Happy Vinayaka Caturti!
With prostrations to Lord Ganesha, I would like to dedicate this particular series of blog posts, the himAlayAtrA series, to my sister Meena, who was absorbed in the lotus feet of Arunachala Ramana, just a week ago.
The week prior to her absorption, I was out on a pilgrimage, a Teerth Yatra in the holy Himalaya…
My sister was much concerned about me when I was out there in the mountains. We were cut off for a while, and she, in Coimbatore, was very worried, and was making calls, here and there, “Where is my brother?” . But then all went well, and I came back, and we spoke on phone. I told her that I was likely to come to Coimbatore on Tuesday 24th August. But that was not to be, and I had to travel to Bengaluru that day en-route to Trivandrum the next day. And on 23rd August, she was admitted in an emergency condition to the hospital. I broke journey and rushed to Coimbatore. But before I could reach, she passed away, afternoon of 24th, on Ekadashi tithi.
She was the leading light amongst us siblings, our eldest sister. May she continue to show us the light, as we meander along in the mountain range of life.
Today, on Vinayaka Caturti day, her ashes merge with the Ganga, at Garmuktheswar… Here’s that picture…
Jai Gange! Har Har Mahadev!
Shall we now go upstream from Gad Ganga, backwards to the mighty mountain?
Ok, here’s to you Meena….
Hark! The Himalaya!
अस्त्युत्तरस्यां दिशि देवतात्मा हिमालयो नाम नगाधिराजः।
पूर्वापरौ तोयनिधी विगाह्य स्थितः पृथिव्या इव मानदण्डः॥
(First verse, kumArasambhava, kALidAsa)
In the Northern directions stands the King of Mountains, of name himAlayA! This is the Self of Gods! Stretching across the land and entering into the eastern and western waters, it stands like an instrument that measures the earth!
To be in the Himalaya, is to experience the awesome. Not for nothing has Kalidasa described the mountain range as Devata Aatma – the Self of God. It is immensity itself. It is beauty itself. It is imperturbable. Unpredictable. Alive. All agog with the sounds of nature, the hara-hara hum of rivers, the whistle of winds, thunder and whiplash of monsoon… It is Deva Bhoomi, the land of Gods.
Welcome! Join me on a short tour of the Himalaya!
A tour in the Himalaya is no cakewalk. The clock and calendar are somewhat helpless guides. You plan something. Something else happens. No more are you a master of time and space. Slowly, surely, you submit to the unknowable. And become alert to the joy of every sight, and every moment.
And around every corner, there may be a surprise in store.
Picture this… A mishap in the mountain…
A van has keeled over… Turned halfway turtle…
So what do you do?
A prayer to Ganapati would do nicely. Hail Vighneshwara, the remover of all obstacles!
And then, draw strength from the mountain, and put your shoulders to work. As do these pilgrims….
Jo Bole So Nihal!
No cranes here to do the heavy lifting. It is man versus machine. It is the Himmat of Himalaya.
And then, some magic in the mountain! Victory!
Sat Sri Akal!
Jai Kashi Vishwanath, says the banner on the windshield of the van…
चलें ? Lets move on, shall we?
To be continued….