Day 1 - Ganga Talao
Following the Master | Mauritius Pilgrimage 2021
07 March 2021
The pilgrimage with Guruji had a very interesting start. In the morning we really didn’t know what would be possible in light of the news of a possible lockdown in Mauritius! It oddly reminded us of what happened one year ago during the pilgrimage in Vrindavan.
With all the confusion, we changed plans many times. When the pilgrims arrived at the temple for the welcome meeting, Guruji surprised them saying that He would move into the hotel with them! So now everyone can have their own 'Quarantine with Guruji' as many had wished for. Although everyone was very excited, not all really understood that Guruji would be staying in the hotel with them until they saw a post calling them for dinner. The post had a picture of Guruji waiting for them and ready to eat in the hotel lobby.
In the chaos generated by the local news, the country seemed to be at a standstill giving us the possibility to go straight to Grand Bassin in less than 1.5 hours. The trip normally takes more than 5 hours during Maha Shivaratri celebrations because the roads are so crowded with pilgrims. Along our drive, we were surprised to see so many people still pulling their colourful wagons and deities up the mountain.
When the 100+ pilgrims arrived at Ganga Talao (Ganga Lake), they went to visit the Divine Museum. The Hindu House Society of Mauritius developed this beautiful sacred site for a mandir with 108 shiva lingams surrounded by water. There is also a small cowshed inside where the pilgrims got to pet and feed the cows, who were very happy to receive their loving attention.
After lunch and a small tour, Guruji interviewed with a local Mauritian radio station. During the interview, He spoke in Creole, English and Hindi. He was asked to explain Bhakti Marga and the meaning of our tilak. Guruji also said how amazed He was that people are still trying to come to Grand Bassin to celebrate Shivaratri, despite the current circumstances and COVID-19 restrictions. He emphasised that people should have this type of devotion every day, not just at Shivaratri.
After the interview, the pilgrims went to the mandir with the jyotirlinga, the only one outside of India. There, the pujari welcomed Guruji and the pilgrims and performed a puja offering the prayers for the welfare of everyone. Gangha Talao is said to be filled with the sacred water of the Ganga river. It is this water that everyone got to pour over the lingam and offer Bilba leaves to Lord Shiva. The pujari was surprised to see so many people singing the Name of the Lord with so much joy. While people were taking darshan of the lingam the devotees were chanting. It was a beautiful exchange of devotional acts.
The evening ended with Guruji visiting all the deities around the shrine, including the Lakshmi-Narayana that He donated a few years ago. The murti is very special as it is so close to the lake the base is always in contact with the holy waters of the lake.
Stay tuned and keep 'Following the Master'!
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