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Books > Hindu > Goddess > Nilkanth Varni: An Epic Pilgrimage of A Child-Yogi
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Nilkanth Varni: An Epic Pilgrimage of A Child-Yogi
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About the Book

 

The intrepid story of an ll-year-old child-yogi who single-handedly accomplished an epic pilgrimage across the length and breadth of India. His spiritual adventures reflect an amazing story of determination, fearlessness, austerity, service, faith and compassion.

 

The travels of Nilkanth Varni are briefly portrayed in a DVD called Mystic India. A similar version, Neelkanth Yatra, in large format, is shown on a giant screen at Swaminarayan Akshardham, New Delhi.

 

Preface

 

As a child, he was called Ghanshyam. As a teenager, he was known as Nilkanth Varni. And, when he launched his mission to establish Ekantik Dharma (dharma, jnan, vairagya and bhakti) in Gujarat, he was popularly hailed as Bhagwan Swaminarayan (1781-1830 CE).

 

During his childhood years in Chhapaiya and Ayodhya, Ghanshyam revealed his divinity to his parents, friends and many others.

 

As Nilkanth Varni, he renounced home and undertook a pilgrimage throughout India for seven years, travelling 12,000 km barefoot from Ayodhya in the north to Kanyakumari in the south, and then up northwards towards Gujarat. His spiritual adventures reflect an amazing story of determination, fearlessness, austerity, service and compassion. The fundamental purpose of Nilkanth Varni's travel was to liberate countless people and to revive the sanctity of our holy pilgrim places.

 

As Bhagwan Swaminarayan, he ushered in a moral and spiritual renaissance in Gujarat and resuscitated the glorious bhakti tradition.

 

Nilkanth Varni, is a translation of its original version in Gujarati, Bhagwan Swaminarayan by Shri H.T. Dave.

 

We thank the translators, Shri Varanasi Rama Murthy and Sadhu Vivekjivandas, for their effort and devotion. We sincerely appreciate Sadhu Amrutvijaydas, Sadhu Jnanpurushdas, Sadhu Shrijiswarupdas and others who have helped in reviewing and making this publication possible.

 

 

Introduction

 

This is a true story of an 11-year-old boy called Nilkanth Varni, who undertook an epic pilgrimage of India. The pilgrimage lasted 7 years, one month and 11 days, covering 12,000 km by foot. His purpose was to guide, encourage and help people realize the path of righteousness. By the time Nilkanth concluded his pilgrimage in Gujarat he was a youth of 18.

 

He began his journey with meagre possessions - the most precious object he carried with him was a Shaligram, a hand-rest, a deerskin, a kamandal and a piece of cloth to filter water. He was wearing a kanthi around his neck and was carrying a mala in his right hand. He also possessed a mini-book, which he had prepared himself, containing the essence of the Hindu shastras. Nilkanth walked barefoot wearing only a loin-cloth even in the bone-chilling snows of the Himalayas! He descended into deep valleys and ascended peaks that jutted out of unmarked territory. He plunged into roaring torrents unmindful of the horrified protests of onlookers. Fearlessness was a hallmark of this spiritual adventurer. He carried no map or chart.

 

His spiritual travels took him from Kailas-Mansarovar in the Himalayas to Rameshwar in the south, and Dwarika and Somnath in the west to Kamakshi Mandir and Gangasagar in the east. At the time of Nilkanth's spiritual travels Sanatan Dharma was facing assaults from many imposters who posed as spiritual leaders. He was dissatisfied with the ignorance and malpractices of some priests who he came across his journey. Nilkanth encountered these practitioners of black magic at several places. At Kamakshi in Assam, Pibek evoked all his tantric powers to destroy Nilkanth; but he failed and was transformed. At Jagannath Puri the chief of the fake sadhus very nearly killed him. Nilkanth's intention was to make people lead virtuous and purposeful lives according to the tenets of dharma, by freeing them from the clutches of these charlatans.

 

But what were the resources the young Brahmachari had at his command? His chief asset was his pure, supreme divinity that reflected his resplendent personality and serene face to the wide range of people he met during his pilgrimage.

