Chaar Dhaam Pilgrimage

Click here for photos

04 June 2006, Sunday

There was Puja and Homa at the house of Sri Janardhan Reddy in Delhi.
We had nice discussions with the Pujari (a Doctor) related to Vedas
and with Nareshji.

Nareshji explained that the first naama of the Lord in Vishnusahasranaama
is “Vishvam”. The world is a manifestation of the Lord. Everything in the
world is filled with the Lord. This is what the story of Prahalaada
shows. The asura employed various means like fire, water, earth, wild
animals, serpents, murderers, etc to kill Prahalaada. But as Vishnu resided
in all of them, the devotee was saved. The asura did not expect Vishnu to
be in an inert stone pillar. The Lord was there too !!!

The blessed house of Sri Janardhan Reddy was like an ashram. Anyone who
comes to the house did not go without being fed well. I have heard of
such hospitality, but here I was seeing it with my own eyes.

The group that went on the pilgrimage were
1. Sri Gopi Krishna – An officer in ILO from Delhi
2. Sri Raghava Rao – An educationalist from Hyderabad
3. Sri Prasanna Kumar – An MBA student from Hyderabad
4. Sri Anjaiah – An officer in an insurance company from Karim Nagar, AP
5. Sri Radha Krishna – Anjaiah’s friend from Karim Nagar, AP
6. Br. Hari Sharanam – A parivrajak brahmachari from Vrindavan
7. Sri Gokulmuthu – A software engineer from Bangalore

Gopiji was the organizer and coordinator of the pilgrimage. He knew
a lot of ashrams in the area and arranged accommodation and prasad
in those places.

The aim of the pilgrimage was to visit the Chaar Dhaam and other
interesting people and places en route – mainly sadhus and ashrams.
The group was very devoted. They chanted Vishnusahasranaamam at least
once everyday. They did japa and sang bhajans whenever possible.

We left Delhi at night.

05 June 2006, Monday

We reached Kailash Ashram, Rishikesh in the morning. We had darshan of
Swami Medhananda Puri. He made coffee for us. As the next day was
Ganga Dusshera, we were adviced to go to Gangotri first. The usual
Chaar Dhaam trip is to visit Yamunotri first and then go to
Gangotri. We planned to visit Gangotri first to wish Her
“Happy Birthday”.

We left Rishikesh to Uttarkashi. We reached Sivananda Ashram, Ganeshpuri,
UttarKashi in the evening. We had dinner and participated in the evening
Bhajans. The rooms were very good and the hospitality was excellent.
We had a nice sleep.

06 June 2006, Tuesday

We started from Uttarkashi towards Gangotri. On the way, we saw
a mountain with snow on the top. By coincidence, the shape of the
white snow seen from the van looked like the letter OM. The devotees
were thrilled.

We took bath in the hot spring at Ganganani.

We reached Gangotri in the midst of a major traffic jam. We were 2km
from the Gangotri temple. We decided to get down and walk. No sooner
than we had walked half a kilometer, when suddenly we saw a familiar
person coming towards us. It was Sri Sri Ravishankar. We bowed down
to him and made pranams. He greeted us with a smile and quickly went
on his way. We were standing wondering at our good fortune.

We went further and we found a very old lady accompanied by two other
ladies slightly younger to her, trying hard to walk towards Gangotri
with her heavy bag, etc. We took the bag from her and helped her to
the temple holding her hand. We felt blessed to be able to help them
at the holy place.

We offered prayers at the banks of Ganga at Gangotri. We had darshan
at the temple and started back to Uttarkashi.

On the way, Gopiji was having interesting discussions with our driver
Sri Prabhakar. Prabhakar was a young naughty youth with a good sense
of values, but short temper. Sometimes he gets calculative and tries
to get more money (natural). Overall he was a nice and interesting
person.

We reached Uttarkashi at nightfall. We had dinner at the ashram and
went to sleep.

