Shri Krishna Pranami Faith
As its name implies, the followers of this faith worship and bow before the Supreme Lord - in the form of Shree Krishna. They greet each other with the salutation Pranam, recognising the Divinity in each person. The foundation for this faith was laid by Shri Devchandraji in the 17th century A.D. His disciple, Mahamati Prannath, was responsible for further expounding his Guru's teachings and spreading it throughout India and other parts of the world. We will attempt to summarise its ideas and give the reader some glimpses of the Divine Message propagated by Swami Prannath.
The basis of this faith lies in Hinduism - its basic concepts and teachings originate from the Bhagwat (which is considered to be the last of the Vedic scriptures and contains a summary of the Vedas, Puranas and the Upanishads). Also references to the Vedas are found throughout the 14 volumes that comprise the Kulzam Swaroop - the Ocean of Divine Knowledge given to us by Mahamati Prannath. But the unique thing about its teachings is that 300 years ago, this book contained detailed and authoritative discussions of concepts and ideas contained in the Koran (which is considered to be the last of the Semitic scriptures). The concept of unity of religions and universality of religious teachings is covered very beautifully in it. In fact, Mahamati Prannath never intended to start a separate faith. He wanted to project a concept, an idea that would unite all the peoples, of all religious faiths, together. In this short article, we shall try to acquaint the reader with this Supreme Wisdom.
Shri Devchandraji was born in the home of Shree Matu Mehta (a successful businessman) and Shrimati Kunwar Bai (a very Pious lady). Even from his childhood, he was very curious and contemplative. He always asked the questions - "Who am I? What is this world? Who is its creator? How can I know Him? Why was this world created?" Shree Devchandraji spent his early years in Umarkot (which is now in Sindh, Pakistan). Whenever saints and wise people visited the town, this little boy would ask them those questions. However, none could satisfy his curiosity - he could not get a satisfactory reply. So at the age of 16, he set out to discover the answers for himself. He had to cross the vast Sindh desert. He was walking alone and soon found himself tired, hungry and thirsty. It seemed like he would not be able to make it. Suddenly, in the middle of the desert, late at night, a soldier appeared. He lay the young man down on a piece of cloth and massaged his thighs. Miraculously, all his pain and discomfort vanished. The soldier (who was none other than the Lord himself) then showed Devchandra the path out of the desert. He also told him to search for a true Guru who would answer his questions. Saying this, he disappeared.
Devchandraji was now more convinced about his mission. For years, he wandered all over India, meeting religious people, studying the scriptures. He finally met Swami Haridas. In his discourses on Krishna Bhakti (devotion to Lord Krishna), Devchandraji himself experienced a divine vision - he saw Shree Krishna in Baal Rupa (as a child). Devchandraji met Shree Krishna, talked to him and received Prasad.
For fourteen years, Devchandraji stayed with Kanhji Bhatt who was an ardent Krishna devotee, and discussed the Bhagwat (Krishna's life) with great love and devotion. One day, Shri Devchandraji was listening to the beautiful discourse when he suddenly went into a state of meditation. In this state, he saw Shree Krishna again. Shree Krishna gave him the Tartam Mantra (Mantra of Supreme Wisdom). The Mantra can be briefly translated as follows: "The eternal and absolute Brahman (Supreme Lord) has revealed Himself to us in the form of Shree Krishnaji. He is beyond this world and Akshar Brahma and formless void. His abode is Aksharatit Dham. He has manifested Himself in this world with all His glory and splendour. He is the giver of eternal joy and has revealed this knowledge to me. This knowledge reveals to us Shree Krishna's true nature. It will give joy to all beings. I have now one desire - to understand this knowledge, enshrine it in my heart and spread it to the entire world. When people understand this truth, all their miseries will disappear - they will be filled with Supreme Joy, Eternal Bliss." This world was created for Brahmasrishtis (Divine Souls) by Lord's Maya, so that they may revel in it for a short while and experience separation from the Lord. But they got so lost in the joys and sorrows of this world that they forgot their true abode.
