Saturday, July 25, 2015

An Encounter at Neelkanth

The Majestic Neelkanth

Whilst returning from an excursion to the Neelkanth mountain, I met a sadhu on the way. I offered my pranams (salutations) which he returned with a smile. He had a small piece of papad in his hand. He said "Son will you accept this papad?" I replied "Maharaj will you accept a chocolate". He smiled and agreed and we made our exchange.

"Come to yonder house for a cup of tea," he said pointing to a humble dwelling amidst the breathtaking setting. His mannerism was friendly as if he were a close acquaintance. My two companions and I could not refuse and we made our way towards his house.

The outer walls to his house was a mere formality for a boundary. In a setting of beautiful wild flowers carelessly growing in the empty spaces on all three sides of his house, we sat on rustic makeshift chairs.
As we conversed he gave us a highlight of his life prior to coming to these parts of the Himalayas. 
"I was from Rajasthan. Without a Guru, purely through Aakashwani (Inner guidance) have I been led through my spiritual life. The voice has led me through many extraordinary experiences both good and bad yet each benefitting me on my path."

"Please tell us about the Masters one hears about in these regions!" I asked.
"Masters indeed there are many, but they shy away from human gaze. Often it is more for the comfort of people then their own love of solitude that Masters will remain hidden from sight."
"Yet to those that dwell in these rarified regions, coming across such beings who often take the form of light, is not that difficult."
"A few days back a family known to me, came to my house with the intent to serve me. Many days passed when they complained - 'Sir, we have been serving you for so long, how is it that we have not been able to witness some divine sights known to be amply present in these regions. 'I laughed and replied - 'Dear Ones, I can say the same that since your arrival, I too have been bereft of visitation of Masters.'
"'That cannot be,' they protested.. 'We are here undertaking a holy cause of serving you. As per the scriptures, by virtue of this act alone we should be considered worthy of Divine grace.'
"'Look, what is that ..' one of them suddenly exclaimed. I looked out to witness 2 celestial lights traveling in the air at very close quarters to us in the chill of the night. One light disappeared and the other descended at a distance of about 200 meters from my house. This is the closest I had seen such a light coming towards my dwelling place.
"'Wait here,' I commanded them, as I carried a lantern and made my way through the bitter winds of the Himalayan night, much to their protest. Walking along I came to the cliff where the light had descended and was pleasantly surprised to see there a young monk in white clothes. I enquired 'Maharaj, who are you and what are you doing here so late in the night?'
"The mendicant replied in a distant tone 'Greetings Maharaj, I am a seeker who came to the Neelkanth mountain many days ago. As I sat in a meditative state, I slipped in a deep state of consciousness and have only emerged out of it now - many days later.'
"'Sir, you must be famished. Kindly come to my house a few steps away, where I can serve you some rotis made tonight along with a dal made this afternoon. I will heat it and serve you quickly.'
"'You need not heat the food, what you offer will suffice,' replied the mendicant as the two made their way to the house."
"After I served him the meal, he insisted on leaving immediately and stepped out. I came after him to show him some light but watched him take a light form himself and he vanished through the air."

The sadhu then spoke in general. "We are all seekers at the end of the day - you are seeking God to as much as I; only I have decided to give my quest more time then perhaps you can."

"Tell me Maharaj," I asked "How easy it is to control the restless mind, while living in these pristine regions. Surely your efforts bear richer fruits here."
The sadhu smiled frankly "I assure you, maya has its ways of keeping the mind engaged, though I must agree that these circumstances are far favorable to what one faces in the world. I am able to go deep every now and then and find divine grace more generous then at my efforts in the plains."
Ati Rudra at Badri

"Maharaj, a great Ati Rudra yagna is being conducted down by the temple. Tomorrow is the Poornahooti day. Please join us in partaking the prasad." We requested.
"Your invitation is enough. I prefer not to travel for food as the good Lord provides amply for my little needs and as a rule we try to avoid places with great crowds. But if He wills I shall come."
We offered our pranams to him, as we made our way back in the late evening to our yagnashala. We could not have the tea that he offered, but found other stories from him which warmed our soul.