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India Travel Journal

Posted by blue cowboy , 17 November 2016 · 290 views

  • 4 Garpar Road Home of Gurudeva
  • 4 Garpar Road Home of Gurudeva
  • 4 Garpar Road Home of Gurudeva

 
INDIA TRAVEL JOURNAL
 
India Travel Journal 1
2/20/04 Mumbai
India: Land of saints and saint of lands.
 
Sitting in the Oberoi Towers hotel lobby awaiting others for breakfast at “Frangipai: Nutty, Bitter, Smooth, Complex.” I wonder which category I fall within.
 
Yesterday, my first this life in India, was definitely all of the above. After breakfast, walked Arabian Sea front; beautiful young ladies from Rajasthan sold us colorful peacock fans and pocketbooks. A sage wearing saffron with three strips on his forehead waved at us and nearly knocked us over with bliss. After lunch, we went on shopping adventure via taxi: Mr. Indian Toad’s Wild Ride. A miracle of near misses marked the demolition derby through town. The highlight of the day was meeting an YSS member, Nitan Samath, who took me to the centuries old bubble-nath Shiva Temple where we made offerings. He next took me by Victoria Station, the Gate of India, and the hotel where Gurudeva may have stayed in Bombay in 1936 on his return to America. It was a magical day filled with the bustle and peace which marks my pilgrimage to India thus far. Today plans are made to see Elephanta Island and perhaps again see my new-old friend Nitan. Oh yes! We had a coconut milk along with twilight streets of holy Mumbai, where children and saints bless the waterfront in the tranquil light.
 
India Travel Journal 2
2/21/04
Delhi, India in route to Ranchi Ashram
 
Most interesting day yesterday; delightful boat trip to Elephanta Island. Embarked at the Gate of India - built to commemorate some king coming - but more importantly, Gurudeva was here. Saw Shiva Temple-cave carved from solid rock centuries ago. Unbelievable! The two stone lingams were blessed with the holy vibrations from centuries of worship. Took a fall in the sanctum as I worshiped and felt as though I was thus being saved from a future tragedy by the Lord – working out that karma. I had an Indian veggie burger for lunch - the catsup was like rocket fuel (thus saved from a future rocket accident). In the evening we went to a gorgeous Jain Temple, a lovely park, the home where Gandhi lived when visiting Bombay which is now a museum. Mumbai is 16-million souls confined on three islands: hustle, bustle, dogs, cows, Bollywood - hard to describe without actually experiencing. Looking forward to seeing Ranchi - made so holy by Gurudeva and Sri Daya Mataji.
 
India Travel Journal 3
2/22/04
Ranchi, India
 
Arrived here via Delhi, Patna then Ranchi on India Air. The ashram is an abode of peace and beauty. Had a lovely meditation and dinner last night in this paradise.
 
Got up very early in the morning to meditate. Had our small group meditation and exercises later at the Mandir where Gurudeva had his vision of Americans before embarking for Boston; written there are Master's words "Only Love Can Take My Place." In early dawn, a devotee was doing Shiva Puja in a little shrine mid-ashram. There's even a dairy.  At Sunday service, Swami Nityananda (I believe) said, Gurudeva is so proud of you; so proud of those who know him but have come after he has left his body, especially those who serve his work.  I really needed to hear that because in the mandir about two hours before I had been telling Master how unworthy I was, that I couldn't do anything right. I was so touched within to hear the Swami's words. One incredible feature of the Indian ashram is aarati (offering of light) performed before meditations and services; and bhajans sung for half an hour after Sunday services and then proshad. They are definitely on the Bhakti path here. Went into town to shop for chudders and then came back to prepare for long meditation. Long meditation - beautiful, sparkly aarati and chanting. I truly have found heaven.
 
India Travel Journal 4
Tuesday, 2/24/04
Ranchi, India - where it all began
 
A bell ringer could find GREAT employment in this town! After meditations they start at the Kali Temple across the street and down the street at the Hanuman Temple too. All night long someone rings bells on the hour and half hours - great reminder of the Om, but I must ask “who needs to know that it’s 3:30 a.m.?”  At first, I was: "who the heck is ringing those bells!?" and now it's, "I think I'll go join them for their puja."
 
