By Moushumi Patankar, United Kingdom
Kailash Pilgrimage 2023
The day arrived, 22nd July! The day I flew to Kathmandu via Doha. My day started with conducting the Shree Jagannatha meditation. It was such a divine blessing to begin my Kailash Yatra with this meditation.
I flew to Doha via Qatar Airways, having a connecting flight to Kathmandu with one and a half hours of layover. Everything was perfect; what could go wrong with it?
I boarded the flight. The time started ticking, and we passed our take-off time. The pilot announced some technical problems to resolve in the next 25 minutes. Well, our minds needed some drama to play with. And questions started, will I reach on time? Will I get my connecting flight? Then I started chanting Mohanji Gayatri. Phew, so many things started popping up; well, the mind was the Boss. The pilot announced, “It’s good news, the technical problem is solved, and now waiting for a signal from Air Traffic Control to start the process to fly, and it will take another 45 minutes.”
Oh my goodness, I really felt like laughing out loud. Well, I dropped my mind fully (no more games and thinking process). I decided to watch movies, have vegan food, and relax because that’s the only thing I could do then. In the next 10 minutes, we were told that we were starting. Still, chances to catch my next flight seemed doubtful (I had 30 minutes to come out of the flight, go to the next gate, and catch the second flight). Well, after all the drama, the flight landed in Doha. I had only 30 minutes to catch the second flight, and I did it. I was the last person to go in.
The flight landed in Kathmandu; after all the visa process, immigration, etc., it was time to collect my bag. But the drama wasn’t finished yet. My bag decided not to reach Kathmandu and stayed back in Doha. I was about to burst into laughter. What a way to start this journey! The baggage attendant at the Kathmandu airport did his best to communicate well, and I got my bag the same night.
From the 23rd to the 27th of July, our routine was to wake up early for the Shivabhishekam (as Shravan month was going on), which Preeti Duggal performed daily. Then, our usual routine (breakfast, lunch, and dinner with all participants, Satsang with Mohanji in the evening). Also, the Mohanji Foundation had its first Satsang in Nepal with more than 70 participants.
One day, we spent sightseeing in Kathmandu and visited the beautiful Pashupatinath and Budhanilakantha temples. All these places were so beautiful and different in structure.
With the grace of Tradition and Mohanji’s blessings, I got to serve Mohanji in Kathmandu. The feeling was wonderful. I want to narrate one incident. I was in the room with Mohanji, waiting to go down for the Satsang. Mohanji was ready and sitting on the chair. I was standing near the window in front of him. Mohanji said, “Look outside and see those birds”. There were so many huge trees outside, but all the birds were sitting on only one tree outside Mohanji’s window! I asked Mohanji about this, and he said, “These are my bodyguards”. The window where I was standing was a glass window. One bird came twice and knocked at the glass window with his beak. Mohanji said, “He is checking who is with me in this room.” All those sentences amazed me.
Then, it was time to go for the Satsang. Mohanji stood and blessed all those birds (his bodyguards). We were about to go, and he stopped at the door and asked to close the curtain. I asked Mohanji, “Why close the curtain?” He said, “Otherwise, they will wait for me to come, but it will take longer to finish the Satsang. Hence, I want to conclude this and not make these birds wait for me.” Mohanji’s important teachings here – NO POSTPONEMENT, FINISH THE WORK TODAY, BETTER DO IT NOW, and FINISH IT OFF. He applies all of his teachings in his own life.
The first five days at Hyatt Regency were busy, yet meeting various people from different parts of the World was great. Except for two people from our group of 27, I met others for the first time, though I felt we had known each other for ages. During those five days, I felt we were raising our group energy by being together and through chanting, Satsang, visiting temples, etc. This bonding helped us all when we started our journey to Kailash.
After five days in Hyatt Regency, Kathmandu, on 28th July, we finally left for Syaprubeshi, a small town near Rashuwagadhi, the border of Nepal and China (friendship bridge). Our group of 27 people was divided into two buses. We travelled for almost 8 hours, with a lunch break in between. Finally, late evening, we reached. Meanwhile, a few people started feeling unwell due to the bus ride. We (Mai-Tri practitioners) did Mai-Tri for them. The whole journey, I was absolutely ok. After a delicious, freshly cooked dinner, we called it a day.
