Nimi Bhat PanditaMata Sharika of Hari Parbat in Kashmir is also regarded as Mata Alakhashwari Roopa Bhawani Ji. Word Roopa means form and Bhawani means Mother Creatrix. As per Kashmiri ethos, it is believed that pleased with his great devotion, Mata Sharika in the form of a little girl appeared before her staunch Kashmiri Pandit devotee, Madhav Joo during auspicious occasion of Brahma Muhurta and asked, “Speak out your wish”. Prostrated at Mata’s feet, he submitted, “I wish you are born as my daughter.” Mata Sharika granted the boon by giving birth to a girl child to his wife on Maag Jyaistha Purnamasi in 1621 AD at Safakadal in Srinagar city, that chronicled as birth of Mata Roopa Bhawani.Renowned Yogini and a reputed spiritual poetess, Mata occupies an iconic saint-position in religio-spiritual tradition of Kashmir. She is one of the most revered scholar and saint, known for her masterful spiritual wisdom of the mystic occurrences, transcendental perceptions and social assertions. Her soul staring sayings and sermons in Kashmiri most commonly known as Vakhs, enormously popular among her devotees, are full of metaphysical truths, incorporeal perfections, Yogic realisations and true to mundane life discernments.During those times, the birth of a girl child in a Kashmiri Pandit family was believed to be form of Mata Raganya or Mata Durga or Mata Lakshmi, hence she was named as ‘Alakshyeshwari’ meaning one who is unnoticeable. It is also referred to Goddess in unnoticeable form of life. It is said that since her birth, the baby girl had spiritual powers and filled with divine touch. Maintaining family traditions, her father, as her Guru, continued to preach teachings of Vedas and Upnishads to her tender age. Mata grew up in profound religiously righteous and spiritual ambience of her home under guidance of her father.From her childhood days, she started to reshape prevailing Kashmiri household culture in to divine sanity and encouraged spiritual devotion that helped in reduction of difference of opinion and resolution of various socio-religious conflicts. Mata also started cultivating human tolerance that created love for each other and so she was also accepted as a social reformer by the society.In persuit of solitary location for continuing her spiritual Sadhana, Mata went to Manigam, then to Vaskura followed by Cheshma-Sahib, all serine village hamlets in central Kashmir, away from materialistic world. She preferred to remain in the company of saints, learned people and devotees all over to follow the path of spirituality. The great old chinar tree on banks of river Sind in Manigam, the culmination of a half-burnt branch planted by Mata, is still standing there as a mute but living witness to her spirituality. A blind man, who sincerely served Mata with his full devotion, got back his vision and to address scarcity of water for locals, Mata dug a well at Vaskura, whose water is considered to be pure and pious is still thereat. These are some of the miracles Mata did for her devotees. Further, Mata’s brother, also her devotee, requested her to bless his illiterate son. Mata gave him a pen and paper and asked him to write and he got transformed to a writer, an educated person. These are some among numerous miracles of Mata.Mata Roopa Bhawani preached much needed awareness among innocent women for development of their divine feeling of self respect and nurtured their sentiments for the eternal peace for the peace of the society, which under present times is seen as ‘Women empowerment’.Mata was a Goddess born on earth with a religio-spiritual purpose and her legendary life and Vakhs shall continue to enrich us to move forward on right path of life.
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