With Swamiji at Badrinath!
With excitement running high I started my journey for Badrinathji on the 13th October night in Patiala with 19 other devotees, in a taxi and a mini bus. We were going to meet the remaining 30 in Haridwar, the following morning. It was going to be a long journey but we were all happy and spritely.
It was not just the idea of visiting one of the most revered pilgrims that made me joyous but staying in the presence of Swamiji, my Master and listening to His preaching’s everyday for so many days filled me with happiness that was pouring out from with in.
The following day on the 14th we all freshened up at a Dharamshala (rest house) in Haridwar. Here we were accompanied by other devotees who had come in from Delhi, Dehradoon and Banaras. We all started off for Badrinath in two buses. It felt like one big family, all tied with a bond of love for Swamiji. All singing praises of the Lord while on the way. We reached upto Karan Prayag where we had to halt that day. It was cold and we were all tired but the enthusiasm was so high that we all decided to start as early as 5 AM, next morning on the 15th so as to reach our Swamiji as soon as possible.
Swamiji had left a few days before us to ensure that all the arrangements were done in time and we were comfortable on arrival.
We reached around afternoon at 12PM and Swamiji welcomed us all and ensured we were comfortably settled in our rooms.
The weather was beautiful yet cold and with Swamiji’s divine presence the entire town seemed to light up for me. His sweet voice that I heard after so long was like a symphony to my ears. The darshan (meeting with) of my Master made me feel like I needed to go no where else, no other temple or shrine. All of it was right there.
It was night already and time to go to bed. It had been a long journey but it was only the body that was tired, the mind was refreshed and the heart at peace, my Master was close by.
Next day the ceremonies stared off with us visiting the Holy Temple of Badrinath. We took with us the Holy book and water pots; for collecting holy water to be used in the religious ceremony of seven days and seek the Lord’s blessings for all to go well. There was a two hours long prayer followed by simple yet delicious food for all and after a small break Swamiji honoured the Katha vachak (religious orator) who shared with us all enticing tales from the holy book, the Bhagawat Puran.
Everyday a select number of people would do the morning prayers and after a delicious breakfast made without onion or garlic, Satvic bhojan(meals) as we Hindus call it, all would collect in the hall to listen to the orator. He was a fine old man with an in-depth knowledge of the holy book but by the third day we all realized that his health had deteriorated. It was too cold and his body was not taking it well. We all were very concerned for his health and his task ,what would happen if orator would not be able to complete his task, how would we hear the holy bhagawat purana. It was during this time when Swamiji stepped in and showering us with his divine grace decided to deliver the sermons himself. He started from the beginning and over the next four days, narrated the entire scripture in the most charismatic manner.
Swamiji’s narration and preaching’s are difficult to explain in words but just know that none of us had ever heard or understood any of the stories and meanings the way we did this time. Swamiji helped us in understanding the deeper meaning of the epic and stories and it was full of the Lord’s divinity and love for His subjects. It felt as if Krishna Himself spoke in Swamiji. For all those who could not be there, video recording was done that will be uploaded in due course with Swamiji’s blessings.
Swamiji also shared His views on various other topics like how to pray, how to use the chanting beads, how to train the mind and body, how to lose oneself in the divine bhakti or just how to become better people. He spoke on the esoteric aspects of mantra yoga, how to bring mantras to life, the hidden meaning behind churning of the ocean (samudra manthan). He also spoke on the real meaning behind maharasa (Krishna’s divine dance with the gopis) and many other topics.
During the free hours of the day, people would gather in His room for listening to Swamiji and also seeking His guidance on queries they had in their mind. Never did I once see Swamiji turning anyone away or avoiding a question or being angry or showing any signs of tiredness. He was there for all, full of love and blessings for all. My dear Master, will I ever be able to thank Him enough for all that he is blessed me with, I don’t think so. How can I am too small in every which way!
In the evenings all the devotees and musicians who had specially come in from Banaras would gather in the hall and sing praises of the lord. And the day would end with Satvic Bhojan (meals) for all.
It was a very beautiful and divine experience dear friends. I have shared a few pictures and will keep on adding on it as and when I receive some more from the devotees that went with us. I thank Swamiji for being able to be there with Him, on the land he went for His Sadhana. I hope I have shared enough to be able to give you all some idea of the entire trip.
A very Hare Krishna!
This post was originally published on Swamiji’s fan club website which no longer exists, to know more about that, refer to my intro part of the archives series here.
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