On 29th July, we walked toward the border, went through the immigration process, etc., and our journey started to Kyerong. This time, we were at an altitude of 4500m (almost 15,000 ft). We stayed at a hotel. As usual, Sherpas cooked delicious food and served us so lovingly. I can proudly say that those Sherpas were our backbone.
The next day, our journey started to Saaga. After a few hours of a bus ride, we reached the hotel. Though we were travelling and continuously on the road, Sherpas always used to cook fresh, delicious food for us. We were almost at the same altitude, but due to travel, I was a bit tired. I didn’t feel breathless, but I started feeling sick. For the first time, I felt very weak.
That was a crucial time, as reaching Kailash seemed impossible. The mind starts playing at this level. Fear started popping out. A Sherpa came and checked my oxygen, which was ok. However, I was told to eat. Eating was a must, as we all needed the energy to walk. A Sherpa lovingly got a bowl of rice for me and asked me to finish it. These Sherpas were so caring, like parents. I was much better the following day, almost back to my normalcy. We again packed our bags and got ready to go by the bus. The bus was the best companion in those days.
The following day, 31st July, We left for Manasarovar via Prayang and Mayum La Pass (5200 m) (almost 17,000 ft) and arrived at Hor Quo (4560 m). We were at different altitudes, sometimes high and then down again at lower altitudes. And believe me, you feel the difference. You literally feel your breath and your heartbeats while sitting and walking. We had some problems with the bus; hence, we reached this place a bit late and visited Manasarovar the next morning. However, our accommodation was literally less than 10 meters from Manasarovar. After a delicious dinner (always a three-course meal), we all went to bed and woke up in the morning with bed tea!
It’s 1st August, full moon! (While writing this testimonial, I checked the relevance of the full moon on that day.) It says this full moon is deeply tied to releasing fear and anxiety to pave the way for healing. It’s about recognizing our limited control and surrendering to the universe’s flow. No coincidence at all as I had the same feeling, especially after a few days of journey, altitude, and tiredness; everything just vanished as soon as we touched the Mansarovar water.
The first sight (darshan) of Kailash was while standing on the banks of Manasarovar, full moon, and the sunny day that followed with a powerful Homa as instructed by Mohanji on the banks of Manasarovar with the chosen 27 participants!
That day, we came out of our rooms to have breakfast. The sky was full of dark grey clouds. We were about to finish our breakfast, and the rain started. Our super-efficient Sherpas immediately put up the tent. Now, the question was how to go to Manasarovar and do the Homa. (The mind started playing games immediately). We all sat in the tent and decided to chant the Mohanji Gayatri Mantra 108 times. We were about to finish, and the rain stopped. We could see the clear blue sky. What was that? A MIRACLE. A clear path, a white path.
Sherpas and the organizers told us that taking a dip in Manasarovar may not be possible as the Chinese Government prohibits it. Most of the time, soldiers don’t allow pilgrims to dip in the water.
I took out some water in a bucket, which was very cold to the touch. I started chanting and poured the first lot over my head; I felt my crown chakra start revolving within. It was a profound experience. I placed my hand there and stood for some time. I witnessed it and let go of it. I didn’t ask any questions about it. That experience was beyond something!
Homa was another beautiful yet powerful experience I had at Mansarovar. What a powerful chanting and arati! Ecstatic!
The sun, immediately after the Homa at Manasarovar. A vibrant expression by Nature
We (27 participants), were like 27 Nakshatras in the SKY. The root word ‘Naksh’ means to worship or approach, and ‘tra’ is a suffix. ‘Nakshatra’ is also believed to mean ‘not destructible.’
Soon, we started our journey to Darchen. Here, we had the darshan of the west face of Kailash. We got our ponies and porters and soon began the Parikrama. This was another different kind of experience I had.
When I got my porter, the porter took my bag and told me to sit on the horse and relax! Soon, we crossed Yam Dwar, “The gateway of the God of Death”. It is the starting point of the circumambulation of Mount Kailash. Therefore, it has a prominent position in Hinduism. One must pass through Yam Dwar to visit Shiva’s home. It is the starting point of the Kailash tour. As per belief, Yamraj himself guards this home of Lord Shiva. The lord of death is called Yama, and Dwar means gate – therefore, it’s called Yam Dwar.
This Moushumi died then, and a new birth happened; what was that birth is yet to be revealed to me! It is like a rewiring of your whole system, a new software perhaps.