07 June 2006, Wednesday

We got up early in the morning and went to the banks of Ganga. The
devotees chanted Vishnusahasranaam. The sun rise from behind the
mountains, the sound of Ganga flowing mixed with the melodious
chanting of Vishnusahasranaam was enchanting.

It was the day of Nirjala Ekadasi. As we are not used to it, we
were served some snacks at the ashram. We had satsangh with
Swami Premanandaji Maharaj. Raghavji asked the Swamiji to give us
a message. Swamiji said “Be thankful to the Lord for whatever
that happens in life. It is by His will and judgement that things
happen. Don’t complaint against or reject His will.” He took some
annaprasad of Puri Jagannathji and gave to Radhakrishnanji. He
asked Radhakrishnanji to eat it. He ate it. Swamiji said, “See,
today is Ekadasi. But he did not think, ‘Why is Swamiji doing a
foolish thing? Today is Ekadasi and still he is asking me to
eat rice. I will not eat it.’ He thought, ‘Swamiji knows today
is Ekadasi. Still he is asking me to eat this. So it must be fine
to eat it.’ This should be your attitude. You should rely on the
judgement of God.

He also said that it is the Lord who has become everything in the
world. Learn to see the Lord everywhere. At the same time, use
your intelligence also. He told the story of the Elephant God and
the Mahout God.

We took leave of Swamiji and visited the Vishwanath temple at
Uttarkashi. There was a huge trident, which was supposed to have
been used by Shiva.

Then we went towards Yamunotri. We reached Hanuman Chatti at night.

08 June 2006, Thursday

We started in the morning. We went upto Janaki Chatti by a local
jeep and started trekking to Yamunotri. The village houses were
interesting. The horses, the palkis, etc were a new experience.
The trek was steep. It was compensated by the beautiful scenery.
We were in no hurry. We reached Yamunotri. The water in the
river was cold. Some of us took a dip while others just sprinkled
the water on the head. We took bath in the hot spring water.

There was a Hanuman and Rama temple near the Yamunotri temple.
Thanks to Hari Sharanam Maharaj, our afternoon prasad was arranged
in the temple. After prasad, the devotees chanted Vishnusahasranaam
outside the temple. Then we started trekking down.

Gopiji’s arthritis gave him a tough time, but he beared it all with
cheer. We reached Hanuman Chatti in the evening and stayed there
for the night.

09 June 2006, Friday

In the morning, we started the long drive towards Kedarnath. The
devotees chanted Vishnusahasranaam and sang some bhajans in the van.
On the way, the spring in the van got broken and we had to spend a
few hours at Barkot to get it repaired.

We had a nice satsangh while waiting for the van to get repaired.
Gopiji told us about the plans of the purohit, who did puja in
Reddyji’s house. The purohit wanted to start a Veda Patashala, but
his plans did not materialize fully. He had spend lakhs of rupees
on it. With Gopiji’s support, they are planning to revive it. We
also had various discussions on spiritual life.

When the van got fixed, we continued our journey.

On the way we had a view of the huge Tehri dam.

We reached Shrinagar (Uttaranchal) by night fall. We stayed there
in the night. As this falls on the way to Hemakund Sahib, there
were a lot of Sikh pilgrims in Shrinagar and on the roads.

10 June 2006, Saturday

We started towards Kedarnath. We stopped at Guptakashi. We went
to Sri Srividhya Dhaam. It is a residential patashala and a
charitable rest house for sadhus and sadhaks. We left our luggage
there.

We went to the place where a friend of Gopiji – Sri Ramamoorthyji
– is leading a secluded life. There is a shiva temple where Nala
had worshipped. There is a place where Nala did tapas. We also
saw the samadhi of Damayanti from a distance. There were rice and
potato fields all round. There were rows of mountains one behind
the other in all directions. The place was very beautiful.

Sri Ramamoorthyji showed us Bhoj Patra. It is the bark of a tree
and is like paper. It is used to write sacred texts. He also
gave some Kedarnath prasad. He gave Gopiji a magnetic knee cap to
alleviate some knee pain.