 

Maharaja Ranjit Sinh, the doughty Sikh ruler who carved a niche for himself in the annals of Punjab, was impressed with Nilkanth and took his refuge on meeting him at Badrinath and Haridwar. The king and queen of Butolnagar in Nepal offered their daughters and their kingdom. The mahant of Shripur proposed that he become the head of the mandir and manage its hefty annual income. He was greatly impressed by Nilkanth's feat when he tamed a ferocious lion. The young Brahmachari declined all these offers with a smile. His mission was not to rule kingdoms, ashrams or be honoured with fame and riches.

 

He disapproved of dissolute ways even when he saw them in high places. Once he ticked off a Vaishnav Acharya at Ramanuj's birthplace. The acharya felt annoyed that one so young as Nilkanth should preach to a distinguished sadhu like himself to observe brahmacharya. He spoke angrily to Nilkanth and had him ejected from the ashram. Nilkanth left, politely saying that such ill behaviour did not suit an ascetic. Wherever he travelled Nilkanth asked five questions regarding the nature of jiva, ishwar; maya, Brahman and Parabrahman. He did not get satisfactory replies to these questions till he reached Ramanand Swami's ashram at Loj in Saurashtra (Gujarat). With Ramanand Swami away on tour in the Kutch region Muktanand Swami satisfactorily answered his questions. Nilkanth Varni was pleased and decided to stay there.

 

In the ashram, Varni disliked the free mixing of the genders and arranged separate discourses for men and women. Once, he saw a window in the wall through which fire embers were received by a sadhu from the next door neighbour's wife. Nilkanth saw this Ramanand Swami gave diksha to Nilkanth and named him as Sahajanand Swami and Narayan Muni. He often used to say that he was merely a drum-beater and that Varni was the chief player. A year later he handed over the reins of the fellowship to Sahajanand Swami, who was only 21 years old. After Ramanand Swami passed away Sahajanand Swami gave the Swaminarayan mahamantra to the congregation. Thereafter he became popularly known as Bhagwan Swaminarayan.

 

From the age of 21 to 49 he introduced a moral and spiritual renaissance with the help of, 3,000 paramhansas and sadhus, who themselves observed a strict moral code of conduct, namely, nishkam (celibacy), nirlobb (non-greed), nisswad (non-taste), nissneb (detachment) and nirman (humility). Bhagwan Swaminarayan and his paramhansas inspired people to lead a life of character and faith in God. He asked them not to kill animals even for sacrifice and to abstain from stealing, adultery, eating meat, drinking alcohol, etc.

 

He worked to lift the prevailing rigidity in the caste system and opposed untouchability, He championed the welfare of women and abolished evil practices like sati and female infanticide. He succeeded in transforming lawless men like Joban Pagi, Sagram Vaghri and others into great devotees. He had a following of two million devotees, and was hailed as a torch-bearer of Indian culture.

 

Bhagwan Swaminarayan wrote the Shikshapatri in Sanskrit, which is a code of conduct for all his devotees - renunciants and householders. The Vachanamrut is a compilation of his spiritual discourses accomplished by four scholarly paramhansas.

 

The worship of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Aksharbrahman Gunatitanand Swami, his foremost disciple and first successor, is the lynchpin of the Swaminarayan philosophy.

 

Subsequently, the gurus that have followed in the Swaminarayan Sampradaya have continued the work of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. The first guru was Aksharbrahman Gunatitanand Swami. He was succeeded by Bhagatji Maharaj, Shastriji Maharaj, Yogiji Maharaj and the present guru is Pramukh Swami Maharaj.

 

In 1907, Shastriji Maharaj established the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) to promote the principles of Sanatan Dharma preached by Bhagwan Swaminarayan.

