Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Trek to Dev Bhoomi for the Devas –part-8

                      MIRACLE STILL HAPPEN
From the roof top of Devlok hotel we saw the snow capped mountains and the outside view of Badrinath ji temple. We stood in the Kilometer long queue for the Darshan. Meanwhile, we heard folktales from Prof Nanda and her students about Lord Badrinathji. It is believed that Badrinath ji fulfills the sincere prayers. I prayed to him only for a heartfelt Darshan as long as I want. However, the devotees were allowed for a spilt second Darshan. During the turn of our Darshan a  miracle happened.  

Hotels, Markets, shops and food shanties, grown more than mushrooms, obstructed the view on the opposite bank of the Alakananda and the temple. Previously from the Hotel of GMVN, one could view the golden yellow gate of Badrinath Temple.

At the GMVN reception, we were delighted to get a temple visit ticket at a scheduled time of 6.30 PM.   We were unaware that this is just a farce and meaningless thing and wasted few hours in the hotel for freshening up and looking around the whole place from the rooftop, instead of saving the time by standing in the queue.

From the roof top, viewing from our telescope with 100x zoom,  both of us saw snow capped  Nar and Narayan Parbat, Badrinath and Nilkantha peaks beside the exterior view of    bright yellow painted around 15 m tall Badrinath Temple with a small gold cupola on the top.
Focusing on the broad stairways leading to the tall arched gateway of the main entrance  and the bright yellow painted facade with arched windows she said “ The over all appearance and the bright painting of the exterior of the temple may have  influences from Buddhist vihara   architecture. 
But tell me one thing; are the cupola and the golden colored roof made of gold?”
I said, “I heard the cupola is made of gold but the roof is made of gold gilt.” 
We crossed the incoming bridge on the Alakananda and bought flower and the packet for the Puja from a shop. The shop owner pointed his finger to a long queue about a Kilometer long from the main entrance.
Mrs. Nanda called us. She along with her students was standing in the queue at a little distance away from the tail end and said in a hushed voice, “You may stand behind us. I already talked with others that we were all four. It is allowed here.”
Reluctantly, we agreed. The queue sometimes stand still and sometimes moving slower than  snail’s speed  might take at least two to three hours to reach near the stars of the main entrance. We need some known face for at least talking and spend the waiting time.
On the opposite side of the queue, there are benches and other sitting arrangements for giving some comfort to the pain of knees and ankles.
Moving Vendors selling from tea to Gems were making a brisk business among the waiting visitors.
 With people from all parts of India, speaking from Assamese to Tamil, it was a mini India. People were also  in a big to small groups.
Mother in laws of various states, sent to pilgrimage tour by sons and daughter-in-laws, were sharing the various tricks and rounds of power play overs. Invariably the husbands from both the sides were either poor umpires or spectators in the gallery and declared as cowards and useless. Husbands of them were either busy in paying up the moving vendors for endless articles purchased by their wives or discussing the unknown medicines or treatments for ailments like blood sugar or pressure.
Altogether, it was a solid entertainment.
Japanese Research students of Prof Nanda standing along with us were brilliant scholars. They are collecting the Folktales from various countries and trying to correlate them in the light of various respective socioeconomic conditions.
The youngest of them, dressed as a “Sanyasin” is a Krishna devote, active member of ISKON, has just completed an advanced course of Bhaktiyouga at the Mayapur ashram of ISKON.

