Beautiful 3 days spent in the land of Rajasthan with the Master.
Every nook and corner we travelled in Lalsot had posters of the shivir at every locations including taxis and markets. One thing i was surprised with was the heights of hospitality in a world where one thinks of so many excuses or shrinks away to even offer someone a glass of water or tea and here are the Rajasthanis, who go beyond anything to serve their guests.
All the while i was thinking that the home next to the venue, where we ate food, was a place arranged by people for us as done in other locations we travel to. To my surprise while we sat on the ground and ate our food in the huge compound of this home, i saw many new people walking into this compound inside which sat ladies of the house making rotis. When people walked in, they were asked to sit, paper plates were laid and food was served immediately. The lady making rotis asked all those seated continuously whether they wanted rotis. If it was a yes, she would make more and if no, she would request to have more. This continued from morning to evening.
The teenage girl of the house was the whole day pouring water into the glasses of those eating food and picking up the finished plates, helping ladies make rotis, look after the calves, etc. When we had food in the late evenings, the same ladies and few other gentlemen offered chaarpais (cots) to those who asked if they could stay there overnight. It was only then that i understood that these noble people were only serving whoever came there. When i asked a Rajasthani boy sitting next to me, he said that this was the culture there in Lalsot, Rajasthan. He told pointing out to a house far away that even if i walked into any of those houses, i would still be treated the same.
After finishing food they insisted that we don’t pick our plates and rushed to pick it up. The same house people were happy when we played with their calves and rabbits. Here in the cities, i have often heard people say “feel at home” but this is one place where without any such word you could “fully feel at home”. It took me a lot of time to understand and believe that all this was true.
Then it so happened that while i was happily playing around with the small calf and rabbit, Gurudev’s phone came. Since next day was the shivir, i knew that it must be something related to the shivir, but to my surprise it was a casual call. My mind was already playful and joyful for i had just picked up that rabbit and caressed the loving calf. The moment i picked the call, Gurudev spoke, “Namah shivay beta. How are things?” I said, “All fine Babaji. The teams are setting up everything and all should be done by today….” But little did i realize he didn’t mean that. He came back to what he was meaning to say, “Hmmm.. Toh aap ache se enjoy kar rahe ho…” Without even thinking how did he know that, my excitement made me say, “Yes Babaji, am just loving it here.” He laughed. I could not wait, “Babaji, you know what, here there is a cute little calf. There is also a rabbit and i am holding it and playing with it.” He was laughing at the other end. I continued, nonstop in excitement, “Babaji, the place here is so beautiful and the people are so wonderful…” Babaji interrupted, “Beta, what you see there around you, the people and the place, is all divine, you know why? Because these lands are yet not touched by modern civilization completely. Similarly there are many areas in Rajasthan that are very pure and untouched.” I said, “Wow Babaji. It is a blessing to be here…” The Master said, “You liked it so much? Let the shivir get over, i will take you to another place…” i said, “Thank you so much Babaji..” Laughing and blessing, he hung the phone.
After that i was super excited. The two days of the shivir went houseful, which was one of my best Kisan shivirs. Mostly because of the ambience and the people and it’s tradition, all this added to the beauty of the land and its culture. The two days of shivir was extremely heavy for me – food wise. Am not at all used to spicy and oily stuff and here in Rajasthan hotels i wasn’t able to touch anything to my tongue and it felt like fire. At one time, i sat helplessly at a hotel with my other team members and asked the waiter to give me whatever was the least spicy food. He brought some rotis and curry stating that it was least spicy. When i tasted it, i discovered that this was the spiciest curry i ever had in my life! i looked around and saw customers having additional plates of red chilli powder before them, from which they regularly grabbed the chilli powder with with their fingers and added it into the food and ate!! i just couldn’t believe this! i did not eat, rather could not eat anything. i brought some fruits on the first evening and ate only fruits the next two days, at times even going hungry. i was craving for good simple food and felt so helpless.
