Bhagwan Shri Hamsa (1878-?)

Bhagwan Shri Hamsa, whose original name is Shri Natekar Swami, was born in 1878. His divine master Dattatreya bestowed him the name “Hamsa”, which means ‘soul’ or ‘water-birds of lake Manasarova in Tibet.’ (Hamsa 26) He came of a wealthy family and his father, dreading that his son would become a wandering monk, as had uncles and ancestors, had made him marry at the age of sixteen; but one day while he sat reading upon a river bank, his soul awoke, and throwing books and European clothes into the river, he began a life of austerity. (Hamsa 14)

Hamsa’s Pigrimage to Kailash

He visited Mountain Kailash in western Tibet contemporaneously with Sven Hedin, who explored there between 1906 and 1909.(Hamsa 144; Pommaret 93) He arrived at Lake Rakastal and Lake Masasarova first, and from Darchen, a small town located in front of Mountain Kaliash, he started “Pradakshina (Sanskrit term of ‘circumambulation’)” of Kailash. (Hamsa 162) He claims to have found a hermitage of a great Hindu Mahatma when he was going by the eastern side of Kailash. He climbed to the hermitage cave and finally met a great Mahatma in person there. (Hamsa 169)

The narratives of his pilgrimage to Kailash and Manasarova was translated by his disciple Shri Purohit Swami under the title The Holy Mountain, and its introduction was written by W. B. Yeat in 1933. (Foster 462)


B. S. Hamsa, The Holy Mountain: Being the Story of a Pilgrimage to Lake Manas and of Initiation of Mount Kailas in Tibet, (London: Faber and Faber Lim., 1935)

R. F. Foster, W.B. Yeats: A Life, vol. II, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997)

Francoise Pommaret, Tibet: An Enduring Civilization, (New York: Harry N. Abrams, INC., 2002)