Kedar Nath and Badri Nath Yatra


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Holy Yatra to shrines of Kedar Nath and Badri Nath by Poet Ramanan ans friends.

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Kedar Nath and Badri Nath Yatra

  1. 1. Salutations to My Refuge, my Beloved, my Master
  2. 2. Kedar The final destination
  3. 3. Specialty of Aryavarth • A man born in Aryavarth tries to leave this earth forever, while one born elsewhere tries to stick to it. • Every true Aryan considers death as a failure and works for a glorious departure. • Over millennia, this attitude might have been polluted by materialism and dwindling courage and wisdom of man, but this basic concept of it is far from dead. • It is alive and kicking, reverberant, vibrant in the depths.
  4. 4. • The very regret of wastage of time in materialism is the quality typical of the Aryans. This statement holds good for 80%-90% of the people. • All those who condemned this culture during this lifetime, will regret during the end, when thought ceases and the more powerful consciousness points an accusing finger at the mind. • When the mind dies, the consciousness wakes up. Like the full moon rising and the oceans rising with it. • A Yogi can remember all moments of his departures, which are wonderful. Interestingly, he deliberately comes again and again, for others’ sake.
  5. 5. WAYS OF APPROACHING GOD • Praartana or Prayer is the basic form of approaching God. • Next stage is Mantra japam, i.e, chanting the name of the lord. • The third is dhyanam or meditation • The fourth is samadhi, or absorption where mind and buddhi disappear.
  6. 6. Yaatra – Indian understanding • Prayaanam is mundane travel. Yaatra is purposeful journey, pilgrimage! • Pilgrimage symbolises the inner journey and strengthens it • Widens our understanding of our culture, heritage and history • Establishes and enhances the sense of belonging to this great country • Enables one to go above bodily needs and teaches community living • Pilgrimage is a great humbling experience
  7. 7. Yaatri, the pilgrim • He is simple, humble and has set his mind on the goal • He looks not for creature comforts, considers himself very fortunate to be a Yaatri • He is always grateful to God for being a tiny creature in His vast Kingdom • He looks upon fellow pilgrims as different forms of God • He eats a little, speaks very little and is always immersed in the thought of the Lord • He realizes that 90% of the Yaatra is over once the sankalpa is done
  8. 8. India, the pilgrim’s delight • Every inch is holy. Every grain of sand is sacred. Every corner tells a thousand tales, of incredible variety and beauty. A compendium of spiritual centres. • Bhaarat is a living deity. Going around it ensures liberation • We are not idol worshippers. We are ideal worshippers. • Everything symbolizes the formless, all pervading Truth • We are not the body. We are spirit divine, pure and free • Every pilgrim realizes this in some way or the other • Pilgrimage is much more effective than study • Pilgrimage is experiencing the nature of God and enjoying the beauty of nature
  9. 9. Greatness of The Himalayas • Para Mahimalaya. Who can speak even one percent of the greatness of the Himalayas? • Unless one is able to see or visit at least one place in the Himalayas, his existence or life in India is not complete. • Even for the sake of mountaineering or river sports or hunting, one should visit. It will do him good, whether he desires it or not. • Kalidasa describes Himalayas as the soul of the Devas. • It is not a range of hills but a series of deities, full of beauty and mystery. The crown of the Divine Mother!
  10. 10. We Are Protected • India is protected by nature. The Himalaya is a great protector. • Himalayas extend to the Karakoram into Afghanistan in the north-west. • There are also the passes. What more protection can one think of? • The oceans and the Himalayas have enabled the people to live in their own chosen path for thousands of years, till the advent of the marauders.
  11. 11. The three key stages • Awareness • Jageshwar • Transit point • Kedarnath • The ultimate goal • Kailash
  12. 12. MEANING AND SIGNIFICANCE OF JAGESHWAR • Becoming aware of the ultimate goal of one’s existence is jagruthi. • Jageshwar is the lord who bestows such an awareness, such an awakening. • Once the waking up takes place, the goal, Kailash, is seen. • It is the ultimate physical point where physical existence reaches its finale owing to Jagruthi. • One must go with the attitude that there is nothing, no further stage beyond this.
