Blessed to have a 3-day visit to Kanhangad, Kerala, with 6 other seekers from July 2 to July 4, 2010. It was a divine trip.
Since then, I had this longing to go to Kanhangad, where Bade Baba had spent a considerable amount of time doing his sadhana. Almost a year passed and I suddenly began having the craving to go to this place. I was getting stuck somewhere in my sadhana and I constantly remembered Bade Baba. While I was in the peak thoughts of Bade Baba regularly for a few days and thinking about Kanhangad, I suddenly received a mail from a stranger (who is no more a stranger:) Arjun) He is a seeker from Mangalore and he wrote - "I do not know why I am writing to you, but I felt strongly to do so after reading your blogs. We are a group of seekers planning to go to Kanhangad. Would you be interested to join us?" My heart knew no joy of this synchronicity and soon I was talking to Arjun and planning for the dates. I thank all the dear seekers who arranged it to the dates I wished to have to adjust my work routines.
I was soon in a bus to Mangalore. In the journey I thought to myself how I longed to go there and how I did not know how to go there since I have never been there before. I was always waiting for company and here I get it all. As soon as I arrive, I call up Arjun not to come to pick me (he was supposed to) and that I would directly take an auto to Vishwanath Uncle's house. This is where I was supposed to freshen up after I arrive there. I had never met this gentleman before and I was very very surprised to see him at the gates welcoming the auto right into his house. From the moment I got down I was receiving his unconditional love that emitted in all his actions and trials from trying to pick up my luggage to trying to pay the auto bills. He is a well-do-do businessman but yet such simplicity and humility! He took me right to his room and insisted that I take his room only and made me very comfortable excitedly running around the room and making quick arrangements. I had forgotten my towel and asked Uncle if I could buy one and if the shops around were open. He immediately brought me a dozen towels from nowhere and I picked one. I thought he must be around 55 to 60 years old but later I learnt he is 72! He does regular pranayam and his family is devoted to Swami Shivananda Paramahamsa from Kerala and also Baba Nityananda and Baba Shivananda Avadhoot.
Soon, I freshened up and all other seekers from Mangalore were there in the room. We chatted for a while Uncle and Aunty lovingly filled "us " with 5 chapathis each, coconut water, bananas and tea. Yeah, I know what you are thinking... :) There was only love in every action of his. The family is a blessed one and even his pet dog - Taquila (I know it's an unique name ;) but she was really intoxicated with so much of love and met everyone we all knew each other since ages. So, the 7 seekers were Uncle Vishwanath (72), Uncle Gangadhar (71), Uncle Yogesh (in 50's), Arjun (25), Jay Prakash (28), Abhay (20) and myself (x) ...lol.. ok... 35...
We set out soon on the Kerala highway to Kannur in Uncle's car and soon we were speeding across God's own paradise - Kerala. After a 2-hour drive we reached Kanhangad. TOn the left is the image of the huge rock over which is the temple of Bhagawan Nitayananda. The huge rock has 46 caves that was carved out of that one single rock by Bade Baba. Bade Baba planned and designed every bit of this masterpiece by himself without any instruments or blueprints. The huge rock has 3 entrances in the east and 3 in the west that prevents total darkness in the caves from morning to evening. Baba even symbolized this to be the brain and it's six passages. Baba paid workers enough wages to carry out the work from mysterious sources that failed to answer questioning minds including Mr. Gawne, the British tax officer.
Uncle Vishwanath had already got the rooms booked for us. After a quick change we went into the caves and explored it all with our cell torches. Though the caves were plastered well, it did give a natural sense of a cave. We spent some time searching for a cave according to one's preference. Each cave was big enough to fit in a person and some caves were hollow that could fit in many people at a time. We meditated here often every day and it was the best place to meditate far from the noises and monotonous tasks of everyday world. Honestly, the caves were dark in many places and gave a eerie look since we were never habituated to a cave, but as soon as one closed his eyes and was absorbed within nothing mattered. What you see in the photograph is well-lit but the caves are very lowly lit with natural light and also are now equipped with electric lights for conveyance. I later found bats flying in these caves one morning but knew that they never harmed anyone.
One can easily connect here with absolute disappearance of thoughts. Bade baba had spent more than 25 years in this place and had predicted that a day will come when sages will come here for their sadhana before the Golden Yuga. It is said that one is blessed to meditate in these holy caves. The radiations of Baba's divine presence is still here with so much of peace and serenity. The first whole day we spent in meditating in the caves, attending pooja in Swami Janananda samadhi mandir, Swami Nityananda Samadhi mandir, moving around in the vicinity of the ashram, meeting other babas, resting, chatting and discussing spiritual things and experiences in our rooms. The most blissful places I found in the ashram was the samadhi mandir on top of the caves and also the beautiful place in front of this mandir which carried sooooooooooo much of divine energy. One could stay absorbed forever in this place. Just opposite to the mandir was a flat surface perched up above the rocks where one could sit overlooking the railway track and open fields with water filled in it. Frogs croaked and birds chirped around in the fields there. I often sat and looked at the trains passing feeling the love of Baba, the love he had for trains. He often took examples of trains to explain the prana and sushumna. He cited many examples with trains to make things clear. I went into flashback of how things would have looked to Baba in those days, visualizing the steam engine passing by on a broad gauge and jungle everywhere around. There were so many things that reminded me about Baba's touch on the things that he made with his own hands there.
