Continuation to the previous post: Siddha Bhoomi - 4
We then met Mohan Swamiji and spent some time there. He offered us tea and biscuits. He is a very quiet person and will not speak until one asks him something. Few years back i stayed with him for a two days and had a glimpse of what He is, who lived alone with just a single piece of clothing around his body in all the seasons i met him. With a wide knowledge in herbal medicine, he grows them in his farms for the many who come to him for cures. He was the one to instill the advaita touches on me. (read)
|a cobra seen in Anand Ashram|
We got up early at 5 a.m. and all then got ready by 7 a.m. and left in two vehicles. We insisted Vijayanand Swamiji for the trip and he said then we could go first to a new location Revanna Siddheswar Kolla in Ramdurg. On the way, we stopped at Bassappa Annigeri's (devotee of Baba Nityananda) house at Sirsangi, where we all had breakfast and he too joined us for the trip. His heavy wooden house is 300 years old and there were young cattle tied up in the house. The kids had a good time with them. Then, we left towards the hills. The mountains here are stony and have many cave enclosure here where many Siddhas had done their penance. The extraordinary thing about this place and the surrounding place is that these are all rocky mountains and yet within an enclosure there are Banyan tree roots from which drip fresh water that collects into a pool. This spot is considered sacred. After spending some time here, we left towards Suriban.
We reached Sabari Kolla (Pool of Sabari) where there is a temple of Lord Rama and a huge temple dedicated to Sabari Maa and it is believe it is here that the tribal lady Sabari who waited for Lord Rama for years with her unflinching devotion to Lord Rama and offered fruits to Rama after she first bit and tasted them, which Rama ate happily, and she was given liberation after she entered fire, as goes the mythology. This old temple looks and "smells" very, very ancient that can known by the way this stone temple was constructed. On the left is the idol of Shabari devi. A little ahead of this temple is the temple of Lord Rama.
Behind the temple there is a pathway that leads through green trees and a cool crystal clear water flowing over white pebbles. The path goes besides a stony mountain and leads to a waterfall. Swamiji told us that we could meditate in this place and we spent a good deal of time here.
|@ the forest of Shabari Kolla|
|@ the forest of Shabari Kolla|
Some sat besides the stream, some under trees, some on the rocks, some with their legs immersed in the cool pool and some on the pebbles in the middle of the pool amidst the tranquility of this place. The sound of the water falling and the water flowing down the flat surfaces and surrounded by nothing but green trees and rocky mountains was just enthralling. It is a great place to do sadhana. One does not feel like leaving this place, but we had to move.
Everyone wanted to spend more time here. There was a visible cave above the rocky hill and we all were eager to go there but the climb was difficult. It was here in this cave that a Siddha meditated and we were told that milk flows in this cave. i could not be able to get more details about this cave but it was very, very luring.
This place was a very quite place surrounded completely by nature. i am sure this is an ideal place to mediate or even just be around. We then walked back and visited the temple of Lord Rama. In this temple hung the photos of two Siddhas who had done penance in this area.
We then moved a kilometer down to a place in Hampiholle where Lord Dattatreya padukkas were kept. These were believed to be Lord's padukas and also the place was the tapas place of a Siddha who took Samadhi there. We spent some time in this place. Though there was a marriage going on close by, its loud music failed to disturb the peaceful vibes. It's a wonder how powerful places like these can be ignored in today's world.
We then drove another kilometer and reached an ashram of a Siddha, Swami Shivananda, whose caves were high up in a closely rocky mountain. He was said to be in penance there for many years at a stretch and it is said that his back was "glued" to the stony rocks in there.
Besides the ashram was the samadhi of the Siddha's wife and son Swami Atmananda who were also great tapasvis. This Samadhi place was a remote location but had good vibes. Swamiji asked for the keys and we were allowed to sit besides the Samadhis of both mother and son and meditate. We were told that Swamiji used to sit here and only read scriptures and people with problems of possession would gather here and automatically there would be major releases happening in his strong aura. Even today, it is told that people gather here on certain days of the week and get relieved from negative energies. This place is sure a powerful one.
