Lord Swaminarayan’s Pilgrimage adventures.

Shree Hari left the house with an excuse of going to bathe. However,  due to His intense vairãgya, He abandoned His family and home, and travelled north to perform religious austerities.

Shree Hari wore a small dhoti with a loin-cloth underneath (tied with a grass rope), a white yagnopavit, and a kanthi of tulsi beads around His neck, His long hair was tied in a bun, and He had the mark of the urdhva-pundra tilak and chãndlo on His forehead. He carried with Him deer-skin, a wooden T-shaped stick, a kamandalu, an alms-bowl, a piece of cotton to filter water, and a mãlã in His right hand. Around His neck, He tied a small case containing shãligrãm, and a murti of Bãl-Mukund, and over His shoulder He carried the gutko which contained the essence of the shãstras. In this svarup, Shree Nilkanth Brahm-Chãri swam across the River Saryu, and headed north.

After walking for many days, He came to a large forest located in the valley of the Himãlay Mountains. After walking through the forest for many days, He eventually reached Mukti-Nãth, in Nepal. Here, He performed severe tap in order to please Surya-Dev. Then, after many months had passed, He headed south. In the deep valleys of the Himãlay Mountains, Shree Nilkanth Brahm-Chãri came across another
extremely dense forest, which He travelled through for twelve months. Shree Nilkanth Brahm-Chãri then came across Gopãl Yogi, who was sitting under a banyan tree, and was performing tap. He stayed with Gopãl Yogi for twelve months and learnt the art of ashtãng-yog.

Nilkanth Brahm-Chãri gave Gopãl Yogi the knowledge of His svarup and sent him to Akshardhãm.

Then, He headed north, passed through Ãdi -Varãh, and reached Sirpur, in Bengãl. The king of Sirpur, Siddh-Vallabh, was very religious. At the request of the king, Shree Nilkanth Brahm-Chãri stayed in Sirpur during the four months of the monsoon season. During this period, He destroyed the pride of evil people who worshipped Kãli and Bhairav, and protected Gopãldãs, a servant of the king, from their black-magic.
In the town, there lived a brãhman from the Telang region (part of Andhra-Pradesh and Tamil Nadu). He had originally studied Veds, the Purãns, and historical shãstras. He had accepted many alms, including an elephant from the king, which he did not deserve. As a result of this, his complexion turned from fair to dark. This brãhman took the shelter of Shree Nilkanth Brahm-Chãri for the destruction of his sins. Shree
Nilkanth Brahm-Chãri relieved him from his sins and he attained his original fair complexion.

Shree Nilkanth Brahm-Chãri later reached a village near the mandir of Kãmakshi Devi, where there lived a brãhman. He was a worshipper of Mahã-Kali, and was terrifying the brãhmans and sãdhus who came to visit the village. He was using his black-magic to make them his followers. He approached Shree Nilkanth Brahm-Chãri and tried to use his black-magic and sorcery on Him, but was unsuccessful. Instead,
Shree Nilkanth Brahm-Chãri rid the brãhman of his arrogance and made him a shishya.

Later, Shree Nilkanth Brahm-Chãri came to Nav-Lakhã Mountain, where there were the seats of 900,000 yogis. In front of these yogis, there were 900,000 flames within a pool of water. Shree Nilkanth Brahm-Chãri gave His darshan to all the yogis, and descended the mountain.

Shree Nilkanth Brahm-Chãri then came down to a place called Bãlvã- Kund. From there, He reached the union between the River Gangã and the Bay of Bengãl, called Gangã Sãgar. After bathing there, He crossed the bay with a small boat, and then went to Kapil Ãshram. He stayed there for a month, where He daily received the darshan of Kapil-Dev.

Progressing onwards, He reached Jagan-Nãth-Puri. After staying there for a few months, He destroyed many demons. With His powers, He made them fight amongst themselves in such a way that they killed each other. Then, Shree Nilkanth Brahm-Chãri headed south, reaching a place called Ãdi-Kurma. He then crossed a dense forest, before arriving at Mãnaspur. The king of Mãnaspur, Satra-Dharma, became
His ãshrit. Through the king, Shree Nilkanth Brahm-Chãri destroyed many demons.

Shree Nilkanth Brahm-Chãri passed Venkantãdri, Shiv Kanchi, and Vishnu Kanchi, and later stayed at Shree-Rang-Kshetra for two months. Through His power and ability, He debated with Vaishnavs, and persuaded them to abandon their immoral behaviour. Shree Nilkanth Brahm-Chãri then went to Setu-Bandh and stayed there
for two months. Every day, He took a bath in the ocean and performed darshan of Rãmeshvar Mahã-Dev. He also received the darshan of Vishnu in the svarup of Sunder-Rãj.

Moving forward, He came across a dense forest, where He kept walking for five days without food and water. On the sixth day, at around midday, He saw a water-well. He bathed with the water that He had taken out of the well using His kamandalu. He sat beneath a banyan tree and carried out His daily pujã, including that of shãligrãm. He
placed shãligrãm in a bowl and started to bathe it by pouring water from the kamandalu. The water did not gather in the bowl, but was absorbed by shãligrãm. Having emptied roughly seven kamandalus full of water, which was all absorbed by shãligrãm, He realised that shãligrãm had now quenched its thirst. He started to perform pujã by applying sandalwood paste. At that time He thought, “Shãligrãm was very thirsty, and must also be hungry, yet I have nothing to offer to Him. What can I give Vishnu?”

At that time, Shivji and Pãrvati arrived there, travelling on Nandishvar, in the disguise of tyãgis. They saw Shree Nilkanth Brahm-Chãri in His pujã and offered Him sãthvo and salt. He mixed the sãthvo and salt with water, and offered it to Vishnu in the svarup of shãligrãm, and then ate it Himself as prasãd.

From there, He travelled to a place known as Bhut-Puri, where He stayed for the darshan and pujã of Shree Rãmãnuj-Ãchãrya. Then, He went to Kumãrikã, Padmanãbh, Janãrdan, and then had the darshan of Vishnu in the svarup of Adi Keshav. Next, He went to Kulgiri, known as Malayãchãl, and stayed there for five days, receiving darshan of Vishnu in the svarup of Sãkshi Gopãl. Shree Nilkanth Brahm-Chãri later went to Pandharpur and stayed there for two months, and received the darshan Vishnu as Vitthal-Nãth.

Shree Nilkanth Brahm-Chãri then performed pradakshinã of a place called Dand-Kãranya. He continued His journey and reached Nãsikpur, where He received darshan of Trambakeshvar. Shree Nilkanth Brahm- Chãri then crossed River Tãpi, River Narmadã, River Mahi, and River Sãbarmati.

Shree Nilkanth Brahm-Chãri then travelled through Bhal region and reached Bhim-Nãth. Shree Nilkanth Brahm-Chãri received the darshan of Shiv in the svarup of Gop-Nãth, and reached the port of Mãngrol. In this way, while on yãtrã, He destroyed adharma and established ekãntik dharma every tirth He visited. He freed the people living there from the ties of worldly affairs by giving them His darshan and accepting food and water offered by them.

 

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