Kolkatta Pilgrimage-Land of the Yogi

Ever since I have been on this path after reading Autobiography of Yogi my utmost desire was to visit all the places mentioned in that book, at least those which are in India.

Guruji once again heeded my prayer. I received an email from Ananda for a Kolkata pilgrimage.

I must say the email was very clear and well drafted and sent well in advance so it was very easy for me to plan & decide. I made a reservation after a quick response from Ananda pilgrim on a few queries I had. I prayed daily to Guruji till the date of arrival at Kolkata to please keep the conditions favorable as I don’t want to lose this opportunity to meet you. Anxiety & fear that something may go wrong was bothering me sometimes.

I was very excited, and knowing this Guruji decided to play with me and tease me. As I was taking the morning flight from the Mumbai airport I needed to reach the airport from my home by auto rickshaw which is about 30 minutes drive. I got one auto rickshaw and after 5 minutes drive it stopped due to some technical fault on express highway. I was tense as it was not possible to get another auto rickshaw on express highway during rush hour. I got out of the auto rickshaw onto the middle of the road, the vehicles were passing close to me at high speed and I was very confused. I tried yelling for help but nobody looked at me. After few moments the same auto rickshaw started and finally I could reach the airport in time. I thanked Guruji .

Finally, I reached Kolkata and my first interaction was with Daya & Keshava. They were well organized and made us very comfortable in all respects. The Hotel accommodations were very good. The benefit of their vast experience of organizing tours along with the local tour operator has helped us all a lot. We were total 30 pilgrims arriving in Kolkata from different cities by different mode of transport. Due to some delay in taking lunch I was bit restless. At suitable time we all gathered to start towards our first destination, Guruji’s residence at 4, Gurpar road. I kept my Cell phone, Clock and Calendar behind, as I really don’t want them.

The first pleasant surprise was when I heard Daya chanting Sanskrit mantras clearly and with utmost devotion & other devotional songs in the bus while going towards Guruji’s house from Hotel. Keshava started reading relevant chapters from Autobiography of Yogi according to places we visited. Both of them have divided responsibilities and it was throughout the journey executed well.

As we were coming near to the house I was very eager to see and could not believe my wish fulfillment.

We all assembled in the living room to chant and sing devotional songs and meditate. I was enjoying every moment. Since we were to come back to this house on the last day of our journey with ample time most of us took time to feel of the house & its simplicity & divinity, particularly the attic room where Guruji use to meditate. For the first time I experienced the holy vibrations of group meditation. Somnath (heirs of Guruji’s brother currently staying there) & his wife and daughter told us many interesting things about Guruji. On the way back to the hotel I realized what a sacrifice this family has given for people like us who are fortunate even today to get blessings of Guruji, it’s like meeting Yoganandaji personally. The family could have sold this property and shifted elsewhere according to modern way of constructed building.

At night after dinner at Hotel all the devotees had satsang and introduced themselves. This was a regular feature everyday. They were all very devotional; some are new to this path and others are on this path since last few years. In the few hours we all spent together on the first day everybody got connected with each other like family. Now the garland was formed of 30 pearls (pilgrims) with 2 diamonds (Daya & keshava) to be offered at great Guru’s feet.

On day two we all got up early and gathered in room to do energizing exercise, chanting & meditation.

After breakfast we went to Guruji’s friend Tulsi Bose house. It was very simple, comparatively smaller than Gurujis house but spirit & vibration of house was same. We met Hassi (daughter of Tulsi and currently staying), and heard beautiful stories about great Gurus. The picture of Shri Krishna drawn as per vision guruji had, Babaji’s trishul and idol of kali worshipped by guruji were all to me like wonders of the world. I developed an inferiority complex that I will never be able to reach this level in spirituality. I prayed Guruji please, I also want to see God like you see please give me darshan for few seconds and remove my delusion. Everybody meditated at different spots in the house including beds where Guruji use to sleep. We took afternoon lunch served with lots of love by Hassi and started walking towards our next holy shrine, the house of Levitating Saint Bhaduri Mahasya. The spot was equally full of divinity and peace. We all meditated here and I was thinking if I reached that level in meditation and devotion where I can stay in air and if my wife will see me accidently I am sure she will become unconscious. Once again I realized I am bubble in vast ocean. After that we went to Dakshineshwar temple and offered our prayers in front of beautiful Idol of Maa Kali and had darshan of Ganga at kali ghat and also place where Ramkrishna paramhansa lived and meditated. There were lots of devotees but I think we were different from them. On the way back to the hotel I realized to whom God gives spiritual wealth does not always give material wealth. Because if he gives material wealth the devotee may not come closer & closer to him. But still I am not clear how to have a well balanced life of spiritual & material wealth or either of it.

Third day we all went to Serampore at Yukteshwarji’s ashram but as the original building was not kept open for devotees we all have to be satisfied by sitting in nearby temple constructed by YSS.

We all meditated and chanted devotional songs. From there we started walking towards Rai ghat where Babaji met Yukteshwarji under Banyan tree. We all meditated at this spot. Here we met Ishant, heir of Ananta, guruji’s elder brother. He took us to his house and we received a warm welcome from all the family members. The house was simple and we all had the same experience of spiritual upliftment.

From there our most exciting journey started a paddle tricycle ride towards another disciple of Yukteshwarji and great soul Motilal Thakur. It was nice to meditate at Samadhi at the bank of the river Ganga. On the way back to the hotel I realized it’s all our past good karma that in this life we came to know about these yogis and this path. The population around this entire spot seems to be hardly aware of its importance.  It may be their karma has not yet ripened. Looking at the standard of living in general around this entire holy shrine where day to day survival must be full of struggle, how can one persuade them or draw them on this path or make them realize what it is? Or, does it really matter to them?

On the fourth and last day since morning I was sad. I was trying to talk with the other devotees as much as I can as soon we were to part.  With some I could and with those I could not I was simply observing. We were all going once again to Gurujis house on a bright sunny day. In the sunlight we could see each room and things kept there very closely. Everybody got ample time to meditate in attic room as well as in room where Babaji met Guruji. Now for me the whole building is a temple. It is not important that it is really this room or that room, but the entire building is important. The vibration, peace & divinity were everywhere. Somnath & his family welcomed us once again and served lunch for everyone. It was Prasad (God’s mercy).

Before I went back to my home, in the attic room I introspected. I started the journey with anxiety, fear phobia, got excited, carried tension & got confused or sometime restless and felt my slow progress in spiritual path and end up with questions about which I am not clear so I urged to Guruji “You found GOD here so guide me as for me Guru is GOD”. My intuition draws my attention to following paragraph of Autobiography of Yogi which is as follows.

“Solve all your problems through meditation. Exchange unprofitable religious speculations for actual God-contact. Clear your mind of dogmatic theological debris; let in the fresh, healing waters of direct perception. Attune yourself to the active inner Guidance; the Divine Voice has the answer to every dilemma of life. Though man’s ingenuity for getting himself into trouble appears to be endless, the Infinite Succor is no less resourceful.”

Aum Guru.

A Place Called Ananda

A blog by disciples of Paramhansa Yogananda