Om Namah Shivaya

Om Namah Shivaya

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Jun 13, 2010

The Temple Town Jageshwar - A valley of chants

The trip to Jageshwar (Click here : To read more about the temple Complex in wikipedia) was something that was planned by my younger brother Ami- Amitabh, almost year ago when he was blessed by a beautiful angel Anumeha in our house and he believed that it was only because he asked for her at this amazingly beautiful temple in the lap of Himalaya. So he was out to ensure that all brothers’ (Ok we are five brothers) are there for this trip and Anumeha’s birthday celebrations. Since he is a smart person, ofcourse he is, as he is one of the few lawyers I know who don’t practice but consult, convinced me and my younger brother from Singapore to get our son’s one very important ritual of Upanayan Samskar (where one gets to wear the sacred thread and finally gets counted as full Brahmin,) done at this temple too. ensuring that we are there for this trip. So we all were there in Delhi on 2nd June, Me from Chennai, brothers from Singapore and Norway and Ami from Mumbai while my brother and mother were staying in Delhi already. We also had our maternal uncle, who was one of the most famous priests from state of Bihar, for performing the rituals and few of our select relatives and friends. And it was a wonderful trip.

Here I am not going to bore you all with the details of what we did day to day etc but will talk with pictures to give the feel of the place and will talk about my impressions and about meditation in the days that I was there. I was convinced, to begin with, about the positivity of the temple, the vibration of the temple because of the devotion of the people around me. So I took this opportunity to do Chanting of Lord Shiva’s Mantra and used this time to connect with the nature again... On the sides we have had many powerful rituals that we were to be performed there, Maha Mrityunjay Japa (The chanting of power over Death) Matri Puja (Performing prayers to respect the mother and elders), Upanayan Samskar (Sacred thread ceremony) of two of our kids and then the birthday celebrations of our angel daughter Anumeha. So here I am going to talk to you all about my search within and hope it makes sense.

My journey started with my flight from Chennai to Delhi and then from Delhi to Kathgodam by train and then by road to Jageshwar through winding roads of Uttrakhand State of Northern India in Himalayas. The Indian Platform’s are a panorama of life and various dramas that happen around there. But this time I was shocked to see a very sad incident happening on the platform. I love to get off the train as and when I can and all the platforms of Indian Railways are a beautiful place to watch the life happening but this time I never expected to find a family in turmoil. As I was having the tea, which is the most common thing to do on Indian platforms, I heard some commotion and when I looked around I found a Kashmiri (I think) family walking towards us and there were heated discussion going on in the family.

This one person was shouting and a beautiful Kashmiri girl (I believe wife of the person) was just listening and then she said something which incited the man. He rushed towards her with hands raised and before the old women of the family could hold him or come to the rescue of this woman, he hit her squarely on her face. She just started crying but the beast in the man was still not pacified and was waiting for some more provocation which as usual with emotions, the woman immediately provided. That was enough trigger for this man, who turned around and found a piece of a brick lying around and rushed to hold his wife by hair and hit her with the brick in his hands, before any one can react and come to the rescue and then just walked off.

We were all shell shocked and someone then called up some cop and they were all packed off to the station master cabin. Soon our train also started and I am sure that the cops will now have a field day with the family and put them in deeper trouble then the family was already in. Domestic violence is not new to me but this drama unfolding in the full public glare got me thinking about the plight of women in our society, specially those uneducated ones from the country side. But then there is an ongoing campaign called “Ring the Bell” in Mumbai about the domestic violence where people are asked to come to this mobile police van and ring the bell if they have seen or heard or know some one suffering from the domestic violence. So it is not confined to the rural India I guess.

On this somber note, my train journey started for the final leg to Kathgodam and from there we took the road to reach Dev Bhoomi – Holy land of Jageshwar. As me and my younger brother from Norway had planned to use all the free time available from the rituals, visits to the temple, for mantra chanting, we set about first checking the places that will be suitable for the Mantra Chanting with a perfect view of the Temple if not within the temple. The temple in itself was a great place to be in and meditate but then the temple premises gets locked by 8PM and as I know the best time for the chanting are in the early mornings or later in the night when the silence prevails and the mind is comparably calm compared to the day time. So on the first night me and my brother started walking around to find out a place for meditation, after the temple closed on us. There was a stream all around the temple and as we walked across a bridge to cross over to the other side of the stream and see if we can find a place high enough to give us a clear view of the temple, I felt a sudden chill. A negative thought crossed my mind and I could feel the visible darkening of the place around me so I asked my brother to stop on the bridge itself and just relax. I chit chatted with my brother for few moments and then after some time we decided to go back and find some place to meditate where we were staying. So we climbed to the roof top of our guest house and sat down and meditated for almost an hour before we wound up for the day at around 1AM.

