Jerusalem of the east

Dear readers, my third destination is spiritual, breath taking and truely divine…..

This summer one of my elder cousin sister had come to our house on a weekend holiday. Although there was group of other relatives, I was deeply engrossed in her talks. Later in the night as our talks progressed on the spiritual matters she made a simple yet a very remarkable statement which I had never ever realized before – the east west religious divide. To put it simpler the religions of the west – Judaism, Christianity and Islam, all three have a common root i.e. the spiritual cause and ethnic beliefs. Similarly, the religions of the east – Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism, all three have a common seed i.e. morality, concentrated meditation and seeking wisdom. The next day she was gone but the words had made made an impression on me.

A few days later as I was sitting with my father in his room and going through his world atlas, as I turned through the pages something struck me. In the pages I think I was searching for my spiritual destination …. It was in the state of Himachal Pradesh ( which actually happens to be my domicile state ) and the place was Rewalsar. This place is abode to the world famous holy lake which is the confluence of the religions of the east – Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism. The stage was set, the destination clear and i was soaring to go.

Early the next morning I was heading for Rewalsar which is a picturesque hamlet in the foothills of Himalayas. The car drive from Mandi through the serene countryside took me about an hour to reach the splendid lake and as I was driving through the hills I was already entering into a state of divine ecstasy. Something was awaiting me…..something spiritual or may be something divine…..

On reaching Rewalsar, I parked my car outside the main town and took a view of what lied in front of my eyes. It was breathtaking. As I started to walk towards the holy lake, it seemed to say something to me. I was remembering the words of my cousin. The place had an incomparable aura. Serene, mystic,divine aura….

After completing the customary Parikarama of the holy lake I settled down on a side and started to meditate in silence. As I started to focus on the events of my life I could see the reflections of my life in the waters of the holy lake. A few distance from me was a Buddhist monk meditating under a tree.

Once he was finished with his session I asked him out of sheer sense of inquisitiveness “what was the relivance of the holy lake to a Buddhist monk ?”No sooner had I finished, prompt came the reply from him “ life takes a full circle, whosoever one is whether a Hindu Saint, a Sikh priest or a Buddhist monk we all have one bond that of humanity and our faiths draw the spiritual powers from the water cycles of the holy lake….yes it the divine power of the holy waters of the Rewalsar Lake my friend….the confluence of Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism…..the Jerusalem of the east my friend……” . With this he was gone.

I tried to recollect my thoughts. As the words of the Buddhist monk started to make sense to my anxious mind, I found a deep desire to visit the holy shrines of the three faiths. I visited the Buddhist Monastery, the Hindu Temple and the Sikh Gurudwara. By now I had learnt about the legends and the historical significance of the holy lake to the three faiths .

The legend of Padmasambhava and Princess Mandarava

Padmasambhava and Princess Mandarava, daughter of King Arshdhar of Mandi principality were energetically drawn to one another. King Arshdhar, fearful of the contamination of the royal bloodline and what he perceived as Mandarava’s apostasy, endeavored to have Mandarava and Padmasambhava purified by immolation through the flames of a pyre. Instead of finding their corpses incensed and charred, he found that the fire of the pyre had been transformed into lake Rewalsar, out of which arose a blooming lotus that supports the unharmed Mandarava and Padmasambhava who through this manifestation of their realisation have achieved their secret names of Vajravarahi and Hayagriva, respectively, after which King Arshdhar furnishes the union with his unreserved blessings.

Legend has it that the great teacher Padmasambhava (Guru Rimpoche) used his enormous power to take flight to Tibet from Rewalsar. In Rewalsar, his spirit is said to reside in the tiny island of floating reed that drifts over the water.

The Hindu and Sikh driving force…..

It is here that the Sage Lomas, whose one of the manifestations was Padmasambhava as per the Hindu mythology did penance in devotion to Lord Shiva. For the faith of Sikhism, Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru of Sikhs, also resided here for one month.

Anyone and everyone who had set out on a spiritual journey had his answers at this holy lake….as was the case with Sage Lomas and Guru Gobind Singhji.

It had been a long tiring day and the golden rays of the sun were casting their last reflections in the dark serene waters of the lake. As I started to walk  towards the road I stared to understand the truth and the deep meaning in the Buddhist monks’ words.

As I pen down these words, it is my humble request to my dear readers, take a deep breath and make a reflection – the world religions are meant to simplify our lives and not to complicate them……they are meant to satisfy our spiritual needs and not to bring out differences in us……because in front of the Supreme we all have one factor in common and that is humanity – the greatest uniting force.

The monk was right. The town of Rewalsar teaches us this important facet of life. Because out there even if one is a Buddhist, he or she definitely visits the Hindu and Sikh deities and vice versa is true. Truly…..Rewalsar is the Jerusalem of the east…..infant better than that……but then those were the words of the monk and obviously he was wiser than me…..

Dear sister many thanks for sparking that spiritual thought in me.

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