Yesterday we had a beautiful satsanga with Swami Smarananda. I just wanted to meditate when we first sat with the Swami in the Daya Ma mandir - where she went into Samadhi while chanting in the 1960’s (this is next to Master's room which is always open for anyone to meditate within - it's kept exactly as he left it). The swami talked with us a good while - encouraging us to sit in the silence, in the joy, at the end of meditation. He told how he joined the path and the Order. At the end of the satsanga we did meditate together there. Beautiful eyes reflecting joy.
 
Today we had another satsanga with Br. Vasudevananda under Master's deodar tree - where he would sit for his satsangas. More magic, different day. He is a very funny and sweet soul - so friendly and generous with his smile and his friendship.
 
Tomorrow we will entrain for YSS Ashram at Dakshineswar - an 8-hour train ride from here.
JOY! JOY! JOY!
 
India Travel Journal 5
Wednesday/Thursday, 2/25-26/04
Dakshineswar, India
 
Wednesday was a travel day - had fun on the train, photographing the people and countryside. How beautiful and peaceful India is! We arrived at the famed "Howrah Train Station," and strolled thru the wild scene - what a microcosm of India itself - people from various walks of life, vendors, etc. We got on our bus and I guess we took the wrong route to the ashram - two hours to go ten miles behind trucks – India will test you.
 
Arrived to our great relief at YSS Dakshineswar Ashram, right on the Ganges. We were warmly welcomed in the middle of the night by Sw. Amarananda who showed us to our rooms. Had a great night of needed rest – I am determined not to miss one minute of the coming day’s pilgrimages.
 
First thing Thursday we viewed the Ramakrishna Headquarters where Sw. Vivekananda lived. After lunch, with PEACE-FILLED EXCITEMENT we drove to Master's home, 4 Garpar Road. The first thing pointed out was the window where Gurudeva dropped his bundle to runoff the Himalayas – drunk with divine love.  There’s a sign by the door: "H.K. Ghosh," and on one side, "The Home of Bhagavati Ghosh." We were in pure joy to meet the nephew of Master and sit with him awhile. He told many stories of his experiences with Gurudeva in 1935-36.
 
Besides all that, a highlight was meditating in Master's attic room - I'll be honest and say that I sneaked away again and had a second meditation therein. What a blessing of a lifetime - unbelievable that I was really there. Living next door to the attic shrine is Master's grand-niece who wins the prize for one of the world's best meditation spots. She was about 15 and we videotaped her and asked her to say some words. She said she has followed in the Guru's footsteps since birth and was steadfast in following him. She said she knows only success having followed him, and it was all due to his guidance. We saw where Master met with Babaji and where Sri Yukteswarji sat when he would come visit. The vibrations of that holy home where as priceless as anywhere we have been in Mother India.
 
India Travel Journal 6
Friday 2/27/04
Dakshineswar, India
 
Today saw and worshipped at the Kali Temple made famous by the intense devotions of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa quite nearby to the YSS Math.  Twelve Shiva Temples, one Krishna Temple and the lovely one to the Divine Mother. Made offering at her shrine - non-stop pilgrims, you have about two seconds there to leave your offering. Left garland at the spot where Master meditated to change his brother-in-law Satish. We also sat and meditated in the room where Sri Ramakrishna lived - it is a hollowed site of spiritual vibrations. Heaven and Earth truly come together there by the Ganges. The Unseen is seen.
 
Next, we motored the same route that Gurudeva would have traveled on his scooter upriver to Serampore. Our bus halted at the ramp down to Rhai Ghat which goes steeply down to the river. Kids and adults were bathing in the Ganges at the base. At the top of the ramp is the tree where Mahavatar Babaji sat with his band when he came to thank Sri Yukteswar for writing the Holy Science. We marveled to actually be there and sit where he sat. We walked the Rhai Ghat Lane surrounded by children and laughter. About one-half mile we finally got to the gate of the ashram. We went into the YSS Mandir there amidst a rose garden, and had a quiet meditation, bowed before the Great One's altar and left flowers and offerings. We saw the remains of the house next door - now a family home of Sri Yukteswarji’s daughter's decedents. I took a photo of the upper floor balcony where Master swept post-Samadhi. We knocked on the door, but no one was home.
 
