29 May 2014

North India Pilgrimage with Swami Vishwananda, Day 5 & 6

First of all something that I forgot to mention about the Meerabhai Krishna Murthi: Whenever they celebrate Krishna Janmashtami once a year, the murthi shrinks down in size and becomes 1⁄4 of its normal size, since the birth of Baby Krishna is being celebrated...

Chamunda was Goddess Kali who sprang forth from Durga Devi during the great battle with demons Shumbh and Nishumbh. There were two generals of Shumb and Nishumbhs Army by name Chand and Mundh. From her own body, Durga produced the goddess Kali who chopped the heads of Chand and Mundh. This made Durga very happy and she gave Kali the boon to be known from then onwards as Goddess Chamunda.

Gurpreet arranged a puja/VIP treatment for Guruji also. We offered Her sarees, incense, food, water and other items. After the puja we went down into a cave where there was a Shiva Lingam. Every Shakti peeth has also Shiva present. Without Shiva, Shakti cannot be there, and vice versa. Up again in the Devi Temple, Swami told us what Devi had told him about Herself. She said that as Chamunda She is responsible for destroying qualities like attachment and possessiveness. She is situated in the region of Svadishtana Chakra, basically She controls the lower chakras together with Chinna Mastika Devi who controls sexual energy. Only when She has destroyed all the negative “animal” qualities the energy is free to be able to travel through the Manipur Chakra to Anahata Chakra, the heart, where Bhakti / Love can be felt and grow ever stronger.

Guruji said, that this site of Chamunda Devi, is favored by Siddhas who come here to progress spiritually and attain siddhi, spiritual wisdom and power. It is one of only two Siddha Peeths, besides Jwalamukhi.

The next temple we went to was Vrajeshwari Devi Temple. There are many inter-connected explanations on who Vrajeshwari Devi is. I will try to make it as simple and clear as possible.

First of all, the place of Vrajeshwari Devi Temple in Kangra, is one of the main Shakti Peeths. It is the places where Sati’s breasts fell on earth. The place “Kangra”, meaning “Kan” and “Garh”, means “Fort build on an ear”. The story behind it is found in the Puranas: This “ear” on which the fort was built, is the ear of the demon “Jalandhar”, husband of the saintly wife “Tulsi Devi”. After having deceived Tulsi Devi to kill her demon husband Jalandhar, Vishnu and Shiva feared Tulsi’s wrath. In order to appease her, they granted a boon to Jalandhar. Jalandhar wished, that where his body lies, this ground should become a holy site for Gods and Goddesses and their devotees for worship. Since then the area is known as Jalandhar Peeth and has 64 temples on it. The most famous one is the temple of Vajreshwari Devi, which also houses “Mahavir Bheron” (see story about him further down), Lord Shiva, Dhyanu Bhakta and TaraDevi.

There is another connection of to Vrajeshwari Temple with Vishnu: Dhyanu Bhakt, a saint who came from Mathura (Vraja), after receiving Her Darshan, he gave Her the name Vrajeshwari.
There is also a more tantric or esoteric explanation of this goddess: As already mentioned before, the Kundalini energy travels from Mooladhara (Base) Chakra, through Svadishtana Chakra to Manipoora Chakra. In Manipoora Chakra, also called “the seat of fire”, the energy travels through a nerve called “Vrajesh” and manifests there as Vrajeshwari Devi. She is also called Vajr-Tara, Ugra-Tara and Vajr-Vero-Chaniya. With Her blessing the energy can travel to Anahata to kindle Divine Love/Bhakti.

On a personal note: It is such a great blessing to be able to travel “through” these Shakti Peeths, especially with my Guru. One can feel that Divine Mother blesses us at each Peeth with Her corresponding aspect. It feels like an inward journey through the different chakras/aspects of oneself, taking place in the outside. Or as if the outside and the inside fuse into one.

Swami also seems to enjoy this trip a lot. He mostly rides with everyone else in the bus. Also present in this temple is Mahavir Bheron. His murthi is the oldest murthi of Bharaiv, over 5000 years old! When you look at his face/eyes for some time, you can see His form changing into different forms. Also, whenever there is a calamity coming, his eyes start to cry tears. It happened in 1904 when there was a great earthquake that this destroyed the entire temple, excepted the shrine of Tara Devi which is also present there. The tears were again seen in 1982 when there was a tragedy in Punjab in which many Sikhs were killed.