 

As the Sampradaya believes in Ekantik Bhakti and that God has a form, mandirs have been built to spread bhakti and upasana. Bhagwan Swaminarayan had himself built six mandirs. Shastriji Maharaj built five mandirs and consecrated the murtis of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Aksharbrahman Gunatitanand Swami. He was succeeded by Yogiji Maharaj who spread the Satsang to East Africa and England. Pramukh Swami Maharaj has made the BAPS into a worldwide socio-spiritual organisation, personally inspiring and consecrating 1,000 mandirs. The Swaminarayan Akshardham, spirituo-cultural complexes at New Delhi and in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, epitomise the glory of Indian culture, values and principles for the uplift of mankind. The traditional shikharbaddh mandirs in India and abroad provide inspiration to countless people.

 

To pay tribute to Nilkanth's epic travels, Pramukh Swami Maharaj inspired a wonderful Imax film on Nilkanth Varni's pilgrimage at the Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Delhi. The entire complex pays obeisance to over 10,000 years of India's glorious culture, art, architecture and wisdom.

 

Contents

 

 

Preface

xii

 

Introduction

xiii

1.

The Historic Departure

1

 

City of Ayodhya

2

 

Encounter with a Demon

3

 

Anguish of Separation

4

 

Frantic Search

5

 

Eager Question

6

 

No Result

7

 

Millions to be Liberated

8

 

Reasons for Departure

8

 

His Wrestler Friends

9

 

Challenge Accepted

9

 

Marriage Proposal

10

 

Purpose of His Journey

12

2.

In the Forest

13

 

First Night

14

 

In a Hurry

15

 

The Pandav Mandir

15

 

Overnight Stay

16

 

Solemn Welcome

17

 

Warning Ignored

17

 

Verdant Scenery

18

 

An Excuse

19

 

In Bahadurpur

20

 

In Haridwar

21

 

The Brahmin's Surprised Wife

22

 

With Shivji

22

 

Visit to Tapovan

23

 

Sky for a Canopy

24

 

Futile to Argue

25

 

Blissful Mood

27

 

In Kedarnath

28

 

In Badrinath

29

3. 

At Nar-Narayan Rishis' Ashram

33

 

A Frigid Lake

34

 

Gratitude Expressed

35

 

At Mansarovar

37

 

A Royal Visitor

39

4.

Returns to Ayodhya and Proceeds Northwards

41

 

A Brief Stay in Ayodhya

41

 

Nilkanth Visits Vanshipur

45

 

A Visit to the King's Palace

45

 

The Proposal.

47

 

Towards Kala Parvat

51

5.

In Nepal

53

 

Destination Mukrinath

53

 

Austerity at Pulhashram

60

 

Farewell to Muktinath

62

 

Encounter with Mohandas

63

 

Mohandas Leaves Nilkanth

66

 

Meeting King Mahadutt of Butolnagar

66

 

Imparting Divine Knowledge

69

 

Moksha Assured

70

 

Circuitous Route

71

 

Meets Gopal Yogi

72

 

Safety of Cattle

,

 

An Apt Pupil

'

 

Gopal Yogi Departs

75

 

Arrival in Uttar Kashi

76

 

Stay in Kathmandu

77

 

Result of Karma

78

6.

In East Bengal

81

 

King Siddhavallabh of Sirpur

81

 

Plea, to Varni

82

 

Shelter from Rain

83

 

Gopaldas Revived

86

 

Insatiable Greed

88

 

King's Guest

90

 

Encounter with Pibek

92

 

Pibek's Powers Fail

94

 

Sages of Navlakha Mountain

97

 

Balvakund and Gangasagar

99

 

Nilkanth at Kapil Ashrarn

100

 

Meeting Jairarndas

101

 

Encountering Jambuvan

103

7.

In Jagannath Puri

107

 

Jairamdas Finds Nilkanth

108

 

Jairamdas Experiences Nilkanth's Divinity

110

 

In Jagannath Puri

111

 

Fake Ascetics.

112

 

Nilkanth Varni Honoured in Rath Yatra

114

 

Fake Ascetics Destroy Themselves

115

8.