  13. 13. KAILASH AND IT’S SIGNIFICANCE • Kailash is the highest, the 14th, the ultimate Loka in the Brahmanda. • Mt.Kailash represents that point on Earth. People also go there physically, make a parikrama and pray. But, physical proximity is not the only way to reach Kailash. • Anybody who keeps Kailash in his heart reaches it. One may leave the body anywhere, but the soul reaches Kailash. • One who could do both enjoys more and is more fortunate! • ‘Kailash is where we came from. That is where we must end up.’
  14. 14. KEDARA- ITS MEANING • Peak of a mountain, Trinetra, wish- fulfilling tree. • Hence Kedara natha is presiding over the most sacred mountains. Why? • For the sake of those who look at it. Just one look. That’s it.
  15. 15. Kedarnath – a few basic details • One of the 12 Jyotirlingas • Altitude : 3581 metres. The Kedar hill is 6940 metres • Area : 3 sq kms. • Population : 301 (1991 census) • Accommodation : Birla house/Marwar house • Season : May to October (May is preferred for witnessing glaciers and avoiding rains) • Climate : Ice cold during day and at night…???!!! • Food : The tea shops provide a minimum food
  16. 16. My mother started it all… • Planned to take my mother and a few friends. • Master asked, “Why don’t you take a hundred people with you?” • Friends from Vizag, Tadepalligudem, Eluru, Balusupadu, Warangal and Hyderabad joined, besides my mother, father and sister from Chennai • The ultimate number was 120! Age group: 8 to 80! • Let us see a part of this group, mostly from Vizag, just before the sumptuous breakfast at REC, Warangal, so lovingly organized by friends there.
  17. 17. Small Part of A Large Family
  18. 18. The route and distances • Delhi to Rishikesh : 224 • Rishikesh to Sitapur via Devaprayag : 208 • Sitapur to Gowrikund : 07 • Gowrikund to Kedarnath : 14 • From Gowrikund, the trek to Kedar begins
  19. 19. At Devaprayag… • After halting at Rishikesh for the night, we proceeded to Devaprayag • Prayag is confluence of two rivers. Here, Baageerati and Alakananda meet • Ganga is Mandakini in the celestial world, Baageerati at Devprayag and Ganga from Rishikesh • The confluence was a picture of awesome beauty, the bath in the ice cold water refreshing and the darshan of the Sadhus inspiring
  21. 21. Night halt at Sitapur • We reached Sitapur, 21 kms before Kedar in the evening. • Welcomed by the Himalayan cold • Settling down in such weather in a modest accommodation was not easy for many…. • We were granted the first darshan of the Kedar range from Sitapur at sunset…
  23. 23. SUNSET
  24. 24. AT GOWRIKUND • Next morning, we reached Gowrikund, with packed refreshments. There is a hot water spring here. • We started our journey to Kedar by a hundred horses, a few dholies and some half- trekked. • It was tough, thrilling, risky, beautiful and what not?
  25. 25. GOWRIKUND To KEDARNATH • It was literally uphill all the way! A rugged path trodden by many great souls, many humble devotees of the Lord and of course by my Master, the most beloved one.. • The chill was gnawing at the bones, the low air pressure mocking at the lungs but the pristine beauty of Himalayas stunned the senses. • Each one of us was alone, in more than one sense.. • The pony-wallahs, the coolies and the vendors were full of simplicity and friendliness • Glaciers greeted us every now and then, right on the narrow strip…
  26. 26. SIGNIFICANCE OF KEDARNATH • Kedar is the place described as Mahaprasthana by ancient texts. In other words, it is the ultimate terminus, or the goal of the travel of the soul. • It is the last point on physical earth from which the soul can take off. After this, there is no other point of travel. • It is from Kedar that the soul is taken to the Final Destination, Kailash • Kedarnath receives only the final prayer. Anything else is diverted. • The Pandavas, their wife and mother had the Darshan (not physical appearance) of Krishna during their journey, who delivered them to the higher worlds. The temple still has the sculptures of the Pandavas and Krishna.