Then we went to the Pathi House where Master lived while in college - it has been bought by YSS and is now a medical dispensary. We were able to meditate there in Master's old room - now a shrine. Then a surprise - the family of Ananta, Master's elder brother, lives nearby and we were able to stop there for a visit. They were very sweet and offered us sweetmeats. We sat on their floor as they told us about Gurudeva's visit in 1935-36. He had initiated them himself into Kriya, and also picked the bride of Ananta's son - we met her children.
 
We then saw Serampore College - still stately and beautiful.
 
On our way back toward Dakshineswar, three of us got off the bus and walked over the Vivekananda Bridge and past the Kali Temple back to the ashram. We were just in time for a glorious sunset over the Ganges, meditation and later a wonderful kirtan with Sw. Amarananda. Afterwards in the courtyard, he was trying to get a monk and me to quit laughing so loud. I told him I was trying to achieve a balance between silence and jumping for joy. He said, "in that case, you may jump for joy!"
 
India Travel Journal 7
Puri, India
March 2, 2004
 
A lot has occurred since our last report. Today will be a travel day - to the Imperial Hotel for an over-nighter in Delhi, then on to Varanasi (Benares) tomorrow. Right now sitting on the beach on the Bay of Bengal - a spot hallowed by not only Master and Sri Yukteswarji, but also Sri Chitanya and Christ. It is peaceful and lovely here - for vibes alone, and then throw in the gorgeous sunrise and the tropical waters and you make paradise.
 
Last Saturday was also a travel day: We boarded an India Air flight from Kolkata to the capital of Orissa state, Bhubaneshwar. There we boarded one of our trusty tour buses and made our way through this beautiful tropical state - many palms, rice fields and forests. Lord Rama and Hanuman seem to be the people's favorites here. We got to the seaside town of Puri and settled into the Mayfair Resort as our oasis after the bustle of Kolkata. Here I spent about every free moment on the beach either relaxing, walking, or swimming. We also had our morning group meditations on the beach.
 
On Sunday we went on a pilgrimage to Sri Yukteswar's Ashram here. The site has been taken over by another group, and for some reason the caretaker refused our group entry into the mandir Gurudeva built over the burial site of Sri Yukteswarji.  I admit I was a bit miffed, but did not vocalize it, but instead inwardly prayed to Master and Sri Yukteswar - that I had come half way around the world and would like to meditate in the shrine. We were ushered into a large hall in which we were told we could meditate and make our offerings. I was looking at the altar which contained photos of this group's gurus - wondering inwardly if I could meditate there. I went outside the room to settle myself when a member of our group and his girlfriend walked past me with the key to the mandir; I followed along. So, five minutes before I had been praying and there and then I got in the mandir and had a lovely meditation. I "sneaked" a photo of the relief over the altar – the Lion of Bengal!  My friend said the caretaker was "having a bad day." I, in turn, felt VERY blessed and thankful in the end.
 
After our pilgrimage we all marched uptown toward the famed Jaganath (Lord of the World) Temple. Here it was that Christ spent many of his years away from Israel. Sri Daya Mata was the first western woman to enter the shrine and meditate. Perhaps there have been no others? They didn't admit us, and even Bro. Achalananda in his robe was denied entry. But anyway, as I walked along, others stopped here and there to shop and I ended up alone with my thoughts of the Lord - a boy rickshaw driver motioned me up to give me a lift for 5 rupees. The tower of the temple slowly came into sight and I was enthralled. The spectacle came into full view - four massive towers with flags - carved. A high temple wall - probably 20 feet - encircling the area. Hundreds of people - shops, cooking, animals, music, smoke, hawkers. It was wild. And in the wildness, all I could do is mentally bow before the Lord of the World. I know I don't do the experiences justice, but perhaps the words carry a little of the vibration of the Holy sites?
 