We then left towards Saundatti and had our lunch in a small town. From there, we left towards Kalikamba Temple (read previous article on this location). Here is where Swamiji has land on this divine hill which he plans to make it as 'Tapovan' as a tapas place for meditators. After visiting the Kalikamba temple we moved towards the rocky hill. We have come here a couple of times before but never knew there was a cave in here. Swamiji took us up this place which seemed to be like a mosque. When we neared it, i realized it was a mosque!
In this mosque meditated a Siddha, Peer Saab, as he was called. We were asked to go in and i was just pleasantly surprised to see this very, very rare sight! Inside the mosque was the Siddha's paduka and photos and flowers that were worshiped. Even more surprising was to see a man who read holy scriptures from Muslim sacred books and offered us sugar as 'prasad'. The caretaker of this place gently patted on people's head with the peacock feathers (as a blessing and to ward off evil). The Siddha had done many miracles here including burning lamps from water drawn from the close by well that is well preserved even today. Also, there is another spot where the Siddha had dug into rocks and created a pool that even today had clear waters in this rocky hills. My heart could not stop smiling and blushing over this amazing merge of two religions. How wonderful if such wonders work among every sacred place where all are worshiped or prayed to under one roof. i often dream of such a place and today i get to see one!
Thanking the person who was taking care of this place with such devotion, we left towards Saundatti for the Renuka Yallamma Temple (mother of Lord Parashuram) There is a very good and strong connection between Ganeshpuri and these places here. Last week we were in Vajreshwari temple which is the abode of three Goddesses - Vajreshwari Maa, Renuka Maa and Kalikamba Maa. (read previous article on Ganeshpuri, Mandakini Mountain and Vajreshwari) Connection because Mandakini Mountain near Vajreshwari is the original place of Vajreshwari Maa and the original place of Renuka Maa is Saudatti where we were heading to now. The original place of Kalikamba Maa is Sirsangi, the place we just visited near this mosque and were leaving. After about 40 minutes we reached this divine place of Maa Renuka and Lord Parashuram. (read previous article on this location).
|A man selling luminous toys at Saundatti|
We spent some good time here and after darshan of the powerful idol of Maa Renuka, we left back towards the ashram. We had one more place to go but since it was late, we postponed it to the next day. We reached ashram at 9 p.m. After dinner, we sat talking until midnight and then fell asleep in the rooms and we guys in the Nityananda Dhyan Temple.
Next, morning i awoke with the sound of "OM" and after looking around saw that it was 4 a.m. and it was Shubham next to me who was uttering it in deep sleep but yet in perfect harmony. It went on for about 5 minutes. Being very surprised with this, i couldn't sleep after that. Shubham had a croaking voice and it was sure that he would not be allowed to have bath in the falls that we were supposed to visit today in Sogal. The two little ones were constantly behind me since the previous day as they wanted to have bath in this healing waters and also wanted to visit the holy caves at Sogal. Finally, this morning Shubham is a bit worried about his throat problem fearing he would not be allowed into the waters. He hides it in all possible ways :) After the morning arati, we sat down and Swamiji asked us to sing bhajans. We sang many of bhajans and Swamiji played the harmonium. He seemed to love the song "Shree Krishna Chaitanya Prabhu Nityananda". Then, we sang the Mahishasurmardini and left for breakfast. Soon, we were off towards Sogal along with Swamiji.
|the children ;)|
|the children :)|
Before reaching Sogal we make a stop at the Nityananda Ashram at Mullur where Swamiji had lived two years. This time we were welcomed by two little rabbits and after spending some time with them, we went inside. Swamiji had brought some garlands which he was seen to put lovingly around Bade Baba. This place was one of his crucial places where he had spent his life and it was from here his life started taking a new turn.
