Parmeshwari Dayal Pukar of Hamirpur
Hanuman ji was disciple of Lord Rama. He devoted himself as servant (Das) which is one of the nine types of Bhakti (Devotion) said by Narad ji and endorsed in Ramayana by swami Tulsidas. At times, Hanuman ji carried Lord Rama and Laxman on his shoulders.
Parmeshwari Dayal Nigam, nicknamed “Pukar” was from an orthodox Hindu family and once a revolutionary before India independence. He was caught in Meher Baba’s net and became an ardent follower. In 1954, Baba said to Pukar (who was stoutly built), “You are My Hanuman. Do you know it?” Pukar said, “When you give me that experience, I will know it,”
Pukar ji was not a resident in Meherabad but very often he would be called by Baba to Meherabad to discuss issues. He also carried Meher Baba on his back. At times he almost ran with umbrella behind Baba to shade Him on walks. Pukar ji was instrumental in construction of Meherpuri centre in Hamirpur UP. Brief description of both characters is mentioned as under:
He is also known as Mahavira, Bajrangbali an ardent devotee of the Lord Rama. He is a central figure in the Hindu epic Ramayana. Lord Hanuman was instrumental locating Sita and participated in Rama’s war against the demon king Ravana. It is also said he was an incarnation of Lord Shiva. Hanuman was born to the vanaras. He was the son of Anjana and Keshari, and is also described as the son of the wind-God Vayu. Hanuman came to be portrayed as the ideal devotee (bhakta) of Rama. His was characterized as a lifelong brahmachari (celibate).
As a child, believing the sun to be a ripe mango, Hanuman pursued it in order to eat it. Rahu, a Vedic planet corresponding to an eclipse, was at that time seeking out the sun as well, and he clashed with Hanuman. Hanuman thrashed Rahu and went to take the sun in his mouth. Rahu approached Indra, king of devas, and complained that a monkey child stopped him from taking on Sun, preventing the scheduled eclipse. This enraged Indra, who responded by throwing the Vajra (thunderbolt) at Hanuman, which struck his jaw. He fell back down to the earth and became unconscious. A permanent mark was left on his chin (hanuḥ) “jaw” in Sanskrit), due to impact of Vajra, explaining his name. Upset over the attack, Hanuman’s father figure Vayu deva (the deity of air) went into seclusion, withdrawing air along with him. As living beings began to asphyxiate, Indra withdrew the effect of his thunderbolt. The devas then revived Hanuman and blessed him with multiple boons to appease Vayu.
Brahma gave Hanuman a boon that would protect him from the irrevocable Brahma’s curse. Brahma also said: “Nobody will be able to kill you with any weapon in war.” From Brahma, he obtained the power of inducing fear in enemies, of destroying fear in friends, to be able to change his form at will and to be able to easily travel wherever he wished. From Shiva, he obtained the boons of longevity, scriptural wisdom and ability to cross the ocean. Shiva assured safety of Hanuman with a band that would protect him for life. Indra blessed him that the Vajra weapon will no longer be effective on him and his body would become stronger than Vajra.
Varuna blessed baby Hanuman with a boon that he would always be protected from water. Agni blessed him with immunity to burning by fire. Surya gave him two Siddhis of yoga namely “laghima” and “garima”, to be able to attain the smallest or to attain the biggest form. Yama, the God of Death blessed him healthy life and free from his weapon danda, thus death would not come to him. Kubera showered his blessings declaring that Hanuman would always remain happy and contented. Vishwakarma blessed him that Hanuman would be protected from all his creations in the form of objects or weapons. Vayu also blessed him with more speed than he himself had. Kamadeva also blessed him that the appeal of sex will not be effective on him. So his name is also Bala Bramhachari.
Hanuman meets Rama during the Rama’s 14-year exile with his brother Lakshmana, Rama was searching for his wife Sita who had been abducted by Ravana. Their search brings them to the vicinity of the mountain Rishyamukha, where Sugriva, along with his followers and friends, are in hiding from his older brother Bali.
Having seen Rama and Lakshmana, Sugriva sends Hanuman to ascertain their identities. Hanuman approaches the two brothers in the guise of a Brahmin. His first words to them are such that Rama says to Lakshmana that none could speak the way the Brahmin did unless he or she had mastered the Vedas.