Next day early morning when I went to the temple for chanting and looked around and found the place where we stopped last night, then only I realized that the bridge over looks the cremation ground and they burn the dead near by.

After my early morning chants, I roamed around the temple town and could find few getaways around. The most beautiful place was almost 500 meters high from the Jageshwar Temple. It took me a while to climb to that place but it was worth the effort. From this place, where there was another small Shiva temple and if you sit there you can see the Jageshwar temple below and the moment you close your eyes, you could find yourself sitting in the Garbha Griha (sanctum sanctorum) of the Child Shiva of Jageshwar and meditate. The Temple looked so lovely in the lap of the most beautiful surroundings and tall deodar trees that I almost spend the entire day there but then I had many other things to do.

So I reluctantly walked back towards my guest house after spending few hours of the early morning, meditating, chanting and watching the sun rise over the hills. As I walked down, some one called me out by saying “Namaste” (A hindu form of greeting and paying respect) and I realized that some one is talking to me. This person, his name I later got to know was N D Bhatt, invited me to his house and asked me to have a cup of tea which was actually what I needed at that time. So I gracefully accepted this offer and he went inside his small house to make tea while I enjoyed his small but lovely house garden and played with his dog Pompi. Then he told me about the elephant caves on the way to Brihad Jageshwar, and we discussed few things about the town and the trek. And then he took me to his own temple in his house compound (In India, most of the religious people have a temple in their own house and if in the city, they have one corner for the Gods) and then he took me to his house roof top to see the view of the valley.. and it was really lovely place to sit and have tea. Some times I wonder why I usually get to have these kinds of people coming to me and letting me have most profound experiences of simplicity.

One of the very interesting thing about Jageshwar was that it was in the valley and all around, if one has to find a place, then one has to walk up… so it was difficult in the beginning but once you reach the place you get to have the perfect view of the temple from far and also the most interesting feeling of being in the lap of nature. It was like the echo of the mantra that one was chanting comes back to you like a prayer and one simply gets submerged in it. There was also a very nice and lovely walk towards one village nearby. One gets to walk almost one KM of path across a ridge with a simple railing around and usually in those walks, a neighborhood dog used to accompany me. It was fun to be with him as he was very playful and just loves the company of some one who is around. This place was soothing and got me thinking, working in my mind about things that are there in my memories, the thoughts that are taking birth in my sub-consciousness which needs to get manifested and generally to be within my self and contemplate.

Usually in these walks, I used to get company of many positive thoughts and feelings and love. Walking hand in hand with those emotions, used to make me feel so loved and the adrenaline rush used to push me to walk farther and farther.. and usually I used to get back only by time the breakfast which was served in the guest house.

Then there was this place just opposite to our guest house which, though not directly in line with the temple, was a very silent and secluded spot, among the tall deodar trees where I could talk to my innerself freely. There was a big boulder under a tree which was perfect for the sitting and meditating. The view in the front opened out to the clearing like it was waiting for the flower star angles to just walk out of the forest beyond, waving and smiling and come over to sit next to you. It was an interesting place to be within one self and also to still one’s mind. It took me many hours of being there to realize that in the silence that prevailed there, one can actually still one’s mind.
Then the most important day was the trek of 3 KMs of steep climb up the mountain to visit Brihad Jageshwar, the temple that is supposed to be older than the Jageshwar temple we were visiting. The trip, one can actually do in a car (11 KMs) which we did with the temple priest earlier. But I felt like walking to the temple, as walking usually gives one’s thought more firm ground. The temple priest on the way back from the Brihad Jageshwar yesterday was saying that the Yogi’s from Himalaya’s are used to come here in the night and pray to Lord Shiva and then move on to their respective places in the forest deep in the valley below or back to the Kailash mountain – the adobe of Lord Shiva. The trek to the temple was exhausting but dotted with many beautiful impression and scenarios. The meditation there was very deep and some how my trip coincided with some of the Sadhu’s too. They were there in the temple before I reached, chanting and I just joined in the chanting and it was one of the most profound experiences of the day. The reverberations of the chants as it got soaked into my being, uplifted me like I was floating leaf moving all over the valley.

It was so fresh and soothing that the trip back to the temple town, in the valley below, was over with out me ever realizing it, I was so much engrossed in the process of internalizing the reverberations of the Chanting of Shiva Maha Mantra and the powerful vibrations of the temple.

Just to share with all, here is a link to one of the most beautiful renderings of the Mantra which I like very much by one of the very interesting singers of foreign origin, associated with ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) Krishna Das for you to hear if you like.

And here are some images from the trek ....
The path

The Bridha Jageshwar Temple

The Deep Valley behind - A sheer drop of 1 KM, which is known to have Sadhu's in meditation
Om Namah Shivaya
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