Himalayan Sacred Walks - Part IX1 Dec, 2017, by Seema Bhatnagar
In continuation to Part VIII.
(This is a concluding part of the series. This post is about summing up my overall experience of the whole trip. To enjoy and appreciate this post, it is recommended to read previous parts, from part 1 to part VIII).
A journey to Divine.
Welcoming Bells at Kedar.
The grandeur of Himalayas so called, “the youngest mountains of the world”, is something which cannot be expressed in words. Its’ mesmerizing beauty leaves one speechless. Some of the peaks are so majestic that it is difficult to contain them in a single pair of eyes. The rivers with their own identities keep changing colors at different points, dancing and singing on their own tunes, desperately finding ways to lose their identity at the confluence with other rivers.
Valleys and valleys with one beautiful than the other keep unfolding their beauty. Different landscapes with different hues of green and variety of trees, is truly a feast for eyes that constantly craves for more and more to enjoy.
To me, it felt as if the landscapes which were unfolding one after another is like a well-directed movie, with live characters playing their roles. Each mountain has something to say, standing tall, wide and grand. Rivers are busy flowing, finding ways to reach the confluence, rocks standing in the way of rivers deciding the flow of water. How many twists and turns it takes during its’ tenacious journey via mountains and constantly struggling with rocks on the way with a resolute to finally meet the ocean to disappear in the end.
Every action seems flawless as if it is a grand scheme of things and characters, and I am as a spectator, watching and enjoying this fantastic movie.
The Titans of Himalayas.
These rocks and mountains compelled me to think about their formation, how many years it would have taken to reach at this size and shape. What were those forces which brought it here and what is that force which is holding such grand structures in place. How caves got formed? How far roots have to extend themselves to get the water transported to such a height? How soil remains intact on the mountain?
There were moments when I strongly felt bowing down to the creator who created such a marvelous and flawless creation, and not just done with its' creation, but also continuously pumping life and energy into it. I could feel the deep intelligence working behind these beautiful landscapes.
Rocks deterring the bold river.
In the very first Sathsang, Sadhguru mentioned that your visit to Himalayas should humble you. At that time, I could not really estimate the weight of the statement but later on as I experienced the magnanimity of Himalayas, these words kept reeling inside my mind.
Yes, I have found myself truly humbled by the grandeur and magnificence of Himalayas. What I call as “ME”, is so insignificant and petty, not more than a speck of dust in front of these giants, who have been existing here even before I existed on this planet.
Writing this whole series has intrigued me to core and made me to read more and more about the Himalayas. It has immensely enhanced my knowledge about geography and topography of Himalayan region.
The rock formation has especially intrigued me and I have been reading a lot about it since I have come back from the trip. I have been to the mountains of Ladakh and Kashmir also, since than it is constantly making me inquisitive about how such large entities are formed and stand tall at one place for ages.
In near future, once my research reaches to a certain level then would write one post on the topography of Himalayas.
Legends and Life
The legends that I have mentioned in the posts for the all places have made me to ponder about the greatness hidden in them.
Great personalities like Adi Shankaracharya truly mesmerized me. It is simply unconceivable, at least for me, that he travelled Himalayas, all walking down from Southern India, Kerala, not once but thrice on a mission to establish temples all across India.
Considering such a rough terrain and those times when there used to be no concrete roads and GPS to direct on mountains, how tough it would have been for him finding ways and that too walking barefoot. A person like him walks on earth once in thousand years, I believe.
At such a young age of 32, he left an unparalleled and unbeatable glory behind. It is truly inspiring, how he worked tirelessly and selflessly for making places which can stay intact for centuries to come and benefit people who visit there. Such places are absolutely remarkable gifts to humanity because they are transforming for every individual, irrespective of religion, caste, creed, gender or race.
I bow my head in reverence to him. Wish, I could get a drop of his greatness so that I too can live a more meaningful life on this planet.
The Pandva brothers of Mahabharata, who walked Himalayas and left important landmarks behind, which later on turned into powerful places of worship. How hard it would have been for them living in mountains where there were no means of comfort and conveniences. It is all the more praiseworthy, given the fact that they belonged to royal family. For sure, it must have been truly challenging for them.
The river Ganges, its’ long journey to merge with ocean is beautiful and at the same time an arduous one too. It truly deserve to be called as Divine and holy. I always wanted to see the origin of Ganges and wanted to know what is that which makes it holy and Divine in nature, why people are so desirous for taking a dip in this. A single dip at Gangotri has answered all my questions and quenched my thirst to know it more.
Inception of Ganges.
The legends always link Ganges to Lord Shiva, on reading more about it I reached to a conclusion that its’ turbulence and purity is what makes it equivalent to Divine, and to make it reverential for a layman it is called as a Goddess. Since it gives life to millions staying nears its’ banks, from that context also, it is not just a river but a full-fledged life flowing.
