With Barfani Baba.., the author fulfills her long awaited dream to make the pilgrimage to the Amarnath Cave, to pray at the shirne if the ice Shivling . This book is the day-to –day chronicle of this Yatra. The book also contains pictures/ photographs of the arduous journey and is expected to be of great use to lakhs of pilgrims who throng Amrnath every year for a visit.
Aabha Vastsa is a teacher turned devotee. With this book, she debuts as an author with aspirations to come back with more stories of travel, spirituality and life.
As I start typing the manuscript of my first ever book, a Spiritual Traavcelogue, I can’t help but wonder at he mysteries that time holds in its folds. A b blogger for two years, I never planned to take up writing, even though I loved literature in spite of being primarily a science student.
Ever since I took up blogging, the writing scene strengthened from one post to the next and somewhere at the back of my mind was the prospect of writing a book and getting it published.
Did I plan a Spiritual Travelogue? No. But the seeds were already planted. By the sanskaars given to me by my parents, especially my father, who has a philosophical bent of mind. And when the timing was right, those seeds sprouted in the form of a desire to visit Amarnath and chronicle my experiences in the form of a book.
I grew up in a middle class Hindu family which follows the Sanatam Dharma way of life. So the concept of God, prayers, rituals, mythology, fasting, satsang was part of my growing up years in Allahabad.
I distinctly remember one incident form childhood. One day my father narrated to me the story of Shravan Kumar. Children love stories and I listened to him in rapt attention.
The story went like this:
Shravan Kumar belonged to the time when King Dashratha ruled Ayodhya. He was born to a Vaishnava Btahmin father Shamtanav and a Vaishnav Shudra mother Gyanvati.
One day his parents told him that they had become quite aged. They, therefore, wanted him to take them to the forty places of pilgrimage. It is a typical Hindu belief that a pilgrimage to the various shrines and holy places undertaken in old age purifies the soul.
In those a days, transportation was scarce and Shravan Kumar could not afford it. He, therefore, decided to place his parents in two baskets and carry the baskets on h is shoulder to the various places of pilgrimage. He took a strong bamboo stick, at its two ends he tied the two baskets with strong ropes, and placed his father in one of the basket and his mother in the other. Carrying on his shoulder this bamboo stick with a basket at each end, Shravan stated on the pilgrimage.
According to the story in Ramayana, while hunting in the forest of Ayodhya, Kind Dashratha heard a sound near a lake and unleashed an arrow, hoping to hit an animal. When he crossed the lake to collect his kill, he found rhat his arrow had struck a boy who was bleeding.
At this point, Dad sung a couplet:
Zaalim maine tera kaya bigada
Teer tune jo seene main mara
As I heard these words, tears rolled down my eyes. I was always sensitive child.
The story continued:
The boy, Shravan Kumar, told Dashratha that he had come to the lake to collect water for his sick and aged parents, who were both blind and who he had been carrying on a sling. He requested the king to take the water to his parents. After telling his tale, Shravan succumbed to his wounds and when the king took water for his parents and told them of his tragic mistake, they were unable to bear the shock.
They was my first awareness of a teerath or pilgrimage.
The second came from the memory of my mother was married . I have memories of her as a gusty strong woman who lived her life on her own terms, her head held high.
I have fond memories of spending summer holidays in Phagwara where she lived. The fact that I was born in Phagwara in her home and not in a hospital is the reason I have special attachment to that home, he and Phagwara.
Like any devout Hindu, she had a Guru a female one. This Guru decided to take all her female one. This Guru decided to take all her female devotees on a 40 city pilgrimage via train. It was when she touched Allahabad and visited our home during the pilgrimage that I had the second awareness of relevance of a pilgrimage.
Hence, it is little wonder that I am dedicating this book to both her and my parents.
Right behind my home, in my neighborhood, is a Shiv Shakti temple, which also doubles as a satsang venue and a meeting place for neighbors.
For several years, I would see a banner of Amarnath Yatra displayed on the front gate of the temple. This year, I had a strong urge to visit Amarnath. This is how this book happened.
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