  27. 27. Bhrigu Patha • This is an ancient method where the person would reach the peak and throw the body into the valley. • The body fell down, and the soul soared upward. There is a great difference between jumping into the valley and throwing the body into it • Many people have done this.
  28. 28. PANDAVAS AND MAHAPRASTHANA • Mahaprasthana was an ancient tradition that the Pandavas followed. When the sages and yogis sat in meditation in the Himalayas, they had already lost their body consciousness. They were history. • When Pandavas heard of Krishna’s ascent from this world, they wasted no time in crowning Parikshit. • Then they took to Mahaprasthana from Hasthinapur to Kedar on foot. • They decided to simply keep walking till they dropped from fatigue.
  29. 29. • They were halting in the night, with just some minimum food once a day, till they reached the foothills of the Himalayas. They then took water occasionally, then stopped even that. • Yet they had enough energy and health to keep walking. Kunti was alive and with them, and then fell dead. They kept walking, watching Kedarnath. • Due to inherited Samskaras, they were walking with an empty mind. That is why they were able to receive Kedarnath’s grace. Round about Swarnaprayag,one after another fell dead. • Only Yudhistira physically reached the Kedara peak, where Yama and Indra, in the garb of a dog and an effulgent celestial being tested his Dharmajnana.
  30. 30. Adi Sankara • There is a monument for Aadi Sankara which contains his kamandalu and dandam. • One version has it that the monument has been erected because Sankara left his body there. This is true. Sankara did not come back anywhere. He ultimately went to Mahaprasthana and left his body. • Sankara belonged to the fifth century after Buddha, undoing what he did.
  31. 31. ATTITUDE IN THE Yatra • One may have seen many holy places, each incomparable, but may this Mahaprasthana grant the final journey when I leave this earth, without obstruction, without hindrance. • The rest of life on earth must be faultless, which means selfless. • We may indulge in many things, earn Papam or Punyam. Both have to leave us. • Even Tapas should be ultimately offered to the Lord on a platter. Shivarpanam.
  32. 32. • Knowledge, action, penance, learning, punyam, everything is left behind. • Other than Kailash, there should be no other goal in mind, and the goal is reached definintely. • Since anyone born on the earth can never be inactive, in the absolute sense, all the karma he performs should be resultless. • If there is merit, let it go to the world. If there is demerit, let it be burnt when my body is dropped. Gnyanagni. This is the attitude.
  33. 33. On a basic level • It should be minimum attention to the home behind us. • Healthy energetic food in minimum quantity. • Those who have the strength to walk, the energy to walk, should be able to walk. • Totally shift attention to the location, the goal of the journey. Destination.
  34. 34. Face to face with Divinity, all of a sudden………
  37. 37. BADARINATH • Badari means a pear, or Indian apple (regi pandu). Large fruit with a small seed. • Ancient story has it that Mahavishnu performed tapas here, under a badari tree. • The tree was Mahalakshmi, who sustained him with badari fruits. • Nara and Narayana, the twin sages, are said to have done Tapas in this hermitage. • Krishna left his penance, wisdom of the world (prapancha jnana) here. He is spiritually present in Badarinath. • The Bhagavadgita is better understood when studied here.
  38. 38. ATTITUDE IN BADARI • “Let my home be Badari, thinking only of Kailash. Let Vishnu do His penance in me on Kailash. You are the Jagatguru, You are the protector of the world, You are the doer, You are the one acted upon, You are the action and it’s fruit. So I must be a part of You, I must be filled with You, meditating on the ultimate goal of all existence”.
  39. 39. BADRINATH – Basic Details • Altitude : 10,248 feet • Weather : 9 to 10 degrees centigrade to sub zeros • At Tapt Kund, the hot water spring, it is 55 degrees centigrade • A full fledged township with all facilities • Brahma Kapalam, the ultimate place for obsequies and appeasing generations of ancestors • Hills of unimaginable beauty and mystery
  41. 41. At Hardwar The entrance to the Garhwal Himalayas
  42. 42. Mother Ganga Har ki pauri – Vishnu’s Feet
  43. 43. Indelible imprints in consciousness………
  45. 45. At His feet, by His grace
  46. 46. THANK YOU