Food and Accommodation
The impeccable coordination and management of Isha volunteers kept us amazed and inspiring every moment. Before even reaching the place of stay we were given the room numbers of our stay, and there was absolutely no chaos in searching and grabbing the rooms.
All the places that we visited, the food and accommodations were at the best that could be possible given the size of the group. No matter where and when we reached, the team of cooks would reach early and kept the food ready for us.
The quality of food was just awesome. Every meal was a complete meal in itself serving both North Indian and South Indian curries, also including sweets. We used to look forward for every meal. There was no occasion when we did not compliment the whole team for serving us such a sumptuous food that too at such a faraway places where it is difficult to get eatables.
To offer our gratitude to each and every person of the food team, we gave them standing ovation during the event on our last dinner at Haridwar. We all contributed towards a kitty and offered them as a token of gratitude. To ensure that each one in the team gets a share, name of each person was called out. One by one every member was handed over the envelope containing our feeling of gratitude. Doesn’t matter it was their duty to provide us food because they have taken a contract, what matters is, the way they were serving and the quality of the food that was served. It was well cooked and they were serving with love and smile without a trace of any fatigue of journey or hard physical work.
When I started the trip, I didn’t know anyone except the person whom I spoke to, program coordinator, but later on ended up making some fine friendships which will stay with me forever. After 10 days of staying together and sharing experiences, few of us bonded so well that it felt as if we know each other since ages. It was not just true with me, in fact everyone had the same feeling. We all felt blessed to have found such great bondings on our journey.
Made friendships with some of the members who came all the way from faraway countries. Our group was a potpourri of members from US, UK, Copenhagen, China etc. I have all the praise for them for breaching barriers of religions, cast, creed and race and showing their openness and willingness to experience Divine.
At the onset of the trip I simply walked in like any other tourist with no idea of how to go about pilgrimage or what exactly is the benefit of going on a pilgrimage. On top of that I had no expectations from this trip, it was just to visit these popular places that too because Sadhguru mentioned in one of the videos, that one should visit Himalayas once in lifetime to experience the magnanimity of these young peaks.
To my wonder and awe, I was deeply touched by the mystical experience at Kedar, (read full post about it, click here.). I was deeply touched by something which cannot be expressed in words. It left me with a transformation which can be experienced only on turning inside, outside there is nothing visible. I never believed that any place could be so powerful that it can touch the inner dimension.
Kedarnath - The Mystical.
Now, realizing the fact why in Indian culture it is always emphasized to visit such places, because unknowingly it benefits people, one doesn’t need to do anything, and simply visiting a place can do wonders to an individual. Since I do my meditation and yoga practices every day so I can feel the difference inside, but people who don’t do it they also get the benefit but they remain ignorant of any change in themselves or probably they ignore it thinking that it is a life process to grow. Whatever may be the thought, the significant aspect is that something changes to get better or evolved for an individual.
This transformation has propelled me to a different level of inner dimension, something that will stay with me forever. From outside nothing is visible but the inside is throbbing with a touch of Divine. After coming from there, I find myself so bonded with Kedar that a simple picture of it is sufficient enough to make me feel overwhelmed.
The truth is, I went as a tourist but came back as a devotee. Such experiences are the kind of wealth that cannot be bought by any money or favors. Doesn’t matter if one is a billionaire or a pauper, this is something comes only by grace of Divine. I sincerely wish and pray, may each one who visits there gets touched by this Divine power.
I am a person who loves to get experiences, for me, second time is a repetition, so I make sure that first time should be pleasant and strong enough to pull me for a second time. I am not game to invest time and energy for any repetition unless it is really needed.
In this trip, I tasted few new experiences – chopper ride, dip in hot water spring in Taptkund at Badrinath, cold freezing water dip at Gangotri, sitting in a cave, sitting near Jyotirlinga at Kedar and of course, the powerful experience of Divine at Kedar. These experiences were quite powerful and left me touched deeply, therefore I am all heart to go for second time as well. Perhaps, in this context it will not be a repetition rather it will be more of making inner dimension enhanced and enriched.
On this journey, there were thousand things that could go wrong, starting from my health to the landslide or anything which I cannot even imagine, but each and everything happened just the way it was planned. I really have no instance where I could complain for anything, I always felt as if I was being treated like a royal guest for whom everything is ready before hand. Company of wonderful people, sumptuous food, lovely weather and a grace of Divine, nothing else is needed to feel blissful in this life. Indeed, it was a journey to Divine.
For all this and much more, my heartiest reverence to Sadhguru who inspired me to take up this journey and in the end he left me imbibed with a grace of Divine.