We reached Gauri Kund at the base of Kedarnath before noon. We
took bath in the hot spring and started trekking up. The place
was very crowded. Horses and palkis were plying in the service
of pilgrims who could not or did not want to trek by foot. We
heard there were more than 20,000 horses in service there. There
is helicopter service also. The trek is not as steep as Yamunotri,
but it is twice as long. It started raining as we neared the
Kedarnath temple. We reached the top in the night. We took a
room and slept.

11 June 2006, Sunday

We got up in the morning. The sun rising over the snow clad peak
of Nilakanta was an enchanting sight.

We had arranged for a priest to help us worship the Lord. He wanted
us to tell lies and cut the queue, etc. We told him that it was ok
with us to stand for a couple of hours in the queue, but we did
not want to spoil our spiritual mood by telling lies and fighting
with other righteous devotees. The queue moved fast. After a short
wait, we had a nice darshan of the Lord. We worshipped Him to our
hearts satisfaction. We blessed the Lord that He soon gets freed
from the corrupt pandas and priests.

We had a brunch and started trekking down. We reached Gauri Kund
in the early hours of the evening. We sprinkled water from Gauri
Kund on our heads and proceeded.

We went to the temple of Triyuginarayan. The tradition says that
this is where Shiva married Parvati. Lord Narayana was the priest
and the homa kund is being kept akhanda since then. We worshipped
the Lord ignoring the modern day priests, who tried hard to help
us lighten our purses.

On the way back, Sri Prabhakar shown us a temple with a golden
color dome like structure, on the distant slope of a mountain.
He said that it was the place where Shiva cut of the head of
Ganesha, who did not let him in on the orders of Parvati. We
did not have time to visit that temple.

We reached Sri Srividhya Dhaam at Guptakashi at night fall. We
had prasad there and spent the night there.

12 June 2006, Monday

We reached Chopta, the base of Tunganath. We decided to
visit Sri Tunganathji after long deliberation. It is a three
kilometers steep climb. We took the services of horses. Anjaiah
was very frightened to climb on a horse. He walked all the way
up to the great appreciation of the rest of the group. The
scenery on the way up was very beautiful. Its beauty was
excelled only by the scenery on the top of the mountain, where
the temple of Sri Tunganathji was situated. It was a very calm
place. There were not many people. We had a nice darshan and
sat quietly for sometime facing the vast stretches of open
meadows. This place was too high up for the pine trees to grow.
We could clearly see the line above which the tall pine trees
dared not to set their foot. Only humble ferns, grass, and some
small plants and creepers grew in this place. Most of the plants
had beautiful small flowers. This seemed to teach us the attitude
we should have when approaching the Lord.

Upon enquiry, we found that accommodation is available at the top
of the hill with all facilities for a very low price. We decided
to plan to come there and spend a week or so, in solitude sometime
in future. It is a very good place to test your nerves on a
solitary life.

We reluctantly came down from Tunganath. We started towards
Joshimath. We reached Joshimath at night. We had a darshan of
Swami Swaroopanandaji Maharaj, the Shakaracharya of the Math.
Gopiji and the other devotees had the privilege of rendering
some personal service to the Swami. They felt very blessed. We
had prasad in the Math and our accommodation was also arranged
there.

After enquiring about our whereabouts and welfare, the Sankaracharya
encouraged us to ask questions. Gopiji asked a question, after much
hesitation.

G: Of the two great devotees of Lord – Bhishma and Vibhishana – in
Kaliyuga, whom should we follow? Bhishma has waged war in favor
of Kauravas and against Pandavas knowing fully well that Kauravas
are on the wrong side and God and Truth are on the side of Pandavas,
whereas Vibhishana has deserted his own brother, who committed a
mistake, and surrendered to their enemy, Sri Rama, and then became
responsible in killing his own brother, Ravana, in the hands of Sri Rama.