In South India

119

 

At Manaspur

119

 

A Unique Experience

120

 

An Eye-opener

122

 

Jairam's Escape

123

 

Calm Despite Tumult

124

 

Jairam Leaves Nilkanth

126

 

Varni Liberates Tirupati Pilgrims

127

 

Ungrateful Sevakram

127

 

Nilkanth Serves Sevakram

129

 

Focus on Morality

131

 

Setubandh Rameshwar

132

 

Dense Forest

133

 

Without Food and Water

134

 

Nilkanth with Jiyar Swami

136

 

No Fear of Snakes

138

 

In Pune

139

 

The Diwan's Experience

140

 

Fruits of a Brahmin's Devotion

142

 

With Two Merchants

143

 

Steady Path

146

9.

The Sacred Soil of Gujarat

147

 

From Surat to Bharuch

147

 

A Sincere Devotee

149

 

Ancient Spot

150

 

In Vadodara

153

 

Amichand Sheth Meets Varni

153

 

Meeting a Pious Soul

155

 

Wish Fulfilled

158

 

Encounter with Joban Pagi

159

 

Meeting Kashidas in Bochasan

160

 

Sanctified Murtis

164

 

Khodabhai Darbar of Budhej

167

 

Bijal Koli Sees a Miracle

169

 

Journey Northward

171

10.

In Saurashtra

175

 

Varni Blesses a Pious Man

177

 

A Matchless Yogi

179

 

At Gopnath Mahadev

182

 

Divine Praise

183

 

In Mahuva

185

 

In Shimar

187

 

Preaching in Guptaprayag

189

 

Lakhu Charan of Lodhva

191

 

Lakhu Charan Asks for a Boon

192

 

Enchanting Ecstasy

193

 

Meek as a Pet

194

 

Full of Devotion

195

 

Unholy Conduct

197

 

Narsinh Mehta of Pi plana

198

 

Vain Search

200

 

Celibates Get Their Due

201

 

Varni Visits Mangrol

203

11.

End of Journey

205

 

Lojpur - End of an Epic Pilgrimage

206

 

Invitation to Ramanand Swami's Ashram

208

 

Meeting Muktanand Swami

210

 

Muktanand Swami Answers Varni's Questions

211

 

Janmashtmi Festival

215

 

Nilkanth's Discourse

216

 

A Window in Dharma

217

 

Teaching Meditation

218

 

Eagerness for Darshan

218

 

Embraces a Pillar

219

 

Nilkanth Becomes Sarjudas

220

 

A Heavy Load of Fruits

221

 

Lending a Helping Hand

223

 

Brahmins' Request

224

 

Eager for Guru's Darshan

225

 

The Happy News

226

 

Pure Joy

227

 

Mayaram Delivers Ramanand Swami's Letters

229

 

Lalji Suthar Goes to Bhuj

230

 

Lalji Meets Sarjudas

231

 

Miracle at Lojpur

233

 

Sarjudas Sees Ramanand Swami

234

 

Kurji Dave Brings Glad Tidings

236

12.

Nilkanth Meets Ramanand Swami

239

 

Bhagvati Diksha to Nilkanth Varni

243

 

Ramdas Swami Joins Ramanand Swami

244

 

Harbai and Valbai

247

 

Travellinos in Sorarh

249

13.

Head of Fellowship

265

 

Sahajanand Swami's Two Boons

270

14.

Bhagwan Swaminarayan's Mission

274

 

Last Days in Faneni

275

 

Ramanand Swami Departs

276

 

Introducing the Swaminarayan Maha-mantra

277

 

Divine Experience of Shitaldas

277

 

Conclusion

279

 

Appendix-1

 

 

The Icy Paths to Kailas-Mansarovar

282

 

Appendix-2

 

 

Nilkanth Varni's Pilgrimage to Kailas-Mansarovar

285

 

Appendix-3

 

 

Nilkanth At Mansarovar: February 1793

304

 

Appendix-4

 

 

Nilkanth Varni from Kedarnath to Badrinath and

 

 

Badrinath to Gangotri

319

 

Appendix-5

 

 

Articles Needed by Pilgrims for Kailas-Mansarovar Pilgrimage

327

 

Endnotes

331

 

Bibliography

339

 

Glossary

341

 

Sample Pages







Nilkanth Varni: An Epic Pilgrimage of A Child-Yogi

Item Code:
NAJ633
Cover:
Hardcover
Edition:
2013
ISBN:
9788175263239
Language:
English
Size:
7.0 inch x 7.0 inch
Pages:
364
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 620 gms
Price:
$25.00   Shipping Free
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About the Book

 

The intrepid story of an ll-year-old child-yogi who single-handedly accomplished an epic pilgrimage across the length and breadth of India. His spiritual adventures reflect an amazing story of determination, fearlessness, austerity, service, faith and compassion.

