Tristhal Yatra: Day3 @ Kashi

April 27, 2009…

It is a festival day…. Akshaya Thritheeya… A good day for all beginnings…

Today we are scheduled to do Shraadha at Kashi… This shall be an elaborate affair, and a long day of rituals… Long time before we can have food… The rituals were conducted  by the Kanchi Shankara Mutt…  The great sage Kanchi Paramacharya had come to Kashi sometime in early October, 1934, during his padayatra across India, a walking journey that he commenced in 1919. He stayed in Kashi for nearly six months…

Coming back to our day 3…. Nice point for RK’s note to come in…

Quote:

“On Day Three (27.4.’09) on the way to the Shankara Math, Kameshwar and I visited a home where a board outside stated that Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa’s Padukas were kept there.  It was an ancient house with a central courtyard where we came across the delightful sight of several little brahmacharis dressed in their traditional tiny panchagacchams playing cricket, running all over, laughing, with their luxurious tufts bobbing up and down!”

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An ancient staircase takes us to the first floor, where one of the rooms is now maintained as a shrine, with the ‘padukas’ of Sri Ramakrishna kept in a glass case…

The people there told us that Sri Ramakrishna had lived there for three months.  We stood there for a while in a state of emotionally charged silence, and then had to leave to join the others in time.  It was Akshaya Tritiya Day and with such an auspicious beginning and the promise of a great day ahead, there was an air of eager anticipation.”

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“The Shraadha rituals began in the Kanchi Math with the sankalpams which were very elaborate but being in simple Sanskrit it was easy to follow, and so, very elevating.  We then went to the banks of the Ganga, as the rest of the ritual was to be done on a boat with five stops in different parts of the river in three of which we had to get in for dipping.  It was a beautiful ritual that took over three hours with Krishni and Kameshwar on the floor of the boat following the priest’s instructions and me making the pindam-balls as fast as possible to keep pace with the ritual, which required 64 balls for Krishni and 48 for Kameshwar for each of the five stops.”

Unquote

Picture break…

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We had to have a dip and offer pindams at five ghats… To the best of my memory, these were Asi Ghat, Varansangama Ghat, Dasashwamedha Ghat, Panchganga Ghat and Manikarnika Ghat…

At one of the ghats was this leaning shrine… Inviting a camera click…

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Among the five ghats, the highpoint surely was the Manikarnika Ghat, the very mention of which conveys sanctity. A place so holy that Adi Shankara has sung a stotra about it – The Manikarnika Ashtakam… In that he says,

गंगातीरमुत्तमम् हि सकलं तत्रापि काश्युत्तमा
तस्यां सा मणिकर्णिकोत्तमतमा यत्रेश्वरो मुक्तिदा…

“Ganga is sacred in totality, but even among the Ganga Teera, Kashi is supreme. And in Kashi, it is Manikarnika that is the highest among the high, where Ishvara himself gives salvation…”

When our boat berths at Manikarnika, we see a group of pilgrims from Andhra, led by a lady sadhu, having their holy dip… Our boat sways and scares the bathers, whereupon the lady sadhu smiles and cajoles her flock “There is no fear in Kashi… This the land of Lord Vishwanath… Cast away all thought and plunge into the holy Ganga…”, she says…

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Manikarnika… Where the great sage Trailanga Swami is said to have often spent days absorbed in Samadhi, his body lying unconcerned in the blistering hot stone steps…

Manikarnika… The very ghat where Sri Ramakrishna saw Lord Siva walking from one dead body to the next, whispering the taraka mantra, the name of Rama, and Kali who was with Him cut the knots of bondage of these blessed people, granting salvation…

…….. To  be continued…….

2 Responses to “Tristhal Yatra: Day3 @ Kashi”

  1. Padmini Says:

    Hi Kamesh,

    Wonderful! Looks like you really enjoy traveling. I doubt I will ever get to see these places, so it’s great to get read your writings. esp, description of the surroundings, flowers, people, kids etc. I enjoy much. The picture of the traditional house and the rivers definitely some of my favourites.

    Keep posting.

    – Padmini

  2. gkamesh Says:

    Kashi is Kabir’s place. You have been there in heart. You should visit there in person as well. bests

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