S: Bhishma is a sign of ego. Bhimshma has promised to his father that
he will not claim either the kingdom or the crown and, at the same time
taken a vow to protect the throne and the kingdom of Kauravas as long
as he is alive. And, he stuck to his vow till his last breadth. Bhimsha says
to Draupadi, when he was on the bed of arrows, that he could not object
to the misdeeds of Duryodhana and Kauravas earlier, as his blood was
polluted by the food offered to him by Kauravas, and now that blood
was taken out by the arrows of Arjuna and is now in a position to teach
Dharma to Yudhishtara.

In the case of Vibhishana, he has not left the company of his brother
Ravana of his own volition. He was asked to leave Lanka by Ravana,
when the former pointed out Ravana’s mistakes. Instead of getting killed
in the hands of an Asura like Ravana, Vibhishana thought it better to surrender
to Sri Rama, who is the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and serve Him. Due to
his devotion and surrender to Sri Rama, Vibhishana, has not only got the
love and protection of Sri Rama, but also became the king of Lanka.

Coming to the present conditions, one has to protect Dharma while
surrendering one’s own actions to Lord. Though adharma appears to be
winning, ultimately Dharma will emerge victorious and the present day
human being should follow what is dharma. In other words, one should
have the dedication to duty of Bhishma and devotion of Vibhishana in
this Kaliyuga.

13 June 2006, Tuesday

We visited the place where some of the Sankaracharyas had done
a lot of Tapas. Then we visited the temple where Sankara was
saved by his disciple from death at the hands of a Kapalika.

We had breakfast and started towards the last of the Chaar
Dhaams – Sri Badrinathji.

We reached Badrinath before noon. We took accomodation at the
Annadaana Chatram of Sri Chinna Jeeyar. We went to see the temple.
We wanted to take bath in the hot spring before lunch. As they
were cleaning the tank, we just wetted our mortal frames and
had prasad at the Chatram where we were staying.

We had darshan of Sri Badrinathji. It is a staggering feeling
to even think that Lord Narayana is doing Tapas in this place.
We came back to the Chartam in the evening. At 6pm, the
volunteers managing the Chatram chanted Vishnusahasranaam
and did puja to Sriman Narayana in the small temple in the
Chatram. It was a small devoted gathering.

14 June 2006, Wednesday

We had a nice bath in the hot water spring in the Badrinath
Temple. Gopiji and Raghavji wanted to do some puja for their
ancestors. After the puja, we had darshan of the Lord. We
got some bhog prasad of the Lord. We had lunch at the Chatram.

We wanted to visit some mahatmas in the areas. Gopiji had a
list of such people. We could locate a great saint. His name
was Taatambari Baba. He wore only a jute gunny bag. He spoke
in a charming rustic Hindi. He called us “kapadevaalon”.
Here is a gist of our conversation with him.
Hari Sharanam Maharaj: Babaji, we have come to see you by your
grace.
Babaji: You have come here by the effect of your prarabda. So
it is by the grace of your karma that you have come here. It
is really your grace.
HS: Babaji, give us a message.
B: If I tell you what I want to tell, you won’t follow. What
is the use?
HS: It is ok. Please tell us what you want to tell. We will try.
B: Stay here.
HS: What do you mean?
B: What you seek in the world is a place to live, clothes to
wear and food to eat. I will give you all these at this place.
Just stay here and do nothing. Which of you is ready for this?
HS: How is that possible? What about our prarabda? Where we
stay and what we do is directed by the prarabda.
B: A jnani can do what he wishes. He does not have any karma.
All karma gets burnt away in the jnanaagni. A jnani is free.
HS: But we are not jnanis.
B: That is in your hands. You are just not willing to break
away. That is the problem.
Raghavji: But Babaji, we are grihastas. We have family, job
and other duties and responsibilities. Who will take care of
them?
B: See. Everyone’s life goes according to their prarabda.
Just because you decide to stay here, their life will not
become anything different from what their prarabda is. Just
because you decide to stay with your family, their life will
not become anything different from what their prarabda is.
You really dont make any difference to anyone.
(Great silence prevails in the minds of the devotees.)
R: But Babaji, being in the midst of family and other
responsibilities, how should we lead our life?
B: Live like a sannyasi. Be unattached. Know that everyone’s
life happens according to their prarabda and you really don’t
make any difference to anyone’s life.
(Silence again.)
B: Did you have darshan of Sri Badrinathji?
HS: Yes, Babaji.
B: Did you close your eyes and ask God anything?
HS: Yes, Babaji.
B: What did you ask?
HS: I asked for Bhakti.
B: Why should He give you Bhakti? Do you want Him or does
He wants you? Who are you to Him? Why should He give you
Bhakti because you asked for it?
HS: Then what should we ask, Babaji?
B: Why should you ask anything at all? Just go, have darshan,
feel happy and come back. Why should you ask something?
(Silence.)
HS: We will take leave Babaji.
(HS tries to take the rug being used to sit on by the devotees
and fold them away.)
B: Hey, no, no. You are a Sant. Why should you do that? I
will take care of it.
HS: No Babaji. You are a Sant. We are ordinary people.
B: No. You are a renunciate. You are a Sant.
(The other devotees take the rug from HS and complete the job.)