When Rama introduces himself, the Brahman identifies himself as Hanuman and falls prostrate before Rama, who embraces him warmly. Thereafter, Hanuman’s life becomes interwoven with that of Rama. Hanuman then brings about friendship and alliance between Rama and Sugriva; Rama helps Sugriva regain his honour and makes him king of Kishkindha.
In their search for Sita, a group of Vanaras reaches the southern seashore. Hanuman too is saddened at the possible failure of his mission, until the other vanaras and the wise bear Jambavantha begin to extol his virtues. Hanuman then recollects his own powers, enlarges his body, and flies across the ocean. On his way, he encounters a mountain that rises from the sea, proclaims that it owed his father a debt, and asks him to rest a while before proceeding. Not wanting to waste any time, Hanuman thanks the mountain, touches it briefly, and presses on. He then encounters a goddess disguised as a sea-monster, Surasa, who challenges him to enter her mouth. When Hanuman outwits her, she admits that her challenge was merely a test of his courage. After killing Simhika, a rakshasi, he reaches Lanka.
Hanuman finds Sita in the Ashoka grove, and shows her Rama’s ring. After he finds Sita in captivity in a garden, Hanuman reveals his identity to her, reassures her that Rama has been looking for her, and uplifts her spirits. He offers to carry her back to Rama, but she refuses his offer, saying it would be an insult to Rama as his honour is at stake. In order to give Sita faith, Hanuman gives her a ring that Rama wanted Hanuman to give her. After meeting Sita, Hanuman begins to wreak havoc, gradually destroying the palaces and properties of Lanka. He kills many rakshasas, including Jambumali and Akshya Kumar. To subdue him, Ravana’s son Indrajit uses the Brahmastra. Though immune to the effects of this weapon Hanuman, out of respect to Brahma, allows himself be bound. Deciding to use the opportunity to meet Ravana, and to assess the strength of Ravana’s hordes, Hanuman allows the rakshasa warriors to parade him through the streets. He conveys Rama’s message of warning and demands the safe return of Sita. He also informs Ravana that Rama would be willing to forgive him if he returns Sita honorably.
Enraged, Ravana orders Hanuman’s execution, whereupon Ravana’s brother Vibhishana intervenes, pointing out that it is against the rules of engagement to kill a messenger. Ravana then orders Hanuman’s tail be lit a fire. As Ravana’s forces attempted to wrap cloth around his tail, Hanuman begins to lengthen it. After frustrating them for a while, he allows it to burn, and then escapes from his captors, and with his tail on fire he burns down large parts of Lanka. After extinguishing his flaming tail in the sea, he returns to Rama.
When Lakshmana was badly wounded during the battle against Indrajit, Hanuman was sent to fetch the Sanjeevani, a powerful life-restoring herb, from Dronagiri mountain in the Himalayas, to revive him. Ravana dispatches the sorcerer Kalanemi to intercept Hanuman. Kalanemi, in the guise of a sage, deceives Hanuman, but Hanuman uncovers his plot with the help of an apsara, whom he rescues from her accursed state as a crocodile. Ravana, upon learning that Kalanemi has been slain by Hanuman, summons Surya to rise before its appointed time because the physician Sushena had said that Lakshmana would perish if untreated by daybreak. Hanuman realizes the danger, however, and, becoming many times his normal size, detains the Sun God to prevent the break of day. He then resumes his search for the precious herb, but, when he finds himself unable to identify which herb it is, he lifts the entire mountain and delivers it to the battlefield in Lanka. Sushena then identifies and administers the herb, and Lakshmana is saved. Rama embraces Hanuman, declaring him as dear to him as his own brother. Hanuman releases Surya from his grip, and asks forgiveness, as the Sun was also his Guru.
After the Ramayana war, Hanuman, however, requested from Rama that he will remain on earth as long as Rama’s name was venerated by people. Sita accorded Hanuman that desire. He is one of the immortals (Chiranjivi) of Hinduism. According to legend, Hanuman was one of the four people to have heard the Bhagwad Gita from Krishna and seen his Vishwaruup (universal) form, the other three being Arjuna, Sanjay and Barbarika, son of Ghatotkacha and also Karna at the time of his death.
Pukar first met Baba in 1950. He was one of the very few “non-resident” mandali who were permitted to stay with Baba at Meherazad or Guruprasad for a few days, weeks and sometimes months at a time. During his visits in 1957-1960, Pukar kept a diary in Hindi, an edited translation of which is presented here.
1957-1960 By Pukar Nigam, Edited by David Fenster Paperback 389 pages.
Published by Meher Nazar Publications, 2022.
