The Glory of Badrinath - 3

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<p>Vol. II No. 14</p> <p>Date: July 15th 2012</p> <p>THE GLORY OF BADRIKASHRAMA - 3</p> <p>One of the holiest places on the planet, Satopanth Sarovar (Lake), Badrikashrama</p> <p>Published By: SUDDHA SANATANA DHARMA SEVA SAMSTHA, Hyderabad, India.(This Magazine is for free circulation and not for sale)</p> <p>E-Mail: Ph.No.: +919866445800 -0-</p> <p>In this installment of knowing about Badrinath, we now reach Satopanth, also known as Satyapath. Reaching this place and performing worship and meditation is the dream of most who know the glory of this sacred place.</p> <p>on every Ekadasi day. It is said that even Lord Brahma won't be able to spell the benefits of doing the Penance, Japa, Worship, etc at this place. Soma-Kunda Teertha:Now let's move further ahead of this Satopanth Teertha. Next comes Soma-Kunda where Moon god had performed his Penance.</p> <p>Those who want to reach the ultimate Truth should see this place without fail and perform worship here. This is an absolutely 'out of the world' beautiful place which has a triangular shaped pond with crystal clear bluish-green water which is very auspicious and very picturesque. But this journey is possible only for very bold and courageous persons. There are a few caves nearby this place where the visitors stay for the day. Here nothing is available except rocks, water and ice. Everything else needs to be taken from Badarinath. Hence most people return immediately or after a day. One or two sadhus are said to stay in a cave around the year surviving only on wet wheat and raw potatoes. In Skanda Purana it is mentioned that on every Ekadasi day Lord Vishnu comes here to take his bath here followed by rest of the gods. One tradition says that Trimurtis i.e. Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma take their bath here-1-</p> <p>Moon god, brother of Goddess Lakshmi To reach this place one has to walk on a razors edge of the very high mountains. If one is little bit careless one is sure to reach heaven instantly. Once upon a time having heard the praise of heavenly pleasures Moon god asked his father Atri Maharshi to tell him a way of becoming the king of Planets, Stars and Herbs and also of Brahmins and of enjoying the heavenly pleasures thereby. His father advised him to do Penance for his wish to be fulfilled.</p> <p>And upon the suggestion of Bhagawan Narada Maharshi he went to the place now called SomaKunda and performed the Penance initially for 11000 years but when Lord Narayana who appeared refused to grant him his boon saying that he is asking too much and advices him to ask for something else, refusing the offer he again did his Penance for 30000 years and again for 40000 years. Lord Narayana was now pleased and granted him the boon he asked for.</p> <p>Surya Kund near Satopanth Lake</p> <p>Chandra Kund near Satopanth LakeIt is said that one who baths in this Soma-Kund get cleansed of the sins committed by thoughts, words and deeds. But in this Kund the water keeps swelling and drying up depending upon the waxing and waning of the moon. Soorya-Kunda Teertha:To reach this place that is further than SomaTeertha one had to walk upon the ice with water rushing under the hardened ice. It is said that one can hear the flow of water underneath the ice. Soorya-Kund is a small pond almost like ice. Here one can see the two gigantic Divine Mountains Nara and Narayana both meet and form as an impenetrable guardian wall of a very big Fort. Now, one has to turn around and walk along Nara Mountain on the return journey. It is said that Pandavas had crossed these Fort-wall like mountains and carried on their journey and stepped onto the Divine Meru mountain and went to heaven. But we being normal humans we need to return from here.-2-</p> <p>As we walk along the Nara Mountain we come across a big cave in which we can stay for the night. It is said to be very big and a full protection from rain and ice. Here the wood that is available burns even when it is wet. And the water flows from inside the cave itself. If one has the food items one can stay here all around the year. Some sadhus say that after killing Ravana Lord Sri Rama came here and did his Penance in this cave. Hence we can call this Sri Ram Gufa. In the morning once we start our journey listening to the water of river Alakananda flowing underneath our feet below the ice upon which we are walking, we see a Shiv-ling shaped mountain peak over which river Bhagirathi comes and joins the water of Alakananda that were until then flowing under the ice. This is the place where we can see for the first time the waters of river Alakananda.</p> <p>As we proceed further we see a very high mountain peak known as Alakapuri. It is said to be the dwelling place of Yaksha and Gandharvas. A very fast flow of water comes from this mountain and it is said to be the principal flow of Alakananda River.</p> <p>It is said that the gods named 8 Vasus heard Bhagawan Narada Maharshi praising Badari Kshetra (Area) and they did their Penance here for 30000 years and Lord Narayana gave them the boon of devotion. And from that time onwards these waterfalls are washing off the sins of the pilgrims. It is said that those who bath in these waterfalls and drink its waters gets a lot of prosperity and attain to the supreme goal after their death.