Lazeram: Legendary Shaman of Goddess Totala

Lazeram ji was a ‘Goor’ (medium and Shaman) in the ‘Deva Parampara’ tradition of the Himalayan Siddhas. He belonged to the ‘Kumhar’ caste, whose family lines used to do pottery. But Lazeram Ji was a deeply spiritual man since his childhood. He came from the family lineage of the ‘Goor’ of the Goddess Totala (the presiding Deity of the ‘Dharakhari’ village of Himachal Pradesh, India). The ‘Goor’ of the Goddess Totala still comes from his family line.
He became famous because of a legend around the ‘Khari Devata’ (The Khari Yaksha known as ‘Khari Jachchh’ in Kula language) as mentioned in the book called ‘5 Legends of Khari Devata’ written by Pandit Shri Om Prakash ji.


Lazeram Ji was a well-known ‘Goor’ of the Himalayan village of ‘Dharakhari’. People lovingly called him ‘Wazir’. He was born in Dharakahari village in ‘Kumhar’ family. His father’s name was Shri Nantu Nantaraam. Lazeram ji had one brother called Shri Tekraam. Shri Tekraam ji made a ‘Rath’ (a vibrant symbol of a Devi or a Devata) called ‘Janedu Narayan’ Devata. Lazeram ji was an illiterate man from a financially weak family. His childhood was full of struggles. He used to work in the farms of other people and in return used to get ‘Anaaz’ (cereals) for him. Lazeram ji was a ‘Brahmachari’, a celibate all his life. He did not receive any formal education in the modern system.

His family line has been the keeper and the maintainer of the ‘Rath’ of Goddess Totala and take care of the belongings of the Goddess Totala. But he is most well-known in the lineage of ‘Goor’ (Shamans) because of the legend around ‘Khari Yaksha’. Pandit Shri Om Prakash ji narrated the legend in his book ‘5 Legends of Khari Devata’. The legend says that there are two ‘Bavaris’ (sacred water body in Himalayan villages from where people get their drinking water till present times) outside the ‘Dharakhari’ village. Both are at a considerable distance from each other. One belongs to the Goddess Totala and the other belongs to ‘Khari Yaksha’. The ‘Angarakshak’ (bodyguard) of Goddess Totala is the Divine warrior called ‘Banshira Devata’ who always remains near the Goddess.
The ‘Khari Yaksha’ Devata, who is also a Divine warrior, is the rival of the Divine warrior ‘Banshira Devata’. So the water that the ‘Goor’ or the village people use for the worship rituals of Goddess Totala is always taken from the ‘Bavari’ (water source) that belonged to Goddess Totala. It is never taken from the ‘Bavari’ of ‘Khari Yaksha’ because of the rivalry of the two warriors.
One day the ‘Goor’ Lazeram ji was frustrated that why is there is difference in water also from the two ‘Bavaris’. Lazeram ji shared this with Mahasiddha Ishaputra when he was a small boy. Mahasiddha Ishaputra spent a considerable part of His childhood in the company of Lazeram ji. So Mahasiddha Ishaputra told about what Lazeram ji thought that morning. That morning he thought, “Both the ‘Bavaris are situated on the same mountain. When the mountain is one and the same, the forests on this mountain are one, the rain is the same that happened at same time, the water is also coming through the same mountain, then how is the water different in the two ‘Bavaris’?”

The ‘Bavari’ of ‘Khari Yaksha’ was near for Lazeram ji and the other was far from his home in village. One morning he felt tired. Since many years, he was doing the same work, every single morning, of fetching water from ‘Bavari’ which was quite far from him. Every morning at 4:30 am, Lazeram Ji had to go to the ‘Bavari’ of Devi Totala to fetch water for the worship ritual of the Goddess and to drink that same water. So one morning he was tired and began to feel the frustration due to tiredness. That morning he did all the worship rituals of the Goddess and was returning to his home in the village from the Totala Mata Temple.
It was around 7:00 am in morning, he was returning to his home. While on the way, he began to think that what could be the possible reason that the water, for the worship ritual for the Goddess, can’t be taken from the ‘Bavari’ where the ‘Khari Yaksha’ lived. Then he concluded in his thoughts (while walking back to his home) that ‘Khari Devata’ is not the Divine Yaksha but is a ‘Rakshas’ (a demon), and therefore should be sent away (banned) from that hill-top where ‘Khari Devata’ lived near the ‘Bavari’. As he was busy in such thoughts, suddenly a huge figure of a warrior appeared in front of him. The warrior had one leg stretched in one of the farms above that village and his other leg stretched to other farm in the village. Lazeram ji was awestruck at the sight and stood as if the lighting struck him. The huge warrior asked him, “what are you thinking about me? You want to ban me from my own place in the village? You are a human that’s why you think like this.” Lazeram ji screamed in fear and went unconscious there. The village people came running immediately to see what happened but saw nothing around. They asked Lazeram ji what happened. And he narrated that ‘Khari Devata’ appeared and what he said.
This incident changed the life of Lazeram ji. His spiritual journey became more intense. He began to do his Sadhna and worship rituals with deeper reverence. Later he mastered the ‘Siddhi’ (mastery) of the Mantra of ‘Panch Beera Devata’ which he learnt from a Himalayan spiritual master and became famous for his Siddhis also.

Lazeram ji lived as the ‘Goor’ (Shaman) of the Goddess Totala for his entire lifetime. He died at the age of seventy four.

