Nava Nava Rasa Natana Karii (Part 2)

Here is a reflective and in-depth pictorial account by Asha Awasthi of the Uttara Bharat Yatra in the divine Saanidhya of Pujya Swamiji   (June 2023)

Our sojourn at Vyasashram was happily extended by three days, thanks to the loving insistence of the Kashi Mathadhipati to our Pujya Swamiji that His Holiness should participate in the Vardhanti celebrations of the Bhagawan Vedavyasa Mandir. The Vardhanti coincided with the auspicious Shishya Swikara day of our Guruswami on 1st March and this suyoga manifested palpable spandana, with us offering the early morning Navratri Nityapatha, Devi Anushthana and Gayatri Anushthana followed by the sacred Vedic rituals at the Vedavyasa Mandir in the Divine Presence of both Mathadhipati-s. The entire environment was a spiritual treat for all.  

After a dip in the cool waters of the sacred Pushkar sarovara and pujana at the bank, passers-by suddenly paused as they watched Pujya Swamiji walking through the quaint narrow lanes on His way to Atmateshwar and the old and new Rangji temples – Shiva walking up to perceive Himself as Narayana! For us, the Gurushakti, walking just a step ahead, to clear the petty obstacles which can hamper our progress !

Arati at Brahma- muhurta by  Pujya Swamiji at the Unique Brahma temple – and the very obvious transformation in the Chief Archaka’s demeanour through this encounter with Divinity, was ample proof of the Shakti’s silent vibes – well worth the climb up and down countless steps – a reminder of tapas being an integral part of our sadhana ! 

The rousing welcome at Bhilwara came second only to the sheer ecstasy writ large on the face of each and every local Saraswat at the formal reception, listening with rapt attention to their newly acquired Guruji. “Guru Maharaj, Guru  Maharaj, Jai Jai Guru Maharaj”, their reverent jaijaikara-s still resonate in our ears !

 Learning happens not only through shravana of Guru -Upadesha, but also by just being in the Sannidhya of the Guru, watching and absorbing potent lessons because He walks the talk !  Some time back, Pujya Swamiji had talked about sandhi-kala as an auspicious time for spiritual practices and how we grahastha-s can create our own sandhi-kala in between our mundane daily activities!  Throughout this yatra we observed Pujya Swamiji creating innumerable such sandhi-s by literally stealing time away from His hectic schedules, to be with us, to prod, encourage and guide us, ensuring all the time that we remain connected in sadhana.

Samvit Dham, Jodhpur was another unique experience with the very rare Atirudra planned so meticulously. Parama Pujya Swamiji conducting Swadhyaya on the bhaktipurna Shivanandalahari just before the start of the yaga, set the tone, focused our minds and helped calm down the otherwise unbridled excitement.  The loud Swahakara-s of the Rudra chanting emanating from the yagashala  made the entire environment Shivamaya!

The spectacular Arani-Manthana ritual to kindle the fire for the havana- kunda-s was a special treat to watch, for it reiterated the presence of the vibrant shuddha- chaitanya within the inert !  The discipline stringently followed not only by the archaka-s but also by the many Yajamana-s participating in the yaga at the 41 havan-kunda-s was noteworthy. The sheer speed of the faultless chanting of the Rudram at each avartana reverberated in the heart of all onlookers too, inspiring everyone to participate, whether by just sitting quietly in japa, or by doing a parikrama of the yagashala.

The daily satsanga with H.H.Swamiji, sometimes in the presence of Pujya Narayana Giri Swamiji and other Mahatma-s, ensured that the antaramukhata was not diluted even after the day’s Rudra avartana-s were completed. 
The Nagarika Abhinandana belied the expectations of the organisers themselves with representatives and participants from 125 institutions turning up to felicitate our H.H.Swamiji. The most emotional, touching moment followed with Shri Narayan Giri Swamiji offering H.H. Bade Swamiji’s sphatika and rudraksha mala to our Swamiji – an invaluable prasada received with the utmost reverence and humility!

The grand finale with the Purnahuti marked the culmination of the Atirudra on the fifth day, but the effect continued at the Dharmasabha where the ardent loud swahakara-s  melted into lyrical bhajana-s.  The sponsors and sevaka-s received prasadika shawls but for the audience, the prasada came in the form of the Ashirvachana-s from our beloved Guru and other Mahatma-s.

Finally, – Mount Abu, the last destination of the Uttara Bharat Yatra, but in all reality, the beginning of an inward journey in retrospect –– soaking in the incomparable peace of the ‘sannata’ of the mountains and basking in the incomparable glow of the constant Guru -Sannidhya of 40 precious days –with even the Gods above sending a Blessing in the form of unseasonal rain ! Wherever we went during the day, there was always a rush to get back to Sant Sarovar lest we miss the impromptu satsanga-s! Through all the activities, was an underlying thread of calm resonance – perhaps the deeper nuances of‘upasana’ were slowly unfolding within, to get us to Kacholi – to be engulfed in the serenity of the Samadhisthal of Pujya Bade Swamiji nestling at the foot of the divine Aravali mountains ! 

The yatra which had started with Blessings of our revered Guruparampara at Jnananand ashrama, came to an end at the Sant Sarovar Ashram – the yatri-s who had congregated at Karla now dispersed with a treasury of memories…  
यातनायाः त्रायते, यत्नात् त्रायते, या त्रायते, सा यात्रा निगद्यते । That One Gurushakti which protects and uplifts from all suffering, provided one makes a focused effort, The One Who is Herself the Goal, the Movement and the Path, She is One who is indeed, the ‘Yatra’ !

To That All-Encompassing, Ever-Compassionate Gurushakti, we  yatri-s offer our immense gratitude and humble pranama-s for this once-in-a-life opportunity of a multitude of enriching experiences and pray for the samarthya to digest and absorb the learning from its every moment !

Om Namah Parvati Pataye Hara Hara Mahadev !