It’s amazing isn’t it when a certain truth is revealed to you at an unguarded moment and your awareness has an Aha moment and the brain lights up with a brilliance. Such revealed knowledge occurs as a result of the grace of our Satguru and our personal sadhana and has the potential to transform us but might have little significance for someone else. This happened to me on a recent visit to Kashi.
Yes took off for a long time, but thats the beauty of a blog, no deadlines and no compulsions ha ha. Anyways here I am back from Kashi with what I’m hoping is another small step towards divinity….or not huh.
It was a peaceful time to visit this city.
Being the monsoon season the Ganga flowed majestically full, pregnant with water; her movement evoked in me a nostalgia of many lifetimes spent in her arms on the ghats of Kashi. A familiarity with her ebb and flow which could not have come from this life. The city streets felt the same, intimate knowledge akin to the free pariah dog who has marked territory and knows every secret of the winding gallis. On each visit to Varanasi as this city is now known, I have experienced this homecoming. The last visit was with my beloved Satguru Yogiraj Siddhanath and his wife Gurumata Shivangini.
The Urdhavaret Ganga.
On the second day of my visit as I sat in a state of heightened happiness in my room overlooking the Ganga, I felt as if I too was in flow as she flowed towards the north, North? and the realisation fell like a lightning bolt that, this is the message of the Ganga from aeons of time- Go back to your source. She who is perceived to have emanated from Shiva’s locks in the Himalayas was here flowing back to her source! This has been her hidden message to the millions who took a dip in her year after year for thousands of years. Practice as I did Mahavatar Babaji’s urdhavaret breath of the Kundalini Kriya Yoga as taught by my Satguru Yogiraj Siddhanath, this realisation spurred on a movement of uncontrollable delight in my spine. At the same moment emanated within me, a sense of awe at this special revelation.
In her journey from the Himalayas in the north towards the Bay of Bengal to the south and east, the Ganga in Kashi turns back and flows North. Of course there must be a geophysical ‘reason’ for this but that is not of the essence here. What happened was a sudden inflow of divine insight for me. I had not read or heard about this phenomenon in any scriptures or ancient text, I don’t remember anyone ever mentioning the river in this spiritual context. Yes, it was as if Ma Ganga revealed to me a secret which was forever visible through the ages but not realised. I wonder if I am the first person to chronicle this understanding of the urdhavaret message of this ancient river.
After this realisation the daily morning dip took on a new meaning. “Do not depend on externals for your happiness,” says Yogiraj urging his disciples to tap into their inner well of joy independent of material possessions or external supports. The Ganga was reiterating this as she flowed accepting the garbage and the flowers of love, the ashes and the sweet offerings, the greedy and the sincere devotees.
Sitting in the river I could feel all my energy reversing, a fountain of love, aided by the flow of the loving Ganga. We are truly liberated when we are able to unhook ourselves from the externals, she was indicating to me. A profound sense of peace and contentment filled me and continues to fulfil me.
Visit to my Satguru and his Param Guru Sthan
There was a special reason for my trip at this time, a visit to Lahiri Mahasaya’s home which was open to public only on GuruPurnima day. On my earlier visits I have visited this house, almost difficult to find, and sat and stared at the door of an all too familiar house. The first time was on September 26th, 2011, at the time of the spontaneous visit I was unaware that it was Lahiri Mahasaya’s samadhi date in 1895. I had from many years ago had visions of Lahiri Baba and remembered a past spent with him in his presence, a close connection where I handed him his umbrella and his shoes when he ventured out, glass of water when he returned from work and how he blessed me as a young girl in my Bangla marriage attire.
Circumstances had made it impossible to realise this heartfelt desire earlier but this year being free from many responsibilities I undertook this pilgrimage.
On Gurupurnima day, early in the morning accompanied by two others I set off on a journey which for me was a completion of a karma from the past.
But first we visited the Nandi Ghat or Gaai Ghat, hallowed as it was by its association to our Satguru Yogiraj Siddhanath who spent his childhood days in this ghat owned by his family. Disciples rooted in the Guru/Shishya tradition always pay first respect to their living guru. There is a well known couplet by Kabir who says, ” गुरु गोबिन्द दोउ खडे काके लागूँ पाँय, बलिहारी गुरु आपने गोबिन्द दियो बताय,” meaning-” when the Guru and Gobind are both present whose feet should I touch first? beloved is the Guru who has shown me the way to God.” The Guru who has enlivened the spark within to even comprehend Gobind (a name for Krishna) will always take precedence in the heart of a true disciple. But for me my Guru is Gobind and I look no further. 😀
Nandi Ghat/Gaai Ghat and Yogiraj’s family Temple.
After a special aarati and sadhana at this very personal shiva temple we headed towards Lahiri Mahasaya’s home near Purana Durgaji in Chowsatti Ghat. Since the boats were banned due to the fast flowing river we made our way through the narrow familiar streets of the old city. No photographs were allowed inside so I managed to take some from the narrow street outside.
Lahiri Mahasaya’s Home as seen from the street.
Soon as I entered the house I was pleasantly surprised at the layout, which was exactly as I remembered it, the stairs coming down, the open space in the centre, this confirmation of my remembrance was very comforting as I realised it was not just an imagination of the closeness. As I bowed in front of the seat of Lahiri Baba I had a meltdown moment as past life associations came flooding out. At the same time there was a sense of a completion and I knew I did not have to come back here again. Interestingly, when my forehead touched the asan of Lahiri Baba it stuck there for an instant and I realised that some wet red paint had adhered to my forehead from my gurus temple which had been freshly painted and this now had been transferred to the seat of Lahiri Mahasaya, a smudge of red on the blanket! In small signs great connections are revealed! We received the prasad from the family members and left.
Street Food, Bovine Majestica etc.
Daily breakfast was at the corner kachori shop which would open at 8:30 and shut at 10 am. The father and son duo seemingly happy with what they make in that time. The whole day was peppered with stops at The Blue Lassi shop with wifi for a mango lassi, the Kashi Chat Bhandar on Dasashwamedha Ghat for an amazing tamatar (tomato) chat or tikki and kulfi!! Of course our progress was often marred by majestic cows and bulls on the street who had to be cajoled out of the way. 😀
On the last evening we made it for the Ganga Aarati at Dasashwamedha Ghat.
It is right that I end this with the Manikarnika Ghat or the burning ghat. From the balcony of my room I could see the constant burning pyres, a testimony to the fleeting moment of human life. This too evoked a nostalgia and yearning for I know not what.