BY HAROON RASHID BHAT
“In this particular verse, he has been given the title “Shaar” (Lion). In Kashmiri we say “Seh”. This became the reason for his popularity as Seh Reshi Baba”
It has been reflecting from the historical records that the peripheries of Srinagar city starting from the northern slopes of the central part of the Zaberwan mountain range up to the upper hills of Dara-Harwan that also include the entire area of Elaqafaq (Area from Dara to Nagbal) remained the preferred zone for Sufi saints for meditation. Many Sufi saints connected with the Lineage (Silsila) of Sheikh Hamza Mukdoom RA selected the same area for mediation to attain spiritual elevations. Among those Sufi saints, the most prominent figures who made occasional visits to this area are Baba Dawood Khaki RA, Qari Ishaq Narvari RA, and Baba Dawood Mushkati RA.
It has been said that Seh Reshi Baba RA who was residing at Dara came under the influence of Qari Ishaq Narvari RA. He took allegiance on his hand and became his chief disciple forever. So for his earlier life is concerned, there is no concrete evidence about his place of birth or D.O.B. But there is an oral tradition famous among the local people that this Sufi saint came from Kabul known by the name Nisha Sahab.
Almost, all the well-known historians who compiled the biographies of various Sufi saints from time to time mentioned his name with a brief introduction. Renowned historians like Mohammad Azam Dedmari, Hassan Shah Khuhama penned down his biographical sketch in their historical accounts- “Waqati Kashmir” Tawariq Hassan” According to these available historical accounts, the authors also endorsed his spiritual relationship with Qari Ishaq Narvari RA who nurtured him, shaped his personality and raised his spiritual status. Like other Sufi saints, he believed in simple life, honesty, hard work, humanity, and purity. He led a very virtuous and strict life, followed the teaching of his spiritual mentor (Murshid) with strong commitment. He was earning his livelihood by performing agriculture activities like sowing, hoeing, reaping, etc.
Scholar’s like- Peer Zada Mohammad Touib Hussain Naqshbandi, Dr. M. Yusuf Bukhara noted down in their writings that Baba Sahab RA had a perfect friendship with Baba Dawood Mushqati RA. He made occasional visits to meet Baba Sahab at Dara exchanging spiritual thoughts for hours. He used to visit the Khanqhi Mukdoom Sahab RA. There, he got a chance to meet his contemporaries. He also got spiritual enlightenment from Naseeb-Ul-Din RA.
One day Baba Sahab RA was busy in agronomic activity- Hoeing. In the meantime, his friend arrived there watched his actions keenly. Baba Sahab said, “O! My friend, let us do hoeing together” He refused and said, “I am Reshi and can’t kill the living creature as you are doing right now, it is against the Reshi faith.” That particular episode left a deep impression on his psyche. He fainted on the ground. His whole body sweated with fear of Almighty Allah. When his body was revitalized, he left all material assets and adopted complete isolation from worldly affairs, did long hour day and night meditation (Zikri -Azkar) at the foothills of Dara Harwan. His physical death occurred in 1047 Hijri just after that particular episode. One of his comrades recorded his date of death in the following verse “ Khardi Gufti Az Bahir Tareeq Aw- Ki Shaari-Biyabani Ushaq Gow.” . In this particular verse, he has been given the title of Shaar (Lion). In Kashmir, we say “Seh”. This became the reason for his popularity as Seh Rishi Baba.
This Sufi saint is buried in Dara Harwan at Asthan Mohalla which is almost 26 Km away from Srinagar city. Peer Mohammad Yaseen RA, one of the prime Khalifa’s of Syed Mirak Shah Kashani RA played a key role in the construction of the Shrine. The people of the entire Elaqiphaq area celebrate his annual day- Urs on the 18th of Har (Kashmiri Calendar) with great fairness and gaiety. Native people of Dara, Chaki-Dara, Faqeer Gogri, voluntarily arrange a special feast, served Kashmiri tea with traditional maize flour bread on that very day and welcome each visitor with an open heart. Inspired by Nisar Ahmad Bhat from Tulmula, Ganderbal.
Haroon Rashid Bhat is a teacher and columnist , can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.