Lakshman Joo

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Fast Facts
Other Names and Nicknames: 
Lal Sahib, Swami Lakshman Joo, Swami Lakshman Joo Raina, Swami Lakshmanjoo
Kashmir Shaivism
Main Countries of Activity: 
Date of Birth: 
May 9, 1907
Place of Birth: 
Srinagar, Kashmir, India
In His/Her Body ("alive"): 
Date Left His/Her Body: 
September 27, 1991
Other Related Gurus: 
Swami Ram, Swami Matabakak - his Guru


Swami Lakshman Joo Raina was a mystic and scholar of Kashmir Shaivism or Trika. He was known as Lal Sahib (friend of God) by followers, who considered him a fully realized saint.

He was born into a Rajanaka Kashmiri Pandit family, the third son of father Narain Dass Raina (Nao Naran) and mother Srimati Arni Mal. He had three brothers and three sisters, including brothers Pt. Maheshwar Nath Raina, Pt. Sarwanand Raina, and Pt. Neel Kanth Raina. His great grandfather Pandit Bhawani Prasad Razdan (Bhoon Razdan) was an accomplished scholar of Persian language and culture. Cousins include Diwan Anand Kumar (Vice Chancellor of Undivided Punjab University) and also Tapishwar Narain Raina, Chief of Indian Army staff and High Commissioner to Canada. His father pioneered the construction of the first Kashmiri Houseboats to meet the needs of European visitors who could not acquire immovable property.

His parents were ardent devotees of priest and guru Swami Ram. Followers believe he was blessed before birth, when Swami Ram gave a single almond to Swamiji's mother to eat and Lakshmanjoo was born nine months later. He was named after the Ramayana epic, a reference to the brothers Ram and Lakshman, by Swami Ram who said at his birth "I am Ram; let the child be called Lakshman".

It is said that as a child he showed signs of spirituality and would become easily absorbed in his own nature from the age of three. Too young to find the appropriate yogic expression, the child described this state as "badhi bhod" which in Kashmiri means "greater than the greatest".

Up to the age of seven his spiritual progress was watched closely by Swami Ram, the family guru. When Swami Ram died he was entrusted to his disciple, Swami Matabakak.

At the age of sixteen Swami Matabakak initiated the young Lakshman Joo into the practical aspects of Kashmir Shaivism and told him that with regular practice he could experience the reality of consciousness within six months. Followers believe he approached his practice with such zeal that he had his first taste of God Consciousness within a month, at the age of sixteen. After that glimpse of the Divine he took a vow of lifelong celibacy and dedication to the realization of the highest state of God Consciousness.

In 1934, when he was twenty seven, his father built an Ashram at the foot hills of Ishbher/Gupta Ganga (Nishat). He began teaching Shaiva Sutras to his disciples there, the chief among them being Sushree Sharika Devi d/o Pt. Jialal Sopory who in later years was considered by followers to also be a saint.

During the next three decades Lakshmanjoo immersed himself in Kashmir Shaiva philosophy. He believed intellectual understanding needed to be tested with personal experience. By 1965 he had acclaim as a lineage holder of the oral tradition of Kashmir Shaivism and until his death he received a regular stream of visitors from India and abroad. He was well known then in Kashmir. He gave teachings to people of any race or religion or economic situation and did not require recompense.

The following notable authors came to study with Lakshmanjoo: Paul Reps, Lillian Silburn, Andre Padoux, Thakur Jaideva Singh, Rameshwara Jha, Prof. Alexis Sanderson, Dr. Mark Dyczkowski, Pandit Jankinath Kaul, John Hughes, Dr. Bettina Baumer,.


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