Interesting about the temple is that it has three different roofs. The top one has the shape of a mandir roof, the middle one the shape of a Gurudwara (temple of Sikhs), the lower one the shape of a mosque roof. 

People of all these three major Indian religions visit this temple because they are all historically connected to it. Even Buddhists like to come to this temple for the Blessing of Tara Devi (Vraja Yogini).

In the evening Guruji gave a satsang. During the satsang I was typing everything up, so if I left out one or two sentence please forgive me. So firstly Guruji said that it was interesting to see again Mothers grace and blessings, all was easy going and very nicely. He then asked Gurpreet to speak about a conversation he had with him. He said Guruji spoke to him about the Guru Parampara, which starts with Mahavatar Babaji, then the Sadguru then the Guru. He said that Mahavatar Babaji was an incarnation of Krishna. In 2001 Babaji gave him the title of Paramahamsa. This title is only given to an Acharya and is very rare.

In 2005 he was officially made an Achariya, and when his Diksha Guru gave him the blessing, Mahavatar Babaji himself appeared and put his hands on his shoulders, putting his palms on Guruji and Shank and Chakra appeared on both his shoulders. There was a whole ceremony around that also with Yagna, etc, but this was the last and most important part of the ceremony.

One question that arose, Gurpreet said, was why was Babaji apparently not realized from childhood onwards, why did he need a Guru first? Swami said, that no matter who one is, one needs a Guru. It is to show that the Guru Parampara is important. Jesus himself waited for 30 years to start his own  mission, he waited for John the BAPTIST to give him diksha, Rama waited for Vishwamitra to give him Gayatra Diksha. Although they are born with all powers, it is dormant and becomes only active when it’s the right time. All is for a reason, whatever a master does, there is a reason behind it. Rama waited for Vishwamitra to reveal to him all the Shakti that was there for him. God created the universe but created certain rules that even He chooses to abine to, so that Humans understand that these Rules are important and order is upheld. He does not break these rules, but He can bend them. Like this the masters always wait for the right moment, as well as the disciples wait. With the master, also the whole troupincarnates. He said that people always dwell with four things, how, where, why, when... But on the spiritual path there is no “why”, because that will be revealed during the life, it becomes a life task/disclosure.

Then those present could begin to ask questions to Guruji:

Q: Is the yogic and Christian tradition of initiation the same?
A: There are different ways but the blessing is always from God. Traditions are many, the blessing is one. Whether its Christian, Hindu, muslim, behind is only One reality. That’s what Guru Nanak said. Ek ong kar sat nam, only the the truth shall prevail. When you are in truth with yourself. Truth is not what we talk, something outside of us. Once you realize your path, when you reach what you have to reach, it stands for the one truth that stands in oneself, the reality. That what the holy scriptures talk about. It is not only in you, but in everything around you as well.

Q: If Babaji is an incarnation of Krishna, how can some people say that you are also an incarnation of Krishna?
A: Who is not Krishna? He is the only reality. In the Gita it is said, “I am the one who is seated in everybody’s heart. You are, they are, he is, the whole world is...Krishna”

Q: Is there any difference when we are praying to different aspects/deities (Devis) in what (qualities) we get?
A: All Devis are one, even if there are many different aspects. Each form gives certain qualities. Your Ishta Deva and your Guru stand for everything. But it’s good to receive the blessing from all Devis. Every time you bow down with the Shahastrana Chakra (your head) Devi puts Her hand on you to bless you. She is standing in front of you and puts your hand on you. Saints have seen how Devi appeared and spread her love and blessings to everybody. You receive all blessing from Her when you go to Her.

Q: Should we ask for what we want or trust that She knows?
A: If you have full trust that She knows, then She will know. If you have little trust, then you ask. Even talking with God is a prayer, whether it is asking or doing it when you are in action. It’s not only when sitting down or in a temple, prayer has many forms. A positive thought is a prayer to the divine. Wherever you are you are carrying the Divine with you. Whatever you are doing is a prayer to Him. Even in action it is a prayer. Work is worship. Manually, spiritually, physically, when you surrender to God it is a prayer.

