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Monday, March 26, 2007

Tryambakeshwar :: 20 mile Pradakshina to Brahmagiri

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You must be knowing that there are 12 Jyotirlingas. Arguably, Trambakeshwar is regarded as the most important one of them. Trambakeshwar is 29Km from Nashik (Nasik). There are a lot of vidhis and puja that can be done only at Trambakeshwar. (Narayan naagbali is one such major puja). The reason to write this review now is my recent visit to Trambakeshwar for ’’Feri’ (Pradakshina) to Brahmagiri parvat (in essence Lord Shankar).

It is either a 20 or 40 miles Feri you can choose. 20 miles though short is more hard with lot of tough terrain, mountain climbing (slippery). byways with at times 2-3 feet mud. The fun part is
you have to do this bare-feet. One can do this feri only in the holy month of Shravan (any Monday). The rains only adds positively to the overall experience. Contrary to what you may want to believe, around 3 lac+ bhavics turn out there for the feri almost every Monday. Specifically on the 3rd Monday the crowd is astronomical. You wouldn’t find a single stretch of feri that is empty!! There are 100s of extra buses that make rounds from Nasik starting from 7 p.m. on Sunday.

There are 2 km long waiting queues at the bus stop at times. At 9 pm we took a rick to the bus stop to find roads blocked 3 km from the bus-stop. BIG lines estimated by police to 10,000+ crowd greeted us! :) The estimated time to board was 3 a.m. that would have affected our plans really badly. We decided to take my dear Palio but we heard that the private vehicles were not allowed to enter Trambak and were stopped at 12 Km from the Mandir. Our friends suggested to take alternate route that is 15-20 km more but is more scenic (Gangapur Road). Even at the night time it looked great! We reached Trambak at 11:30 pm, parked the Palio just outside the Mandir (public parking).

Shiva’s mandir is closed at this time and bhakta-jan are guided to ’Kushawart’ where they take a bath there and start the feri. We started our feri at 00:30 hrs. The place was crowded to the fullest extent possible. The crowds were highly enthusiastic and chanting Om Namaha: Shivay and also singing many aarties and bhajans. It was quite a sight to have lacs of people bare-feet without any promise or any material gain.

This is one reason why I believe India is greatest nation on mother earth. People who talk about tolerance etc should visit such places to checkout the commitment and the devotion. You can see several mountains surrounding the path. It is series of mountains to greet you with different sizes and shapes. You can see countless small falls over this area. Being the midnight we were not able to spot everything until around 6 a.m. After walking 5-6 Km on the road we hit the real thing. All of a sudden the crowd submerged and we started realizing that it was too crowded! :) The small openings to further extension were flooded and I thought the people could have been a little more disciplined. It was amazing to see countless 60/70+ year old with us! Similarly number of women was significant. I guess almost 30-35% women made it a real competitive for men and college students (they couldn’t crib as elderly and women were going thru all that without complaint!). I was also surprised to see kids around 8-10 with as much enthusiasm.

After 1-2 km of rough terrain we started climbing a BIG mountain. It was quite slippery and many people in a hurry provided the crowds with entertainment! :) Every time someone used to slip crowds used to help them but used to shout and announce the prize takers! :) We had been several times thru 2-3 feet of mud and that formed a good paste on the legs which dried up subsequently and made us feel a little numb. A comprehensive wash using rain water again made us realize the presence of fingers etc! :) The rains (typical Nasik style rim-zhim and not Mumbai style)

Overall, it was a HEAVENLY experience. All the stress, tensions and nuances of daily life were left behind. All the baggage of whatever was there in the mind was taken away by the Lord Shiva and it made us ready for the year ahead. After completing the Feri for 2 days I was thinking why I didn’t choose 40 miles route. It felt weightless for 2/3 days with a certain un-quantifiable satisfaction that I am still carrying with me. The feri made us realize how small the problems we face in life (personal/professional) are and how we make big deals out of them. One Feri to Brahmagiri is good enough to realize how beautiful, sacred the life is and what it is worth to get life as a human being! I thank god for making me Indian and again making me aware and finally carrying out this Feri. I felt very near to God and this experience can’t be just described. Maybe If I had Jaggernaut’s (Laxman) vocab I could have done a better job!

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Welcome to the spirituality blog

This blog is an offshoot of a website that I had conceived as a result of the spiritual grace and resultant inspiration during Shivaratri Y2K (http://www.jyotirlinga.com) on the joy of Shiva Bhakti and my quest for spiritual progress. Not finding the time (yep, bad excuse!), this blog suits me fine in quickly adding content... my spiritual forays and thoughts - helps log them too. My spiritual journey started with Hinduism and it's simple stories/ teachings as far back as when I was a 2nd grader, with Lord Shiva and has now found convergence with Advaitism / Duality. The Advaitism gurus like Bhagwan Ramana Maharishi, Nisargadatta Maharaj; they have provided that spiritual boost of energy in many lagging moments and have tremendously influenced me ... little baby steps at a time... that will hopefully all lead upto a final crescendo. The merits of satsangh are many!

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