Parmeshwari Dayal Nigam “Pukar”
Parmeshwari Dayal Nigam— known later as Pukar was a leading figure of the Communist party of India before India’s independence. Before being caught in the fishing net of Meher Baba, he actively wrote articles against Meher Baba in hopes of discrediting him as a fraud or hypocrite. But as events unfolded, Pukar and Keshav Nigam underwent an inner transformation and became solely dedicated to Baba’s cause in a few years’ time.
In 1950, back in Hardwar, Parmeshwari Dayal Nigam (Pukar), his maternal uncle Bhavani Prasad Nigam and Raisaheb Ramashankar had a strange experience. They had also come to the Kumbha Mela from Hamirpur. When they found out where Baba was staying, they went to the bungalow. From a distance, they saw Baba walking on the upper floor of the house. But when they neared it, no one was there! They inquired, and were informed that Baba had already left the day before. They could not accept this, for they believed they had seen Baba a short while ago. They were escorted round the house and at last, dumbfounded, they were convinced Baba was not present.
In 1950, Baba saluted all his Old Life disciples and devotees, and accepted monetary contributions toward his mast and poor work. When Baba was being offered contributions, the stout communist leader Parmeshwari Nigam handed Baba all the money he had and a piece of paper, on which he had written, “This body, mind, wealth and everything I own, I give in the hands of Baba for his work with the poor.” Then he stripped off his clothing, and standing only in his loincloth, offered these as well! He stretched out on the ground in front of his Lord and began sobbing. Parmeshwari head bowed low forever at the Beloved’s feet. His heart burned with as much determination to spread Baba’s message as he had originally had to defame Baba!
Baba showed his happiness at Parmeshwari’s gesture. “Whatever you have offered Me,” Baba dictated on the board, “I accept it all.” Jalbhai handed Baba the clothing, which Baba embraced and kissed, and then returned to Parmeshwari, along with all his money, except a token amount which was accepted as his contribution.
Parmeshwari edited a Hindi weekly political newspaper, titled Pukar (The Call), and Baba gave him this nickname. He became known as Pukar from then on. In 1952, Baba went to Pukar’s home in Hamirpur; he became quite serious and stood perfectly still. He said, “Baba, when I was a child I once dreamt of Lord Ram. This is the exact spot in my dream where I had seen Ram and had his darshan!”
On Sunday, 23 November 1952, on their way to Meherastana near Mahewa, Keshav Nigam told Baba, “A Muslim friend of mine conducts an orphanage. He wishes, if it pleases you, for you to pay a visit to his institution.”
Baba agreed on one condition: “After washing and laying my head on the children’s feet, I will give them prasad; but they should remain absolutely quiet and not move when I take their darshan.” Keshav accepted and made the necessary arrangements in the orphanage. When Baba arrived, six or seven boys were brought before him. Baba began by washing the feet of the first lad. But when he tried to bow down to him, the boy suddenly stepped back. Baba was noticeably peeved and commented, “When the boy pulled back his feet, had my head touched the ground, this world would have gone to hell.” However, Baba did lay his head on the other children’s feet and gave them about 20 rupees each as prasad
Baba said His work was spoiled and that he would not visit any more villages in the district. Pukar and Adarsh Khare began to weep. On the way, Baba had the car stopped and he got out. Pukar spread his coat on the ground, and Baba sat on it under a tamarind tree. He told Keshav and Pukar, “It did not go well. It is an unlucky happening and bodes ill for the orphanage and the village. The only remedy to free them from bad luck is for me to bow down and give prasad of Rs.14 to fourteen handsome and intelligent orphan boys under fourteen years old, the moment I reach Meherastana.”
Keshav and Pukar agreed, although Pukar was skeptical about locating enough boys of that description in a village as small as Mahewa, with a population of only 400. Further on, their journey was delayed by a collapsed makeshift bridge. While the work of repairing the bridge was going on, Baba pointed to a young village boy and told Pukar to speak with him. Asked his age, the boy replied, “Fourteen.” Baba looked very happy and gestured, “This is a good sign.” He blessed the boy and later remarked, “Someday, he will become a saint!” Keshav and a few others did their best to locate the number of boys required, and fourteen of the correct age was eventually found. Thus, on arriving in Meherastana, this was the first activity Baba performed.