On Monday, we traveled to Konark to view the famous Sun Temple to Surya - this is the temple with the Kama Sutra carvings on it. It is as massive as a pyramid but with intricate carvings. It is designed as a chariot to ride across the skies carrying the Lord's warm sun rays. Four gigantic carved wheels on the sides.
 
But, thankfully, today should be restful - just going to meditate on buses and planes...
 
Om Guru, Om Guru, Om Guru....................
 
India Travel Journal 8
Friday, March 5, 2004
Varanasi, India
 
On Wednesday arrived in the holy city of Varanasi reputed to be the holiest city in India, where if a Hindu dies in this city, he obtains liberation. That afternoon, we visited Sarnath - a place hallowed by Buddhists in that the Buddha preached his first sermon here; there is an ancient stupa, ruins of a monastery, and a lovely Buddhist Temple wherein relics of the Buddha are enshrined.
 
Thursday was the best day of the trip (full of great days) and one of the best days of my life. It began with a sunrise ride along the dusky streets of Varanasi at about 5:00 a.m. We unloaded our rickshaws and strode down the ghat stairways to the river (and this was the Ghat where Babaji, Mataji, Lahiri Mahasaya and Ram Gopal met). We embarked there on a small boat and went a little way down river; there we all took dips in the river.  It was the spot at the end of the lane where Lahiri Mahasaya's house is - there to get as close to where he would have bathed as possible. We made offerings to Mother Ganga - little prayer boats with flowers and candles. On the ghats' staircases, here and there, devotees meditated. A beautiful sunrise greeted us as we worshiped. This was the holiest place in the holiest city and we were inspired.
 
A lady in our group had recently lost a daughter. We rowed to the middle of the river. There we sang chants and meditated. People spoke about the girl who was a devotee. People were crying, but I felt such deep peace I couldn't cry. They placed her ashes in the river and a priest did some Sanskrit chanting. Garlands and flowers were placed in the river. Then fresh water dolphins started jumping. The mother said one of daughter's unfulfilled wishes was to swim with dolphins. How beautiful.
 
We went up from the ghats and down a narrow lane. We were told then, surprise!, that an ancient Shiva Temple where one of the five Lingams God-created was enshrined had recently opened its doors to Westerners. We were all to get to go there. We were given marigold garlands to take in. Outside a sadhu approached me and placed a thread around my wrist for protection and friendship. He put sandalwood paste all over my forehead. I tried to offer him some rupees but he said "gift, gift." My heart was broken into a zillion pieces as I made my way into the crowed shrine of Lord Shiva. Bells were ringing, there was smoke, and hundreds of devotees made their way to the Lingam. I tried to prostrate myself, but there were too many people and flowers. A priest placed my flowers back around my neck because I guess they get too many for them to leave them there for any time at all. They blessed me with a tilak mark. I bowed again at an incredible statue of Lord Shiva. We all staggered out into the lane. It was at that point I decided I had had a pretty fulfilling life, and I didn't care if I was run down by a motor scooter or bull. I was completely content with my life and at peace. I was swaying to a different beat of the universal song - so in love with God, everyone and life.
 
That afternoon, we visited Lahiri Mahasaya's house. It was a windy way thru narrow lanes to his door. Alas, it was bolted from the outside and said, "By Appointment Only." Children laughed and played all around us as we meditated on a ledge outside his door. We walked down the lanes to an ashram of Lahiri Mahasaya's great grandson. There are statues in a mandir of Lahiri Mahasaya and his saintly sons. Also enshrined there are some of Lahiri Mahasaya's ashes. We all sat to meditate. After a while a man came down the stairs in a huff, but when he gathered the day we were having and the meditation we were having, he could not disturb us but sat down with us. After an hour or so, he finally was able to rouse us to go upstairs with him. They had many relics where of Lahiri Mahasaya, an original of the one photo taken of him, some sandals, beads, etc.
 
