Many of you have enjoyed Brahmachari Matriprasad's Pilgrim Letters at
http://www.atmajyoti.org/indiapilgrim.asp . Due to a recent trip to India, and recoverring from India's gift of malaria, it has been a while since new ones were posted. Finally today another set was posted, complete with photographs, of his adventures Omkareshwar, and various holy places in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, including Ramanashram in Tiruvannamalai, Swami Ramdas's Anandashram in Khananghad, Sri Rangam and Rameshwaram. This new page is at
Below is a sample:
Namaste. Let me think what else I can tell you about our favorite subject: India. I know–the Narmada. I do not think I’ve described that yet.
The Ganga and the Narmada are somewhat different. Being an adopted son of the Ganga, I can speak with some experience! The Ganga never looked to me like real water. Even downstream in Varanasi and Calcutta where it is so shamefully dirty, it just doesn’t look like water. One time while going by boat to Dakshineshwar, I kept thinking that there was an oil spill on the water or something, as it looked like something was glistening on top of the water, but I kept putting my hand in the water and finding it clear. I realized I was literally seeing light shining off the water.
It is absolutely sinful, though, that the Indian people and government haven’t put some kind of restrictions on dumping filth into the body of the Devi. In Gangotri there are signs by the Ganga in Hindi and English that say, “The Ganga is the heart of India. To throw trash in or defecate on her banks is a great sin. Did you come to this holy place to create merit or sin?” Only in India. But what hypocrisy when you see what happens further down. I was reading a couple of days ago that someone was complaining to Ma how dirty the river was in Varanasi, and She agreed, but then said, “The nature of the Ganga is to purify and anything that is immersed in her is absorbed by her purity.” You can see that, as it is still holy.
Up further, from Haridwar up to the source is a different story, though. In Rishikesh, the Ganga really doesn’t appear like water. I always thought it looked like it was made of a combination of green silk and light. Even the way it flows, and the patterns it forms as you look across it are just not what water does. I always felt that after bathing in it, I was not just purified, but actually subtly transformed.
The Narmada is different. From experience I truly, truly believe in the idea of the holy rivers of India literally coming from a Divine source. The Narmada (from my limited perception) looks and behaves like regular water, but with an incredible vibration. It feels like it is a physical embodiment of sadhana shakti, and I really believe that it comes from God specifically for sadhus and their sadhana. At Omkareshwar it is very clear and green, and cool but not as cold as the Ganga. It has a similar, intense auric field like the Ganga. One day I walked far upstream on the mainland bank (it’s all forested, hilly wilderness for as far as you can see) and sat on a flat rock that was out in the water, so that the river was flowing all around me. The purifying flow of the aura was almost overpowering it was so incredible. It is no accident that thousands of years of sadhus have done tapasya on its banks.
Besides bathing and doing my laundry in it in the morning, in the afternoon right before my meditation period, I go down and take a brisk swim. The afternoons are actually comfortably hot, and this is incredibly refreshing, plus it washes out any post-lunch tamoguna1 in the body and mind and really gets me ready for meditation. I swim about a third of the way out and tread water against the current for exercise. I find that if I stand neck-deep in the water, facing the current and repeat “Om Namah Shivaya,” amazing things happen. It is definitely in some way connected with the Shiva aspect of God and really comes alive if you tune in to that.
Living in Omkareshwar, where there is some kind of Shiva shrine every three hundred feet or so, and doing Shiva puja every morning in our Shiva mandir, I am coming to intuitively understand a little more about...
(to read more, go to: http://www.atmajyoti.org/pl_pilgrim_letters_3.asp
I hope you enjoy reading them as much as we have.