It was a long weekend and I had planned to spend time with self. I was longing for this quite some time and wanted a break from the routine. Initially I thought of going for a trek through an organization but I wasn’t contented with my previous experience. I thought otherwise I will just walk like a nomad with no destination for a couple of days. I dropped it immediately considering the concrete jungle and pollution around the city. I searched for places around Bangalore in net and found an interesting blog about Tiruvannamalai and Ramana Maharshi Ashram. I decided to go there and packed my bag.
I boarded a direct bus from Silk board. All the way I was excited and was in hallucination of having a spiritual experience. Though Journey was tiring from Krishnagiri due to bad roads, the excitement kept me consoling. I reached Tiruvannamalai and walked to the temple. I have been to this temple earlier during festive seasons and it was crowded largely. Unlike those visits, I had a good darshan of the Lord this time. I was energized and got a delusion that whomever I met or spoke with is the form of Lord himself. I was in high spirits.
I left the temple in search of accommodation as it was getting dark. I wouldn’t have bothered to sleep just outside the temple but I was concerned with the office laptop which I was carrying along with me. I carried that as I had to go Chennai from Tiruvannamalai and work from there the next week. I walked to Ramana Maharshi Ashram and vedic chants were going on. It was crowded with people and there were many foreigners in saffron clothes. I couldn’t get accommodation in the ashram as it has to be booked in advance and there was no availability at that time. Later I went around the ashram and I was so attracted to one of Maharshi’s photo hanging in the new hall. I just sat looking at that photo. He was so divine. I couldn’t be there for a long time as I had to find out an accommodation for that night’s stay. So I left ashram in search of accommodation and saw a lodge on the way back to temple. It was close to temple premises and I stayed in it.
I got up early in the morning and planned to visit the temple and Ashram again. I went to temple and felt very much connected with the lord. I roamed around the temple premises and was mesmerized with its architecture and my thoughts were about the kings who built such great architecture. I saw people thronging to take darshan of Lord and there were many sadhus with calm faces sitting queitly in the temple complex. Few of them were foreigners. I wanted to spend some more time in the temple but thoughts were on my laptop which I left in the lodge. Left the temple and I quickly had breakfast and went back to the lodge, collected my back pack and vacated it.
From there, I walked to Ashram and spent some time in both old and new halls. Later I went to the backyard of Ashram and saw a way out and it read as “Way to Skandashram”. I have read about these caves in the blog as well, so I followed that way. Initially there were stairs to climb and I was walking bare foot as I left my sandals at the entrance of the Ashram. An old man coming downhill told me that I should have worn my foot wear. I replied him saying just ‘No problem’. I have read in the blog about few fake guides and that’s the reason I didn’t entertain the old man. I walked few steps ahead and felt the heat. Found difficult to keep a step ahead as it was noon and moreover it was real sunny that day. I didn’t want to go back, so I continued assuming that I would reach the ashram soon.
I walked keeping legs on the shady places but after few feet it was only rock. I was sweating heavily and my backpack seemed heavy now. I didn’t even carry water bottle as I had no plan to go to Skandashram until I saw the signboard. I was walking all alone up hill and occasionally met few people coming downhill. I got some water to quench my thirst from a middle aged man and I enquired him about the distance to reach Ashram, he asked me to take break and walk. After walking few feet, I saw a group of Gray langurs in the middle of the path. I was scared to cross them and waited until they move away. Meanwhile, I was inquiring myself, do I need to fear? I prayed to lord and after sometime I saw a man coming uphill. He also was not ready to go alone seeing the langurs and then we both crossed them together. After that he stayed back under a shade and I went ahead. Though little difficult, It was beautiful and adventurous to walk all alone in the middle of the forest. View of the city from the hill was also looking amazing. After covering some distance, I saw few kids selling water bottle and butter milk. I purchased water and asked the kid to take my snaps. They said that I have almost reached the Ashram.
In short time, I reached the Ashram and it was damn hot inside the cave. I couldn’t sit inside for long time as I was sweating. There were few pictures of Maharishi and books in all languages in the cave. I came out and looked around. I saw a small waterfall from the hill and tasted the water. It was natural. Then I saw the man who stopped by also reaching the cave and smiled at him.
There was a water tap and I filled my water bottle and washed myself. I saw a boy standing next to me waiting for his turn and he was the one who was selling water on the path. I started a conversation with him enquiring about his school. He said that he sells water and eatables during vacations and he is studying in IXth standard. Later I asked him about the water fall and where does this water goes? Do they conserve it? He said that no conservation happens and it goes waste. I kept asking him one or the other question like is there a different route going downhill. As the conversation continued, I became loud unknowingly. Suddenly the kid stopped me and said, “Brother, Please talk slowly and maintain silence. It’s a meditation place”. His words “Maintain silence” went direct to my head. I was dumb struck and kept silent gazing the city view for a long time. My mind was still with no thoughts. I was silent and the atmosphere around me was silent. That’s when I realized that Silence is bliss and soothing.
I left the Ashram and came down to the City and boarded a bus to Chennai. I inquired myself about the whole trip. I realized that my mind was not silent and that’s the reason I went through worry (of loosing things), distrust, fear, excitement and many such feelings and missed the bliss.