We then continued our pilgrimage toward the river, walking the same route that Lahiri Mahasaya would have taken. After a few blocks the lane reached a gate and there the bathing ghats opened up at our feet. It was close to sundown. We walked upriver a bit, past swamis giving discourses, people mingling, to that same ghat we had visited that morning. They were preparing for the nightly aarati to Mother Ganga. We sat in the peace, had a mango soda and waited. We again boarded a boat but this time going north. We viewed a lovely sunset from there, and witnessed the crematory grounds in the twilight.
 
We doubled back down river as the aarati was starting. It's difficult to describe how beautiful it was. But there are about five young priests on platforms by the river. They have colored lights above each one of them, different colors, in the shape of umbrellas. They made their offerings to the river on huge silver torches. There are hundreds of people chanting, people playing every instrument - so much energy of joy ******
 
Hey Hare Sundara, Hey Hare Sundara ****
 
Oh God Beautiful, Oh God Glorious and Infinite ******
 
India Travel Journal 9
Agra/New Delhi, India
March 6 & 7, 2004 Mahasamadhi Service of Gurudeva
 
Yesterday saw the Taj Mahal at sunrise - temple of beauty and love. Took bus from Agra to Delhi. On our way we stopped to view the birth spot of Lord Krishna - a prison cell - in Mathura. We paused in there to sit on the floor and meditate; what a most holy spot. We then visited Brindaban, most notably was Sw. Keshavananda's ashram where Guru visited during his pilgrimage in 1935/36.
 
Today at The Imperial we ate at the gorgeous Thai restaurant called The Spice Route for lunch. This evening we were privileged to attend the Mahasamadhi Commemoration Service at the YSS Delhi Kendra. The service was enchanting.  I heard that they had 400 devotees. Instead of everyone bringing individual flowers, they all share rose petals and place them before Master's picture. It was inspiring to see and feel the massive devotion of the Indian devotees of Gurudeva. A lady led the entire service and her bhajans were perfect. Afterwards we got prosad and met a YSS devotee, Turiya, who had chocolate! Hugs were shared and young devotees even put some powdered paint on me in honor of the Holi Festival.
 
More love, more bliss, Jai Guru! Jai Bharat!

 
India Travel Journal 10
Corbett National Park & Dwarahut, India
March 8/9, 2004
 
On Monday we proceeded via tour bus to Corbett National Park. A devotee told me that swimming in the river next to the lodge was magnificent. That's all it took, as soon as I arrived, I jumped in the river and swam with the fish. Then we all jumped in jeeps after lunch and went gallivanting into the game reserve. We saw many peacocks (which meow), deer (which bark), and monkeys (which monkey around a lot). Saw no tigers, but did see their massive tracks.
 
On Tuesday morning we again proceeded to the game reserve, but this time we boarded elephants for a three-hour safari thru the brush. This is the ultimate off-roading adventure - I often wondered who was driving - human or beast?! We saw mostly the same game we saw the previous day, except I know we did see a jackal - the wild kind, not the human kind.
 
That afternoon we drove over precarious mountain roads - very narrow - to the YSS Ashram/Retreat at Dwarahut. The scenery is astral: green terraced mountains up to 5000-feet and higher. The people are super friendly and always namaste or will say hello and touch their hearts. Our bus had an oil leak, so we stopped in Raniket to get it repaired and have lunch.  We were reminded of Lahiri Mahasaya's visit in 1861. We arrived at Dwarahut Ashram in the evening and were warmly greeted by Swami Nirvananandaji, an YSS monk who is originally from Japan. They gave us chai. After we settled in, we had the most delightful Mahasamadhi Service for Sri Yukteswar. The thoughts of both avatars, Sri Yukteswarji and Mahavatar Babaji, came very powerfully and clearly during the service. It was like being near a stove. Yes, Babaji said we do not have to come here to receive his blessings, but nonetheless I felt those blessings rampantly flowing over the Himalayans foothills and into our hearts this evening. Tomorrow free day, and day after we hike to Babaji's cave. Jai Sri Yukteswarji! Jai Babaji! Guide us into the cave of silence!
 
