Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Biru as Described by an Eminent Historian

Fida describes a cave of no return

Abhinava Cave Biru, Budgam

F M Hassnain

There is no doubt that the names of many towns and villages have been derived from the names of the springs, which existed there. But every such name which has been derived from the name of the spring carrier the appellation of nag (spring) with it. As an instance, the town of Anantnag, Kokarnag, Maliknag etc. are derived from the names of the springs.

But in case of Bhairava-rupa, or Bahurupa, or Biru, we do not find the
appellation of nag. As such, we can not agree with Stien that the name of the village or the tirtha was derived from the name of the spring or the village. The spring at Biru was revered since ancient times, and many qualities were attributed to its water. It was believed that taking of bath with its water would lead to the purification of; not only body, but soul also. Certain miraculous powers were also attributed to this spring and Abul-Fazal, in his Ain-i-Akbari, mentions that its water could heal leprosy.

From the above it is clear that we have to search for, the nag or the
spring, the tirtha or the shrine, and the gupth or the cave of
Bahrupa. The spring exists near the hillock of Biru, which contains
the cave on its eastern side and the foundation of the shrine on the

The Sukh-naga-mahatmiya contains the following information regarding Bahurupa:

Having completed the Shiv-Shastras, The great Abhinov went for the
pilgrimage of Bahurupa. Having become one with Shiva,
He finally attained Shivamm-Avapa-Sh. Having attained the highest

The great Abhinov entered the cave of Bahrupa, accompanied with
accompl-ished disciples, the great Abhinov entered the cave of
Bahurupa, He thus attained Nervamm-Paramm. The village, now known as Biru was once a seat of learning for the study of Bhairava-Tantras. At that time, the place was known as Bhairava, which came to be known as Birwa or Biru during later periods. The temple, on the top of the hillock was dedicated to Shiva, which represents the essence of Bhairava. According to his own statement, Abhina Va-Gupta lived during the end of the 10th century A.D. As he lived during the region of Ananta (1028-1063 A.D.) it can safely be presumed that he passed away in the middle of the 11th century. According to the almanac of the Laukika era 4732, Abhin a Va-Gupts was born on bright fortnight of lunar 11th of Jyeshta month.

Varaha-Gupta was a scholar of repute, and had established himself as
an authority on Shaiva philosophy. His son, Narasimha Gupta alias
Chukhlo Pandit was also a scholar of eminence. As such, proficiency in
Shiva-Suttaras become the heirloom of this family. But Abhina Va-
Gupta, as the application suggests, became the great teacher
propounder of Kashmir Shaivism for all ages to come.

The Abhinava cave is now known as the Biru cave. It has been stated in the Persian Chronicles that at Biru there is a cave, which is deep and long, and none has succeeded in reaching its last post. Abhinava-Gupta entered this cave alongwith his disciples, never to return again. There is a well inside the cave."

This cave was examined by a party of Spanish cave explo-rers and their findings are described as under:

The cave has two entrances from South-east, but both join after a few meters. After 15 meters, the cave has a very big hall on the left and a narrow lane towards the right. The main hall which is 10 meters wide has a platform and many traces. In the corner, there has been fixed a Lingam, surrounded by lamps.

The narrow lane, on the right is nearly, 35 meters in length. An
earthen lamp each is fixed on each curve or bend on way to this lane.
At the farthest end, there is a small hall, which has another Lingam.
Broken pottery is found scattered every where in the main hall, which
served as a dining hall as well as the prayer hall.

It may be mentioned that the cave, described above is not to be
misunderstood for the Bahurupa temple. The cave is tunneled in the
small hillock, on the top of which, I discovered the Bahurupa temple,
many years ago.

The temple which, was made of huge blocks of stones is in a
dilapidated condition. It has fallen down and is in debris. No
excavations have been done at the site by the State Archaeology, which is its care-taker.

While snakes habitat this temple, there are no wild animals or bats in
the cave.

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