South Indian Pilgrimage with Paramahamsa Vishwananda
In December 2016 I was very lucky to join South Indian Pilgrimage with my Guru Paramahamsa Sri Swami Vishwananda. It was a 2-week trip covering holy places of Tamil Nadu. We visited many shrines and sacred places such as Arunachala, Srirangam, Kanchipuram, Rameshwaram, Chidambaram and many others. All places were unique and beautiful in their own way, however, I must say that for me the greatest part of the trip was the inner pilgrimage, and most of the discoveries were inside of me rather than outside. Travelling or generally spending time with a living Master, who was born Divine, in union with God, is very special. With His Grace, I was able to look at the things that I thought I knew, from a different prospective and with a different depth. For example, Guruji’s main teaching ‘Just Love’ – it sounds so simple, however, previously I was really underestimating it. When you put Love in everything you do, it transforms you and whatever you do – when you cook with Love, the food taste better; when you sing with Love, the song sounds nicer; when you do your work with Love, somehow things figure themselves out much quicker; when you help someone with Love, the person gets inspired by you. It really is so simple – just put Love in everything you do, this is what spirituality really is. And going even beyond that, Guruji as well as Bhagavad Gita talks a lot about single pointed devotion to Satguru/God. During this trip I came to realise that single pointed devotion is when you do everything for Him with Love. Every breath you take is with Love – because He is present as Prananath in every molecule that you breathe in, every mouthful of food you swallow is with Love – because He is present inside of you and by feeding yourself you are feeding Him, every action you do is with Love – so that you could serve Him and be His instrument. And although it all sounds so simple, it gave me so much more clarity about my path – just try to constantly be aware that it’s only Him and He is Love, and there is nothing else.
Going back to the outer pilgrimage, I must say that it has been truly remarkable to see how many doors Guruji opens for us at all levels – not just inside but also outside. At least half of the temples that we visited were for Hindus only and there were big signs everywhere saying ‘Hindus only beyond this point’ or ‘Foreigners are not allowed beyond this point’. It’s not only that we were somehow allowed everywhere, but also we were shown personally everywhere and taken to places of temples that are usually closed. Another notable thing was that at almost every place we went to, there was some kind of festival or celebration that happens yearly or even every few years, meaning that “coincidentally” we were visiting places at the most auspicious time. Guruji later on said that it is amazing to see how the Divine plans everything in the best possible way.
As I mentioned before, travelling with a living Master is very special – it’s not only that He reveals you things about yourself but He may also let you witness how perfect God’s plan is, and how “coincidences” in life are perfectly planned. One of the most memorable stories that I would like to share happened when we were visiting temples in the Thirunangur area. Swamini Mohini was singing a bhajan while we were in the bus and she was so much into it that she carried on singing when she got out into the street. The bhajan was in Hindi, and the language spoken in Tamil Nadu is Tamil, which is very different. “Coincidently” it happened that near the temple that we were visiting there lived a family that was originally from Rajasthan. A mataji from that family heard the bhajan and wondered, why someone was singing in Hindi, so she sent her daughter to find out. Her daughter approached our group and insisted that all of us (around 50 people) came to their house to have some chai. First of all, I would like to note hospitality of the people. It was absolutely incredible how much they wanted to serve us. Imagine, out of the blue you have 50 guests in your house! They were genuinely trying to ensure we had everything we needed – chai, water, sweets kept coming and coming. And it wasn’t just out of politeness, they sincerely wanted to serve and they were honoured to have so many devotees visiting their house. Guruji sang for a bit and then spoke to that family, and the first thing he said was, ‘Nothing in this world happens by coincidence’. One of the daughters of that family couldn’t take her eyes of Gurudev, she was shining and all her being was almost radiating light. At some point Guruji asked her, ‘Do you know why I’m here?’ And the girl said, ‘Yes’. Gurudev later on said that that family had travelled to meet Him in Chennai before He flew back to Germany. Again, it was so beautiful to witness how He picks every soul around the globe that belongs to Him.
If you would like to meet Paramahamsa Vishwananda in person, He will be giving Darshans (personal blessing) in the UK on the 26th (Manchester), 28th (London) and 29th (London) of January. These special events are free to attend, they include devotional music, inspirational stories and the actual Darshan blessing given by Paramahamsa Vishwananda to each person who attends. For more information please visit the Darshan page.
Jai Gurudev and much love,