Assisi, ItalyIf you go to places where masters have lived, the vibrations there will quicken your realization. That is the value of pilgrimages to holy places. The masters’ divine vibrations are still there, just as strong as when they were physically present. Those who are in tune will feel that presence. But first, one has to meditate and prepare himself.

—Paramhansa Yogananda

Every religion teaches that in certain places on Earth there are holy vibrations. God is equally present everywhere, but in some places the divine vibrations are particularly potent, owing to the fact that divine miracles have been performed there, or that spiritual masters have lived there.

Holy Man in IndiaParamhansa Yogananda, to strengthen this awareness in his disciples, told them one day, “I have meditated in every place on these grounds at Mt. Washington.”

The uplifting vibrations of certain places are due also to the fact that devout pilgrims for centuries have worshiped in them. When a place becomes impregnated with spiritual power, its vibrations linger on for centuries.

In the Bible, Jesus met the woman of Samaria at Jacob’s well, and that ancient site is still venerated in his day. Indeed, the benefit of going on pilgrimage to holy places, such as the Holy Land, is not because of their rich history, but for the fact that divine blessings can be experienced when visiting them. Their very soil is filled with a higher consciousness.

The Holy Land itself is an example of such a place. So also are India and Italy. To meditate in the Himalayas, especially, and even to visit them with a reverent attitude, is to be affected with their vibrations of inner freedom. The shrines also at Lourdes in France, and at Tarakeshwar in Bengal, continue to this day to produce healing miracles.

A church in the Holy Land.

A church in the Holy Land.

Yet when Jesus met the woman of Samaria, he gave her a universal teaching: “Believe me, the hour cometh when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.” Outward pilgrimage, he was saying, without corresponding inner communion with God, is of little benefit. The important thing is above all our inner relationship with the Lord.

When visiting holy places, we should tune in sensitively to their vibrations, with a deeply prayerful attitude. If our hearts’ feelings are uplifted calmly to receive the divine blessings, the benefits we gain will be enduring.

Many of Ananda’s communities, centers, and meditation groups offer pilgrimages to holy sites such as India, Italy, and the Holy Land. If you would like to join us on a pilgrimage, please contact one of these Ananda centers to see if they have a pilgrimage scheduled.

See list of centers