You can see the exact angle and view that I am mentioning about in this video.
The kitchen where Annaprasadam (food) was served also seemed to show Baba's grace in the food. Though the food was simple with simple rice and sambar with pickles, it tasted real good and one ate more than usual. Sometimes food was followed with payasam (Kheer made of milk and wheat or rice) Mornings we had idlis and sambar with tea. Everytime I went to wash my plate and glass at the tap outside, the railway track caught my attention and all those areas vibrated with Baba's presence. A sevak by name Sadananda who lived there since Baba was there and was now old, often shared his experiences with Baba and told stories about how he stopped trains . He narrated one incident where Baba wanted to go somewhere in train immediately though the railway station is about two kilometers from the ashram. To everyone's surprise the train stopped next to the ashram for some reason and Baba quietly walked and alighted the train. There are countless stories of Baba's leelas that I cannot mention here due to huge space and time it would require.
The next day we plan to go to Guruvan, a few kilometers from here. This is the place where Baba was found as a child. Baba came back here and in his early years and did penance in this dense jungle in the cave. A swami guided us to the fresh water that flowed as a stream known as "Paapanashini Ganga" where seekers take holy bath. This stream of water was created by Baba as there was no water in this area. He struck a rock and there was a gush of water and ever this this stream has been flowing there. Everything around was thick and tall trees. The photo above is the small entrance of the cave where Baba did penance and the one below shows the immediate opening of the cave.
The swami explained to us that this cave has a wide entrance but it narrowed down to a narrow entrance into the real abode of the place of so many siddhas. We went into the low-lying cave and found it was filled with water and we could move only a few meters. One could wonder how one can enter beyond through such a small passage. The swami told us that there are siddhas even today who are in deep penance in these caves and it is inaccessible by the common man. I was aware by the teachings of our Shivanand Baba that such saints are in dimensions higher than us and are vibrating at such high frequency that they are invisible to our 3D eyes. I was constantly aware that we might be passing right through them or they might be passing right through us.
Nityananda Baba had mentioned earlier that many siddhas had earlier come to live in guruvan and had taken mahasamadhi there. So, he created a circle of eight stone lingas symbolizing the ashta siddhis. I am just awed at the precision at anything that Bade Baba did, that too in the middle of nowhere, in total wilderness. It very aptly signifies the power that he held within him for creating anything out of creation itself and from the extraordinary experiences he gives to seekers to solidify their faith in the the divine and the powers lying within human beings. Baba always used to mention that it is God who does everything and it is his wish.
We then came back, had food and rested for a while in our rooms, often spending time in cheer and laughter. Then in the evening, we all left to have some evening snacks in a veg hotel in the city. On the way back Uncle Vishwanath asked if we would like to go to the Anand ashram and on our interest steered towards it.
I had never heard about this ashram but it is a famous ashram of Swami Ramdas who was lovingly called as Papa and his disciple Mother Krishnabai. As we entered we heard divine songs of Ayappa sung by devotees. It was a very pleasant atmosphere as we entered where Papa stayed before his samadhi. We were greeted by an elder seeker who took us into the place where Papa's remains were in the room inside the green door and explained briefly about Papa and mother.
Here are the words of Papa, "God is ever the friend and protector of his devotees for the self-realisation. First of all what is needed is an intense and fiery aspiration to realise the self. Next comes the contact of a saint to initiate you on the path and implicit faith in the teachings and guidance of the Guru, followed by earnest and intense Sadhana. When you have intense aspiration, God will see to it that you are taken to a saint who will thereafter guide you. Till then, pray to the Lord for such a contact, keep chanting the holy name of God as much as possible ,any name that appeals to you. Read the lives and writings of saints regularly."
We then came back and sat for sometime and joined in the singing. I must say the place was very vibrating high and very peaceful. I felt like spending more time there but then we had to leave. We then took leave of the person and left the home as the divine singing and chorus with music continued to creep out of the hall giving us company till we reached for our car.
Then we returned back to our rooms, had food and spent some time in our rooms doing japa and healing and then chatted spiritual things till sleep.
Next morning, the morning of Sunday 4th July, was the last day of our stay and we got ready and meditated for sometime in the caves, then at noon attended the pooja at the Nityananda samadhi temple and had food. We had planned to leave early after lunch as we planned of visiting a few other places before we reached Mangalore.
