East India Pilgrimage with Swami, part 4
Today we got up at 8am and after breakfast, at 9am, we went to the small Devi
temple nearby. There everything was prepared for Chandi Path, a yagna to Durga Devi. All the 40 of us sat near the yagna kund. Swami asked me to do the prayer representing the group as he said he would not come.
The priest started the puja and instructed me about every step. He had an „apprentice“ assisting him. Just as the fire was started, after all the purification and invocation was done, Swami came and joined in. We recited „Om Aim Hrim Klim Chamundaye Vicche“ 108 times, then followed different Devi prayers and mantras. The whole prayer took about 2 hours. Swami again mentioned how special this temple and the presence of the Devi there is.
After completion, we walked again to Kreem Kund to meet Aghoreswar Sidharta Gautam Ram Jee. When we arrived, we again met with our „friend“ whom we woke up from his peaceful sleep. He told us, that Gautam Ram Jee decided to come later on the 16th November, so it was not possible to meet him. However, he said that when Swami comes back for the next pilgrimage in February, he would be able to meet with him. We stayed some time and chatted with the Aghori, who seemed to have made this corner of the temple (in open air) his home for some time, as he had all his utensils and his „bed“ prepared there. In his humorous and bright way, he told us more about the Aghora path life style. He said, that all what he achieved, all his siddhis, e.g. to be able to „touch the
sun“, to see through the eyes of birds and other beings, to be at 10 places simultaneously, etc., he achieved it through putting all his focus on his Guru, Aghoreshwar Baba Bhagwan Ram (who passed away in 1992). His Guru “gave” him everything. He said that there is no particular sadhana that Aghoris do, their sadhana is their Guru, and whatever he gives them they will perform.
At some point a “typical” aghori arrived at the temple, dressed in black, with a black turban, big chains around his neck, long beard, and walked quite fast from one place of worship to the other, followed by two other men. Upon seeing this, our friend “laughed” and said, that one cannot distinguish if these “babas” are crooks or genuine. He said the outside “show” is not important for a true aghori, in fact an aghori might as well be dressed completely normal, more normal than so called spiritual people. All divinity and power is within. He said love especially for ones Guru and also ones Ishta Dev is all what counts. Also the so called “naga babas”, who walk around completely naked, he said that there is practically no genuine naga baba anymore. He said they are mostly beggars asking for money. He told us that these people are coming here (Kreem Kund) today because of Deepawali, the festival of lights, and that in the night they would do their sadhana on the cremation grounds. We asked him, if he also performs his sadhana on the cremation ground tonight. He said, that he will not go tonight, that he doesn't care, he goes whenever he feels like going... Anyway, he said, for
him, the best cremation ground is Kreem Kund, better than all the other ones, cause here is the burial place not of “normal” people, but of the Aghori saints, which (their energy) makes a great difference for improving ones sadhana. He said that Kreem Kund was the very first cremation ground or cemetry of Varanasi. Actually it was Baba Keen Ram, who brought fire from the cremation ground and lit up the dhuni (sacred fire) here. Since then, several hundreds of years ago,
the very same dhuni is still burning, and the only prasad that is given to the devotees is the ash of Baba Keena Ram's dhuni.
It was really nice and very interesting to speak again with this humble and simple man. We bid farewell and walked back to the hotel. On the way we went to a small Kali temple where they had built up a huge (over) life size Kali statue for Divali celebrations:
Back in the hotel we had lunch and the remaining time of the day was “free time”.
As it was Divali or Deepavali, at night there were a lot of fireworks everywhere. The whole city was filled with loud explosions of firecrackers. Already in the afternoon children set up firecrackers in the streets. Some of them simply poured out black powder on the floor and lit it. It didn't feel very safe to walk through the streets with all these “bombs” everywhere.
At night Swami went on the roof of the hotel and had great fun to light firecrackers with the hotel staff. The noise continued the whole night of course.
The next day it was time to say good bye to Varanasi. We left around noon and with boat, bus & plane we travelled back to Kolkata where we checked in to our hotel at around 9pm.
Early the next day, some of us went again to Dakshineshwar to see Kali, and afterwards to Kalighat, also to see Kali :) There I also managed to buy a Tara that Swami asked me to get for the Kali temple in Springen. Finally we got back to the hotel, checked out, drove to the airport, and flew back home...
We had a really wonderful time in India, were graced with the presence of many saints, Gods & Godesses, and most uplifting of all, we had 14 days in the presence of our dearest Guru, Sri Swami Vishwananda!!!
Jay Guru Dev!