The shivir ended and it was a beautiful houseful shivir. The next morning after the shivir, before leaving Lalsot, we stopped for tea early morning, when we were spotted by a person who had attended the shivir and he rushed to the stall and got tea for us literally pleading that he would pay for this hospitality and ensured that we were comfortable till we got into the cars and sped away. i grabbed some biscuits to fill in the little hunger pangs. While having tea, we spotted a person reading newspaper (photo below) which carried the news of the ShivYog Kisan Shivir on the front page. During travel had a day-dream of how wonderful the world would look like if people practiced clean agriculture, did healing, and so easily would everything reverse back to the state that God had originally gifted humans with.
Soon, we were following the car in which Babaji was in. He was taking us somewhere. Soon the villages and houses were reducing as the car sped deep into a drier terrain.
By noon we were in a place that i had never visited before. Wouldn’t want to mention the name of the village as am not sure if i am supposed to.
We stopped at a small cluster of houses amidst the vast dry open lands. No others houses were seen around anywhere other than this small space that clustered these few huts together. i had never been here before. Soon i learnt that this was Babaji’s hut. The Master walked into one of the rooms, i followed. It had a huge photo of Ma Lalita Tripurasundari. He deeply bowed in adoration before that image and walked around the place talking to the locals. The place was very neat and tidy and the best part was that it was completely natural. The cottage of the master seemed to be made of mud and thatched from above. The whole place had mud coating all over the ground as well as the walls, over which there was a thick coating of cow-dung. i can’t tell you what freshness such houses bring. It was cool and fresh, unlike the wilderness outside that was so dry. The sun was high up and it was burning hot outside, but not in these rooms. The courtyard had a beautiful Tulsi plant decorated with mud and chunaam, with beautiful rangoli adorning it. Everywhere around huge stone pillars held the homes strongly. No fancy furniture, no electronic stuff, no modern amenities, it was such a natural part of nature there. Cows grazed around in this place that is situated amidst a circle of hills and trees.
We got to know that the Master would be coming and so me and another sadhak were preparing his chair, when he arrived suddenly. This photo was taken then. The Master was telling me how the sadhaks were dedicatedly and silently serving in these areas. He said that people here in the villages were very poor and difficult for them to even get two square meals. The Master had earlier once mentioned how he was committed to serve this land of Rajasthan as this was the place of Raja Bharthari and the people here were the king’s descendants. After speaking to us for a while, he then went out and met the villagers and listened to their woes. Asking them to have their food he walked around for a while and returned to his hut.
i asked the sadhak there about this place and i was told this is one place where free bhandara was to start from now for the poor villagers. “Villagers?” i asked. “I don’t see a single house here apart from that one house there, where is village here?” She smiled and said, “There are, and you will soon see them going to come for food here.” i looked around and apart from that one solitary house a distance away, i could not see a single house. And truly, at the presided lunch time i saw about 50 people outside who were being seated for food under a pandal to protect them from the sun. i was zapped! “Where did all these people come from?” i asked. Pointing to the mountains around she said, “Actually there are many villages on these mountains that you can’t see from here.” i wondered what kind of villages would those be. She continued, “The villagers are all simpletons and you won’t believe, they don’t even have watches, but they reach here exactly at the lunch hour.”
i came out and stood alone staring at the distant mountains. There was a strange pull towards one direction. i wanted to go just in that direction. It had a small trail. Without thinking much, i began walking in that direction. i had not even gone a little far, one of our team members shouted, “Where are you going?” i certainly did not want to tell that i felt like going in that direction. So i lied and yelled back that i am going for nature’s call. He said, “Don’t go too far for we might leave now as Babaji is ready to leave.” i said okay and regretted as i continued walking, as to why didn’t i start walking to this place a little earlier; atleast i would have had more time. i walked for about 500 meters and there was absolutely noone there, just grass and trees. The mountains in front of me was far away but i could see their welcoming landscapes. Under one tree i stood, wondering why did i ever come here. No answers. But i was loving that space. There was something magical and i didn’t feel like leaving. i stood there for some good 15-20 minutes in pure awareness. Then, i had to leave because i was not sure when all would leave. Even while walking back i remember looking back again and again at that direction.
