Kashmir – A Page from History


By: Mrs. Meenakshi Vidhyasagar

In the current of time, ‘present’ is nothing but  a continuation of ‘past’. History is a good tool for the people to know their roots in the past. Kashmir and people there are no exception to this natural process. Legend has this to say:

Kashmir belongs to the Presiding Diety, Devi Sharada.

Rishi Kashyap emptied ‘Satisar’ – a huge ‘Mira’, which means sarovar. Thus the name of the place became Kashyap + Mira.. Kashmira.

This feat was achieved with the help of his son ‘Anant Nag’ to protect his progeny from a harassing demon.

This emptied land under the aegis of the Presiding deity Devi Sharada was developed into a huge learning center of the Vedas, Upanishads and other holy scriptures.

See this Sanskrit sloka:

“Namaste Sharada Devi..
Kashmira Pura vasini,
Tvaamaham prartaye nityam..
Vidya daanancha dehime..”

Thus we address the Devi as ‘Kashmira Pura vasini’.

Do you know what is the Kashmiri script called? It is ‘Sharada.’

What were the Sanskrit learning centers​ in Kashmir called ? ‘Sharada Peetha’.

To top it all.. once the entire Kashmir was called “Sharada Desha”!

Adi Shankar went all the way to worship Devi Sharada and to learn from the enlightened Pandits.

He was overwhelmed by the Sharada Peetha on the bank of river Krishna Ganga. That inspired him to establish a similar Sharada Peetha in Sringeri on the banks of river Tungabhadra. It is said the wooden ‘Mula Vigraha’ was brought from Kashmir to Sringeri.

Adi Shankara visited Kashmir along with some of his disciples. In the beginning they were staying with a Pandits family.

The Pandits were impressed by Shankaracharya’s in-depth knowledge of the Vedas. They felt privileged to host the enlightened one.

However Shankara insisted that they cook their own food. The hosts although felt slightly humiliated, nevertheless gave them all the necessary items to prepare their food. Somehow they had missed out on the fire to do the cooking. It was little late for the Shankaracharya’s disciples to wake up the hosts for the fire, so they all slept hungry.

In the morning the pandit couple came to enquire if everything is alright. They saw all the items were lying uncooked. The disciples said since there was no fire and they didn’t want to disturb the hosts, hence no dinner was cooked.

The lady of the house came forward and sprinkled some water over the firewood and the wood started burning.

Adi Shankaracharya realised that this was the message for him to learn more about virtues of the enlightened people of Kashmir, which is bestowed upon them by Devi Sharada.

He stayed at top of the hill near the lake. This hill is known as “Shankaracharya Hill” to commemorate the visit of Adi Shankara to Kashmir.

Unfortunately the Sharada Peetha of Kashmir is in Pakistan controlled Kashmir and no Indian pilgrims are permitted to visit the holy place.

The temple itself is in dilapidated state due to nature’s vagaries and sheer neglect.

Perhaps if Sharada Peetha is restored to the past glory, the blessings will do good to the people of Kashmir.

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