</p> <p>Alakapuri, the Capital of Kubera, Lord of As we proceed along the Nara Mountain we witness as if a rain of pearls in the firm of waters falling from very high mountain and getting deflected by heavy breeze and getting dispelled everywhere and falling to the ground in the form of pearly rain. This is called Vasu-Dhara. It is said that this water will not fall upon the sinners and evil persons. And moreover not everyone will dare to bath under these waters that fall from such a height.</p> <p>Bhim-Shila, across river SaraswatiNow lets carry on our journey along Nara Mountain. As we proceed on our journey we come to the place where river Saraswati pours onto the valley from the top of a mountain from the side of Tibet with awesome force that it has made deep holes inside the rocks upon which it falls. The water is crystal clear and the sight is very beautiful to look at. After hitting the ground making a very loud roaring sound it rushes from under the stone bridge known as Bhim-Shila to merge with river Alakananda. It is said that while going to Swargarohini Parvat or The Mountain Pass to Heaven, Pandavas and their wife Droupadi passed through this route and to enable his brothers and wife to cross this furious river Saraswati, Bheemsen placed a very huge rock across this river and enabled them to crossover. This is called Bhim-Shila. And it is said that until Dharma or Righteousness is there on this earth this stone bridge would survive.</p> <p>Vasu-Dhara, the place 8 Vasus performed penance</p> <p>-3-</p> <p>The confluence of Saraswati and Alakananda rivers is called Keshav Prayag. In front of this as we move towards Badarinath after crossing the bridge, on our left we find Vyasa Gufa or Vyasa's Cave. It is said that he wrote Puranas etc sitting in this cave. But his dwelling place is described as being elsewhere. I guess only the advanced Sadhakas or Rishis themselves know the real secrets about these holy places.</p> <p>Saraswati river at BadrinathAs we cross this bridge on the left side 2 water springs come bursting out of the stone. One who drinks the waters of these is said to be cleansed of all his sins and this sacred spot is hence called Man-soadh-bhodh Teertha.</p> <p>Vyasa Gufa or cave at BadrinathIt is said in Skanda Purana that one who sees, touches, drinks and worships river Saraswati becomes mentally sharp and that even in his family everyone intelligent and sharp. On the western bank of Saraswati river that flows only for a short distance before merging with Alakananda river. Towards Vasu-Dhara, there is the dwelling place of Veda Vyasa Maharshi known as Sambhyapras Teertha. Now no one seems to know its exact location but this is what was said in Puranas. There are two more caves one dedicated to Lord Ganesha who is credited by tradition to have written down the Epic Mahabharata as Maharshi Veda Vyasa dictated it. The other cave is towards the upper side of Vyasa Gufa.</p> <p>Ganesh Gufa at BadrinathIt is said that one king called Muchukund was ordered by Lord Krishna to go and perform Penance here for attaining purity. This story of an Asura named Kaalyavan getting burned by the very look of this King Muchukund is there in detail in Srimad Bhagawata.-4-</p> <p>Keshav Prayag, the meeting place of two holy rivers Alakananda and Saraswati</p> <p>Near this Muchukund Gufa there is a very big Ground. And river Saraswati is flows there. Across the river too there is big ground. Usually such big grounds are not found in mountains. If we course along the other side of the banks of Saraswati the way leads to Tholing Mutt from where one can go to Kailash-Maansarovar Pilgrimage. Around this big ground somewhere is said to exist the secret village of Kalapa. Here it is said that a number of Rishis and Maharishis stay even to this day and carry on their activities. It is written Bhavishya Purana that Maharishis named Devapi of Lunar Dynasty and Maru Maharshi of Solar Dynasty too stay here and would again establish the Lunar and Solar Dynasties at the beginning of Satya Yuga. It is said that they become visible to a lucky few.</p> <p>One of the four Veda Dhara on the way from Mana village to BadrinathUpon requested by Siddhas the Vedas consented to go to Brahma Loka but stay on at Badrinath in the form of waterfalls. As we approach Badarinath from Mana Village first waterfall is that of Atharvana Veda, like wise those of Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and finally Rig Veda. One who baths and drinks from these will attain enormous merit. Now as we cross these four waterfalls we see on the right the Eyes of Sheshnag, the primordial Serpent upon which Lord Vishnu sleeps, carved on the rock. After this we enter the Badripuri. This completes our circumambulation of Badrinath Temple. In the next issue we shall know about the various other sacred places in and around Badrinath and in the subsequent issues we shall also know about the importance of Badrinath and the various Spiritual Gaints who are related to this most holy place on this planet. (To be concluded)-5-</p> <p>An artists impression of secret Kalapa village of Siddhas at Badrinath,As we climb down from Kalapa Village (the above said big ground) and enter the Mana village, we come across a temple dedicated to Sri Ghanta Karna about whom we read earlier. He is the family and clan deity of the villagers of Mana. From there we enter onto a well laid down road and as we move along Nara Mountain we see in our left one after another four waterfalls known as Veda Dhara. We have earlier read how Lord Vishnu restored the Vedas stolen by Asura and gave them to Lord Brahma. After witnessing the specialty of this place the four Vedas and Lord Brahma wished to stay put at Badarinath which resulted in chaos in the universe.</p>