 

The travels of Nilkanth Varni are briefly portrayed in a DVD called Mystic India. A similar version, Neelkanth Yatra, in large format, is shown on a giant screen at Swaminarayan Akshardham, New Delhi.

 

Preface

 

As a child, he was called Ghanshyam. As a teenager, he was known as Nilkanth Varni. And, when he launched his mission to establish Ekantik Dharma (dharma, jnan, vairagya and bhakti) in Gujarat, he was popularly hailed as Bhagwan Swaminarayan (1781-1830 CE).

 

During his childhood years in Chhapaiya and Ayodhya, Ghanshyam revealed his divinity to his parents, friends and many others.

 

As Nilkanth Varni, he renounced home and undertook a pilgrimage throughout India for seven years, travelling 12,000 km barefoot from Ayodhya in the north to Kanyakumari in the south, and then up northwards towards Gujarat. His spiritual adventures reflect an amazing story of determination, fearlessness, austerity, service and compassion. The fundamental purpose of Nilkanth Varni's travel was to liberate countless people and to revive the sanctity of our holy pilgrim places.

 

As Bhagwan Swaminarayan, he ushered in a moral and spiritual renaissance in Gujarat and resuscitated the glorious bhakti tradition.

 

Nilkanth Varni, is a translation of its original version in Gujarati, Bhagwan Swaminarayan by Shri H.T. Dave.

 

We thank the translators, Shri Varanasi Rama Murthy and Sadhu Vivekjivandas, for their effort and devotion. We sincerely appreciate Sadhu Amrutvijaydas, Sadhu Jnanpurushdas, Sadhu Shrijiswarupdas and others who have helped in reviewing and making this publication possible.

 

 

Introduction

 

This is a true story of an 11-year-old boy called Nilkanth Varni, who undertook an epic pilgrimage of India. The pilgrimage lasted 7 years, one month and 11 days, covering 12,000 km by foot. His purpose was to guide, encourage and help people realize the path of righteousness. By the time Nilkanth concluded his pilgrimage in Gujarat he was a youth of 18.

 

He began his journey with meagre possessions - the most precious object he carried with him was a Shaligram, a hand-rest, a deerskin, a kamandal and a piece of cloth to filter water. He was wearing a kanthi around his neck and was carrying a mala in his right hand. He also possessed a mini-book, which he had prepared himself, containing the essence of the Hindu shastras. Nilkanth walked barefoot wearing only a loin-cloth even in the bone-chilling snows of the Himalayas! He descended into deep valleys and ascended peaks that jutted out of unmarked territory. He plunged into roaring torrents unmindful of the horrified protests of onlookers. Fearlessness was a hallmark of this spiritual adventurer. He carried no map or chart.

 

His spiritual travels took him from Kailas-Mansarovar in the Himalayas to Rameshwar in the south, and Dwarika and Somnath in the west to Kamakshi Mandir and Gangasagar in the east. At the time of Nilkanth's spiritual travels Sanatan Dharma was facing assaults from many imposters who posed as spiritual leaders. He was dissatisfied with the ignorance and malpractices of some priests who he came across his journey. Nilkanth encountered these practitioners of black magic at several places. At Kamakshi in Assam, Pibek evoked all his tantric powers to destroy Nilkanth; but he failed and was transformed. At Jagannath Puri the chief of the fake sadhus very nearly killed him. Nilkanth's intention was to make people lead virtuous and purposeful lives according to the tenets of dharma, by freeing them from the clutches of these charlatans.

