On day 4, we were to travel to Chaukori via Bageswar and Baijnath.
Baijnath (Vaidnath) temple has a fascinating history both archeologically and mythologically.
In the 9th century, this place was part of Katyuri Kingdom, and around that time Swayambhu (self-manifested) lingas started appearing in 18 different places. Understanding the profundity of these spots, the then king decided to build temples, and all the 9 lakh subjects of Katyuri kingdom offered themselves to build these 18 temples over night.
The mythological significance being ‘Baijanth’ marked that auspicious spot, where Mother Paravathy along with 24 other deities walked during her wedding with Lord Shiva, and sanctified the place.
The stillness of the place and the historic aura that surrounds these structures are one of a sight. The river bed didn’t seem to have much water in this time of the year, but the little gushing sound of water in few and far between places gave us enough contentment.
We enjoyed ourselves by invoking Lord Rudra with Namakam chants, and after spending a few quiet moments, we headed for our next stop.
Visiting the sanctum sanctorum after taking a holy dip has much value. And if it’s a place like Sarayu, who would want to miss their chance! Contemplating on Lord Ram, Lakshman, Hanuman, and people of Ayodhya, we took our dips, and offered salutation.
I had my share of girl trouble, while finding a spot to change, but I let go off it, as I entered the sanctum sanctorum. There were a cluster of God forms at this place, unlike Baijnath.
After offering our homage to each of them, we gathered to hear the history of the place.
History: Once Sage Vasishta had prayed for Mother Ganges to flow through the current Bageshwar area, to bring in a new sense of life and energy to the place. Acceding to his request, Mother blessed the area by streaming through. However, she had to stop in her tracks, as little further down, Sage Markandeya was seated in deep meditation. Since his tapas could not be disturbed, Lord Shiva and Mother Parvati decided to play a divine leela. The former took the guise of a tiger and the latter that of a cow. The tiger started chasing the cow, and Mother Parvathy gave crying sounds to lure the sage away, thereby helping the river to continue its flow.
Hearing the cow’s inconsolable cries, sage Markandeya got up to help her. Immediately the river continued its course, realising that it was the work of divine hand, the sage thanked the lord for granting darshan. Hence the name – Bagnath (Bag – tiger, nath – lord).
Day 5 dawned with the hunt of Panchachuli views, and an unofficial satsang session with Ravikumar sir.
The troupe soon headed out, and by noon, we were near Birthi falls for lunch. A short trek to the fall guaranteed more play time with water, and the guys rushed at the chance. I decided to stay away this time around, cos I didn’t want to think about how to get a change area. C and I stayed mid-way, and I narrated all the stories that he had missed during the journey. Guys always like to mask their tears, and I had a good time teasing C when one of the stories of Dileep brother touched him dearly.
I was like, “Is that a tear I see in your eyes?” and the bloke replied, “Nooo. These are happy tears. These chips are really good. I love it.” 😀
“Stop acting” I said, “No one is going to give you an Oscar”, and continued my stories, as a sinister smile of victory embraced my lips.
Around 4 that evening, we reached Munsiyari, and my good lord – what a captivating place. I dreamt of living there forever.
During the entire trip, I had put to good use the message that He gave me once: ‘Sarvada sarva kaleshu saravatra hari chintanam’ [everywhere, at all times, under all circumstances contemplate on God]. I was on a ‘satsang spree’, cos I very truly yearned for it. However, that evening at Munsiyari will be one of the remarkable parts of this journey for me. 🙂
At the close of dusk, three of us (Sanjay, C and I) headed out for a walk, wanting to breathe in the beauty that was around. After walking a stretch, a decision had to be made – head back to join the satsangs, or continue walking and find God in a different setting. I am a sucker for nature spots, and I was a sucker for satsangs too. I had to take a call, cos the other two were happy with their strolling.
Darn it! I hated being in the spot. I really wanted to go back, but I didn’t want to disappoint the guys. Sometimes, making others happy is much more satisfying than meeting your own ends. I told Swami, “You know what I want, but I am not going to head back.” I told the guys we could continue our stroll.
We went further up the hill, through stony staircases, muddy slopes, and after a point, we were completely fogged. We were literally inside a cloud. It was beautiful. We spent some time in the solitude of Mother Nature, and were to ourselves. ❤
We went further up, and Sanjay nudged me and asked if I was upset. I replied in the negative. All those 4 to 5 days, I bugged Sanjay for experiences, and the bloke refused to say a word. I don’t know if it was the magnetism of the place, my silence, or Mr. God’s way of answering my prayers, or just Sanjay himself – but I got to have a Satsang – under a shady, wet tree, with nobody else, but us, on top of a fogged hill.
It was a sublime one hour, and he went on – one after the other.
The official satsangs were just over when we returned, and on seeing me, Giddy stopped in his tracks, and asked, “Where were you during today’s Satsang? It was mind-blowing. I was looking for you. I know you would have loved it.” He then shared the introduction of Sahani Sir’s talk with me, and asked me to find a full recording, in case anyone taped it.
The introductory message was: The Lord has a plan for each one of us. 🙂
I was too blind to absorb the message; I wanted to know what was the rest all about. It was one of partial dejection: I just had a beautiful time with Sanjay and C, I did not wish to trade it either.
My misery was put to rest as Brother Abishek walked into our room. He had the talk recorded. Even as I was half way through the recording, I realised, I hadn’t really missed the talk after all. During my walk with Sahani Sir towards Mahavatara Babaji’s cave, just the day before, I had listened to the very same stories. ❤
The next day as I sat looking at the Himalayan peaks in the early morning hour, the words: ‘Swami has a plan for each one of us’ seemed to echo across the peaks. I smiled in gratitude.
If I had acted as per my whim, I would have listened to the same stories twice. Mr. God on the other hand, treated me with stories from both the Sanjays. I felt like Harry Potter breaking rules, only to enjoy double the glory. I was ecstatic, until a knock disturbed my train of thoughts.
It was Abishek. He turned to me and said, “I have got a message for you.”
I could read nothing from his face. My thoughts ran helter-skelter as the brat of a brother took few seconds to continue.
“I had Swami’s dream”.
‘Uh-oh’, my mind whispered. ‘Get ready to be mortified.’ I couldn’t help thinking this way, cos I studied at Anantapur, rules dictated my life. ‘I am sure Swami is upset that I missed satsangs.’ I thought. 😕
Everything within me tightened, as he continued.
…Abhi, myself, and couple of others were seated around Swami in the dream. I am not sure what else happened, but at the end of the interview Swami gave 2 vibhuti packets to everyone. When it was my turn, He stopped, and instead of giving 2 vibhuti packets – He gave 4 packets: two of them were bigger and two of them were smaller, and then said, “I will talk to you later.”…
I heaved a sigh of relief. Thank God! He is not mad. ‘Swami, for a second there, you freaked me out.’ I told mentally.
I had no clue as to what ‘talk to you later’ meant. All I could think of and be grateful for was the plan that Swami had for me, to make sure I got what I want from the trip. Rightness in any situation is always subjective, I really needed to stop assessing.
Lesson: We might not know how our trajectories are heading, but when we dream of something good, it has its own way of reaching us. Just believe in the goodness of your dream, and the miracle will unfold. ❤
Until my next post, enjoy this beautiful view of Chaukori. Sayonara!
To His everyday love! ❤