The Parikrama started on a sunny day! On all days, the weather was sunny. Sometimes, it used to rain at night, but other than that, we were so blessed to have a darshan of the sun all the time. Because of the high altitude, we used to get tired; it was a reminder to chant ‘Om Namah Shivay, Shivay Namah Om! Chanting always helped; it was always our medicine, an immediate effect!
After a few breaks, we reached Dirapuk. We rested, had dinner, and slept (or just lay down). It was very difficult to sleep; I almost couldn’t sleep for three nights due to tiredness or high energy, whatever you can call it!
3rd August, Altitude 5850m (almost 19000ft)
The toughest day of all, we covered almost 21 km that day. The first 6 km to Dolma La Pass was a steep way for those who walked and for horses riding pilgrims on their backs. It was not easy for the horses at all. I could feel the heartbeat of my horse, a very gentle being he was! My horse’s name was Chemu. We reached Dolma La Pass and had a beautiful darshan of Gauri Kund.
The story from Shiv Purana is famous as it tells of how Lord Shiva beheaded his son. It so happened that when Lord Shiva was away, Devi Parvati went to bathe in a sacred kund called Gauri Kund. To guard against intruders, she created an idol from the soap lather from her body, placed this idol near the pond’s gates and bathed. But before going, she breathed life into the idol, and the idol became her son, Ganesha. She instructed Ganesha to guard the door and stop anyone from entering. Lord Shiva came to the place after some time. Seeing this, Ganesha immediately stopped him from entering the place. Lord Shiva did not know that the person who was guarding the place was none other than his son, Ganesha. Angered by the person, Lord Shiva cut off his son’s head. When Goddess Parvati learned how Lord Shiva had cut off their son’s head out of ignorance, she pleaded with Lord Shiva to bring back her son’s head. Lord Shiva saw an elephant roaming in the forest, cut off his head, and placed it in place of his son’s head. Thus, Lord Ganesha was born with an elephant’s head. The entire story takes place at Gauri Kund.
It was again a steep route as we started downhill for almost 6 km. After a quick lunch break, we started towards our accommodation, nearly a 12 km walk or a horse ride. At this point, the altitude dropped down; it wasn’t that tough to walk. The scenery was just beautiful: water stream, waterfall, yaks, horses, just beautiful. Also, remember the sunny weather.
Soon, I reached the second accommodation and rested for some time until all the people arrived. During those ten days, we always attended all aratis and bhajans; it was part of our routine. It kept all of us energetic. We used to do arati and bhajan as soon as the dinner was done. I could feel the change in the energy at every accommodation.
4th August, The last of the Parikrama.
This was a relatively easy walk. We started our journey with the porters and ponies who always cared for me like a baby (This is not an exaggeration but a reality). We finished our Parikrama, and we reached Darchen by bus.
On 5th August, we started our journey from Darchen to Saga. And then Saga to Kyerong. At Kyerong, we reached a bit early; hence, we got some time for a walk and relaxed.
Finally, on 6th August, the journey started at the border of Nepal and China and then to Kathmandu. Meanwhile, we realized that the roads from the border to Kathmandu were muddy, as eventually, there were a few landslides. The skill and experience of the driver brought us successfully to Kathmandu.
I will never forget a few things in this journey: our backbone, Nigma and Tasi Sherpa (who are still in contact and ask about my whereabouts); our Chef, Dil Bahadur, and his assistants who cooked delicious meals happily. Nagmi, Tasi Sherpa, and Sunil served us so kindly and lovingly – true selfless service! Our food is masala chai with yak milk, soup & and popcorn, rice, dal, curry, pizza, pasta, halwa, hot mango juice, and fruits with hot fruit syrup. I will never forget this, and most of all, Nigma Sherpa, Tashi Sherpa, and Sunil Sherpa’s happy attitude and his words, “OOH LALA, COCA COLA”!
While writing this testimonial, I once again revisited the Kailash Yatra. I realized now, though, with this physical body, I completed Outer Kora; I will keep going to Kailash until the last breath of this life mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
My heartfelt gratitude to the team for organizing this 2023 yatra so well. There is nothing to improve. It is all Mohanji’s grace and pure intentions of all 27 participants who joined and completed the ultimate Kailash Yatra.
||Yogiraj Parabrahma Shri Satchitanand Sadguru Brahmarishi Mohanji Maharaj Ki Jai||
|| JAI BRAHMARISHI MOHANJI ||
Edited & Published by – Testimonials Team, 14th September 2023
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