din. He was followed by others – Courtiers, Darbaris and the low caste people.
Maximum number of conversions took place in Sikander’s tim. A contemporary historian has given an eyewitness account of theses conversions in his Raj Tarangini – II. Many Hindus fled. But after Sikandar’s death , his son Zain-ul-Abidin brought them back. Shri Bhat was his Prime Minister.
Hindu, Spirituality , is based on “VASUDEVA Kutambakam”, or whole world, one family and tolerance.
And “Asatyo mam Satgamye : From Untruth to Truth,
Tamso mam Jyotirgamye : From Darkness to Light, Mratyo mam Amratamgamye” : From Mortality to Immortality
All saints of Kashmir believed in Universal religion and belief in God and brotherhood of man. They were above caste, creed and colour. Hindus revered Muslim Saints and shrines and Muslims respected Hindu Saints and Shrines. They were God fearing.
Hindu Saints were followers of Vendanta & Shaivism, Upanishads, Purans, Gita, Ramayana, Manu Smriti etc. To them God is Satyam, Shivam , Sateiundram . God was worshipped as Nirakar or Saakar. He is omniscient, transcedant, merciful, helpful and compassionate. He incarnated on earth from time to time as a Prophet, Sri Ram Chander in Treta Yug and Lord Krishna is Dwapar Yug to show to mankind the path of righteousness. In Kaliyuga (the present Yug), Rakshas and Asuras have misled mankind to ignore the right path and follow the evil path of materialism and violence. But saints, sages and seers have been born in all countries to save mankind from doom.
Shaivism was the main religion of Kashmiri Hindus and Pandits. It originated in 8th – 9th Century B.C and Saints Vasu Gupta and Somanand were the propounders. Others were Batakalata, Utpala Deva, Abhinavgupta, Swami Ramji, Vidhyadhar, Ishwar Koul, Gobind Kak, and Gobind Koul, Kashi Reavo, Narayan Koul, Kailash Nath Kalla, Saligram Braro, Jagan Nath Kalu, Mukund Ram Shastri, R.K.Ganjoo etc. were also Shaivite Scholars.
Muslim saints of Kashmir were followers of Sufism and mysticism, which is abstract and intrinsic relation between man and his creator, God. It is sublime and emanates from Oneness. All men are one irrespective of caste, creed, religion or tribes. It strives to create love, fellow feeling and goodwill among them by building a character, on moral values,, equality, justice and sacrifice. “It differs from philosophy in functionalism”.
The great Sufi Saint of India were men of practical wisdom who not only preached, but also practiced it. They lived a transparent life of sacrifice and renunciation. They sought Unity in diversity and believed that although outer modes of religions appear to contradict each other, there is a strong undercurrent of soul-stirring divinity which one must look for. In course of time, man has deviated and fallen for disintegration and hatred in place of unity and love resulting into militancy and terrorism.
About the editor
Professor Dr. Krishan Lal Kalla (Pandit) has to his credit several books such as “Lalla Rookh, Glorious Heritage”, “Eminent Personalities of Kashmir” among his other works. A Gold Medalist Professor Kalla was associated with University of Jammu & Kashmir and Higher Education Department of vaious Colleges of the Jammu & Kashmir State. He also did research on Indo-logical topics at Sharada Peeth Reseach Institution, Karan Nagar, Srinagar under Dr. R.K. Kaw.
Information Courtesy: Gulshan Books. From the pages of “Kashmir Heritage”