6 Jun 2014

North India Pilgrimage with Swami Vishwananda, Day 10

Paartha writes:
Saturday, May 31st

The next day we left around noon since Swami gave an interview in the morning to a filmmaker who is working on a documentary about Bhakti. During the bus ride Swami told us the story of the Pandavas in exile:

“During one year of the Pandavas exile they had to be incognito. So they were in exile. Why were they in exile? They lost the game of dice. During that time they also lost their whole property, everything. Of course Draupadi was very angry even with her husbands, because they could not protect her. This was the moment when the Kauravas tried to remove the clothes from her, and in that moment she called on Krishna, and he covered her with endless clothes. 

It so happened that they were sent back to their palace but with one condition, that they had to be 12 years in exile, but one year they should live completely incognito, no one should know about them. So they came here to this place (Palace of King Virat) where we are going. Bhim became the cook, another one of them became the person who looked after the horses, he was very good, Yudhishtira became the advisor of the king, Arjun became the dancer, he was dressed like a woman for one year and was called Brihannala. He was a very good dancer. During this year, King Virat was the only one who knew that these were the Pandavas, and he gave them willingly a place, but he did not tell anybody. During this year, the kingdom flourished, became great, this kingdom for which nobody even cared about before, nobody even bothered about, you know it was always the last one probably, but during that year it flourished so nicely, but nobody knew why. In Kauravas place, Shakuni was very wise. Shakuni is the uncle of the Kauravas, and he was an excellent man, his mind was superfast. Krishna also said, one person that I am scared of is Shakuni, because he knows always ahead my plan. But, one person that Shakuni was always scared of, was Krishna. Specially when Krishna would say to Shakuni: “mamajiii” (uncle), Shakuni would get scared and would say “Yadhavji, don’t call me mama”. Why? Because Krishna killed his own uncle, Kansa. And of course nobody wants to be in Kansas place. So every time Krishna would purposely call Shakuni mama, so mama would get super scared. So, in this place here, this is where the Pandavs were. So Shakuni said yes I know they are there, but I don’t know how they are there. So they went there and tried to find out who is who. So they said to King Virat “for sure the Pandavas are hiding in your palace, tell us”. And the king said “No, if the Pandavas were here I would consider myself great, but they are not here”. Then after that the Kauravas said that they would fight his army if he doesn’t let them look but Virat said “no, this is my kingdom, even if they were here, they’d be under my protection. I will not allow you to search or ask anybody any questions”. He was a just king and the Pandavas of course respected that. 

So the rule was like this, that until the last day (of exile) till the sun set, nobody should even recognize them. So when it reached that time, the Kauravas were attacking the kingdom of Virat Raj. The Kauravas divided their army, surrounded the place. So Arjun, dressed as a woman, went with the prince only, the young prince who was fourteen years old at that time, Arjun took him, cause all the other men were on the other side. When they started attacking they came from both sides. 
So Arjun took the prince only to go there. The time was ready to attack. The prince shot an arrow (but upon seeing the enemy army), but the prince got scared. Arjun would say to him “fight!”. But then he looked at Arjun and said “You are an eunuch, what do you know about fighting? You don’t know the art of fighting. But Arjuna said “I am telling you, fight,fight!”, revealing his identity as Arjuna. But the prince could not fight, so Arjuna took over and put the Kaurava army to sleep with a special weapon (astra sammohana) he had obtained, thus gaining time (Bhishma did have a counter weapon but did not use it since he wanted the war to end). They went in the forest nearby, where before while being incognito, all the Pandavas had hidden their weapons in the forest. So Devi (Maya) hid with her maya the weapons. So it was time now. When Arjun went there, Devi gave back the weapons to Arjun. Arjun took his time until sunset. When the last ray of sun disappeared, Arjun came, this time in normal clothes, and he started fighting with the Kauravas to protect King Virajs place. Then after that battle they installed the Shiv ling. This was to say “thank you” to Devi to hide their weapons and to be grateful for the one year of incognito. Krishna asked them to put that Shiva Ling there. 
In this garden (where we are at the moment) Draupadi used to meet Krishna and the Pandavas whenever they asked to meet. You know how they asked to meet? There is a certain Laddhu, which is Peysanka Laddhu . So whenever Bhim made Peysanka Laddhu and sent it as Prasad to everybody, they knew that they had to meet there. The King did not even like Peysanka Laddhu, but on the day they had to meet, Peysanka Laddhu would be on the tray.”

When we arrived at the site of the Shiva Lingam it was 46°C hot, the A/C of the car not really functioning. We quickly went inside the temple since there it was at least a little bit cooler. As you can see on the picture, it is slightly thinner at the bottom. The priest explained us, that this is because when the Pandavas installed it, it was Bhim who put it there, and since he was too strong, he “squeezed” it a bit as he was holding it. 

Below the temple there were two ponds, one which was inside the building and was used by Draupadi to take her bath, the other one outside which was used by her husbands. However, when we were there the boys of the village had taken over. 

The priest said that the water of this pond, which is only 5-6 feet in depth, never finished since it was built. That town therefore never had any water problems, whereas in the surrounding area there is always a scarcity of water. 

The next temple we went to was Kalika temple. It is believed that a few hairs of Sati fell in this place. (However, the “official” place where Satis hair has fallen is Dakshineshwar Temple in Calcutta where Sri Ramakrishna used to worship.)
The story of this Kalika temple goes back to a king with name Jai Singh who had placed an idol of Kali there. Once during Navaratri as the ladies of the temple were chanting, one young lady entered the palace and began singing together with the other women. She was of exquisite beauty and her voice was the most melodious. After the singing was over, the woman said to the king “I am happy, ask me for a boon”. The king said that he wanted to marry her. On this the Goddess got angry and cursed the king saying: “You have become agnostic and proud due to your kingdom. Both you and your kingdom will get destroyed!” Saying so, the Goddess disappeared. The idol of Kalika began entering into the earth. A saint who lived behind the palace implored the Goddess to stay there for the benefit of mankind. She stopped entering the earth and only Her head remained above the surface. In this way She is still present there today and worshipped there. The king was later killed in battle and the town got deserted for some time before it was rebuilt later. 
One can wonder why She would treat this king in such a “harsh” way, but whenever the Goddess or a Saints speak out a curse to someone, it is always a blessing in disguise. As humans our perception is limited and we see only what is happening to us on this physical level, which is nothing compared to the evolution and learning of the spiritual soul that we actually are, throughout different incarnations over centuries and milleniums and beyond. 

Blurry picture of Kali Pindi (you can see Her at the bottom, with a crown on and golden eyes) since it is often not allowed to take pictures of the original deities.

 We bought some Prasad and Sarees to offer to Kali and walked down the steps to have Her darshan. When we entered the Sanctum we saw Her glorious form of a Pindi. It was a love filled atmosphere and we were able to remain several minutes in front of Her, worshipping and praying to Her. It felt as if She was very happy to see Guruji and us visiting Her there. After Darshan Guruji stood there a while praying. After circumbulation a priestess (?) gave me the Prasad for our group and blessed some of us. 
Guruji praying in Kali Temple

The remaining day we had free to do some shopping and watching a Hollywood movie (X-Men) in Hindi language. Not sure what amused the Indians in the cinema more, watching the movie, or the fact, that 40 Europeans (Goras) watched a movie in which they did not even understand one word…