Amarnath Yatra: Changes In Altitude, Changes In Attitude
“Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit.” – Sir Bernard Williams
A Recap Of The Previous Article In This Three-Part Series On Amarnath….
After a lot of persuasion from Maa Parvati, Lord Shiva finally agreed to reveal the Amar Katha (Tales of Immortality) to her. They set out for a remote place in the Himalayas where no one would overhear the secret of life. Letting go of a lot of things along the way, they reached the cave where Shiva and Parvati danced before having the most interesting conversation yet. By a turn of events, a pair of pigeons were privy to this conversation unknowingly. It is claimed that they still reside in the caves.
Humans Have Good And Evil. Shiva Has Good And Evil.
Very few supreme beings share the popularity that Lord Shiva has among us mortals. He is relatable – his emotions, his actions, his temper, his compassion. He fits well as a family man, while being effortlessly cool. He flares up on matters which anger him, but he also dances his heart out at times. Men endeavour to be like him, women admire him. It is not uncommon for even atheists to sport a part of him in their looks and attire.
He Doesn’t Preach. He Makes You Willingly Introspect.
When it is about Shiva, there will be big gestures. There will be a deeper meaning than just what shows at face value. Just like there will be more to his leaving behind possessions while reaching the Amarnath caves, possessions which also include his son.
Leaving Of Nandi
Shiva left his bull at Pahalgam (around 96 kms from Srinagar). He left behind his mode of transport.
The world depends on wheels and petrol. Getting from one part of the world to another has never been easier than it is today. Still, the best places are the ones we discover on foot. When we walk we are conscious of our every breath, of our every heartbeat. We are free from the blocks that are encountered when we are at the mercy of automobile technology.
Leaving Of Moon
At Chandanwari, also known as Chandramauli (around 16 kms from Pahalgam), Shiva released Moon from his hair.
Using cosmetics and ornaments is not wrong or completely superficial. It is something that enhances beauty. Except, when you are on the mountain, your skin deserves to breathe in the cool fresh air. It’s okay to just step out in your natural look. It’s okay to let it glow.
Leaving Of Snakes
Shiva uncoiled the snakes around his body and left them on the banks of Lake Sheshnag (around 12 kms from Chandanwari).
It is not always necessary to keep our fears trapped within us. Controlling them and keeping them close is a burden. Release yourself from the poison and feel free from the fear that stops you from accomplishing wonders. Don’t walk with your fears.
Leaving Of Ganesha
Mahagunas Parvat is where Shiva gave up his son, Ganesha. It is at an altitude of around 14,000 feet above sea level, and almost at a 5 km distance from Sheshnag. There are several waterfalls here and the winters are especially cold.
Sometimes, you have to leave behind the people in your life. Selfish is not what one should call that. In order to do something else, it has to be done. It doesn’t conclude that you don’t love that person, or that you care more about yourself. It probably means that you know what is important in that moment.
Leaving Of The Five Elements
At Panjtarni/Panchatrani (around 6 kms from Mahagunas and an altitude of 12,500 feet above sea level), Shiva let go of Earth, Fire, Water, Air, and Sky. He was the ruler of these five elements.
Man cannot completely control Nature. We have to give in to the force that it is. A human mind and body is a part of Nature too. The five elements are there to co-exist with us. Things should run their natural course, without too much interference from mankind. When you are on the Amarnath Yatra, you are in the midst of Nature’s best. The mountains, the rivers, the glaciers! It will all sing to your heart, if only you allow that.
Is It Only Religion?
The Amarnath Yatra is a tough journey. It has some risk factors, and it requires a lot of physical as well as mental fitness. In-spite of the hardships, you will see the trek route thronged by thousands of devotees year after year. Why? What could be the reason? Is it just about religion? No.
It is about the act of unburdening on the journey. Lord Shiva did it. One by one he left behind all that he was holding on to. In the same way that a yatri leaves behind the turmoil of everyday life in the rat-race. He leaves behind the appearances that are kept up back home. The stress of behaving in a certain manner for as long as possible. On this trek, you discard your material goals for the time-being. You reject negativity. You focus on your health, and on your breathing. You concentrate on travelling light, to reach the caves where finally a sense of relief washes over. You push yourself even if physical exhaustion takes over, taking the support of your mental strength. You connect with yourself. You connect with Shiva.
Keep a look out here for the last piece on our three-part series for Amarnath Yatra. We will be jotting down some points for you to keep in mind about the Amarnath trek.
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