Cleansing my Sins on a (Brat-) Pilgrimage in India

Hm, yes I think it was more of a Brat Pilgrimage. Not that I am complaining…

Two years ago I could not even have imagined myself visiting temples in India in the middle of the Summer. Temples, museums and those cultural things that my mother and grandparents appreciate, have always been extremely boring in my opinion. “This building was constructed 1200 years ago by King Ching and the windows are particularly beautiful, bla, bla, bla…” Instead, in June I usually arrange a big, two-day Midsummer party on Käringön on the Swedish west coast. We have traditionally worshipped Alcohol, and the cultural element did not go further than the traditional dance around the Midsummer-Pole.

Midsummer with my friends at Käringön 2013. 

But still, here I was in Tamil Nadu in southeast India, visiting temples and holy sites for two weeks. Cleansing my body and soul after all those years, guess it was needed… Of course the main reason I went was because it was recommended by my new Guru, Master Dhyan Vimal. Visiting temples with him here in India is like going to a football game with Zlatan Ibrahimovic (famous Swedish player). So we got the VIP treatment everywhere with special ceremonies and the transports between luxury hotels and temples occurred in three air-conditioned buses (if anyone happened to have a picture of me doing this pilgrimage the old way walking bare feet on dirty roads…).

The temples we visited were generally built as a monument around a tomb of a holy man, a Siddha. These Siddhas did according to history attain Enlightenment, just like Buddha, Jesus and Osho probably did. There seems to be hundreds of Siddhas in the Hindu tradition and in the Tamil tradition, that Master Vimal come from, there are 18 Siddhas which are most well-known. Most of them lived before Christ, some of them probably as long as 10 000 years (!) Before Christ. All 18 temples we visited were more than 1 000 years old. No one really knows how old some are, since no one is allowed to carry out tests in the inner holy shrine. But some of the temple walls around the shrine are over 10 000 years old. In many cases cities were built around these temples, to benefit from the energy that is supposed to radiate from these holy sites.

Like I said I am generally not that interested in these kind of cultural stuff, but I have to admit this was impressive. I used to think we had old culture in Europe with Rome, Greek and even Egypt – but this was much older. I also believed Buddhism had the most relevant and rich culture in preserving and spreading the Enlightened Consciousness, but what I saw here was way beyond that as well. This was India, most likely the birthplace of human civilisation and probably also the birthplace of the first enlightened human being. A long time before Buddha who “only” lived 2 500 years ago.

After walking around the first temples as a dumb, blond tourist I started to at least understand the basic symbolism. The inner most holy was always a Shiva Lingam, a phallic symbol that looked a bit like a huge teapot. This is a symbol of the formless and generally the enlightened man, the Siddha, prayed to, bowed to and honoured this sculpture and thereby infused his energy into the Shiva Lingam for many years. If he succeeded his energy would stay in the Shiva Lingam for a long time after his death. This may sound hard to believe for a westerner, but as Master Vimal said the proof they are still functional is that the temple still stands there and the priests are still carrying out the rituals five times a day. Most Shiva Lingams are deserted because they don’t function and consequently we saw many such lonely sculptures on fields and meadows. So this was one thing that impressed me. That the Hindus created a kind of technology to pass enlightenment on from generation to generation and it lasted for more than ten thousand years. All symbols had a very precise meaning, like for instance the sitting bull which represents the Ego that you have to look beyond to see the divine represented by the Shiva Lingam. Apparently much of the vitality of this culture has been lost in the last millennia. Why that happened is not yet fully understood.

Another thing that stayed with me was a meeting with a man who was in the process of getting very close to Enlightenment. Master Vimal knew him from before, so we made an extra detour to visit him. He lived very simple with a dog, a cat and a cow and only a roof over his Shiva Lingam, and his whole life seemed to rotate around worshipping this symbol. 40 years ago this man made a sacred promise to never speak again and he hasn’t. He did not look that old, but I guess he was and he sure had a very intense presence. According to Master Vimal he was now in the last phases of Ego death and passing into the first stage out of three stages of Enlightenment. “You don’t know the incredible bliss this man is living in. He does not need anything from the world anymore”, Master Vimal said. I got a bit nervous. Do I have to live like this?!, I wondered. I still like to drive boats, party and eat good dinners… Master Vimal assured me that we all have our different paths to liberation and that the one we are meant to choose will be perfect for each one of us. Puh!!

13694115_10153621977776791_1331418384_oMaster Dhyan Vimal to the right and the “promising talent” to the left. 🙂   Picture by Tim Fernandez

So how did this trip affect me personally? Was it possible to bless all those sins out of my system? We were told that what is happening here is not really for the mind, the mind cannot make that much sense out of it. But the energy affects the body and if one is open to receive much can happen. I must admit there was a very intense vibe in some of the temples, in a couple of them it was almost impossible to think – it was simply too painful. I have no idea how this works, but it was valuable to see that so many people have attained liberation, Nirvana, throughout time and I choose to believe that their energy affected me somehow. Otherwise I guess it would have been impossible for me to stand going to these hot temples day after day… I did generally feel lighter day by day, but it was not all that happy-happy. The whole thing and being close to Master Vimal apparently forced my system to process old stuff and my dreams went crazy night after night. Childhood memories and people I have not seen for a long time came and went, as my subconscious were reshaped somehow.

Read more about the trip in the next post.

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  • Michelle Yamamoto
    Posted at 17:45h, 15 July

    Thank you Erik for your eloquence and honesty. I was disappointed to not be able to come to this Yaatra as I wanted to understand more of these sacred traditions and this article helped me visualize the experience beautifully.. Fingers crossed I make it next year.

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