India Travel Journal 11
March 11, 2004
Babaji's Cave, India
 
Just hiked back to the bus from the cave - waiting for others. What a day!
 
Arose at 5:30 to meditate and shower. Had a kirtan with Ewing. We left for the cave at 9:30 - driving over a mountain to cut the hike down to one hour. It was surreal, as much of the trip has been, to see the Gogash River (stream) where Lahiri Mahasaya laid on the night of his initiation. We baptized ourselves there - and mentally bowed to Lahiri Mahasaya’s life lived in the world - for us. Michel and I got to the cave first and sat on the steep stairs at its entrance, until someone got up there with the key to the iron gate. We all sat in a circle inside and it was so easy to meditate - even though you're on a rock-hard floor, it doesn't matter. You leave the world behind there - it's only Babaji and his joy. We were probably in the cave close to an hour or so. YSS owns the area and has built a beautiful mandir below the cave in a spot where we think the golden palace was. Over the altar in the mandir is a huge picture of the Mahavatar. There is a harmonium. After a lunch, we all sat and sang chants and meditated again. I could get used to this!

 
India Travel Journal 12
Shivpuri, India - River Camp on the Ganges
March 15, 2004
 
We left Dwarahut the morning of March 12 and took a wild ride over the Himalayan foothills westward to the Ganges River Valley. I can't say I was on the edge of my seat, but I can say that the bus was on the edge of the road all day, and it was a one-lane road if that. I think I had about two dozen heart attacks when passing cars on the cliff side looking down about 1000 feet or so. I would say to myself, “at least you'll die in the Ganges, or some tributary.” But it was beautiful and holy. We saw sadhus walking and stone temples more than a thousand years old. They look so unreal - like ancient perfection.  We arrived at our river camp at around 10:00 in the evening, and gave the call for them to cross the river on rafts to get us and our baggage. They did not come. We flashed the bus lights; we honked; we called out; they did not come. We were exhausted and gave up. A friend loaned me a sleeping bag and I laid it out on the Ganges sands under the stars. I thought, “I can be quite happy here.” Others thought me crazy and slept in the bus. Two slept on top of the bus.
 
In the morning (March 13th) we did finally get the camp's staff's attention, and they came and got us in time for chai, coffee and breakfast. After breakfast, Michel and I went kayaking, and later about four of us went river rafting with a group from the Delhi branch of Citibank. They were cool. We had many a splashing duel with another raft, and went thru at least five sets of rapids. We got to body surf thru an especially deep rapid. Also, did some cliff diving and swam out to an island in the river.
 
March 14 we visited the Kumba Mela in Hardwar. I well understand Lahiri Mahasaya's and Sri Yukteswar’ s criticism. Alas, Babaji did not appear to me washing any sadhu's cookware in response to my thoughts. So anyway, I left the group and took off by myself and found an ancient Shiva Temple by the Ganges. Oh, I should relate (to be fair to the festival) that many people were bathing in the river and many were going forward to shrines and being blessed. In the temple I was able to meditate unbothered for about 45-minutes. Then I took time to visit a couple of the shrines there, one across a little bridge and literally in the river.
 
Our group met up again and we proceeded via bus south to the ashram and gravesite of Amandamoya  Ma. There was this cart in the street as we de-bused filled with prayer boats and garlands. Just what we needed! The father of Michel had died some years back and his ashes had been placed in the river across the street from this ashram - as he is half-Hindu. Michel had never been there - to that spot. Oh, there were little temples by the river too. He and his traveling friend, a couple of others, and I went over there to do a memorial. I sat a few yards away and meditated on sending love to Michel's dad, and on my blessings of a very good mother and father. I saw Michel and a couple of the others go into the river and offer prayer boats and/or garlands in honor and thanks to his and their parent(s). I decided to do a prayer boat in honor of my parents too, even though still living - but just to honor them in hopes that they receive the blessings and love and appreciation I was sending with God's help. I stripped down to my boxers as it was hot and I wanted to dip in the river. I went out in the water with my prayer candle going and made my prayerful wish. I let the boat go. I bathed in the river and let bygones be bygones. Hey, life's too short to hold onto any bad feelings!  Enjoy the now!
 
