What keeps these sages in Badrinath in arctic-like conditions

Dehra Dun : The holy shrine of Badrinath in Uttarakhand, located at a height of about 13,000 ft wears a deserted look, ever since the doors of the temple closed last month. However, as many as about 15 sages and hermits took special permits to spend the six months, when the shrine re-opens again for pilgrims and tourists alike, at the heights surrounded by nothing but snow.

Although the number of sages and hermits who have taken special permission this year to stay back in Badrinath is less than half of what it was during the earlier years, but one wonders what will keep them surviving in temperatures where the chill effect could go down to as much as minus 70 degrees C during the peak winter period.

himalaya

And to cap it most the sages and hermits who have decided to stay back are reported to have put up in caves and other abodes in the higher reaches of the temple town, devoid of electricity and other benefits of the material world. With no help and medical aid what so ever, as they will remain cut off from the rest of the world, it is said that the time is spent in prayer and meditation.

According to information gathered, quite a few of the sages and hermits who are staying back claim that their age is anywhere between 200 to 300 years. Though there is no material proof of their ages, but the recall incidents that occurred two centuries before and earlier, to which they claim that they were witnesses.

With no fires burning to keep the chill off in their caves and other abodes popular belief is that the high degree that these sages and hermits have reached in meditation sees them through the icy-cold winter months as they have reached a stage where their bodies are almost immune to the cold and they can survive on thin air that they breathe.

In fact many people claim that there is one Swami Sadanand, who has reached a stage where he just materializes to the place he wants to be in and then disappears to return to his place of abode, the location of which is not known. Asserting that that he is 500 years old, locals claim that he comes for a bath and the kund and then dematerializes again.

Those who claim to have seen him coming for his early morning bath at about 4 a m swear that he does not come walking, but just materializes at the kund at the appropriate hour. After his dip in the kund, they claim that he dematerializes again and just disappears apparently to return to the place in the upper reaches that has made his abode, which remains out of reach.

Though many doubt the existence of Swami Sadanand, but the very fact that about 15 sages and hermits have taken permission to stay back in Badrinath in the cold winter months is proof enough that they have reached an advanced stage in meditation. Perhaps scientists and doctors, who remain sceptical about such claims could probe the ages of these sages and hermits and how their system has become immune to materialistic needs and the icy chill.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt is Editor Hill Post (Uttarakhand). Jagdish has worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, Jagdish is a recipient of many awards, latest being the 2011 Development Journalism Award. He lives in Dehra Dun.

3 Comments

  • GARHWAL SCOUTS- a part of the illustrious & highly decorated Rifle Regiment of the Indian Army ,the GARHWAL RIFLES,are the proud sentinels of Niti-Mana & Malari Sectors.Based at the town of Narsingh Awatar,the BHULAS guard their Sanctum-Sanctorum 24×7.Even after the villagers of Mana & local inhabitants of Badrinath move out ,after the Holy Kapats are closed for six months,the brave GARHWALIS continue to patrol the icy heights of Sino-Indian Border. Even during the recent tragedy that afflicted Badrinath & the surrounding areas,it was they who looked after each & every one.Being sons of the soil,they take special pride to help & care for any one in any respect.They are fully equipped,administered & have adequate medical facilities.They are truly blessed by their Presiding Deity-Lord Badri Vishal Lal.I know that a number of sages & hermits stay put in & around the Holy Temple & it’s precincts -as far as ,near Vasu Dhara,etc,it is their sheer spiritual & religious strength ,will power & determination that pulls them through in the very harsh winter conditions.I knew of one NRI Doctor who stayed put the entire winter at the higher reaches of the town & returned to U.S just after the Holy Kapats were opened.In Puranas they say “THERE ARE MANY TEERTHS IN THIS WORLD,BUT THERE IS NO TEERTH LIKE BADRINATH & THERE SHALL ,NEVER EVER BE ,ONE LIKE THIS ONE”.The BHULAS look after each & every one who contacts them for any help.In fact,I recall with great pride what His Holiness the Rawal had once told me , Quote,” IF THESE BHULAS WERE NOT HERE,WE-THE INHABITANTS OF BADRINATH WOULD NOT BE HERE”,Unquote.The GARHWALIS take it upon themselves to serve their land,state & country being ‘sons of the soil’ with great pride,elan,distinction & honour. They render their selfless services to the Nation.Their Presiding Deity-Lord Badri Vishal Lal looks after them.They are triple blessed.May their tribe increase !!

  • There are nine type of shidhies described in Vedas and one of them is to travel through Ganga to upper planetary system It might be possible that Swami Sadanand has this shidhi.

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