We were so enchanted and amused by the dialogue with Taatambari Baba
that we were recollecting and discussing his words again and again
throughout the rest of the pilgrimage. We were trying to imitate
his unimitable rustic Hindi and other mannerisms. Hari Sharanam
Maharaj decided to visit him again during another trip to Badrinath
when he had more time to spend with Babaji.

In the early evening, we visited the village of Mana in our van.
At Mana, we visited Ganesh Guha and Vyasa Guha. This was the
place where Mahabharata was written. The good natured priests in
both the caves explained tirelessly to the pilgrims the history
of these caves and made us feel edified and happy. There were a
lot of pilgrims visiting these places and everyone felt very
happy with these priests and donated happily and generously. Oh,
how different were these noble priests from those at the temples
we have visited before.

These caves are on the banks of river Sarasvati, which is said
to vanish into the ground shortly downstream and reappears at
Prayag (Allahabad). The river forces its way violently through
a narrow gorge and tumbles down a steep fall. It was a nice
scene to watch. There were some boys taking the risk of collecting
some water from the top of the fall for a few rupees. There is
a natural bridge called Bhim Ful (Bhima’s bridge) over which
we had to cross to reach the Sarasvati temple. A short distance
further on the path is a small temple of Tripurasundari. We
paid a visit to the temple too.

All along the way, the villagers were selling woollen ware
made by themselves at their home.

On the way back, we met an old woman who was doing some farming
on a patch of land overlooked by a huge steep cliff. It was
an enchanting sight to see the puny little figure of the old
lady tottering before the majestic mountain. It was impossible
to say who was greater – Nature or Man. Nature and man seemed
to be made for each other, as long as they respected each other.
It reminded us of the verses in the Gita where Krishna tells
Arjuna – “You offer to the Devas in sacrifice and the Devas will
reward you in plenty. Thus you support each other and live
prosperously.”

We came to know that the old lady had trekked to Swargarohan,
Gomukh, etc several times. We bowed down to her and she blessed
us with motherly affection. We wondered at the simplicity and
cordiality of these people.

We spent the night at the Chatram at Badrinath.

15 June 2006, Thursday

We left Badrinath early in the morning and reached the
kutir of
Gokulji’s Guru at the village of Jakhwadi in the evening.  Swamiji
has been living in that Kutir for the past ten years. It is a very
calm and picturesque place with paddy fields on the mountain
slopes surrounded by higher mountains. There is an ancient small
Shiva temple besides a perennial spring of crystal clear water flowing
ceaselessly making a gentle murmuring sound. This seems like the
mountain’s unceasing japa of Shiva naama at this ancient temple.
In the vicinity of this temple is the small kutir of the Swamiji and
another small kutir that serves as the guest room. The place does
not have electricity. The villages nearby have electricity supply.
The Swamiji said that he did not want electricity and other
modern amenities to keep away casual visitors. Only sincere
sadhaks who are ready to bear a lot of hardship are welcome to
his small ashram, which is called “Sanathana Jnanashram”.