Q: Why did Shakti herself had to incarnate and go through suffering to reach Shiva?
A: Today I was explaining that. You have to understand, very often these stories have a deep meaning behind them. They are fancy for the mind, but very symbolic. When Devi fights with Chanda and Mund, representing Greed and Possessiveness, Devi stand for longing for the divine, the Atma Shakti, cause your soul is divine. Whether it is full of “dirt” or karma or not, it is divine. As much as the light can be covered with the dust, the light shines always. So Devi stands for that example, that when one removes this greed (and all not needed qualities), it doesn’t mean it goes away, but it is inactive, it doesn’t have power, you can go beyond. So Devi incarnates and goes through all that to teach humans certain things. If the Divine would not do that then humans would not reach where they had to reach. Also Sati incarnated to fall in all these places to energize them, it’s not just random places, they are places of great energy points. It’s what balances the flow of vibrations for the world. In ancient times the sages in Egypt built pyramids, because they knew, they could see and feel that this place is a holy place, something very strong, a flow of energy. These energies have dissipated nowadays. But here it is still there, the faith of the people make it stay. Also, when you come to these places you are into that field of energy. Even if you don’t feel or see, Devi gives you the blessings. It acts on your soul. Again, just to remind you what I said the first day, it’s not a coincidence that you have to be here, It’s because She called you.

Q: Are there any possibilities to open the energy of a woman if you feel she is lacking it and how?
A: Male and female energy is present in everybody. It’s just a physical body. Both energies are present in the physical body. For sometime peole get more male or female energy: One should learn to accept oneself. Some women have very masculine energy and some have very female energy, are very soft. One has to learn to accept oneself. The moment one accepts one is balanced. Cause the energy is there to create this balance. Also in relationships one can see it, but it’s firstly inside. It’s not about being more masculine or feminine, it about being who you are.

Q: What is the purpose of intelligence? Why does the Divine makes us so mind oriented?
A: You need both. On the way to the Divine you should not be stupid. You should have certain knowledge, but you have to differ what kind of knowledge. Spiritual knowledge is very important. It’s not in the mind, the focus should be in the heart. In the bhakti path the concentration is focused on the heart, but nonetheless you need to have certain knowledge and it is important. Because this is how you would advance. If you want to reach somewhere without knowing how to reach there it would not be possible. Outside knowledge is limited, but the spiritual knowledge you will also carry with you. Even in the next life. When you have acquired spiritual knowledge in this life, in the next one in the beginning you will search, but at a certain point it comes out, cause it is residing inside the soul.

Q: What is difference of Yoga Maya or Maha Maya?
A: Srimati Radharani explained that to me recently in Switzerland. There is Maya devi and there is Yog Maya, also called Maha Maya. Maya is covering the eyes of all humans, but Yog Maya covers even the Divine, it is His own Shakti which covers Himself. It’s his own will and power. Humans are bound by Maya, but He is not controlled by it, it is His own cosmic Shakti, and that yoga Maya that we have been visiting in all these places, it is the Shakti of the Lord himself.
When the veil of maya drops you are self-realized. Every form of realization is God realization. There are different classes of realization. It is not based on how much one studys, one can only move from one realization to the other by Gurus grace and Gods grace.

Q: It is said that Radharani is Krishna, not the Divine Mother?
A: Radha and Krishna is one, it’s not Durga. She is an aspect of Yog Maya. The Lord and his Maya are one, they are always together. It is Yog Maya herself that incarnates as Durga, but she is here to destroy, killing demons, fulfilling wishes, etc. But Radharani is the form of the devotee, bhakti. She is only concerned about giving that divine love. There are two words for love: Pyar or Prem. Pyar is common but Prem is the sublimation of love, that is Radharani, when this pure love awakes, it is Her.

Q: In Christianity, was it originally “Father, son & Divine Mother”?
A: Mother is the Holy Spirit, the Shakti. That is how God creates everything, He wills it and the spirit manifests it. The Holy Spirit is shown as a Dove, a Dove is feminine, it’s the soft energy, the Mother. In the “Our Father” prayer it is says “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”, it is talking about the Mother, cause the will of God it’s the mother that manifests it. The Divine mother is the Holy Spirit itself.

Q: What when there is a conflict between asking for material things and spiritual?
A: One needs both, material and spiritual. Don’t feel bad to ask for material things. Be glad that you are also on the spiritual path.

Q: How should we interact with murthis in the temple? Should we ask for blessings? A: Just be open, open your heart. If you want something specific then ask.