Swamiji often told us stories about this place and the difficulties of those times, especially when he used to meditate in the caves and areas around Sogal and the kind of tests he underwent with his guru (places where we were to proceed now to). After meditating for some time here in front of Bade Baba's photo and then on Swamiji's request (he likes this song a lot) we sung the "Shree Krishna Chaitanya Prabhu Nityananda" and ended it by "Jai Jai Arati Nityananda".
Then, we moved towards Sogal. We visited the Chikka Someshwara caves near Sogal, which was the place of tapas for many Siddhas. This place was later also used by many for desire of Siddhis. (read previous article on this location) This is a natural cave and natural water drips over the Shivalinga. We spent some time here and the waters beside this cave before heading towards Sogal Somnath. Reaching there in 15 minutes, we parked our vehicles we walked up the stony steps. (read previous article on this location) We had some light snacks at a hotel here. By now, the boys were pestering me continuously as the only thing they wanted was to enter the waters and the caves. There is a Veerabhadraswamy temple on one side of the hill, which is the first time we visited. This is a very, very ancient cave.
|Not an idol :) that's one of us|
|At last... in there!|
Then moving through all the ancient temples we reached the waters where the Shubham and Pushkar did not lose any second to rip off their clothes and go under that fall. Surprisingly, Shubham's hoarse throat was fully alright by now. As they enjoyed their bit, many of us entered into the waters. This water is known for its healing powers for skin ailments. Swamiji had arranged food for us here at the guest place of the trustees and we all move to the room where the little boys demonstrated to me their hatta yoga skills :) Then, we had a nice satvik lunch and sat to rest for a while. Then, we visited Sogal Ajja's Samadhi whose caves and home was a few steps above this samadhi. Sogal Ajja is one of Swami Vijayananda's guru. Swami Vijayananda has spent a number of years in these caves and locations around serving his guru. (read about Sogal Ajja in the previous article).
We moved further up the hill towards Maatananda Swamiji's Jeeva Samadhi. As everyone sat near the Samadhi, Swamiji asked me to check if Mohan Swami was in his hut, which is about 100 meters from this Samadhi. Mohan Swami was the first ever yogi i came across about four years back and had the privilege to live with him for few days. (read previous article on Mohan Swami) i walked to his hut and knocked and was happy to know he was there. Before meeting Mohan Swami we paid our respects to two other Jeeva Samadhis of the disciples of Maatanand Swami. Another interesting fact is that Maatanand Swami is the Guru of Siddha Shridharananda Swamiji whose Samadhi we had visited the day before the previous day (read). Siddha Shridharananda's guru was Shivanand Paramahamsa of Siddhashram, Vadagara, Kerala.
|View of Maathanand Swami's Samadhi|
Mohan Swami was from Siddhashram, trained under the disciplines of hatta yoga of Shivanand Paramahamsa. More to it is that Shivanand Paramahamsa's Samadhi is in Vadagara, close to the place where we previously met the two living avadhoots - Amma and Achar Baba (read)
We then we took leave of him as we had to also spend some time in Sogal Ajja's caves. We then went straight there into the caves. The kids were very enthusiastic in exploring them and we all sat down for sadhana in Sogal Ajja's main cave. After meditating, we left back to vehicles and were on our way back to the ashram. After reaching the ashram, we put our bags into the vehicles and along with Swamiji went to the ancient Mallikarjuna Temple, a few hundred meters from the ashram, that was the only place left to visit. This temple is said to be established by Sumedha Rishi (Lord Parashuram's disciple) near which there is a samadhi but but almost no evidence of a samadhi. After this, we all headed back to the ashram and all left back to their respective homes. Gratitude to the Guru and all Holy Siddhas and Vijayanand Swamiji and all fellow travelers on the path... Namo Namah.
|The evening sun at Anand Ashram, Bevinkoppa|
The next weekend was also a visit to Kanhangad visit and the pictures and videos are also covered in the below video.
Video clips of visits to sacred locations in North Karnataka and Kerala