From that day, Shri Devchandraji started preaching this Divine message. His mission was to awaken the lost souls and to take them to their Abode, Paramdham. He started his discourses in the home of Gangji Bhai, a rich trader. Shri Devchandra came to be known as Nijanand Swami. Hundreds of people came and obtained true peace and joy. One of these was Meheraj Thakur, the son of Keshav Thakur (Minister of Jamnagar) and Dhanbai, a very pious and devoted lady. Meheraj was only 12. The moment Shri Devchandraji saw him, he recognised that the Divine Soul Indravati has descended from Paramdham into this little boy. He understood that this boy will carry on my work after me and spread this message of love and universal brotherhood to all the sleeping souls. Before Shree Devchandraji passed away, he blessed his disciple with Supreme Wisdom and powers. Meheraj Thakur subsequently was called Mahamati Prannath - our Lord who has Supreme Wisdom. In fact, Prannathji said:
Eh Paancho Mil Bhai Mahamat, Ved Katebon Pohonchi Sarat
Pra. Hin. 37/95
Mahamati has all the powers of the Supreme Lord - His Bliss, His Brilliance, in Him. Shree Krishna Himself is in Him. That is why He has understood the true meanings of the Ved (Hindu Scriptures) and Kateb (Semitic Scriptures).
Prannathji said, "The Imam Mehdi, Budh Nishkalank Avtar, second Christ - predicted in the scriptures, has arrived. All these powers are in me. I will reveal to you all the secret indications that predict his arrival. I will teach everyone the true meaning of religion." Prannathji talked to people giving them references from various religious scriptures. He showed people that all religious masters preached the same message - albeit at different times, in different parts of the world. The conflicts in the world occur because people do not understand the essence of religion and stick to their external differences. This is the source of all misery in the world. Once you understand this truth, you will know that there is only one universal religion - the religion of God. There is no Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jew - only God's people.
Prannathji's preachings are contained in the Kulzam Swaroop (the total collection of Divine Knowledge) which consists of 14 volumes and 18,758 verses. It contains teachings of all the religious scriptures, with very detailed references. Like rivers flow into the ocean, so do the teachings of all great masters flow into the Kulzam Swaroop which contains Tartam Gyana (Supreme Wisdom). It tells us of the true nature of Aksharatit Brahma. Prannathji wants us to awaken from our sleep of ignorance and realise our true nature as Blissful Souls, lost in this world. This knowledge will liberate us from the false bondage that we have created for ourselves.
The Kulzam Swaroop also shows us the way to Uttam Purush (who lives in Aksharitit Dham). It is said that if you worship Devis and Devtas (goddesses and gods described in Hindu Puranas, called angels in other scriptures - celestial powers that control the worldly elements) you will receive benefits on this earth and in heaven temporarily. You will then have to be reborn, based on your vasanas (desires) and past actions. If you worship void (Shunya - formless deity) you will attain eternal peace. But if you worship Uttam Purush (The Supreme Lord) with real devotion, you will attain total, Supreme Bliss. That should be the goal of every soul, to merge with her Supreme Lord - to lose this sense of "I" and "mine". How can this be done? Prannathji says, by killing the ego. This ego is like a goat - says "Main, Main" ("I, I"). One has to sacrifice this ego at the altar of the Lord. Swami Prannathji says that when the Koran asks Muslims to sacrifice a goat on Bakri - Id, what it really means is "sacrifice your ego".
In fact, the Kulzam Swaroop has many such teachings which help us to understand the true meaning of religion. They help bring people together. Prannathji is very critical of the false rituals and beliefs practised in the name of religion - whether by Hindus or Muslims. He has especially criticised the "religious" wars fought in the name of religion. No religious master tells his followers to kill others who are peacefully practising their own religion. They should not be converted forcefully or by temptations. What each master says, "If someone interferes with your practice of religion, try to convince him, change his thinking. If that does not work, and if you have to defend yourself, as a last resort, so be it."
We will try to give a brief description of the 14 books of the Kulzam Swaroop.
1. Shree Raas
13. Maarfat Saagar
14. Kyamat Naama
Basic Tenets of Shri Krishna Pranami Faith:
2. We worship Shree Krishna - who is the Uttam Purush of Geeta. He is the Sachidanand Brahma (Sat - truth - eternal existence, Chit - Consciousness and Anand - eternal bliss) and we bow to Him. We see His spark (soul) in every human being, that is why followers of Pranami faith greet each other with the salutation "Pranam" - "I bow to the Supreme Consciousness in you."
3. PARAMDHAM (the abode of Aksharatit Brahma) that was mentioned in the Geeta and Puranas, is described in great detail in Kulzam Swaroop. We believe that this Paramdham is Eternal, Infinite and Limitless. It is possible to visualise Paramdham through concentration in this lifetime and can be attained by the Atma after death.