Finally, all packed and set, I met few of them and thanked them, had a final glimpse of all the places and sending out love to Bade Baba, we all left at 2 pm. We drove to Kasargod and stopped at the Bekkal Beach for some detoxification :) We spent some time in the salty waters of the Indian Occean allowing mother nature to pull away the negativity through our feet. While doing so we saw the Bekal fort, which can be seen in the beach photo and decided to go there. Hardly a kilometer from here, we drove to the fort that spread over 40 acres which was more than 300 years old and built by Ikkeri Dynasty, which was later occupried by Hyder Ali and Tippu Sultan.
This fort was built for defense purposes, monitoring and observing the enemies, and storing ammunition. It has many underground passages and an observation tower in the center of the fort that gives a magnificent all round view around the fort. The viewsfrom any point around the fort was breathtaking. I wondered about the activities in the fort during the days it was occupied.
From here, we then move towards Ananthapura, the place is well known for the temple of Lord Anantha Padmanabha. There are two specialties of this place - one, the idols of Lord Anantha Padmanabha, Goddesses Sridevi & Bhudevi . The main eye raising fact about these idols are that they are not made of stone/wood/metal, but are made of a mixture of more than 60 extracts from herbs/plants & other natural materials. The temple is built in the middle of a small pond & there is no external source of water to the pond except rain.
Moreover the main attraction to this place is of the fact that there is a mysterious crocodile here 68 years old. It is said that a crocodile was shot by a British and soon after emerged another crocodile out of nowhere and is still alive there. This mysterious crocodile does not harm anyone and is a pure vegetarian. It does not harm even the frogs and fishes in the water and only feeds on the prasad given by the priests. Even on the other side it is said to bask near the edge of the water while cattle and other animals fearlessly drink water. The belief is that if the crocodile gives darshan to seekers their wishes are fulfilled. This story seemed very exciting to me and I looked forward to go here. When we went in the temple caretakers explained everything to us and told us that it was mandatory as per tradition for men to go in the Shakti temple topless. I refused to believe this in my mind but then if I had to go in I had to take it that way and I did not want to miss going into the temple of Maa. Soon I joined others in that ritualistic way and had darshan. I must say that the vibes were very powerful and gentle. I just could not take off my eyes from the idols of Lord Anantha Padmanabha, Goddesses Sridevi and Bhudevi. Though my knowledge about them remains poor, I felt very strong connection to them and thus prayed and contemplated for a while there.
Then, we were told by the priests that the crocodile had just left from around the temple and gone to the other side. He called out to the crocodile many times "Babiya, babiya..." there was no response. Finally, he told us that he could see its tail and it is resting with it's head on the other side and that a glimpse may be possible from the other side for which we had to walk around the whole place to reach another side where the water was stagnant. (pic on the right). We went there and the priest joined us and made all effort to call Babiya out but it never showed any signs. Finally, the priest spotted it lying low on the ground in the waters and we all went into the water with the priest standing very close to it and calling it. It could be seen in the bottom and strangely there was no fear at all being there. Suddenly, Gangadhar uncle suggested me to give Sanjeevani to it and without thinking even an extra thought I immediately invoked Sanjeevani and sent love to the crocodile. Surprisingly in a few minutes the priest exclaimed it to come up. We all, standing in the waters very close to Babiya had a glimpse of Babiya's two eyes that fixed itself on us and it remained there for sometime. The photo you see below here of the crocodile is not the one we took but what I got from the internet of the same crocodile in the same place, since we could not capture any snaps.
But before Uncle Gangadhar could see it, it went down and again the priest tried to call it but in vain. Then, the priest went away asking us to come later and try. Again, all of us thought we should send Sanjeevani and we all sat on the rocks and sent Sanjeevani to it for 5 minutes or so. I tried searching for it in the same place and suddenly I saw it emerge up and excitedly called Uncle to come over. This time he had a clear view while it looked at us with large eyes and its visible snout, and after a few moments, it sank down. Even when I write this I feel so much of love for Babiya. Today, morning also in sadhana I was remembering it. I do not know anything much in logic about this crocodile or this place but I know for sure there is something very mysterious in here.
I could not understand much about the other small temples around that remained closed named as "Mashisurmardini" but we bowed to it all. Thanking the very courteous priests and caretakers here we left the place recollecting the unconditional love that flowed from the caretakers here with no trace of arrogance or ego at all. I thought to myself it could certainly be the high energies that they are surrounded with.
We reached Mangalore at about 8:30 p.m. and bid goodbye as one by one each reached their home. Finally, came to Uncle Vishwanath's house where I freshened up and got ready to catch my bus back to Belgaum. We played a while with the lovely dog at Uncle's place and bid everyone goodbye. Uncle dropped me at the private bus stand where I was able to get a seat in the same bus that I had come to Mangalore in Ganesh Travels. Uncle went ahead to drop Abhay to his home and I got into the bus recollecting every moment of the wonderful trip. I thank Uncle Vishwanath for being so courteous and loving to all of us and giving us a great "treat"! Sorry Uncle for not getting an opportunity to hug you :)
A big thank you to Bade Baba and all beautiful souls.
Om Namo Bhagavate Nityanandaya
Here is a special recreated aarti for Bade Baba.