Q: How to know where I stand on spiritual level?
A: I will not answer, it’s not good cause it leads to judgment and competition when people start comparing “I am in this or that level”. It’s only between your soul and God. On the spiritual path all problems arise when one begins with comparing. Then pride starts. And then the Devi becomes more wild, Mahakali, and so on.

Q: What is the connection between Vraja and Vrajeshwari?
A: Dhyanu Bhakt was from Vraj, so he called the Devi Vrajeshwari. Also, there is a Devi called Ekadashi Devi. It is said that whoever fasts on Ekadashi for Narayana, they will attain Him, whether they are good or bad. There was once a king, and everyone was scared of him because he was quite a bad person. But he did one good thing, he always fasted for Ekadashi, and he got the blessing to know the deepness of everyone’s heart. Once two birds flew towards his castle and one of them said “let’s not fly there the king is very bad. Let’s go that sage who lives in the forest instead”. The king heard that. Then he realized, even if he had received the blessing, that he was not as good as that sage? He went to look for the sage, then when he found him, he saw that he was just a farmer. He looked inside his heart and saw his simplicity, and thought to himself: “I could be much better if I changed myself”. So due to fasting he could realize it, that he had to change, and he did change his life, and became a very good king.

Q: Do we have a karma that we need to fulfil with everyone we meet? And what can we do if that person is not spiritual and we are in a relationship with that person?
A: With everyone you meet in life you have a certain karma. Doesn’t mean that you need to be in a relationship with everyone you meet. Knows that each person’s life is individual. You can influence a person to be more spiritual by being there. But if you are not, then you should not try, everything has its own time. You can’t force a person to be spiritual, maybe that person is spiritual in his own way. To pity a person would not change anything. He has a certain karma to fulfil. If he is meant to change he will.


That evening Gurpreet forwarded me a newspaper article that was published in a paper in Katra (near Vaishno Devi). A few of Swamis devotees were interviewed by a journalist while they went shopping in the town. They told the Journalist about Guruji and Bhakti Marga and this is the article that was published (but I can’t tell you what is written in it though):

Tuesday, Dharamshala:
On Tuesday morning we left the hotel by bus after breakfast. Guruji left already much earlier by car to Daramshala (Mc Leod Ganj). Mc Leod Ganj is a hill station overlooking Daramshala and is the residence of the Dalai Lama as well as the location of the exile government of Tibet.

When we reached there by bus, after an adventurous drive over a not very concrete mountain road, we had to go on foot for about 500 meters until we reached the Entrance to the Dalai Lama Temple where Guruji and the others were waiting for us already. 

Guruji got an audience with the Dalai Lama although it seemed impossible in the beginning. Our official request was turned down, because Dalai Lama was supposed to be in retreat during this time. We were told, that even ambassadors were turned down. However, Guruji asked Gurpreet to try again and this time it was successful within 24 hours! They told us that they met with the Dalai Lama and had a brief but friendly encounter with him. The Dalai Lama enquired about Guruiji’s mission and how long he is already in Germany. Guruji also told me how it had touched him, to see how the Tibetans had tears of joy in their eyes upon seeing the Dalai Lama, displaying so much dedication to their leader, so much love for him and faith in him.
After the audience they went into a cafĂ© and got to meet the venerable Lama Bagdro. He told them about his life story (which you can read further down) and showed them around in the Dalai Lama Temple. 

When we arrived, he did again a tour with the whole group together with Swami. It was not possible to take any camera or phone along in the temple. First we walked through a small museum. Its theme is the current situation and recent history of the Tibetan people. A big part of it dealt with Tibets “martyrs” and those people who self-immolated themselves (set themselves on fire) out of protest against the Chinese oppressors, who in the name of “freeing” Tibet actually occupied it. As we got out of the museum, the rain started pouring down and we had to rush to the gates of the temple. The Dalai Lama Temple is on an elevated location. It houses several deities, mainly Buddha, but also Green Tara and Guru Padma Sambhava who brought Buddhism to Tibet in 8th century A.D. and is very revered among Tibetan Buddhists. 
I especially liked the Green Tara who looked and felt most compassionate. Guruji explained that there is no difference between the Buddhist Tara and the Hindu Tara, just that she is represented differently. Her essence is exactly the same. Also three Rajas (Kings) are present in the temple and revered as very important leaders of Buddhist history. Inside the temple are also many ancient original scriptures on various topics such as philosophy, science, astrology, tantra, medicine, etc. In their temple they also stored huge bags with a special herb that is kept there to get charged with the holy vibration of the temple. In a few days there will be a festival during which the Dalai Lama will distribute small packages of that medicinal herb to the people. A very common theme in the Temple and in this place in general was also the Kal Chakra, the wheel of time. It is the circle of life, the wheel of life and death.