4. Aksharatit Brahma has several different manifestations/creations. His bliss part manifests as 12,000 Paratma (divine souls) that live in Paramdham. Their attention (surat) is transferred to this world in the form of Atma - which is eternal. Jeeva is in each individual being and consists of Vasanas, Mind, and Intellect which get transferred from one life to another - (reincarnation). The Jeeva has arisen from Shree Narayan - who is the dream form of Akshar Brahma - and is the creator and sustainer of the entire universe. At the time of Mahapralaya, the Jeeva merges with Narayan - that is his salvation. But once we understand the relationship between soul and Paramdham, we realise that it is possible to rise even higher. In fact, at the time of Mahapralaya (Total Deluge), Shree Narayan himself merges into His original form - Akshar Brahma (Sat - eternal truth and existence). So the soul can experience this world with Jeeva and also Paramdham in her Paratma state.
5. We worship the Bala Roop (childhood form) of Shree Krishna. For his first 11 years and 52 days, the power of Uttam Purush manifested in Him to let the celestial souls experience Brij Lila and Raas Lila (divine union) in Vrindavan. After that, for 11 days, Akshar Brahma resided in Him. The knowledge of Akshar Brahma manifested as Ved Richas (divine souls) and Raas Lila was experienced and enjoyed again. After the death of the wicked Kansa, Shree Krishna removed his childhood clothes of a Gopal (cowherd boy) and donned royal clothes. So, the power of Akshar Brahma stayed in Brajdham. Krishna then became Yogiraaj (Royal Seer). When he killed Jarasandha, all the 16 divine powers (Kalaas) of Maha Vishnu manifested in Him. That is why He is called Purna Avtar (complete incarnation) of Maha Vishnu. It is in this form that He gave us the knowledge of the Geeta. He was responsible for the destruction of evil forces and establishment of Dharma in the Kurukshetra War.
6. Pranamis do not worship angels and deities - they respect them as powers that run this universe. We do not worship idols - but consider it a sin to break them. We consider idols to be a symbol of God - but not the Supreme Lord Himself. It is just as a picture represents the person, reminds us of him, but is not the person himself. All Pranami temples contain the Kulzam Swaroop which is worshipped as God's knowledge - form.
7. This temporary, destructible universe consists of 14 realms - the Earth, Seven Pataal (lower realms) and six Devlok (realms of the Devatas). Their creator is Lord Narayana who manifests as Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh (the Trinity).
8. Pranami Dharma does not believe in physically converting others. What needs to change is the attitude of mind - once you understand the true religion, it does not matter at all which faith you belong to externally.
9. All penance, study, prayer ultimately end in Supreme Devotion to the Lord. That is the way to realisation. To attain the Supreme Lord (Parmatma) the soul has to develop total, Divine Love (like the love of a devoted wife for her husband).
10. A Guru is very important - he is necessary for one's spiritual progress and enlightenment. He should be revered and served with complete devotion. However, followers of Pranami faith are cautioned to select a Guru carefully - one who has divine qualities and can show us the true path.
11. The Pranami faith strongly condemns human or animal sacrifice carried out to worship the Lord. It says, "Destroy the animal in you, the ego, and then there is no barrier between you and the Lord." This can occur with Love for the Lord, service to Humanity and concentration and meditation.
12. The Pranami faith accepts all basic tenets of Hinduism - Satya (truth), Ahimsa (non-violence in word, deed and thought), Shauch (cleanliness of body and mind), Kshama (forgiveness), Daya (compassion), Swadhyaya (self study) etc. It urges people to follow these qualities not merely with body and mind but inculcate them in your very soul. They should become second nature to you.
13. The Pranami faith honours and respects all Avtars as messengers of God - manifestations of His power. But only the Supreme Aksharatit Brahma is worshipped.
14. Pranamis are instructed to avoid alcohol, tobacco and other harmful drugs. Eating of meat and fish is forbidden, as they are foods acquired by violence.
15. Social evils like lying, stealing, adultery, gambling etc. are condemned.
Thus, we see that the Pranami faith is a new, re-organised form of the eternal Hindu religion. It is only the Hindu faith that accepts all other religions and recognises all prophets as messengers of God. That is the only way to establish one Universal Religion. Mahamati Pranath was born and lived as a Hindu - but he studied extensively the Vedas and Kateb. Their teachings are encompassed in the Kulzam Swaroop, the inner indicated meanings are explained. Signs of the Day of Judgement have been clarified. Universality of religious teachings is indicated.
This material, though precious to the world, has been relatively unknown for all these years. Most of it was handwritten and passed down through generations. When Prannathji was alive, he had several great scholars as his disciples. Every word he preached was written down by them. Shree Laldass had extensively studied Koran and Semitic literature. Shree Keshav Dass, Shree Bhim Bhatt and Shree Mukund Dass were authorities on Vedas and Shastras and were masters of Sanskrit. Also several Muslim Scholars like Sheikh Badal, Kayam Mulla and others worked with him. Whenever Prannathji spoke, these scholars would find references and corroborations of his words in other scriptures. A lot of original literature was written by them too. A listing of some of them is as follows:
1. Shree Mukund Dass has written "Vani Sangraha" consisting of 36,000 verses and 25 volumes. This immense work of literature is still hand-written and requires a lot of research.
2. Shree Laldassji wrote of Prannathji's life (Bitak) and also carried out research on the volumes devoted to Koran.
3. Several of them drew maps and wrote detailed descriptions of Paramdham based on Prannathji's words - notable being the one by Shree Yugal Dass. These help the reader in contemplation and meditation, provide him/her with a goal to focus on.
4. Bheem Bhatt and Bhattacharya have written several volumes in Sanskit.
5. Several "Bitaks" (descriptions of Prannathji's life and teachings) have been written. These have all been published at Jamnagar. The last one of these is Nijanand Charitamrat.
6. Maharaja Chhatrasaal, though a warrior and king, was a scholar too. He wrote many poems and inspired poet Brij Bhooshan to write 'Vritant Muktawali' consisting of 6000 verses, in Hindi - Oudhi language - popular at that time. This was based on Shree Laldasji's Bitak.
In the last 30 years a lot of this literature has been published with Hindi and English translations and interpretations:
1. Shree Prannath Mission in New Delhi has been a pioneer in this work:
a. The entire Kulzam Swaroop was published with Hindi meanings and footnotes edited by Prof. M.B. Jaismal. Different books, Rass, Prakash, etc. have been published separately with Hindi meanings and glossary by Mrs. Vimla Mehta and Dr. Ranjit Saha of Sahitya Academy, New Delhi.
b. The life of Shree Prannath has been published in Hindi and English.
c. Every year, a research journal "Jagni" is published which contains articles by various scholars and students of different universities in India. The editors of this journal are Mrs. Vimla Mehta and Dr. Ranjit Saha.
d. Several thesis written by Ph.D. students have been published.
e. English translations and interpretations of Prannthji's work have been written by Dr. Raj Kumar Arora and Dr. Anil Mehta. A lot of other literature is also available from Shree Prannath Mission, New Delhi. Other centres in India are also engaged in this
2. In Jamnager, India, publication and study was started by Maharaj Dhani Dasji and Maharaj Dharma Dasji. They published several scholarly works of Pandit Krishna Datt Shastri. The present head of this centre is Krishna Maniji Maharaj. Translations in Gujarati are being published as well as other research volumes in Hindi. A monthly magazine is being published in Hindi and Gujrati - "Pranami Dharma Patrika".
3. In Kalimpong, West Bengal, India, this work was started by Guru Mangal Dassji. Besides being a great scholar and teacher, he was a reformist and social worker. He has started schools, orphanages and women's work centers. This work is being ably carried on by his successor Sant Mohan Priyacharyaji, who is also director of Publication of Shri Prannath Mission. Several books and articles on Prannathji's teachings have been published.
4. Panna is the main centre for the Krishna Pranami faith where Shree Prannath and his disciples did their original work. This task is being carried on very ably by his followers.
5. Surat, Sherpur, Karnal, Jaipur, Ratan Puri and many other cities throughout India are publishing books and magazines on this subject.
6. Dr. Suchit Narayan Prasad has written a thesis "Shree Krishna Pranami Vangmaya" which contains references and descriptions of
Even though a lot of work is going on, it does not seem enough. We have so much material written by Swami Prannathji and his original disciples, that needs to be studied and researched upon. There is a vast treasure house of literature in Bharoda, Gujarat, under the care of Maharaj Tahal Kishore Shastri.
If any scholars wish to pursue further research on this subject, it would be welcomed. We will be glad to provide assistance in this project.
In India contact:
The Prannath Mission
c/o Mrs. Vimla Mehta
72 Sidarth Enclave
New Delhi 110014
In U.S.A. contact:
Dr. Anil Mehta
4708 Panorama Dr.
Bakersfield, CA 93306
Tel. (805) 872-7784
Also the Acharyas of different Pranami centres can be contacted for further information and research material.
This is the piece of the puzzle which can complete all the other religions. This is what people have been awaiting for centuries.