 

But what were the resources the young Brahmachari had at his command? His chief asset was his pure, supreme divinity that reflected his resplendent personality and serene face to the wide range of people he met during his pilgrimage.

 

Maharaja Ranjit Sinh, the doughty Sikh ruler who carved a niche for himself in the annals of Punjab, was impressed with Nilkanth and took his refuge on meeting him at Badrinath and Haridwar. The king and queen of Butolnagar in Nepal offered their daughters and their kingdom. The mahant of Shripur proposed that he become the head of the mandir and manage its hefty annual income. He was greatly impressed by Nilkanth's feat when he tamed a ferocious lion. The young Brahmachari declined all these offers with a smile. His mission was not to rule kingdoms, ashrams or be honoured with fame and riches.

 

He disapproved of dissolute ways even when he saw them in high places. Once he ticked off a Vaishnav Acharya at Ramanuj's birthplace. The acharya felt annoyed that one so young as Nilkanth should preach to a distinguished sadhu like himself to observe brahmacharya. He spoke angrily to Nilkanth and had him ejected from the ashram. Nilkanth left, politely saying that such ill behaviour did not suit an ascetic. Wherever he travelled Nilkanth asked five questions regarding the nature of jiva, ishwar; maya, Brahman and Parabrahman. He did not get satisfactory replies to these questions till he reached Ramanand Swami's ashram at Loj in Saurashtra (Gujarat). With Ramanand Swami away on tour in the Kutch region Muktanand Swami satisfactorily answered his questions. Nilkanth Varni was pleased and decided to stay there.

 

In the ashram, Varni disliked the free mixing of the genders and arranged separate discourses for men and women. Once, he saw a window in the wall through which fire embers were received by a sadhu from the next door neighbour's wife. Nilkanth saw this Ramanand Swami gave diksha to Nilkanth and named him as Sahajanand Swami and Narayan Muni. He often used to say that he was merely a drum-beater and that Varni was the chief player. A year later he handed over the reins of the fellowship to Sahajanand Swami, who was only 21 years old. After Ramanand Swami passed away Sahajanand Swami gave the Swaminarayan mahamantra to the congregation. Thereafter he became popularly known as Bhagwan Swaminarayan.

 

From the age of 21 to 49 he introduced a moral and spiritual renaissance with the help of, 3,000 paramhansas and sadhus, who themselves observed a strict moral code of conduct, namely, nishkam (celibacy), nirlobb (non-greed), nisswad (non-taste), nissneb (detachment) and nirman (humility). Bhagwan Swaminarayan and his paramhansas inspired people to lead a life of character and faith in God. He asked them not to kill animals even for sacrifice and to abstain from stealing, adultery, eating meat, drinking alcohol, etc.

 

He worked to lift the prevailing rigidity in the caste system and opposed untouchability, He championed the welfare of women and abolished evil practices like sati and female infanticide. He succeeded in transforming lawless men like Joban Pagi, Sagram Vaghri and others into great devotees. He had a following of two million devotees, and was hailed as a torch-bearer of Indian culture.

 

Bhagwan Swaminarayan wrote the Shikshapatri in Sanskrit, which is a code of conduct for all his devotees - renunciants and householders. The Vachanamrut is a compilation of his spiritual discourses accomplished by four scholarly paramhansas.

 

The worship of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Aksharbrahman Gunatitanand Swami, his foremost disciple and first successor, is the lynchpin of the Swaminarayan philosophy.

 

Subsequently, the gurus that have followed in the Swaminarayan Sampradaya have continued the work of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. The first guru was Aksharbrahman Gunatitanand Swami. He was succeeded by Bhagatji Maharaj, Shastriji Maharaj, Yogiji Maharaj and the present guru is Pramukh Swami Maharaj.

 

In 1907, Shastriji Maharaj established the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) to promote the principles of Sanatan Dharma preached by Bhagwan Swaminarayan.

