Peaks of Spirituality: Sadhguru’s Homecoming to the Powerful Himalayas

Discover why Sadhguru’s journeys to the Himalayas are always like a homecoming, and why every spiritual seeker should experience these mystical mountains at least once in their life.

Mountain Reunion

Sadhguru: The Himalayas, these magnificent mountains, have fascinated me from my childhood days. Many pictures and books came my way to fuel my urge to trek these vast mountain tracts. Though these mountains have inspired religious hopes and spiritual aspirations in many, I never looked at them in that sense.

In September 1993, I landed in Haridwar not knowing where I should go, and then started towards Badrinath. Sixteen hours of bus ride snaking through the mountains was most memorable – like finding my way back into the womb. Even now, I know almost every curve on that road. It was dark and cold when I reached Badri. I had absolutely no warm clothes – I was just wearing jeans, a T-shirt, and shoes. I managed to find a shelter when it began to snow.

The next morning, I came out for a cup of tea – it looked like that was the only refuge from the cold. I braced myself and walked on, finding my way to the chai kadai [1]. The room key that I held in my hand, which was numb with cold, slipped and fell on the ground. I bent down to pick it up, and what I saw as I looked up even the craftiest bard would fail to describe. I was in a valley that was pitch dark, but the snow-clad mountain peak was brightly lit in pure white by the golden sun. It completely overpowered me. All that I had heard, read, seen, and imagined fell woefully short of what was there before me. My tears were the only answer; then I knew these were the tears of reunion.

[1] Tea shop.

Badrinath Temple

An Unexpected Token of Gratitude

I was so enchanted with the whole place that it never occurred to me to visit the Badrinath temple. I just walked 12 km towards Vasudhara, a 400 feet. high waterfall that is only a thin wisp. Most of it gets lost in the wind, and very little reaches the ground below. I sat on a rock a little away where only a faint spray would reach me.

I closed my eyes, as I always see better that way. I felt someone holding my feet, crying and pleading, “Maharaj.” I opened my eyes and saw a sadhu [1]. He spoke in a language other than Hindi, but what he said was clear to me. He was appealing to me that I should pull him out of his spiritual stagnation. I initiated him into Shoonya dhyana [2]. Generally, I can barely speak Hindi, but I spoke fluent Hindi and uttered “इस पहाड़ के जैसे अचल हो जाओ (Be still like these mountains).”

The sadhu settled into deep Shoonya with tears streaming down his cheeks. As a token of his gratitude, he offered me an ekamukhi [3] the size of a large lemon. I took it in my hands, and then placed it in my pocket. It was thumping with energy like an excited heart. I returned to my room with one of the rarest of the rare rudraksha.

[1] An ascetic; sanyasi.

[2] Shoonya meditation. Shoonya literally means emptiness.

[3] A rudraksha seed (Elaeocarpus ganitrus), with a single face.

Kedarnath Temple

Allure of the Mountain’s Devotees

The next year, again the urge to go to the Himalayas was strong, and I went there twice in the same year. I reached Haridwar with no particular plan, but something in me took me towards Kedarnath. Though I reached Gaurikund around 3 p.m., I decided to trek 16 km to Kedarnath. With rain and minus temperatures chilling my bones, I made this climb of 16 km and reached Kedar around 8 p.m.

I spent the next day with many sadhus of various sects. These are ascetics who normally stay aloof, but they were very close to me. One of them belonged to Salem in Tamil Nadu and had visited Velliangiri. He was simply overwhelmed. Even when I was traveling by bus, many sadhus turned around and gave me a smile or nod of recognition. Definitely, it was a homecoming. These sadhus and sanyasis make the place more alluring than the mountains.

Kanti Sarovar

Shiva’s Abode

There is a place called Kanti Sarovar, which is a very steep 7–8 km climb from Kedarnath. The legend says Shiva and Parvati lived on the banks of this lake and visited their devotees who lived at Kedarnath. I proceeded onto Kanti Sarovar. Its serenity, silence, and purity penetrated my consciousness. The climb, altitude, and desolate beauty left me breathless.

I sat in that stillness on a small rock with my eyes open, imbibing every form around me. The surroundings gradually lost their form and only naadha [1] existed. The mountain, the lake, and the whole surroundings, including my body, did not exist in their usual form. Everything was just sound. Within me, a song arose – Naadha Brahma Vishwa Swaroopa [2]. I always liked Sanskrit but never attempted to learn it. I did not want to read the Vedas or Upanishads and clutter my own inner vision, as it never lets me down. Still, the whole song flowed out in Sanskrit. The experience was overpowering. Slowly, everything fell back into their forms. The fall of my consciousness from naadha to roopa [3] filled my eyes with tears.

Later, I started towards a Shiva temple at Guptakashi. It was as if the place, temple, and priests were all known to me, and I had been there before. From there, I moved to a small town on the Indo-Nepalese border. One sadhu gave me a rare shankh – a three-in-one conch shell, which signifies prosperity. Even though I did not need it, he just left it with me and walked away. The most sought-after objects came my way of their own accord.

These mountains are so alive with spiritual vibrations. Many known and unknown spiritual masters chose these mountains as their abode and have illuminated the place with their energies. The Himalayas are certainly an uplifting experience for all spiritual seekers. Before you are too weak or old you must meet and merge with the beloved Himalayas – it is my wish and my blessing.

[1] Lit. sound in Sanskrit.

[2] The meaning of the song is that the whole of creation is sound.

[3] Lit. form in Sanskrit.

Guptakashi Vishwanath Temple
Sadhus in the Himalayas