On my way back toward Anandamoya Ma's Ashram I stopped at a little Kali Temple and was blessed by the priest.  I felt love for my mother as a representative of the Cosmic Mother. I saw her in my mind's eye her doing her best - with four young children and being young herself. Also, at Anandamoya Ma's gravesite across the street I was able to sit and just meditate a while.
 
We then visited the rebuilt ashram of Sw. Keshavananda near there; in the Autobiography of a Yogi it is related that a flood had destroyed it (it and the cobras alike!). The same group that has the Puri Ashram of Sri Yukteswar (I guess) now has this site also, along with a Sri Yukteswar Ashram we saw in Rishikesh. The monk there was very nice and greeted us with chai tea and showed us around. Evidently, some of the ashes of Lahiri Mahasaya (Guru of Sw. Keshavananda) are enshrined there. Anyway, more inspiration, and we were blessed to be there.
 
Today (March 15), I stayed by and in the river all day; I did take a couple of raft excursions and had an exciting jeep ride back to camp. Tomorrow will visit the holy town of Rishikesh.
 
India Travel Journal 13
Shivpuri, India
March 16, 2004
 
Last night at the river camp. It's been so healing here by Mother Ganga. Relaxing on the sandy beach. Meditating at night under the stars. The great staff and meals. The big safari tents - living by candlelight.
 
Today we saw the holy city of Rishikesh - home of many ashrams including Divine Life Society. This was the city where Master was headed when nabbed in Hardwar - the famous "Thomas and Thompson." Rishikesh is a city run on spiritual vibrations. Holy men walk the streets. There are bridges over the Ganges - ashrams on either side. Sadhus bathe in the holy river. Spirituality is the prime concern.
 
We de-bused and visited the "Sri Yukteswar Ashram" and I was impressed by the building underway - huge round mandir; statues of all the Gurus including Yogananda. The swami allowed us into the old mandir - a wonderful photo of SY over the altar in lotus. He shut the door and we were able to meditate as long as we liked. I recall he offered tea.
 
I crossed the monkey bridge of Ram Jhola and strode down the further shore - as I said dotted with temples and ashrams. It's called the monkey bridge because there are monkeys all over it. I stopped and worshipped at several shrines. I also stopped in a nice store and bought three meditation chudders - two lovely green ones and one gold one for a new Brahmachari. All with Rama, Parvati and Hanuman. Visited Divine Life Society and meditated in their holy mandir. Very friendly and loving folks.
 
Recrossed the river further south and made my way back to Shivpuri and camp. Was able to spend the afternoon relaxing and swimming. Thank you Divine Mother.
 
India Travel Journal 14
Delhi, India
March 18, 2004
 
The 17th was our last travel day in India from Shivpuri to Delhi. This is our last day - and it's free - before our return flight to the U.S. tomorrow. Spent the morning browsing some bazaars and picking up some gifts. The afternoon I went alone to "the old fort," ruins reputedly built over the site of ancient Hastinpura where the Pandus ruled India. Next I had my cab driver take me to the Tomb of Humayun, the father of Akbar the Great. I believe this tomb was built by Akbar. Beautiful, ancient red stone and Taj-like in appearance. I wanted to see this because Master mentions it in an early edition of his Autobiography, and praises Akbar as a man who valued all religions as evidenced by his stone pillars.
 
Lastly, this last day I saw the stately capital building of India: regal palace of the world's largest democracy. Where the people and God's love rule.
 
India Travel Journal 15 – Epilogue
 
India is India; GREAT DEVOTION and INSPIRATION are embodied in India. The people there seek God - the sounds of India are the sounds of worship. No one can go there for spiritual reasons and not be better for it. There's something unseen, something ancient.... some unheard chant in the air of India. Something that speaks to your soul and says: "Feel this love. Feel this spark. Feel this vastness. Feel this ancientness. This is who you are. This is what you are. You are part and parcel of the old, ancient, endless..... You are a part of India, and it is a part of you." copyright 2015 ©