Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi

Yogis in the Snow

by Swami Veda Bharati

In the winter the Himalayan shrines like Kedarnath and Badrinath close and there are elaborate rituals for that.  The worship of the deity continues in special shrines in lower reaches throughout the winter.  Then at the end of the winter the upper shrines are re-opened again with elaborate rituals.

During this time some yogis stay on in the snowbound Himalayas.  The Hindi press shows the news of this kind, but not the English press of India.  This is an example of the yogis staying up there.  Some in silence for 12 years or longer.  Some who have stayed there for 30-40 years or even longer.

Every year I send them blankets, etc. and food items.  That they accept.  Those who read Hindi can read the full news.

Same in Tibet also.  Swami Rama said that one of the tests of a yogi disciple is to sit in the snow with wet sheet wrapped around him and dry it with body heat.

Editor's Note:

Below you will find an English translation of an article in the Hindi press that has been translated into English and also a slide show of a pilgrimage made to give blankets, etc.

This is an English translation of an article about these yogis that appeared in the Hindi press (http://www.jagran.com/uttarakhand/chamoli-11821129.html ).  The translation was done by Chandramani.

The Severe Cold Weather Is Held by the Thunderbolt like Bodies of the Yogis
By Devendra Ravat, Gopeshwar

In Indo-china border, the grey Himalayan range seem drowned under the snow and currents of the heartbreaking and freezing cold air which causes life to be completely invisible. But even in such a severe cold weather there are military activities which witness the presence of life. There is a sacred place, Badrinath Dham which symbolizes a place of faith for millions of Hindus in India and abroad. For millennia there have been visiting devotees, sadhus, sages and yogis for different purposes. At present there are 13 sadhus completely absorbed in their intense practices. These sadhus stay in the caves and ashrams. Their passionate and concentrated practices blow off the intelligence of the people. In this severe cold they use only blankets; some of them just remain like a sky-clad or undressed.

In winter when the Himalayan range, including Badrinath Dham, is covered by a six feet thick layer of snow, the temperature goes up to -20. Even in this temperature, these sadhus continue their practices. Long hair covering their shabby body seem narrating the story of their unbreakable determination to reach their personal objectives. Among these sadhus there is one sanyasin, Amritananda who is 52 years old. He has been staying there for 12 years. When asked about his family and related questions, he avoided such questions and simply said that by breaking the bonds of Maya, they had come so far, so there is no use of discussing all that now. There is another sanyasin, Swami Sukharamacharya Das, 58 years old. He also says the same. He said that when he got sanyasa, he left his house and all possessions, completely surrendering in the presence of God. When these sadhus were asked about their food arrangement, they said that they often eat only one time a day therefore they don’t require so much food, but whatever they require for a certain period they collect it before the gates to the way of Badrinath Dham get closed. When water in winter turns into rock solid ice in Alakananda River, it has to be scratched in order to drink it. There is a young sadhu, Dharmaraja Bharati who is only 34 years old and has been in silence for 12 years. Another sadhu with the same name, Dharmaraja Bharati said that he also did a 12 years silence until 2010. At the completion of his silence he went to bathe into Ma Ganga at Kumbhamela in Haridwar. According to him the right place for doing tapas is only Badhrinath Dham.

Sub-district magistrate of Joshimath, A.K. Nautiyal said that the sadhus have to have a special permission for staying there in cold weather. The permission is granted only to those sadhus who are found eligible through a hidden inspection which is held throughout the year by the government. 

Sadhu Sewa Project

by Carolyn Hume

Every year Swami Veda sends sadhus in the mountain areas blankets, shawls, warm clothing, kitchen items, etc. and food items.  The sadhus have told Adhikari Bhoi that many who give give very low quality items, but those coming through Swami Veda are top quality.  Adhikari says the sadhus hold Swami Veda in high esteem. This is a sewa that Swami Rama espoused.

It is considered an honor to be among those who take the trips towards the mountains to help in the distribution of goods.   I have heard some of the stories told over the years about these trips, including simple things like covering a sadhu sleeping alongside the road with a wool blanket, and warm statements like “This year I got to help with this.”

Please enjoy this slide show of one such trip. The photos are shared by Adhikari.

Slide Show





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