Personal experience shows that despite physical problems devotees can make darshan when SHE calls them
-By Shrikant Panda
Katra: Devotees across country and abroad thronged to Sanctum Sanctorum of Mata Vaishno Devi chanting “Jai Mata Di’ and “Jai Mata Rani”round the clock to get mothers blessings. I feel myself fortunate that I have visited the shrine 10 times since April; 2011 and my 11th visit is about to come in the coming of month of September.
Every time I visited Mata’s abode in foot without any carrier like horse, chopper or palanquin and cleared 30 km distance (to and fro) in 12 hours and that makes me feel spiritual bliss in this sojourn. Mata Vaishno Devi tests her devotees’ diligence. There are three caves in Mata’s abode. Out of these three, the main cave remains closed for the most part of the year. However, these three caves combined are too much for a single visit. Hence, two caves are open for devotees.
My first visit to Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine dates back to April, 2011. Prior to 2011
I was on complete fasting during Navratra twice in a year (taking milk and sarwat) without taking food that we eat everyday and on the 9th day I performed “Homa” and end fasting from the 10th day onwards. During my fasting I once dreamt of climbing mountain that leads to Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine. After dreaming this I was determined to realise this dream hoping that my dream could be a reality.
The day when I boarded the train was a difficult period for me as I suffered a severe spinal pain and even taking pain killers that did not help much but “Bou,” my mother, – encouraged me to board the train saying, – ‘Mata Vaishno will certainly heal your pain and you will be able to make Darshan without any stumbling block as she has called you to visit.’
After hearing such encouraging words I boarded the Purushottam Express at 12 AM from Cuttack. Though pain persisted even after reaching New Delhi and Jammu Tawi through Shalimar Express, spinal pain was not in a position to recede. During this journey I came across one family who visited the shrine several times as they also encouraged me to continue this journey till you make darshan of Mata Vaishno expressing once you start climbing mountain you will not feel any pain and continue to carry on as Mata Vaishno called you to visit the shrine.
After hearing such inspirational words from this family, I took bath at a hotel in Katra and started climbing mountainous path to visit Mother’s abode. The path was steep and pressure on my waist and knee was enormous. I was determined to cross the hurdles. While climbing, pain was gradually eroding which made me confident enough to cross 13 km steep path. It was a great feeling and proud moment for me after reaching at Mother’s abode where clouds touched my body. The Bhavan is located at 6218 feet, i.e. 1906 meters about the sea level. This place has a strong spiritual aura around it and only true devotees who trek on foot for 13 kms to reach this point can feel it. The road leading to her abode is not an easy one. It is steep, rocky and the road is narrow, surrounded by ravines.
Similar problem erupted again in April, 2014 when my head was reeling under high percentage of blood sugar and I was unable to walk but my Bou again encouraged me to make your trip to Mata’s abode. While bathing at hotel in Katra my head was heavily reeling as first time I was diagnosed as diabetic (FBS-330 and PPBS-360) but I strengthened my mind and I heard the call of my consciences: “What is destined to happen will happen.”
I decided to climb the hill in foot. Fortunately I was successful and this trip was easiest ever out of 10 visits I have made to Mata Vaishno temple and Bhaironath temple (30 km to and fro). By the grace of Bou and my divine Mother Vaishno Devi I made 10 trips on foot from Katra to Trikuta hills and Bhaironath temple (to and fro) without any family members or friends.
Every time after making prayers at the Holy Cave, I moved towards Bhairo Baba darshan which is 2 km far from Mata’s abode. It’s worth mentioning that Mata Vaishno beheaded Bhairo as he always wanted to grab her and test her prowess. When Bhairon Nath lay dead at her feet, his severed head flown off with a force and fell at a distant hilltop. His soul, realizing his folly after his death, approached the Goddess and prayed her to forgive him for his misdeeds. The benevolent Goddess immediately felt compassionate towards him and granted him a boon that each and every devotee visiting her shrine would then also have to take a darshan of Bhairon, in order to complete their pilgrimage.
Hindus worship Vaishno Devi, also commonly referred to as Mata Rani and Vaishnavi is the very manifestation of the Goddess Shakti.
Followers of Mata Vaishno Devi believe that no one can visit her temple unless and until she issues a “bulawa” or “call” to them.
Irrespective of caste, creed and social status, it is said that a journey to the sacred shrine of Vaishno Devi can materialize if and only if she wills it and blesses the devotee with her darshan. In fact, many devotees have been said to experience this first hand. The converse is also said to be true. If there is a Call from the Deity, even those who had not planned for the trip are bound to go visit the Mother at her shrine.
Those desire to visit her shrine, therefore, make a fervent wish in their hearts and pray to her for showering her grace and granting darshan to them. Then, they surrender to her will and leave it to her to decide when it would be the right time for them to visit her Holy Abode.
There is no exact record as to when the shrine of Vaishno Devi came into existence. Certain geological studies seem to indicate that it may be nearly a million years old. Though the Vedas make no mention of Mata Vaishno Devi, the earliest reference to a mountain deity named Trikuta has been made in the Rig-Veda. It is worth noting here that the worship of Shakti and other deities started only during the Puranic era.
According to legend, at the time when the Mother Goddess was engaged in waging terrible wars against and destroying the demons causing chaos in the world, Her three main manifestations, namely, Maha Kali, Maha Lakshmi and Maha Saraswati united into one single power, pooling in their collective spiritual strength. This unification created a bright aura and a beautiful young girl emerged from this aura. The girl asked the Mother Goddesses for instructions to proceed ahead with her mission. The Devis told her that her mission was to manifest on Earth and spend her time there, upholding Dharma or righteousness.
While undertaking uphill journey one can make holy dip at Banganga which is 1 km distance from Katra and step into the Charanpaduka temple i.e. 3.5 km from Katra where Goddess rested a while at Charanpaduka before travelling to the Trikuta Hills. This place is so named, since it contains the foot prints of the deity. Though I visited 10 times but I never visited Adkuwari Cave till my 8th visit, this Adkuwari cave is the halfway mark to the Vaishno Devi shrine. This cave is also known as Garbhjune and very famous as Mata Vaishno is believed to have hidden for 9 months, in order to protect herself from Bhairon Nath. In my 9th attempt I was successful in crawling through this cave and fortunate to see inside of the cave the how Mata lived there for 9 months like an unborn child remains in mother’s womb for 9 months and this cave protected Mata from the ugly designs from demon Bhairabnath. The importance of this cave is that irrespective of fatness one can penetrate through this cave and can make an exit from other side without any hiccups. Mythology says if any one passes through this cave then the person gets Mokhya (free from cycle of birth) and if by chance the person is born again then he/she will enjoy glorious life without any struggle.