Gokulji had told earlier that the Swamiji had told him once
that an ashram is not made of brick and mortar, but of
sincere sadhaks. We were all reminded of that statement and
seemed to understand the meaning of that sentence.

Swamiji asked us if we were planning to spend the night there.
We told him that we would like to, if it was not an
inconvenience to him. He replied that it was no inconvenience
to him, but it was we who should be ready to bear with the
inconvenience of the place if we want to stay. We were more
than willing to face any inconvenience to spend more time
with this great sadhu. We decided to spend the night at his
“ashram”.

Gopiji asked the first question, “We went to the Chaar Dhaams
just now. We had to face a lot of physical hardship to have
darshan of the deities. To come here too, we had to face a
lot of hardship. This place is very deep in the mountains,
with bad road access, across several mountain streams, etc.
Why do you sadhus and other places of pilgrimage are always
located at almost inaccessible places?” Swamiji gave a very
detailed reply to this question. The jist of his reply was,
“I am a rejected person in the society. I came from a middle
class family. So the poor people, who form majority of the
population rejected me. At work, I was an honest person. So
I was always a suspect in the eyes of my peers and was rejected
by them. As I was an officer, I was rejected by the workers
too. I wanted to lead the life of a Brahmacharin. I was
rejected by my family and the society for that. I did not
find any place in the social circles of the people of my age
group. Even in the ashram of my Guru, I was a rejected person.
My aim in life is Jivan Mukti. I was not interested in any
power or position or name in the ashram. As most of the people
in the ashram are after these things, I was rejected there
too. I had to leave the ashram. In this world, anyone who
follows the path of Truth has to face this rejection at some
time or the other. So, it is not that we choose to stay in
inaccessible places. It is the world that rejects people like
me and these are the places where we land up in.” Gopiji
said, “But Swamiji, we have come in search of people like you.
How can you say that you are a rejected person?” Swamji said,
“Tell me what percentage of the society wants a person like
me?”

Raghavji asked, “We are Grihastas. We have a family, job
and other duties and responsibilities. In the midst of all
these and along with all these, how can we strive for God?
What is the way for us?” Swamiji replied, “God is the goal.
Your wife, children, job, bank balance, and all other things
are good only as long as they are not obstacles to your
spiritual life. If you are serious about spiritual life,
you should not hesitate to forsake anything that is an
obstacle between you and for God. Prahalada forsook his father.
Vibhishana forsook his brother. Bharata forsook his mother.
Mahabali forsook his guru. The goal is God. You will get
Him only if you are willing to drop anything that is an
obstacle. Keep this in mind and use your own intelligence
and make your life.”

Swamiji talked to us about various things. During the
course of our conversation, he told us this. “Our mind
has various layers – like the conscious, sub-conscious,
unconscious, etc. The aims and thoughts in one layer
contradict with those in another layer. Sadhana is nothing
but bringing the contradictions in the various layers of
the mind to the conscious realm and making the choice
that leads us to God. The objective of all the various
yogas – Bhakti yoga, Jnana yoga, Karma yoga and Raja
yoga – are the same: to bring out the contradictions
in the mind into conscious vision. When you are conscious
of the contradiction, you have to make the right choice
and move forward. Keep doing this. It is not the job
of a single lifetime to remove all the contradictions.
It may take a few lifetimes. But this is the spiritual
path. You have to do this. There is no other way. You
have to face it.”

