On the LOC stands this shrine of the great mystic saint!
Sain Miran Sahib Miran Sahib, he taught spiritualism and meditation to the people of Poonch in the last century!
By: M S Nazki
Poonch is a bit of a heavenly cradle, culturally and traditionally at the top of the deck and beauty wise absolutely magical. It is a land of Sufi saints, place of the brave Sikhs and above all the Hindu mythological content is immense. I would still say that this is a place yet to be fully explored. The district has seen tumultuous times down the ages from the majestic Mughal period and beyond when there were no borders and political savagery in Pakistan was missing. Right down the history the stories are far too much but the problem is that the material is in bits and pieces. Whatever can be found is in Kalhana’s voluminous writings and whatever the Mughal writers put down in books. The British writers before independence wrote a great deal about Kashmir but the same enthusiasm they did not show in this District! The reasons incidentally are not known!
Long back before I spied a gem-blue stream in the forests of Pir Panjals, It was seeping and dribbling as it swerved through the trees. It jumped for joy over the timeworn rocks. I heard once that rivers are the arteries of the forest. This one was sparkling like tinsel. The fluttering butterflies drifted over it lazily. I bent my head down to drink from it. It was very stimulating. The aroma of the forest was very powerful. I plucked a few berries and they were lush and fruity to the tongue. The incident is of forests of Dera Ki Gali, DKG in abbreviated form.
Above this rumbling brook on the mountains were vampire-white. A wave of white snow went rolling down the sides. They were all crumpled at the base. They were sky-stabbing at the top. The legs of the mountains were very wide. The peaks of the mountains were like harpoon tips. They were shrouded in ghost-grey mist. The air was chilling and numbing. The heaven-touching apex of the mountain was drenched in brilliant light. Spikes of thin light impaled the snow in a bristling, moving line. I assumed that the heat had displaced the snow from the hip of the time chiseled mountain. All across our line of sight, the tips of the mountain range stuck up like a row of thorns. Swaddled around them were necklaces of powdery snow. This is what Poonch is, absolutely magical and an ideal place to get into the meditative mood. The locales drive you to spiritualism and that is the reason perhaps why the great Sufi saints came here to meditate and spread spiritualism. The reason was that there was no better place. These five Ziarats/shrines prove exactly that:
- Ziarat Sain Miran Sahib: This Ziarat is located in village Guntrian near the line of actual control with Pakistan occupied Kashmir. The place is frequently visited by devotees of different religious faiths who have firm belief that whatever is wished before the holy seat does never go unfulfilled.
- Ziarat Chhote Shah Sahib: Three day annual Urs is celebrated at Sakhi Maidan about 5 kms from Mendhar in the memory of Muslims Saint Sakhi Peer Chhota Shah whose Ziarat is located there and is held in high esteem by Hindus & Muslims alike in the area. Barely a few hundred yards from Ziarat lies the ruins of ancient architecture popularly believed to be of the Pandavas.
- Ziarat Sain Illahi Bakash Sahib: The famous Ziarat of Sain Illahi Bakhsh Sahib is located in village Battalkote in Mandi block of Poonch district. This place is 37 Km north of Poonch town and about 4 kms. from Loran. Battalkote is the last inhabited but most beautiful and attractive village and is located in between The southern hills of Peer Panjal range and confluence of streams Nain Sukh and Nandishool. The shrine is located in the heart of village on the sloppy land and grassy ridge. The God-fearing Sain Illahi Bakhsh Sahib came to Battalkote around 1948 AD and spent the rest of his life in this very place till his death. He was a soofi saint, preacher of brotherhood and worked for humanity. He spread the message of love, affection and brotherhood of Soofi-Ism among the public and inspired not only muslims but Hindus and Sikhs also. He was true Sufi, remained unmarried and passed his life as a Darvesh. Sain Illahi Bakhsh Sahib died on 16th of May,1976. Four days before his death, he told his devotees that his last time has come. He identified the place for his grave and asked the devotees to keep his body open for three days for public before burial.