 

As the Sampradaya believes in Ekantik Bhakti and that God has a form, mandirs have been built to spread bhakti and upasana. Bhagwan Swaminarayan had himself built six mandirs. Shastriji Maharaj built five mandirs and consecrated the murtis of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Aksharbrahman Gunatitanand Swami. He was succeeded by Yogiji Maharaj who spread the Satsang to East Africa and England. Pramukh Swami Maharaj has made the BAPS into a worldwide socio-spiritual organisation, personally inspiring and consecrating 1,000 mandirs. The Swaminarayan Akshardham, spirituo-cultural complexes at New Delhi and in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, epitomise the glory of Indian culture, values and principles for the uplift of mankind. The traditional shikharbaddh mandirs in India and abroad provide inspiration to countless people.

 

To pay tribute to Nilkanth's epic travels, Pramukh Swami Maharaj inspired a wonderful Imax film on Nilkanth Varni's pilgrimage at the Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Delhi. The entire complex pays obeisance to over 10,000 years of India's glorious culture, art, architecture and wisdom.

 

Contents

 

 

Preface

xii

 

Introduction

xiii

1.

The Historic Departure

1

 

City of Ayodhya

2

 

Encounter with a Demon

3

 

Anguish of Separation

4

 

Frantic Search

5

 

Eager Question

6

 

No Result

7

 

Millions to be Liberated

8

 

Reasons for Departure

8

 

His Wrestler Friends

9

 

Challenge Accepted

9

 

Marriage Proposal

10

 

Purpose of His Journey

12

2.

In the Forest

13

 

First Night

14

 

In a Hurry

15

 

The Pandav Mandir

15

 

Overnight Stay

16

 

Solemn Welcome

17

 

Warning Ignored

17

 

Verdant Scenery

18

 

An Excuse

19

 

In Bahadurpur

20

 

In Haridwar

21

 

The Brahmin's Surprised Wife

22

 

With Shivji

22

 

Visit to Tapovan

23

 

Sky for a Canopy

24

 

Futile to Argue

25

 

Blissful Mood

27

 

In Kedarnath

28

 

In Badrinath

29

3. 

At Nar-Narayan Rishis' Ashram

33

 

A Frigid Lake

34

 

Gratitude Expressed

35

 

At Mansarovar

37

 

A Royal Visitor

39

4.

Returns to Ayodhya and Proceeds Northwards

41

 

A Brief Stay in Ayodhya

41

 

Nilkanth Visits Vanshipur

45

 

A Visit to the King's Palace

45

 

The Proposal.

47

 

Towards Kala Parvat

51

5.

In Nepal

53

 

Destination Mukrinath

53

 

Austerity at Pulhashram

60

 

Farewell to Muktinath

62

 

Encounter with Mohandas

63

 

Mohandas Leaves Nilkanth

66

 

Meeting King Mahadutt of Butolnagar

66

 

Imparting Divine Knowledge

69

 

Moksha Assured

70

 

Circuitous Route

71

 

Meets Gopal Yogi

72

 

Safety of Cattle

,

 

An Apt Pupil

'

 

Gopal Yogi Departs

75

 

Arrival in Uttar Kashi

76

 

Stay in Kathmandu

77

 

Result of Karma

78

6.

In East Bengal

81

 

King Siddhavallabh of Sirpur

81

 

Plea, to Varni

82

 

Shelter from Rain

83

 

Gopaldas Revived

86

 

Insatiable Greed

88

 

King's Guest

90

 

Encounter with Pibek

92

 

Pibek's Powers Fail

94

 

Sages of Navlakha Mountain

97

 

Balvakund and Gangasagar

99

 

Nilkanth at Kapil Ashrarn

100

 

Meeting Jairarndas

101

 

Encountering Jambuvan

103

7.

In Jagannath Puri

107

 

Jairamdas Finds Nilkanth

108

 

Jairamdas Experiences Nilkanth's Divinity

110

 

In Jagannath Puri

111

 

Fake Ascetics.

112

 

Nilkanth Varni Honoured in Rath Yatra

114

 

Fake Ascetics Destroy Themselves

115

8.