They narrated few folk tales of Garhwal in Northern Himalayas and few from Sikkim in Eastern Himalayas and their correlations.
Legs started paining now, we requested mother-in –laws standing in the queue before, and after us to permit us for a tea break and they gladly agreed, as it would make bigger review group discussions on their family problems.
 We, all five of us, sat on a bench and got earthen cups of hot tea from a moving vendor. Hot Tea relieving the pains of muscles never tasted so good.
A big group with wet clothes crossed us to become the last persons in the Queue presently half a kilometer away from us.
All of them had a holy bath in the Hot Kund (spring) believing that it sanitized them from all the evils and sins made by them before coming here.
Looking at them, Prof Nanda said, “This Hot spring is very holy. The folk tale here is that Adi Sankaracharya found a “Saligrm Shila” in the riverbed of Alakananda. Later on as a reply to his prayer, he discovered this hot spring and a cave. He placed this holy Saligram Shila in this cave and only few persons knew this. In the Sixteenth century, King of Garhwal saw a dream and as per the wish of Vishnu thereby he built the present temple of Badrinath ji.”
The eldest of her Japanese student told, “This was built as per the prevailing temple architecture of South India. The temple consists of a “Gopuram” i.e. front tall gate followed by large pillared hall i.e. “Mandapam” which leads to “garbha griha” or the main shrine. There are intricate carvings of other gods on the Mandapam.”
Prof. Nanda added, “Here the one meter tall black idol of Vishnu is in meditative pose. On the right of him, there are idols of Nar and Narayana and on the left of him are the idols of Kubera and Narada. In the temple complex, you may also see the idols of Laxmi, and Ghantakaran, Hanuman, Ganesha, uddhava, and garuda
The younger Japanese student with a sweet and calm voice told us in fluent Hindi “There is another folk tale here.
Vishnu became very much anxious for the sins made by “Nar” i.e. human being. 
Vishnu arrived here from the heaven, was in the dual form of Nar and Narayana, and meditated hard in a Mountain, which is now known as Narayan Parvat.  The sins and evil powers were all terminated by his divine power. But Luxmi, wife of Vishnu, seeing the long absence found her Nath (husband) here and became a Badri (berry) tree to provide shed over Vishnu during meditation. So this place was named as Badrinath. Even after cleaning the Earth from the Sins (Kalusha), Badrinath ji was not satisfied. There were still trails of the Sin. So he requested Mahadeva to release “Kalusha-nashini” Ma Ganga to erase the trails of Sins. But the Earth was not capable to hold it. Lord Vishnu divided it into tributaries like Mandakini, Alakananda, Kandakini, Dhauli and Sarswati.”
Meanwhile we rejoined our queue and continuing our discussions. People, standing in queue before and after us were listening to our discussions, stopped spitting on their own near, and dear ones.
Prof. Nanda said, “Some learned gentleman told me that if you submit to Lord Vishnu totally, he shall pardon all your sins and your heart shall be filled with eternal joy. There is another great thing about him. You ask anything from him with full faith in him; he will fulfill your sincere desire provided it is not meant to harm anyone.”
Our queue started moving and this time with a good pace. People now started concentrating on their prayers and many were reciting continuously “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna”
Susmita saw my lips moving but in silence. She whispered “What are you going to ask from Prabhu Vishnu?”
I whispered back “I want a l heart filled darshan of him and nothing else.”
Susmita heaved a deep sigh “The queue is moving fast and the volunteers inside won’t let you more than a second’s glimpse of darshan.”
I said, “I am confident that he will definitely fulfill my prayer.”
We were about to enter into the steps to the main entrance but suddenly all people standing before us including Prof Nanda and her two students were allowed to enter. The rest of the queue might move as and when the clearing signal would come.
After almost quarter of an hour, the sentry at the gate allowed only five persons including two of us and told us to enter the main temple as fast as we can.
As we entered there, a volunteer told us in hushed voice “Maintain pin drop silence and remain here until I signal you to move.”
We both keeping our eye opened have a heartfelt darshan with our prayers possibly more than five minutes and left after being signaled to leave. But by that time we were unable to see and stand as eyes of both of us were filled with continual flow of tears and we were shivering.
We believed that he would grant our prayers and it happened so miraculously. The place was so much crowded only few minutes before and no one was allowed a “Darshan” for more than few seconds. But lord Vishnu allowed us to have a darshan as long as we could, as long it would take to fill our mind.
The pleasure of being near to him really washed out all our accumulated sins, sorrows, insults, neglects, and deprivations and this ecstatic joy shivered us even after leaving the temple complex.
Prof Nanda was waiting outside for us, ushered to a food stall, and ordered hot milk. We narrated the entire incident, they were silent for few minutes, and finally Prof Nanda spoke to us “Try to calm down. I still say miracles do happen but it could be coincidental with some regular events of the temple in which you were allowed.”
Her  Sanyasin Japanese said “Right now I remember one important event of Mahabharata. The inevitable war was about to start. Arjuna and Duryodhan both went to Sri Krishna to solicit his help. Left to choice, Duryodhan opted for the Narayani sena of Sri Krishna but Arjuna liked unarmed Sri Krishna to accompany him and move his chariot.”
I shook my head “are you trying to….”
“No I only wanted to say you wanted only him and he answered your prayer. Even now if you close your eyes, you will see him in front of you. That is enough for anyone to be inspired for any work to begin”
Next morning we departed from Prof Nanda and his team at Mana village. 

This is the last Indian village, nearest to Indo-china border. In one of the cave here, Baisdev wrote the great epic Mahabharata. Even now, lot of “Saadhus” live in the caves here.
Prof Nanda and her team would stay for few days in Mana village, interview the Saadhus of the caves and village folks, and look for few old manuscripts written on Palm leaves.  
This was our quest for “Him” but dormant inside us until this visit. In this trip to Dev Bhoomi we felt “ He “ is not enclosed only in Temples but spread in the nature all around us. Before starting the “Puja” we first clean the place but why not the Nature polluted by us?
For Part 1

For Part 2

For Part 3

For Part 4

 For Part 5
For Part 6
For Part 7
For Part 8


Rajesh said...

I would love to do this.

Pradip Biswas said...

Thank you Rajesh but possibly you may visit only next year after the new alignment road be ready.

Saru Singhal said...

I checked all the parts of this series. Looks like a wonderful encounter with nature and divine energies.

Pradip Biswas said...

Thank you Saru for your patience to read the entire series. i am right now at Uttarakhond

Indrani said...

The 8 episodes of your travel was a great read, a different experience!
Wishing you more such happy travels.

Pradip Biswas said...

Thank you both Saru and Indrani for being a patient reader of all the 8 episodes. If it was a pleasure i feel very great. I shall be in Uttarakhond till Durga Puja.

aliasgarmukhtiar mukhtiar said...

lovely experience