When i reached back Babaji was talking to the villagers who had finished their food. Then everyone prepared to leave. i went to the elderly lady sadhak and asked about this place. She told me that this place was mystical and had strange people around in the hills. They had strange nose and ears, some of them had good heights while some were very short. They are not seen to everyone. i was pleasantly surprised. Then pointing out to the direction i had walked to and returned from, i asked her, “Ma’am, what is there in that direction?” She looked at where i was pointing and smilingly asked why did i ask. i told her that something feels incomplete for me because i had this very strange pull to go there. i told her that i had gone there to a certain distance but had to return back as it was getting late. Her eyes swelled up in tears and said, “i am so glad that people even talk about things other than mundane life.” Her eyes lit up as this seemed to be something dear to her heart. “You know what,” she said, “Up those mountains are the Jeeva Samadhis of two Siddhas who lived in these areas. They were brothers.” My eyes swelled up too. My heart warmed up listening to this and i again looked into that direction with total gratitude for it was their divine love and light that was radiating and so welcoming. i told her, “Ma’am, thank you for sharing, i will try to go there another time to meditate. She immediately hugged me lovingly and said, “Blessed be. It is so nice to talk about these things with people who can relate.” i thanked her for all her hospitality, food and her love.
One of us said that the Master’s car had already left and we should hurry. i saw the Master’s white car speeding away a distance away leaving a trail of dust on the dry roadless path. i sat in the car and besides me was Manoj bhai. i told him everything and said i feel so much for this place. As the car moved, my eyes were still full of tears as i looked in that direction of Jeeva Samadhis and in my heart thanked and said, “Am so sorry, that even though welcoming i could not even properly communicate or spend time at your place. Thank you so much.” Everyone were silent in the car. i was absorbed in that space itself, when suddenly we saw the Master’s car heading back towards us. The driver of our car, taking it to the side, halted the car, while we all wondered if the Master had forgotten something. His car passed us and the driver of his car motioned us to follow. We followed. The Master’s car did not turn towards his hut but instead went straight ahead until it reached the foothill of a small hill in that direction. We wondered what, but since the instruction was to follow we simply kept following their car. Then something mystical. His car circled that place three times, and we were also following and circling around with him. Noone knew what was going on, but we all were quietly watching. After three big rounds, his car stopped. I saw the Master doing pranams towards the hill and we all offered our pranams. Obviously, i knew to whom the salutations were for. After that, i was all silent till we reached Alwar, deeply contemplating on how the Master is aware of every single thing and his gesture of bringing us here, i remembered him saying on phone, “… i will take you to a place..” My perception of understanding is obviously very limited to even know what the Master was upto in all those visitations, but i can never forget that experience.
Soon we reached Alwar Gaushala, the longtime, tapobhoomi of Babaji. Here also free food distribution was going on. People lived such a simple life. He took a full walk around the gaushala, patting, caressing and feeding the cows. It was very nice to see him all relaxed because there was no crowd around him and he was freely walking and being fully with himself, enjoying everything in a very relaxed way. Then he walked to where he could watch the cows grazing. He simply spent some moments watching the cows grazing silently, often interrupted by someone asking or telling him something. He seemed engrossed watching them at a distance. All this moment i simply took an opportunity to be in silence in his aura.
Then, he walked towards his cottage verandah and sat down there just with the few sadhaks and the few villagers around him. Here, while the Master sat relaxed gently talking to the villagers, i took the liberty of taking a long wonderful grounding walk on the grass barefooted, with the water sprinklers around sprinkling water on me. The effect was super cooling in that hot temperature. The Master was looking from a distance, that i could see. He soon asked one of the villager to call me and i ran back only to see that the Master wanted us to drink pure raw cow milk. We all had a great time there and soon it was time to leave back to Delhi and from this beautiful land of mountains and jungles, by midnight we reached back to the concrete jungles of New Delhi. 🙂
After a week or so Ishan bhaiya had returned to India and i told him of this trip. He immediately got to know of the place and told me more of it and his visits there. He also said about the weird people around those hills who had strange ears and nose and were like dwarfs. He added, “This is the place Babaji used to go alone, park his car down the hills and go into the hills and return after couple of days. Noone knows anything more than this.”
It somehow took me 5 years to share this as i never before felt like sharing this, but today felt like. Divine Love and Light.