I had heard many things about Kailash that had piqued my interest and made me want to go — that it’s the holiest of all the holiest places but yet the least visited, a phenomenon beyond one’s imagination, that there is no other place like Kailash on this Earth, that it’s the axis of the Universe, it’s a spiritual center for Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Bon religion, that Sadhguru would bow down to Kailash as much as as he would do to his Guru – which he has never done before, that it’s very difficult to make it to the Kailash trek due to high altitudes and its life threatening etc. I don’t know what craziness or concoction finally made me decide to go for it, but whatever it was, feel fortunate that I could finally set my eyes upon Kailash. Never before have I been so overwhelmed – still recovering from the after effects.
I must admit that I felt really under-prepared before the Yatra and doubting whether I would be able to make it. Due to some logistics etc, I ended up landing in Kathmandu, 3 days before the start of Yatra and I feel that this was one of the best things to happen for me to experience the Yatra well. These 3 days helped me to get into the right frame of mind and preparation for the Yatra. Soaked in the beauty of Kathmandu during these 3 days with luxurious walks around the city.
We were lucky to meet Sadhguru during the start of the Yatra in Kathmandu, where he reminded us the purpose of this pilgrimage and how to approach this Yatra. I feel this is one of the most important aspects of the yatra – very easily I could have gone into this yatra as a tourist and missed the point, if it was not for this timely orientation.
The meeting helped to fire me up and cast away all the doubts I had about being able to make it or not — it felt like Sadhguru would make us cross, we only needed to allow him to do so. From here on, it was an incredibly smooth experience for me — I didn’t resist anything that came my way. Whatever was offered, I lapped it up gleefully and willingly.
The bus journeys were long and it can tire you – this was one of the aspects I feared the most at the start of the yatra as I tend to have motion sickness, but to my surprise, I can’t believe that I didn’t feel tired at all after the bus journeys. Most of the days, the schedule was quite hectic and with all the packing/re-packing at each station and to keep up with the practices, I could manage to sleep for only few hours. Inspite of all of this, never did I create any resistance within myself and I just flowed with the schedule laid out. This is one of the key things that I would like to keep with me even after the Yatra – life can be so effortless, if I don’t create any resistances within myself. There were many things which were not comfortable along the way – sometimes the food, travel, schedule , rooms, toilets etc but just went with whatever was offered without creating resistance. I was acclimatizing well to the high altitudes without any major discomfort, though my appetite was considerably reduced.
The Manasarovar dip was earth shattering to say the least, it was so chilling cold during the morning and my body just couldn’t stop shaking after the dip. It took me almost an hour to come to my normal senses – it really shook out the life within me! After hearing all the stories of the ET beings at Manasarovar from Sadhguru, I was left wondering about my place on this Earth. I so desperately was hoping that at least an iota of perception should enter me!
Now the last frontier was approaching — Kailash and we were keeping our fingers crossed about the weather etc. If it had rained heavily, the trek would have become at least twice as difficult if not more, but we were fortunate to have clear weather throughout. I was assigned to the front team, to lead the trek, though within myself I wasn’t even sure if I could complete the trek! Sadhguru oriented us to tread Kailash gently as we were walking on Shiva’s body and to keep the Shiva Shambho chant on throughout. I just stuck to it and to my utter surprise, the trek was effortless for me and I was one of the first to complete…I didn’t hire a porter and kept my backpack very light. In fact I didn’t even feel like stopping and even went a few miles ahead of the destination and came back again!
Sadhguru mentioned about dropping at least a part of yourself in Kailash and I just wished that I could keep my mind aside and reverberate completely with the existence. It just struck me that how could someone sit still in such a place for years together — we were all struggling just to survive for a few hours! Surely they must be no ordinary beings and that’s why they are venerated even after so many millennia. Whatever I thought about myself – everything was shattered and torn apart in Kailash. I felt so hopelessly handicapped, all my limitations just danced around me and made me realize what a frail being I was. At times, I felt desperate about the self-imposed trap that I was in and longed to break free. I just stared and stared at the mountain – Kailash completely stood apart from the rest of the mountains , while at the same time being a part of them and I was left gasping in awe. Kailash was one of those moments when I so desperately longed to break free and was left tearing at myself trying to find a way and begging for freedom.
After Kailash, I didn’t feel like speaking much at all. I just tried to keep a distance and observe myself and people around me. It struck me that most of the chatter didn’t have any meaning at all, most of the time people were only trying to distract themselves by talking about something or somebody. If it wasn’t for all the entertainment, everyone would be terribly bored. Sadhguru mentioned about either being nice to everyone around or being nasty to everyone around but not being in the middle — liking or disliking someone and getting lost. I tried to implement this and realized that how many times, I’m just creating so many opinions about people that stop me from experiencing them as they are. I suddenly stopped having any expectations from people and just accepting them the way they are.
In all, this Yatra completely tore me apart – exposing all my limitations and made me realize so starkly about my place in the existence and that i have many many miles to go before I sleep! I only wish and pray that I use this vulnerability as a stepping stone to intensify my longing and develop the capability to break free.
My Yatra may have culminated but the journey has not — it feels like Kailash is slowly unfolding within me and pushing me to grow. I don’t know if I can rise as high as Kailash but at least I have something to work towards this lifetime.