H.G. Matsyavatar Das

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Pilgrimage: a Journey of Search and Discovery.

Part II
It is not by chance that Masters of Bhakti speak of an inseparable unity which is necessary for our evolution: Bhagavata sacred work and Bhagavata person, both of them are able to transfer the knowledge and the consciousness of  the Divine, Bhagavan.
If our visit to a sacred place is made with these predispositions, it may become an experience of great meaning that allows us to get in touch with timeless memories that bring us in other elevated dimensions of consciousness, and allow us to hear and accept the messages conveyed to mankind from another dimensions.
At times life faces us with very difficult situations so that we have to be ready and able to make our pilgrimage even in a hospital's room after the announcement of a terrible medical report, in front of the lifeless body of a dear person, suffering a devastating moral pain because of the betrayal of the person we most loved; or in a prison's cell where we had been locked in spite of our innocence, destroyed  by defamation. In these circumstances we need to start our journey even sooner, loading ourselves with inspiration and starting our inner journey to find a safe place, a shelter, an oasis in which to connect with our spiritual eternal self, which is unchangeable, together with God who is the giver of Knowledge, Love and Mercy. More than ever in these situations, in order to withstand sufferance, we have to fight against time in order to reach the space in the centre of our heart, where, the Upanishads say, time and space ultimately do not exist. That dimension is pure Transcendence. It is the place where all our desires are fulfilled. But the human being, deviated by the unreal world of vanishing impressions,  has lost the route to find it, because that dimension is invisible to the senses and to the physical eyes, the voice of that place speaks to the soul and the ears are not meant to hear it. For this reason Krishna says to Arjuna in the Bhagavad-gita: “In order to see me the way I am, I give you spiritual senses”. Why does Krishna offer to Arjuna such a great opportunity? Because Arjuna asked Him with a humble manner, because he desired it with intensity, because he wanted to get in touch with Krishna in his original and intimate divine nature.
Only with a burning desire to perceive a spiritual dimension and connect with God, a person may receive the divine strength to achieve it, to make the journey that from the realm of death will take us to immortality, from darkness to light, from sufferance to beatitude. A pilgrimage is that journey, it is rejoining.
How long does that journey last? Patanjali in the Yoga-sutras explains that the distance depends mainly on two factors: continuity and intensity of desire, and the required effort. In order to reach our target soon, we need to keep our course steady, with constant determination, and to increase the speed of motion by rising the intensity of the desire. Dante in the Divine Comedy accomplishes that journey too. At one point he describes his emotion as “feeling a pull from the sky while being still alive”. Once we loosen our conditionings and get rid of  bad habits, ascending is fast.
A pilgrimage  is that  ascension, it is an upward shift, it means heading toward holiness, and the spirit we hold while facing the journey is crucial. If we have the right attitude, that feeling of serenity we  have been looking for, the one that we thought we would experiment only once we reached our destination - instead it arrives step by step during our pilgrimage: then we find it in the predetermined place we have chosen and elected as our home, the heart.
Life will become then, day after day, a wonderful journey of research and discovery.