In 1954, Pukar placed his printing press in Mahoba at Baba’s service. He wanted to begin publishing a magazine dedicated to Baba, and Baba appointed a committee consisting of Pukar, Keshav, Sripat Sahai, Bhavani Prasad, Gaya Prasad and Laxmichand Paliwal, who was made chairman. After a few months the Hindi magazine Meher Pukar (Meher’s Call) came into being.
Pukar’s wife was expecting at any moment. Baba assured her, “I have blessed you with a very good soul who is to come. Don’t worry about anything.” He gave her special prasad, reminding her to remember him. Baba also visited Pukar’s flour mill in Hamirpur, and poured grain into it with His own hands
Baba said Pukar (who was stoutly built), “You are My Hanuman. Do you know it? Pukar said, “When you give me that experience, I will know it.”
In 1954, Baba said to Pukar, “I have assigned a year’s work for you to do during my retirement. You have to fast for seven days from the 15th (February) and thereafter, wander from place to place for a year spreading my name and love. Before starting the journey, you have to make arrangements for your family. Knowing all this, why are you here again, wasting time and money?” Pukar kept quiet, and Baba asked, “When are you going to provide for your family?” Pukar said, “I will do so soon, but I don’t yet understand how I am to begin the work, and so I have come to you for guidance.” Baba smiled and replied, “Don’t worry. Begin the work and you will know what you have to do. But do it wholeheartedly and sincerely. Go from place to place, and if necessary you can visit your home also. But don’t sit idle there! As soon as you take care of your family affairs, start immediately for my work and thus go on doing it for a year.” Pukar’s mother had come with the intention of complaining to Baba about Pukar, but Baba told her, “You are very fortunate to have a son like him. I have given you five children; can you not give me one of them?” The mother said, “Yes, Parmeshwari can stay with you, but he should also look after us.” Baba teased, “You want him to play the tabla with one hand and the dholak with the other!” meaning to have it both ways. “Now your ‘child’ is passing out of your hand!” Then his mother responded, “Let him go! Beyond your nazar, where can he go?”
Pukar started this work for Baba, he would walk 30 to 40 miles every day, spreading Baba’s name from village to village. When he reached a village, he would roam about from one street to another, announcing that the Ancient One has taken human form as Avatar Meher Baba. “He is the same Ram, Krishna, Christ, Muhammad and Zoroaster come again,” Pukar would shout. “He is Love Incarnate! Those who want to hear more about him should come and see me.” He would spend the night in the village and there arrange a Baba gathering with kirtans and bhajan singing, whereupon he would tell the poor villagers about Baba. If he found that the people were receptive, he would stay a day or two more in that village. The next day, he would be off to another village or town, where he could do such work of spreading Baba’s name.
In 1955, one day, Baba embraced each man and cracked jokes in between embraces. He teased Pukar, “Oh, you haven’t shaved! How many puris did you eat last night?” Pukar answered in kind, “Because I had a cold, Baba, I could hardly eat fifteen!” Baba laughed, “Only fifteen? But you didn’t tell me you had a cold! Now that you have embraced me, I will catch it, too!”
Once, after tea, all gathered in the hall where Vishnu of Dhagwan sang bhajans at Baba’s request. Addressing Pukar, Baba said, “Do you have a (singing) voice?” Pukar rejoined, “I can speak, so I must have a voice! “Everyone laughed, and Baba asked, “What sort of voice do you have?” Pukar said, “That is for others to judge.” Baba asked him to sing a song, and he attempted it in a soft, off-key tone. Baba commented, “What a small voice for such a large body! Your voice only you can hear!” Smiling, Baba added, “I enjoy teasing you, Pukar!”
In 1957, Baba had previously instructed Pukar to travel throughout Hamirpur District and spread his message. He also asked for a full account of his travels. Pukar related an incident when the pujari (caretaker) of a temple had not allowed him to sleep there, even though Pukar was exhausted. The priest thought Pukar was a dacoit. Baba suddenly stopped him and asked, “Did you see any tiger or serpent in that village?” Pukar had forgotten to mention this and said, “Yes, I did see a large black cobra. In fact, by not allowing me to spend the night there, the priest perhaps saved me from being bitten.” Baba replied, “Then, why don’t you tell me about it?” But before he could reply, Baba interjected, “I am everywhere. I am the snake and I am everything. I know everything. There is no necessity for you to relate to me what you did on the tour. I know all about it. I was with you throughout your journey, doing my work through you.”
