27 May 2014

North India Pilgrimage with Swami Vishwananda, Day 3 & 4

In the evening of Saturday, Pramod, Kalpit, Gurpreet, the Swamis and myself went with Guruji on a short drive to some of the nearby temples. The first stop was Hansali, the place where Shri Dhar had the first time Darshan of Vaishno Devi in the form of a little girl. Shri Dhar’s daily sadhana was to do Kumari Puja to little girls. One day (as already mentioned in the previous report), there was a very special girl among them. After all of the girls left, it was only her who stayed and instructed him to organize the Bhandara to feed all the people. 

So the place we went to was the living place of Shri Dhar. There were several small temples all connected to each other. Upon arriving we were greeted by several little girls who accompanied us to the first temple. The first temple had the Samadhi tomb of a saint who was a disciple of Shri Dhar. The pundit there said that the trishul present belonged to that saint. The next little temple housed several deities, among them Radha Krishna, Ram Dharbar, Durga and others. There we were invited to the care takers room who told Swami a little bit about the history of the place. Afterwards we visited another temple only few steps away.

As we were going to leave, the little girls came back and insisted on getting some gifts. So Guruji ended up buying for each one of the 15 girls a package of crisps from the local food stall. It was quite a scene to look at and it took long until each of them was happy with a packet of crisps in her hands. Since in the beginning it was quite chaotic, Swami made them sit down all in a row before he would begin to distribute the crisp packets to them. With a lot of patience and love he then one by one distributed the packets. Even the last one who came late and was crying because she did not get anything was also satisfied when Swami Sharadhananda gave her a packet of dry fruits that he still had in his pockets. It almost seemed Guruji was repeating Shridhars Kumari Puja…

We left the place to drive back into the town to visit another temple called Shri Ragunath Temple which was established by the 19th century Saint Swami Nithyananda. There was a very beautiful Hanuman Murthi that Swami liked very much. 

There we also got the directions for finding the local ashram. We drove about 20 minutes until we reached the ashram which was next to a lake (actually it was more like a pond) in a village called Pental. 

There Guruji met the ashram caretaker Baba Sita Ram, an old man who used to fight in the Indian army  and after his retirement renounced the world and now looks after the ashram there. The saint who  established the ashram was Swami Nithyananda. 
The old man told us, that Swami Nithyananda was an “angry saint” who, whenever he got some gifts from the king (He was also the Raja Guru) like gold, jewellery and the like, would throw it into the lake next to the temple. 

He told us of another saint who was more recent, a disciple of Swami Nithyananda, with name Ram Das Tyagi, called Paratha Baba. He got this name because he used to eat up to 20 Parathas with every meal! Baba Sita Ram gifted Guruji with the Padukas of Paratha Baba as well as a shawl.  

The next day, on our way to Dharamshala, we made a short stop to visit a temple of Usha Mata. She was a Kali devotee. At the age of 5 she already started her tapasya (spiritual practice) and is very well known in the area. She took Samadhi in 2005. As we were there, the pundit told us that there is also a Krishna temple nearby. Of course we also went there. The temple was in an old palace complex (ruins) that dates back to the 16th century. 

We entered the temple and the pundit there led us upstairs to the little Krishna temple. There was a black, wooden Krishna murthi about 3 foot tall. We sat down in front of it and the pundit began to relate its history. It turned out, much to Guruji’s amazement and great joy, that it was in fact the very murthi into which Meerabai Devi herself merged with her physical body when she left this earth at the age of 73 years.

The murthi was given from the Raja (King) of Gujrat to the local Raja here. In fact, the local Raja visited Gujrat and asked from the Gujrati king if he could have the murthi. The Gujrati King at first refused as his mother prayed to this murthi every day and he said that his mother would die if she could not do puja to him anymore. However, being a very loyal and dedicated Rajput king, he did give the murthi (together with a smaller “utsava” murthi) to the local King who took it to his own palace. The very next day the Rajputs mother died.

Now the murthi was here in Himachal in the palace of the local king. A few years later the area got invaded by a muslim king. Short before the attack, the king buried the Krishna murthi together with the smaller Krishna murthi in the sand behind the palace to hide it. 6 months after the attack was over, the king had a dream in which Krishna came to him and said: “You have forgotten about me, I am still dug in the sand, get me out of here!!!”. Immediately the king dug out the two murthis and installed them again in the temple here they remained until this day.

However, the pundit gifted  the smaller Krishna to Guruji as a present, together with a shawl that the big Krishna was wearing. 

The name of the little Krishna is Nurbur Krishna. We then got instructed to stand in front of the big Krishna and focus on his beautiful golden eyes. It was truly a very special moment. You can see that one of the eyes of Krishna has turned red because he was buried in the sand so long. The pundit said, that some 20 years ago, one of the eyes cried tears which were caught in a small bottle, which unfortunately cannot be located anymore. 

We then hit the road again, driving past snowy mountains, announcing the nearby Himalayas, and reached our hotel near Dharamshala, the home of the Dalai Lama, in the evening…