Chosen as the ‘Goor’ & Training

Lazeram ji had the training in the Pahari classical music and had mastery over different Raagas. He was a trained ‘Naati’ dancer. Lazeram ji was a ‘Goor’, the medium, the Shaman of Devi Totala.

Mahasiddha Ishaputra and Lazeram Ji

Lazeram Ji had deep interest to know the supreme Goddess Totala. Although his family line was dedicated to taking care of the ‘Ratha’ of Goddess Totala and later he was the chosen medium of the Goddess and was Her Shaman, yet he longed to be connected to Goddess in a more profound way.
He worked all his life in the farms of other people for his food and the whole village took his words as the word of the Goddess Herself. When Lazeram ji became old and began to suffer from old age, the family of Mahasiddha Ishaputra adopted Lazeram ji. They took care of his food, clothing and other financial needs. Lazeram ji used to take the cattle of Mahasiddha Ishaputra’s family to the mountains for grazing. When Mahasiddha Ishaputra was a young child, Lazeram Ji became close with Him saying that he is His grandfather. Lazeram ji knew that Mahasiddha Ishaputra used to go to different mountains for Sadhana and spiritual training, where He would be absent from home and school for many days in each month. So Lazeram ji told the young Mahasiddha Ishaputra once that he should tell his grandfather about everything. He should not hide anything from him.
Lazeram ji asked Mahasiddha Ishaputra about where He goes in the mountains. The young child Mahasiddha Ishaputra revealed in the innocence of childhood to Lazeram Ji, that He has a Mahasiddha Guru who calls Him at different mountains and passes on the spiritual knowledge to Him. But His Guru do not meet people in general.

Lazeram ji’s interest piqued at these words of Mahasiddha Ishaputra. He expressed his desire to Mahasiddha Ishaputra that all his life he worked so hard, and have been the ‘Goor’ of the Goddess, yet his being longed to experience the closeness with the Goddess. He expressed his wish to receive the spiritual knowledge from a Siddha Guru. Mahasiddha Ishaputra is the most benevolent, so He said to Lazeram Ji that he need not worry. He told that to meet Mahasiddha Ishaputra, His Mahasiddha Guru keeps visiting that mountain and forests range where they both lived. But Lazeram ji expressed his doubts that why would the Mahasiddha Guru of Mahasiddha Ishaputra would meet Lazeram ji because He do not meet the public. Then Mahasiddha Ishaputra consoled Lazeram ji saying that sometimes His Mahasiddha Guru had to wait for even five days to meet Mahasiddha Ishaputra. So He would tell His Guru about the farm of Lazeram ji on the mountain and about him so that His Guru could pass on the message to Lazeram Ji when Mahasiddha Ishaputra was not in the village. Then Lazeram Ji would pass on the message of the Mahasiddha Guru to His disciple Mahasiddha Ishaputra maintaining the secrecy of the matter. That way His Mahasiddha Guru might meet Lazeram Ji. Further Mahasiddha Ishaputra said to Lazeram Ji that he can come with Him up to the mountain when His Guru visits Him sometimes, but Lazeram ji should just get the ‘Darshan’ of the Mahasiddha Himalayan Guru, sit there for few minutes and then leave quietly.

It was the Divine providence, that one day it happened as Mahasiddha Ishaputra had predicted. His Mahasiddha Guru, who is the supreme Guru in the tradition of Siddha Dharm of the Himalayan Siddhas, called the name of Lazeram Ji from a place on the mountain above the farm of Lazeram ji’s hut. Lazeram Ji came out of his hut and saw that someone is calling him. He went up and saw the great Mahasiddha Siddha Siddhanta Nath Ji Maharaj standing in front of Lazeram ji. And then another great incident happened in the spiritual world of the Himalayas, where the supreme Guru of Mahasiddha Ishaputra passed on the great spiritual knowledge to Lazeram ji. Later a man named Pandit Yashwant Sharma ji preserved this knowledge with him. The knowledge is presented for the benefit of the world in the book called ‘Uttam Siddhanta Sutra’.

It was Lazeram ji who passed on the knowledge of the history of Goddess Totala, as was known in the ‘Kula’ Language in the ‘Ganai Bhartha’ (the historical record of the Goddess Totala in traditional Kula language). He told the great Mahasiddha Ishaputra about the places of Goddess Totala in the entire Himalayan range. Lazeram ji inspired Mahasiddha Ishaputra to go to the mountains of Gharwal, Uttarakhand, mountains of Nepal and of Tibet and see the places related to Goddess Totala. Later, Mahasiddha Ishaputra went to the mountains of Uttarakhand and Nepal in search of the places of Goddess Totala and to do different kinds of Sadhnas. He could not go to Tibet because Tibet was a different country.

A Prominent Spiritual Figure

Lazeram ji’s prominence lies in the fact that he has been one of the most influential ‘Goor’ of the Goddess Totala. His spiritual knowledge was vast. His social network consisted of leading spiritual personalities of the mountains of Kullu, of the ‘Goor’ and Shamans of different Himalayan vibrant Deities.

Lazeram ji is one of the most important figures from the childhood of Mahasiddha Ishaputra who had a profound impact on the young Mahasiddha Ishaputra. Although Lazeram ji was not literate, but he spoke on wide variety of subjects pertaining to spirituality, which later took forms of different books written by different people.