Sometimes Pukar would escort Baba to the hall after Baba’s work with Nilkanthwala. “After finishing the work,” Pukar recalled, “Baba always looked very tired. He would be sweating, breathing hard, sometimes shaking. Whatever work he was doing with the mast was very laborious. It was hard for Baba even to sit in his chair in the hall.”
Pukar was sent to contact and bring either the sixth-plane mast Sharir Baba of Chhatarpur (whom Baba had contacted the previous year), Goverdhan Maharaj of Amraoti, or any other genuine mast. Baba asked him also to find a boy similar to Balak Bhagwan. Despite his best efforts, Pukar was unable to persuade Sharir Baba (“I see Baba from here; why should I go there with you?”) or any other mast to accompany him to Baba. He returned alone to Meherazad, feeling very dejected that he had not obeyed Baba. But Baba was not displeased with him and, on the contrary, held him up as an example to others.
In 1959, Pukar’s son died. Baba had sent Pukar to Hamirpur for a month, and he returned to Guruprasad at the end of July. Pukar also had not wept over the death of his son, and Baba praised him publically for his stoicism and cited him as an example of the type of love he wanted. During Pukar’s stay at Guruprasad, Baba gave him a good amount of “His special prasad” by daily striking him soundly on his large abdomen with an aluminum basin (kept by Baba’s side for washing his hands).
One day when Pukar was about to take Kenmore for a walk, there was a heavy rain shower so they could not go. Thinking Kenmore’s shoes and socks would get wet as he went to his room in the cottage opposite mandali hall; Pukar lifted Kenmore on his back and carried him across the short open area to his room. Rano was there and reported the incident to Baba, who, the next morning, reprimanded Pukar. “Why did you carry a heavy man like Dr. Kenmore?” he asked. “My sitting on your back is different. From this, you may get a heart attack.” Several days later Pukar did suffer a heart attack. Baba told him, “You have brought this on yourself. But you won’t die. I want to keep you alive until my manifestation. You will see my manifestation. I do not fulfill your wants, but I do fulfill your needs.”
Baba used to tease Pukar by prodding his stomach with an aluminum basin used by Baba to wash his hands, and which was kept by his side in mandali hall. One morning when Baba prodded Pukar, he smiled at the resultant sound it produced and said, “Pukar is full of emptiness,” and added, “To be full of emptiness is the ideal state. Do you understand its real meaning?”
One day Baba asked him, “How do I look?” Pukar replied frankly, “You look somewhat old today.” “What?” exclaimed Baba, “Pack your things and immediately leave for Hamirpur?” Pukar hastily reconsidered, “You look young, Baba!” “That’s better. Remember this, I never grow old. I am eternally young.”
In 1964, while at Guruprasad, Pukar had discussed with Baba an idea he had been thinking about for a group of devotees to purchase a huge piece of land so that they could establish a settlement in Hamirpur. Baba permitted it, and plans were made on a grand scale to inaugurate the project in Hamirpur at the annual Meher Mela in Hamirpur, from 15-19 November. Baba sent Hoshang Bharucha of Navsari, and Sanjeevani. Dhakephalkar of Ahmednagar, as his representatives. Baba embraced them and remarked, “Carry my embrace to the thousands collected at Hamirpur.” Many lovers from all over the country took part in the mela, including Shuddhanand Bharati, Dr. Moorty, Begum Akhtar, Mohan-Saigal, and others from Poona, Bombay, Delhi, Dehra Dun, Jabalpur, Nagpur and Ahmednagar.
The colony was christened Meherpuri. (Puri means a sanctified settlement for a community.) In the central area of the colony, a foundation was laid for erecting a life-size marble statue of Baba. A marble stone slab was brought by Meherjee on which to mount the sculpture. (This slab Baba had especially stood upon with folded hands and saluted the men mandali.) Two large rocks from Seclusion Hill blessed by Baba were also sent, and these were placed in the ground by Hoshang Bharucha on 18 November and covered with cement and bricks. Baba also sent a special photograph of himself which was unveiled by Gajwani.
On Baba’s first visit to Hamirpur in November 1952, while traveling by the eventual site of Meherpuri, Baba had pointed out the place to Pukar. Pukar could not follow the meaning of Baba’s gesture at that time, and thinking that Baba was asking about the standing crop in that field, he innocently replied that it was millet. Baba smiled, and Pukar wondered what it was Baba had wished to indicate, realizing there was more to his gesture than he had guessed. It was only twelve years later, when this same land was selected and purchased for Meherpuri, that he realized the significance of Baba’s gesture.
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