In South India

119

 

At Manaspur

119

 

A Unique Experience

120

 

An Eye-opener

122

 

Jairam's Escape

123

 

Calm Despite Tumult

124

 

Jairam Leaves Nilkanth

126

 

Varni Liberates Tirupati Pilgrims

127

 

Ungrateful Sevakram

127

 

Nilkanth Serves Sevakram

129

 

Focus on Morality

131

 

Setubandh Rameshwar

132

 

Dense Forest

133

 

Without Food and Water

134

 

Nilkanth with Jiyar Swami

136

 

No Fear of Snakes

138

 

In Pune

139

 

The Diwan's Experience

140

 

Fruits of a Brahmin's Devotion

142

 

With Two Merchants

143

 

Steady Path

146

9.

The Sacred Soil of Gujarat

147

 

From Surat to Bharuch

147

 

A Sincere Devotee

149

 

Ancient Spot

150

 

In Vadodara

153

 

Amichand Sheth Meets Varni

153

 

Meeting a Pious Soul

155

 

Wish Fulfilled

158

 

Encounter with Joban Pagi

159

 

Meeting Kashidas in Bochasan

160

 

Sanctified Murtis

164

 

Khodabhai Darbar of Budhej

167

 

Bijal Koli Sees a Miracle

169

 

Journey Northward

171

10.

In Saurashtra

175

 

Varni Blesses a Pious Man

177

 

A Matchless Yogi

179

 

At Gopnath Mahadev

182

 

Divine Praise

183

 

In Mahuva

185

 

In Shimar

187

 

Preaching in Guptaprayag

189

 

Lakhu Charan of Lodhva

191

 

Lakhu Charan Asks for a Boon

192

 

Enchanting Ecstasy

193

 

Meek as a Pet

194

 

Full of Devotion

195

 

Unholy Conduct

197

 

Narsinh Mehta of Pi plana

198

 

Vain Search

200

 

Celibates Get Their Due

201

 

Varni Visits Mangrol

203

11.

End of Journey

205

 

Lojpur - End of an Epic Pilgrimage

206

 

Invitation to Ramanand Swami's Ashram

208

 

Meeting Muktanand Swami

210

 

Muktanand Swami Answers Varni's Questions

211

 

Janmashtmi Festival

215

 

Nilkanth's Discourse

216

 

A Window in Dharma

217

 

Teaching Meditation

218

 

Eagerness for Darshan

218

 

Embraces a Pillar

219

 

Nilkanth Becomes Sarjudas

220

 

A Heavy Load of Fruits

221

 

Lending a Helping Hand

223

 

Brahmins' Request

224

 

Eager for Guru's Darshan

225

 

The Happy News

226

 

Pure Joy

227

 

Mayaram Delivers Ramanand Swami's Letters

229

 

Lalji Suthar Goes to Bhuj

230

 

Lalji Meets Sarjudas

231

 

Miracle at Lojpur

233

 

Sarjudas Sees Ramanand Swami

234

 

Kurji Dave Brings Glad Tidings

236

12.

Nilkanth Meets Ramanand Swami

239

 

Bhagvati Diksha to Nilkanth Varni

243

 

Ramdas Swami Joins Ramanand Swami

244

 

Harbai and Valbai

247

 

Travellinos in Sorarh

249

13.

Head of Fellowship

265

 

Sahajanand Swami's Two Boons

270

14.

Bhagwan Swaminarayan's Mission

274

 

Last Days in Faneni

275

 

Ramanand Swami Departs

276

 

Introducing the Swaminarayan Maha-mantra

277

 

Divine Experience of Shitaldas

277

 

Conclusion

279

 

Appendix-1

 

 

The Icy Paths to Kailas-Mansarovar

282

 

Appendix-2

 

 

Nilkanth Varni's Pilgrimage to Kailas-Mansarovar

285

 

Appendix-3

 

 

Nilkanth At Mansarovar: February 1793

304

 

Appendix-4

 

 

Nilkanth Varni from Kedarnath to Badrinath and

 

 

Badrinath to Gangotri

319

 

Appendix-5

 

 

Articles Needed by Pilgrims for Kailas-Mansarovar Pilgrimage

327

 

Endnotes

331

 

Bibliography

339

 

Glossary

341

 

Sample Pages







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