Few days back, one of my very close friends asked me whether I was interested to visit Varanasi. He, his wife and younger son were planning a visit. I instantly agreed, there were many reasons. Varanasi is no ordinary place, it is the abode of Lord Shiva, and home to many who are carrying Shiva in their heart, mind and soul. I had the urge to visit Varanasi for quite some time, and now the opportunity had knocked on its own, so I booked my tickets and was in all readiness, full of excitement and enthusiasm.
When I shared the ensuing Varanasi visit plans with my cousin, he suggested that I should pay a visit to the Trailinga Swami Math. I could recall that Om Swami has mentioned about this place in his book “If Truth Be Told: A Monk’s Memoir”. Instantly, my enquiring mind pushed me towards Google and interest gave way to exploring on you tube. I found a book on Amazon titled “The Walking Shiva of Varanasi”, which was kind of biography of Shri Trailinga Swami. I immediately ordered a copy. By the time I scanned through the book, I was on way to Varanasi.
I was in Varanasi for 2 days and one night, the time just flew. I visited few temples, and saw almost all the ghats, and Maa Ganga Aarti, primarily thanks to the cozy two and half hours’ trip in the evening starting at 6 pm, on the professionally managed Cruise. It is worth a try, and fills one with pride and awe over the cultural heritage and spiritual wealth that we have inherited and possess as a nation. The endless ghats, with Ganga Aarti happening at few of them, the decoration and colorful lighting on all the ghats, the floating diyas around the cruise and in maa Ganga, people strolling or calmly sitting on the stairs of ghats, boats of all sizes carrying people on a journey of Varanasi through Maa Ganga- everything is etched in the memory as if I have been there many times.
Now, the most amazing and mysterious part of the journey. I remembered and was determined to visit Trailinga Swami Math. I asked my co-travelers during dinner at the end of the first day, and they were dead tired, so were not very sure if they can accompany me early morning the next day. I could recall reading in the book and also listening from my cousin that not many people visit and even know of Trailinga Swami Math, in fact, the hotel I was staying in, the receptionist and guide standing next to him instantly responded when asked that only foreigners visit that place. This made me even more determined. Next day early morning, I took an e-rickshaw to visit the Math, which according to google maps, was about 4 kms from my hotel at Assi Ghat. The e-rickshaw driver drove on Varanasi roads for about 20 minutes, and then stopped his e-rickshaw after driving about 20 meters in an alley. Even he was not sure about the location of the math, so we walked for 15 minutes or so, asking many people and jig jagging many alleys. Ultimately, I reached the Trailinga Swami Math. It pulled me in as if waiting for me, all tiredness flew away somewhere. As I entered, there was a lord Vishnu idol in front. As my eyes moved toward the right side, I could see the huge Shiv Lingam. It is said that Trailinga Swami had brought this Shiva Lingam from the depths of Maa Ganga and installed in the Math. The priest asked me to sit in front of the idol of Trailinga Swami. I could feel the energy of the place right through me and all around.
After sometime, I got up and went to the priest and we started talking about the place, Trailinga Swami, visitors etc. Suddenly, the priest asked me whether I had been to the basement, and suggested that I should go there and have a look. The basement entrance is through the stairs located near the Shiva lingam. As I got down through the stairs and opened the door of the basement, a mysterious aura and silence engulfed my persona and I was completely still for some time. I slowly scanned through the room, it is a rectangular room which can seat 10-15 people at the most. There are old pictures of Trailinga Swami with Ram Krishna Paramhans and few other saints. As my eyes moved to the huge portrait of Trailinga Swami covering most of the front wall on far side of the room, I felt that he was alive and present there, looking into me with his curious and deep eyes, as if questioning why I was there. The answer also sounded inside me- for the first time in my life, I had this thought that wherever I have reached spiritually in this life or past lives, I can start further from that point, at that very moment and at that very place. In those few minutes in the basement, I was so engulfed by the energy and presence of the saint that I felt a strange void when I climbed the stairs back to the ground floor.
I visited the Kashi Vishwanath Temple on my return from the Trailinga Swami Math, and had darshan and Puja at the temple, with the help and guidance of the local priest. That completed an unforgettable sojourn to one of the oldest Continuously Inhabited Cities of the world.
May Lord Shiva bestow his grace on all of us.
Om Namah Shivay!