The blog resumes on 27 April 2014… It is the actual Thithi (date as per Indian calendar) of Mahanirvana of Sri Ramana Maharshi… The previous post, as it happened, was on the date of Mahanirvana as per Western Calendar…. In Ramanasramam, they celebrate the Indian calendar date. There will be special prayers during the day, and thousands of devotees will participate… And in Chennai, at the local Ramana Kendra, a portrait of Ramana Maharshi will be taken on an open vehicle, and pulled on a parikrama of the great Kapaleeshwara temple at Mylapore.. That is an experience to be savored…
From Kapali parikrama to Kailasa Parikrama, now…
Yatra date 2-July-2013
Let us begin with a short video taken that day… One has joined two clips… First part where Soota was on his own, and second part after the horseman caught up and Soota had the luxury of a saddle… Have a dekho. Gives you a good feel of the valley of divine river – Lha Chu valley….
You would have noticed the horseman wearing a cloth cover for his nose and face. And he is a local Tibetan who does this parikrama day in and day out… You can imagine the biting cold that one is likely to face… So, folks, if you are planning on the kora, do get some cover for your nose and ears….
Sometime around 4 pm or so, crossing a little bridge across Lha Chu river, Soota reaches the destination of the first day – the transit rooms attached to the Diraphuk monastery…
Soota was feeling so tired he just crashed on a bunker in one of the rooms. There were six or more beds in a room… Cramped.. But God be blessed, we had a roof above our heads..
Soota took no pictures then… So, sharing some pictures of the rooms, and the Diraphuk monastery that one saw on that most wonderful ‘mountain travel photos’ site. Click on the pictures… (Click here for source)
One of Soota’s own group of six had reached ahead, and she was not in a good shape at all. Altitude sickness had really gotten to her. Soon the others arrived, and one sort of settled in and exchanged brief war stories. The other lady in the group had a rough day too. She had received non-cooperation from her porter… Siva, the Australian, was a picture with a purpose. The ‘noodles on the way’ had breathed life back into his paining body. But just about. So he was Atlas weighed down by the world on his shoulders…..
Not all were down though. The teenage sage Dasarath (Dash) was fine. He was dashing fine.. He dashed around the area and came around to inform one and all that the toilet was pits. He painted a real gory picture. And so any thought of using the common washrooms were put to rest. From now on, the rocks.
Shankar, with his daily recitation of Agni sahasranama, showed little sign of losing fire. He was quite fit, and had also the energy derived from the meal of hot noodles that he had savored in the food tent on the way.He took a recce of the surroundings and came and dragged Siva and Soota to a spot nearby, from where one had a direct view of the North face of Kailasa… Even though the peak was hidden in a thick cloud cover, the sheer presence of Kailasa was overwhelming… This face of Kailasa is the most celebrated and photographed one… Sharing some pictures. Click and use arrow keys to browse. Esc to return…
There we were – the threesome of Shankar, Siva and Soota. For a reintroduction to these characters, and their mystic defenses against cold, ccheck out an earlier blog post (Click here to access )… It was biting cold… Soota was shivering… Siva was like a resuscitated man, just about on minimum batteries… And Shankar was on full charge…. We walked to a spot near the point where the Lha Chu river flowed down from the mountain to the valley. Right in front of us was the northern face of Kailasa, seen between two hills…. We sat down and chanted the Rudram. What a blessing. Shankar had brought a whole lot of Bilva leaves. Siva then chanted the Kayilai Padigam, a Tamizh prayer to the Lord of Kailasa, composed by the great Saiva sage Tirunavukkarasar. And accompanying his chant, we offered the Bilwa leaves to the floating waters of the divine river – Lha Chu.. We offered worship to Lord of Kailasa. It was only when one came back that one read a very interesting fact in the book “Way of the White clouds” by Lama Govinda. He writes:
“Reaching the northern side of the mountain, the colour of the rocks and the structure of the foothills abruptly change. They seem to be composed of a predominantly dark conglomeration of stones, which deprives them of the clear-cut architectural quality of the rocks and mountains lining the red valley of Amitabha.
But there is one outstanding feature which makes up for these short comings: the foothills suddenly step aside and give the pilgrim the full view of Kailas in all its grandeur. The view is absolutely overwhelming, and, according to the scriptures, it is on this spot that those who are initiated into the rituals and meditations of the respective Tantras should perform their devotional practices on the great Mandala of Supreme Bliss.”
What a wonder. We had offered our worship to Lord Siva at the very spot that Lama Govinda writes about. Call it what you will. It was but the grace of the Lord of Kailasa. His grace it is that we have been able to chant rudram almost every day of this trip, starting from Kathmandu. The previous day, July 1st, Shankar and Soota had chanted Rudram by the shores of Manasarovar, when a South Indian family had performed Siva puja ( for a report of that, see a previous post by clicking here )
Let us now have a closer look at the Northern face, from the great gallery of ‘mountain travel photos’ (Click here for source)
Wonderful, isn’t it. A feast for the photographer… Joy for the heart…
(This blog post being submitted on the thithi of Ramana Maharshi’s Mahanirvana. Time is around 8:47 pm IST. The exact time of His absorption in Arunachala.. Of which here is one of the many reports. Taken from the book “Guru Ramana” by the westerner devotee SS Cohen. He writes :
“Monsieur Cartier-Brassen, the French photographer, who has been here for about a fortnight with his wife, related an experience of his to me. “It is a most astonishing experience,” he said. “I was in the open space in front of my house, when my friends drew my attention to the sky, where I saw a vividly-luminous shooting star with a luminous tail, unlike any shooting star I had before seen, coming from the South, moving slowly across the sky and, reaching the top of Arunachala, disappeared behind it. Because of its singularity we all guessed its import and immediately looked at our watches – it was 8:47 – and then raced to the Ashram only to find that our premonition had been only too sadly true: the Master had passed into Mahanirvana at that very minute.” Several other devotees in the Ashram and in the town later told me that they too had seen the tell-tale meteor.”)
Om Nama Sivaya!
** To be continued **