We then all walked through the rain to “Nicks” Italian Restaurant which is reputed to be the best restaurant in town. I liked the thought of getting some Italian food for a change. We sat down in the second floor since the restaurant was still full of other guests and the venerable Lama Bagdro started to share with the whole group his life story. He is travelling in Dalai Lamas name around the world to share what is happening with the people of Tibet. He was four years in prison and also tortured by the Chinese authorities.
He said that here in Dharamshala is the Tibetan government. The Indian Government gave them this place since it is a hill station and looks/feels similar like Tibet. He told us that Tibetans have more than 3000 years of history, with own language, currency, etc. But the Chinese want to impose their own culture on Tibet, although it is completely different. Since the Chinese occupation, 6000 Tibetans monasteries were destroyed

He also told us, that since 2011 the Dalai Lama is no longer the spiritual and political leader, he chose to be only the spiritual leader, and instead introduced a democratic government here in Dharamshala.

Bagdro himself became a monk in his homeland Tibet in the year 1985, out of the simple reason that he was hungry and needed food. He had to wait for one year to get the permission to become a monk. He very much enjoyed life in the monastery because he was no longer hungry, and he received some Tibetan education. One day some Dutch tourists came and talked to him about the Dalai Lama (The Dalai Lama left Tibet already in 1957). They said that Dalai Lama is the leader of Tibetans. At first he did not believe it, he always believed that the Chinese Leader is his leader, they way he was taught by Chinese doctrine. Only when he read a book he got from these tourists he realized what had happened to his country in the past. He joined some protest movement with other monks. During one occasion, he was shouting “long live Dalai Lama” and “Free Tibet” with other monks and the Chinese soldierst started shooting at them, killing many, even young boy monks of 10 years of age, and jailed 75 monks and closed down the monastery. They began to search for him, they even put up his picture as “Wanted” and said there will a reward for information leading to his arrest. During this time he was wearing womens cloths as not to get recognized. He said it was like in movie. But finally, after over a month of hiding, they found him and arrested him as a “terrorist” accusing him of destroying the Chinese nation. They interrogated him, accusing him of receiving money from the Dalai Lama for causing upraisals. They tortured him with electric shocks, made him walk on broken glass, etc. After 10 months, he got lots of health problems, also mentally due to the torturing, and finally he was brought in another prison where he stayed for another 3 years. During this time they used him and other prisoners to take their blood to sell to Chinese hospitals. Some of his friends died because they removed their kidneys to sell them to Chinese hospitals/patients.

He finally got out of jail with the help of “amnesty international” and escaped to India where he met the Dalai Lama. He said to him that they should buy weapons and start fighting back. But the Dalai Lama said that fighting will not help, it will only make it worse. However, the Dalai Lama gave him the job to write books, he said that books are more powerful weapons. He started travelling the world with the help of a Spanish Judge to spread his message. He wrote already three books. He speaks in universities, schools and other places. He said that situation of Tibetan people is very bad or even worse today and asked us all to share this information. His family is still in Tibet, he has two sisters (one died due to hunger) and his parents who are still living in difficult conditions in Tibet.

After his talk, Guruji said that he is so impressed by the faith of the Tibetan people in their leader the Dalai Lama, despite the hardships they have endured. He said that one can see the calmness on their faces, despite all they had/have to go through, and that they choose compassion and forgiveness, even for their enemies, and that we should see them as examples and also help to spread their message. He said that he hopes that the Lama Bagdro will come to Germany and visit us. He said that he is very happy that by Divine Providence we have met him.

Afterwards we went one floor down and enjoyed our meal together. After some shopping we got back into the bus and drove back to the hotel. On the way the bus had to take a diversion and twice we almost got stuck as the road was so narrow. But with the help of local inhabitants our 3 person bus driver team managed to get us through these small streets which was strongly applauded by the whole group.

(This report is written by Paartha, who is with Swami Vishwananda on the tour)