It has been a long time since I posted and a lot has happened in that time. These past months have been a whirlwind of change and because it continues full force, it’s hard to know how to describe the experience…it’s sort of like trying to share ideas about what it feels to be on a roller coaster before you’ve had a chance to disembark.
For months I’ve prayed to Divine Mother that she guide my footsteps further down my path of dharma and tried hard to be open to what that path might look like and where I might find myself. I had no idea what I got myself into with that attitude!
The story begins 18 months ago, when my marriage began to fall apart. My first major decision in that process was to go to India on Pilgrimage with my Ananda friends. I wrote quite a bit about that pilgrimage in earlier blog posts, but to sum it up here – it was life changing. I found deep inner peace and connection with my guru and my spiritual Self. The warmth, love and upliftment were a great boon during a time of turmoil for me.
Six months later, my husband and I tried to patch our lives back together. I entered Yoga Teacher Training and continued to dive deep into my inner Self to understand what I needed to do to calm the waters of my heart. By the winter, I began to plan a second Pilgrimage to India, this time to the Himalaya to hike and meditate in God’s holy mountains.
I tried my best, but my marriage continued to spiral downwards and our lives continued to move further and further apart. I asked Divine Mother everyday for guidance on where to go with my life – begging her for a sign.
In June, my father and I packed our things and headed to India for 3 weeks of incredible adventure, uplifting sights and deep meditation in the Himalaya. He describes our journey in full detail on his blog and I highly recommend you check it out (Hriman Ananda Blog).
My heart was restless when we arrived, having been on such a roller coaster of emotion in my personal life and in my professional one, in fact. We landed in Delhi and were picked up by the guide I met on my first pilgrimage, Mahavir, and his faithful driver Satendra (whose skills dodging oncoming traffic is truly incredible).
For the subsequent 17 days we whizzed around harrowing mountain roads, dodging oncoming cars and racing against the monsoon, in order to complete the Chardum – an ancient pilgrimage to 4 holy temples in 4 deep river valleys of the Himalaya. It was incredible.
We followed the footsteps of the Pandava’s all the way; every temple, town and mountain seemed to have a claim to some part of the Mahabharata and the exile of the Pandava’s to the Himalaya. We were nearly always surrounded by thousands of pilgrims, but the serenity of those mountains could not be shaken by even the most rowdy crowds.
We met Baba’s and Sadhu’s walking barefoot along the roads or living in high mountain caves. We drank masala chai from the shabbiest tea stalls you can imagine and slept in some less than desirable places. It was amazing.
They say that Pilgrimage must be uncomfortable for the pilgrim to receive the deeper blessings of the journey. Between my inner turmoil and the serious case of Delhi belly I contracted from some mango lassi – I knew I was in for quite a boon!
Once we finished the Chardum, the four of us (dad, Mahavir, Satendra and me) winded our way to Babaji’s cave on Dhronagiri mountain and experienced some of the deepest, most uplifting meditations I’ve ever enjoyed. We finished in Calcutta with a visit to Tulsi’s daughter Hassi, to Master’s Gorpar road home, to Dhakineswar and to Serampore. All of which was filled with continuous blessings.
To share such an experience with my dad is indescribably special. It will go down as an epic journey in the shaping of my life and I am deeply grateful to have shared it with him.
As I mentioned, I had been praying to Divine Mother to help direct my path and feeling very lost in the emotions of my heart for sometime. India was healing in every way and I returned with a deep sense of peace and strength to face my life.
I’m so thankful now to have had that preparation for what was in store; the final demise of my marriage. Apparently, while I was gaining peace and joy in India, my marriage was ending back at home. It became abundantly clear within a few days of my return. Like book ends, my two Pilgrimages to India mark the beginning and the end of a chapter I now call, Finding my Center.
Now I sit, staring out the window of my new home with my Ananda family and realize that this was my boon. I am free. I tried my best and loved my partner deeply, but our paths diverged in the woods and I was in agony trying to rope them back together.
I thank Babaji, whose blessings my dad and I felt so deeply on that day on Dhronagiri mountain and I thank my guru and Divine Mother, who have guided my steps to this special place.
Gita is a writer, speaker, and nonprofit professional. She earned a bachelors degree in international studies from Pepperdine University and a masters degree in nonprofit administration from the University of San Francisco. She has traveled extensively and held leadership positions with national and international nonprofit organizations.
She was born, raised, and now resides with her husband and two children at Ananda Village, the first of eight cooperative Kriya Yoga communities founded by Swami Kriyananda, a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda.
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