The Importance of Pilgrimages

Satsang in Pune, India
26 November 2017

During a Satsang on one of Paramahamsa Vishwananda’s pilgrimages in Pune, India, Gurudev explained the real importance of going on a pilgrimage. 

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Jai Gurudev,

Yatras (pilgrimages) are very important, actually. Let’s say you go to Dehu, you go to Alandi, Rameshwaram, all these places are very energising places. You are thinking, ‘Yes, I am going to see Dnyaneshwar Maharaj, I am going to see Shirdi Baba’. But no, you don’t need to go there to see them! Even here, as you are sitting and we are talking about them, they hear us, you know. We don’t need to go to Dakshineshwar to see Maha Kali. She is here!

It's important to go on pilgrimages to open the door of the mind.

Paramahamsa Vishwananda 

But for the sake of one’s mind, it is important to move away. Because if you always stay in the same environment, spiritually it becomes congested. It’s like closing yourself in a room without opening the door and windows. What happens? The air becomes stale, and after some time you start to suffocate, you become paranoid, and so on. So, sometimes it is important to go on pilgrimages to open the door of the mind. When you open the door of the mind, fresh air can go through and when you go on pilgrimages, it’s the same thing happening. When you go on pilgrimages, you just see a deity there. When you go to Saint Dnyaneshwar's place, you just see a small stone there, no? Actually, what is there is an endless pillar of light. Each of these places (Tulja Bhavani and so on) are pillars of light, pillars of positive energy, pillars of Grace. And these images are just an excuse of the outside.

You see, you have a mind and you are ruled by the senses. Your senses only understand something that is visible. As your five senses are limited, your senses will only understand something that is limited. But the sadhus and the saints see different things. Like Tulja Bhavani. That energy there is completely different from other places because Bhavani energy is there. That Grace of Ma Bhagavati is there. When you go to Vrindavan, the Grace of Krishna Bhagavan is Prem, and it is there. When you see Banke Bihariji Maharaj, it awakens a different bhav inside of you. When you go to Pandharpur, it’s the same Lord, but the bhav is different. In Vrindavan, He is a different person, in Pandharpur, He is different person. And this you can feel. 

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When we entered Pandharpur now, I said to a mataji, ‘Hey, in Vrindavan this guy is different!’ The bhav, the feeling is different. But here He is a different guy! But it’s true. The feeling of Pandharpur and the feeling of Vrindavan is completely different, but it’s the same Lord. That energy which He left there, the pillar of energy which He left there, is a different bhav of energy.

On each pilgrimage, you are going through a curtain of light and all the batteries inside of you get energised.

Paramahamsa Vishwananda

Because, you see, when you are in the world of worrying, troubles and so on, your battery is exhausted. The more you go on, the fewer things you feel, ‘Oh, I am already tired.’ Because the spiritual battery inside of you is weakening. But when you go for pilgrimage, you are chanting, you are doing your puja, you are doing your sadhana, and you are reconnecting again, charging up. When you go for pilgrimage, you get a spiritual charge, and very often you don’t realise it because you just go running! Swamiji is saying, ‘Quickly, quickly, quickly! Out, out!’ 

It’s not like in the churches in Europe where you sit there in front of Mother Mary, ‘When will You appear to me?’, and as long as She doesn’t appear, you don’t move. Or you get tired and feel hungry and go home. No, here you just go through quickly, quickly.  ‘Bhagavan, You’ve seen me, I’ve seen You...happy...bye!’ And the whole time Swamiji is saying, ‘Out, out!’ 

But if you have already gone through, you see, you have already paid your respects, and there's only so much energy you can take. You can’t take more than that. If you stay 10 hours inside, it will be the same energy. Don’t think that by staying 10 hours in front of Bhagavan you will get more. No, you will not get more! You will get according to how much is needed. That’s why even by going through it, He is looking at you, He is blessing you, He is gracing you and your battery is being charged, fully charged, overcharged. (No, overcharged is not too good. Overcharged you would explode. This is where Realisation happens. Overcharge happens gradually, when you have the inner pilgrimage.)

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Pilgrimages and Retreats - Paramahamsa Vishwananda
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Pilgrimages and Retreats - Paramahamsa Vishwananda

You see, the outer pilgrimage is physical. The outer pilgrimage you have done millions of times in million of lives, but yet, the explosion of Prem has not yet happened, the explosion of bliss has not yet happened inside of you. That’s why you are still in the cycle of birth and death, because once that explosion of Prem, bliss, happens once, only one time in all those lives, that ends the cycle of birth and death. So, that is an inner pilgrimage when you go and meet the battery and look at the battery and grow. This is where Bhagavan reveals Himself to you. He has many ways of revealing Himself and one of the supreme ways of revealing Himself it is through Prem.

Those three qualities of love that I have described earlier happens only when there is Prem inside of you. Understand the difference between pyar and Prem: you may like something, but you don’t love it. Things you like. People you love. Bhagavan you love. It’s not ice cream. You know, now in the English language, ‘I love Ice cream, I love this food’, then it’s finished. That’s why it’s important to understand what is real love. So, a pilgrimage awakens that inside of you.

Maybe you don’t realise now the Grace and the blessing you received. Each place you go touches you differently and awakens something deep inside of you. And as it is said, you can’t go randomly to a place if Bhagavan doesn’t call you. Which means that in many lives you have been there. You may want to go there, but it is impossible for you to go. But you may not plan to go somewhere and He brings you there like a magnet.

Like in our trip right now: so many so-called 'coincidences', but coincidences don’t exist. I was in Chennai first, and we met one lady from London. She saw me some years back in Shirdi. 'Randomly' she was there in Shirdi. She was very happy. And she met me once when she was in England. Then after that, for a few years we didn’t see each other. I came out of the car, she came out of her car and she was just in shock standing there, petrified. In my mind I was thinking, ‘Maybe she knows me from somewhere.’ Or she has recognised me, you know, some pictures or YouTube videos or something. Then she said, ‘Swamiji, what are You doing here?’ I said, ‘I am here because I have some work to do,’ yet I'm still trying to remember where I'd met her! And then she said that she'd been doing all the yatra connected to Bhagavan Krishna, so here she was, but she was actually planning to go to Kamakshi. However, in the morning she just felt, no, she will not go. Then we met and she was in shock.

Nothing happens just like that, you see. Where you have to be is meant for you to be. So, pilgrimage places are like this. When Bhagavan calls you, nothing can stop you. Everything will be arranged. You can think that, ‘Yes, I am paying so much, I am going there’, this and that. But no, what are you doing? Nothing! If He doesn’t will you to be there, you can die now and you will not be there. He will make any excuse for you not to be there. But if He wants you to be there, He will make everything possible for you to be there. This is what happens, you know. It’s not you who decides. He calls you. So, like that He pulls everybody.

So, that’s why if you have a chance to go, let Him call you, because you have a connection with Him, and you have visited that place in many lives, and you have left an imprint there. You don’t know, but He knows and He wants you to reconnect again to that. That’s why He called you.