Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Contemplation at Holy Cave

Main Amarnath cave is much higher than the neighboring area. We had to climb a long series of stairs to reach the actual cave. We reached inside the cave at around 10.45 am. And here was that marvelous place! It was the holy place of our heart stealing Lord; It was the holy abode worshipped by the sage bhringi; This was the place where the Graceful Supreme who wears the skulls of others indicative of his ever-permanent existence blissfully reside to bless all the devotees who come to worship It in devotion. According to Hindu mythology, this is the cave where Shiva explained the secret of life and eternity to his divine consort Parvati. The cave is situated at an altitude of 3,888 m. (12,760 ft). Photography was not allowed inside the cave. Inside the cave we saw a 12 feet long Shiv ling made of ice. Salutations to this Peerless Lord! Salutations to His liberating Feet!! The ice shiv-lingam was tall this year.

The cave is reported to be about 5,000 years old and was mentioned in ancient Hindu texts. The exact manner of discovery of the cave is not known. In recent times, the legend is that in 1850, the cave was re-discovered by a Muslim shepherd boy named Buta Malik. According to the tale, Buta Malik was given a sack of coal by a Sadhu. Upon reaching his home he discovered that the sack, in fact, contained gold. Overjoyed and overcome, Buta Malik rushed back to look for the Sadhu and thank him, but on the spot of their meeting discovered the cave and eventually this became a place of pilgrimage for all believers. So pleased was the Dogra King Maharaja Gulab Singh by this discovery that he decreed that a representative of the Malik family would always be present at the holy shrine, along with the Mahant (Hindu priest) and Pundits of Ganeshpora, during the period of the pilgrimage each year. Also, the family of the muslim shepherd was granted a large estate near Pahalgam and exempted from paying land revenue to the state. Further one third of all the offerings made at the shrine each year were to be given to the Malik family as reward. The Amarnath Yatra, according to Hindu belief, begins on Ashadha Purnima (day of the Full Moon in the Hindu Month of Ashadha) and ends on Shravana Purnima (day of the full moon in the Hindu month of Shravana).

We worshipped lord shiva from the depth of our soul. We were so fortunate that we were seeing the sacred Amarnath shiv-lingam with our own eyes. There were two other small ice structures near the shiv-lingam- one symbolizing goddess Parvati, the wife of lord Shiva and the other lord Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati. We saw two white pigeons in the cave. It is believed that those two white pigeons are immortal and stay in that cave. Also, we saw 3-4 grey and black pigeons. A devotee gets only 2-3 seconds time for darshan. As you reach there (in front of Ice lingam), security person will pull you out. But we were little luckiest who spent there at least 2-3 minutes. After darshan and puja we got separated from the queue and I found an empty place in cave itself for Jap and Dhyan. Security personnel were not allowing us to stay there anymore but I requested him and occupied a place. My Daddy and Sushil also joined me and did Jap for an hour. We spent nearly 1 hour inside the cave. Inside the cave there was a kund from where the holy water comes out. Kunal and Mangesh also collected some water in a small bottle here. We had to bring this water to our home as an emblem of the holy cave. But when we reached at Jammu, we found that bottle empty.
Now the time was to break our affection with our divine. In spite of the affection to stay in the Lord's holy abode had to rush back. We Pleaded to God, "Please bless us to come to this holy abode at least once more!!" Slowly with wailing eyes walking down the stairs, we came out of the cave and collected our shoes from shoes stand where we kept that while joining the queue. Walking down the remaining steps of stairs we again came to the ground level below the Holy Cave. At the security barrier we again met to Ranjan who was waiting for us with frightened eyes. He was scared stiff to me. I had forgotten the entire thing behind him but still I had little annoyance for him. I was eager to know about his movement since Panchtarni. How did he forget about our destination and moved ahead. Gradually I convinced myself to calm down; because I had also done the similar mistakes in my previous trekking programs. As I reached near to him, without any my question he started out his clarifications. He told me that he reached at Panchtarni by 3.15 pm and someone told him that if he will move little fast then he could get darshan that day itself. And he did the same without care for other members. He reached at cave by 6.00 pm and did darshan. By the way all is well when ends well; I did not wanted any more clarification on the same matter. From here we started walking towards our tent where we had spent our last night. There were many food stalls and Langars on the both side of route. We were feeling hungry now. So now we went inside one such Langar and took breakfast. After breakfast we bought more prasadam and symbols of Baba Amarnath. Then we walked for nearly 30 minutes to reach our tent. Here our tent owner friends were busy with their shop and customers. We were feeling the need of a hot cup of tea, but we couldn’t found any tea stall there. We were feeling happy and sad both at that moment; happy because we had been able to do the darshan of Amarnath Ji, and sad because we were now going away from that pious place.

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