Swamiji talked about giving in charity. He said, “Even
from the common sense point of view, you should give
in charity to reduce the tension between the rich and
the poor. The big gap between the rich and the poor
creates jealousy. This leads to a lot of problems in
the society. To balance this, the rich have to give in
charity to the people whom he faces everyday. This has
to be done by the rich to save his own life. This is
simple common sense.”

Swamiji made herbal tea for us in the early evening.
He made kichadi for the night. He gave each one of us
a small part of the task of preparing kichadi. Some
of us washed the vessels. Some of us fetched water.
Some of us cut vegetables. It was fun. Then Swamiji
led us to sing some bhajans. He played on the harmonium.
We all clapped our hands to keep the beat and sang
with him. He sang the song “hey roma roma mein vasane
vaale Ram”. We were all thrilled by the deep meaning
of the song.

Gopiji and Gokulji slept in Swamiji’s room. The others
slept in the guest room. The toilet in the guest room
had more facilities than the one in Swamiji’s room. For
example, the toilet in the guest room had a door which
can be locked. We had a nice sleep in the night.

16 June 2006, Friday

In the morning, Swamiji gave a leaf of a plant to chew.
He said that chewing that leaf had a better cleaning
effect than the modern toothpaste and toothbrush. We
had some herbal tea in the morning and left. Many of
the devotees donated jackets, shawls, biscuits and
dry fruits to Swamiji, which he promptly distributed
then and there among the villagers. He was truly a
great example of renunciation. He seemed to know
each person in the village intimately and knew who needs
what.

We reached Kailash Ashram in Rishikesh in the evening.
Anjaiah and Radhakrishna wanted to go to Delhi soon
and decided to carry on.

We went to Paramartha Niketan and saw the Ganga Arati
in the evening. It was a great show. There was great
pomp and grandness. The puja was not impressive, but
the music was good. We left the place after the main
arati. We went to visit some old sadhus living in
Rishikesh. Gopiji knew them personally. We could meet
two of them.

We came back to Kailash Ashram in the night.

17 June 2006, Saturday

We went to Vashishta Guha. It is about 20km from
Rishikesh on the way to Badrinath. The cave is supposed
to have been used by several great sages to do tapasya.
It is believed that many sages are doing tapasya there
in their astral bodies. Recently Swami Purushottamanandaji,
a disciple of Swami Brahmanandaji (Rakhal Maharaj), the
spiritual son of Sri Ramakrishna lived there for several
years. After his mahasamadhi, his disciple
Swami Chaitanyanandaji Maharaj is managing the place.
He is an old sadhu with a soft nature. The cave has a
shivalinga. We worshipped the linga and sat in the
silent atmosphere of the cave for sometime.

We spent some time at the banks of the Ganga in the
ashram. Gokulji had a nice bath in the Ganga. We spent
some more time in the cave and then had prasad at the
ashram.

We reached Kailash ashram in the evening. We went to
Sivananda ashram. We took part in the evening bhajans
and arati. The Ganga Arati at Sivananda was a small
devoted one. It was a big contrast with the arati that we
attended the previous day. We enjoyed this arati much
more than the previous day’s. We spent some quiet time
on the banks of the Ganges at this hallowed place, where
the great Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj lived.

We spent the night at Kailash Ashram.

18 June 2006, Sunday

Raghavji and Prasannaji left for Delhi early in the morning.
Gokulji had decided to go to Vrindavan with Hari Sharanam
Maharaj. Later they decided to stay back and visit
Swami Jnanananda Giri, who lived in Musoorie and Dehradun.
Gopiji knew the Swamiji personally. The old Swamiji was a
Swiss national, who has been living in India for more than
50 years. We visited him at his kutir in Musoorie. He was
more Indian in culture than most of us. We visited the
temple built by one of his disciples nearby. The Swami
was on his way to Dehradun. We decided to drop him at
his place in Dehradun. Thus we were able to spend some
time with him.

Gopiji and Gokulji started back to Delhi in the afternoon.
Hari Sharanam Maharaj joined his other friends in Rishikesh.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *