Foreword – Biography of Saint Kanwarram
Foreword – Biography Sain Kanwarram
DR. S. K. PUNSHI
I felt greatly blessed when I was requested by Dr. Punshi to write a foreword to the biography of Saint Kanwarram which he has written on the occasion of the Birth Centenary Year of this greatest of the saints of the Sindhi community of the present century. Dr. Punshi has done well in writing and publishing this short biography of this Divine Soul who toiled for the secular and spiritual upliftment of the people around him and whose message inspired the minds of his followers to stick up to path of righteousness and devotion to God while living a worldly life of a mortal being and to achieve perfect state of worldly and secular happiness.
Saints are honored and worshipped by all people belonging to different sects and religious. In ancient days and during the medieval period the Saints were honored and revered by the kings also who wielded the secular authority in an absolute form. Those absolute kings and rulers who too worshipped the Saints have not disappeared with passage of time and with the dawn and emergence of Democratic Ideology. But that has not made any change in the reverence that the people have in their heart for the Saints and religious preceptors. These Saints and religious preceptors are still worshipped and respected by all. The question therefore arises as to why the people worship and adore the Saints in high esteem and why they have so much respect even now in the eyes of a common man. The answer is quite clear and simple.
True Saints are regarded as the prototype of God himself. They are regarded as the direct descendents of God on this earth, who spread the message of love, compassion and peace and who guide the people about the way in which men should try to achieve the other worldly pleasure while performing their duties of the mundane world. All Saints propagate highest type of morality since morality ultimately results in the true realization of Soul what is morally wrong can never be politically right just, socially correct and spiritually excellent. In the context of an individual, morality in the ultimate analysis consists in the disinterested performance of self-imposed duties and the faithful performance of the functions attached to one’s “Station” in life. This is a message of the ‘Bhagwat-Geeta’ and the scriptures of all religious of the world, by and large, give the same message. The Saints, May they be of any religion, may they be of any country, propagate this very message and extol this and ask their followers to attain ‘Paramartha’ through the dutiful performance of the functions attached to what we call as ‘Sansar’. All Saints who draw their inspiration from ‘Bhagwat-Geeta’ preach this. In Maharashtra all Saints, right from Dnyaneshwar down to Tukaram, Ramdas, Gadge Baba and Tukdoji Maharaja prorogated the same view and asked their disciples and followers to seek ‘Paramartha’ by not going to jungles but by fulfilling one’s worldly duties of a true ‘Grihasti’ and called ‘Sansar’ as a training school of ‘Paramartha’. So men should first mind their home rather than worship God. One who fails to achieve success in ‘Sansar’ would equally fail in attaining ‘Paramartha’. The Saints never asked their followers to ignore and neglect ‘Sansar’ as such. It is worthwhile to note here that Saint Kanwarram himself served his family by running his small Kirana shop. We should feel intensely that all should be happy. Saint Kanwarram gave the same message to the contemporary Indians.
The medium, Saint Kanwarram used for giving this message was that of Bhajans, which he recited and sung, in his sweet melodious voice. He used to go from place to place and propagate his views through Bhajans and songs. He served the humanity in a selfless manner for he gave away all he got by way of offerings from the people to him to the poor and needy persons. He had in his ashram crippled disabled and blind persons whom he gave shelter and protection. He helped the poor families for the marriage of their daughters. He propagated widow marriages and thus was advocating the same reforms in the society, which Maharashtrian social reformers like Jyotiba Fulay and G.G. Agarkar advocated in Maharashtra. Saint Kanwarram did not believe in the system of untouchability which was a scourge of Hindu society. This evident from the incident that he embraced a Harijan (an untouchable) who had gone to for his darshan. Thus Saint Kanwarram not only preached social reforms but he practiced it and himself acted accordingly in his life time and had always taken a progressive and a reformist stand for the upliftment of the community. Above all Saint Kanwarram was a champion of Hindu- Muslim unity for he believed that all men are God’s creation and are equal in the eyes of God. He in a way did a pioneering work in the abolition of untouchability, use of Swadeshi goods and advocacy of Hindu-Muslim unity, which later on became a part and parcel of the a program of Indian freedom movement launched under the able leadership of Mahatma Gandhi.
Saint Kanwarram was thus a Saint who would preach everything good for the good of humanity and that makes for him a place of permanence in Galaxy of Hindu Saints. All these things about this great Saint have been very beautiful and lucidly brought out by Dr. Punshi in this book in a very arresting style and manner and it may rightly be said to be his literary worship of the great Saint. In a way this is a national service rendered by Dr. Punshi since he writes this book in English. This would introduce to the English knowing readers the doyen of the Indian Saints of the early years of the dawn of the present century. The modern India is the result of the advocacy and the preaching’s of the Saints like Saint Kanwarram and his like and the nation is heavily indebted to them for all that they did in the formative years of the development of Indian nationalism.
I congratulate Dr. Punshi for bringing all these things before the new generation of India by writing a biography of Saint of the stature of Saint Kanwarram and commend this book to the readers.
5th April 1985