- Ziarat Pir Fazal Shah Sahib: This Shrine is located in village Guntrian near the line of actual control in the Poonch District of Jammu region. It is 10 kilometers away on the north-east side of Poonch city. The attractive natural beauty of this place had compelled Hazarat Sain Baba Miran Bakhsh to migrate from across the LOC in 1954. His native village Nanga Nari is located on the southern slope of Neza Pir Pass across the Line of Actual Control. The place is frequently visited by devotees of different religious faiths who have a firm belief that whatever is wished before the holy seat does never go unfulfilled.
All these are great places with splendid history but today we would be concentrating on Sain Miran Bakhsh.
- Guntrian Sharief is the last stop located on Doda ridge of the Tehsil Haveli District Poonch.
- The attractive natural beauty of this place had compelled Hazrat Sain Baba Miran Bakhsh to migrate from across the LOC in 1954. His native village Nanga Nari is located on the southern slope of Neza Pir Pass across the Line of Actual Control.
- At Dargha Sharief Hazrat Sain Baba Miran Baksh, the attractive marble building of Roza Sharif has marble and Kashmiri KhatamBand woodwork as far as the architecture goes.
- The double storey mosque was also completed for the convenience of the pilgrims to offer prayer. The complex is spread over 60 Kkanal of land and comprises the Asthan of Hazrat Sain Mira Baksh, mosque, langer Khana and two dining halls, one for male and the other for the ladies.
- One Mehman Khana has been constructed by the management committee while there is a three storey building also for the pilgrims. The Tourism Department has also constructed a guest house with three halls with bedding arrangements.
- Sain Miran Baksh was a famous spiritual personality of his time, hundreds of devotees thronged his Asthan every day in the village Guntrian.
*As per the legendary stories in the first instance, Baba Sahib would beat his devotees with a stick and abuse them just to prevent them from coming near to him for blessing. Then slowly and politely the devotees would come close to Baba Sahib for his blessing.
- He was a Sufi saint by nature and traveled from place to place in search of a location which would suit him for meditation. Ultimately, he selected the village Guntrian and settled there once for all.
- The real name of Baba Sahib is Sain Miran Baksh Awan. His father Mohd Aziz was popularly known as Mattu. Sain Sahib had three brothers namely Sain Sahib, Billa and Kala.
*Baba Sahib was the eldest among them. When he was seven years old, he got employed by Raja Ghulam Mohd Jagirdar of Sadhrun. He served for about twelve years.
- During those days he used to go to Pir Noor Din Shah of Rankari and became his disciple. He came under the influence of Baba Wasta and Begum Shabia, who were also disciples of Pir Noor Din Shah.
- Thus he left the service of Raja Gulam Mohd and shifted to Rankari in the house of Pir Sahib and remained in the company of saintly souls for many years.
- Another story says that in 1943 AD Pir Noor Din, Pir Mohd Shah, Baba Wasta, Begum Shaiba and Sain Mera Baksh assembled at Guntrian at Niaz. Then Pir Noor Din asked Sain Miran Bakesh to settle at this very place. After the happenings of 1947, when the ceasefire line was established between Neza Pir and Guntrian, Sain Baba was at Nanga Nari across the ceasefire line. However, he wanted to come to Guntrian. Therefore, he crossed the ceasefire line and came to Poonch city. He was arrested and pushed back. After a week, he again appeared in the city.
*He was then presented before Brigadier Pritam Singh who again passed orders to push him back to Pakistan. Therefore, he was again pushed back. There is a tale that immediately after this incident Brigadier Pritam Singh was called and subsequently dismissed. Finally he settled but not without further hiccups about which we will definitely tell you later.
He was a charismatic Sufi saint and the people of all religions loved him. They say in raptures that he was a messenger of God and the belief is etched in the minds of the people. Poonch is a lovely place as far as brotherhood of man goes and all the ingredients were presented to the people by saints such as Baba Miran Sahib! There were many others too!