A river flows by as I watch the sun rising and spreading a warm golden glow over the 800+ shikhars of temples at Palitana. The soothing breeze ruffles my hair and the only music I can hear is the tinkling of a thousand temple bells. As I approach the Darbar, the sweet scent of fresh roses and Marjoram (Marua) leaves waft towards me and a sense of joy fills my heart. I’m going to finally be in front of our first Tirthankar. I have finally made it till here. As I climbed the last few steps, the fluttering red and white Dhwajas on the Shikhars meet my eye – a smile came upon my face and ‘Namo Jinanam’, I uttered.
The intricate architecture and the majestic Shikhars are awe-inspiring. I keep walking, experiencing the magic that the place seems to have in its every nook and corner. I want to experience this for myself, by myself. I want to let the serenity build a home in my heart. I want to explore and unravel the stories that make this place what it is – an abode of peace, positivity and purity.
Know about Navanu Yatra of Shri Shatrunjay Giriraj here
Mesmerized by the beauty, as the days went by, this beautiful place reintroduced me to the beauty that lived within me. It is not merely a place that I went to; it is home – home, where the soul feels replenished and shielded from anything that can cause harm. A climb of 3500 steps everyday gifted me with memories that are going to be cherished for a lifetime. It might stir ones curiosity and the question may arise – What is the purpose of an activity that seems so tedious? If you ask me, there are no words that can explain the worth; it is something to experience. Every experience is unique dotted with priceless memories. It is a remedial for the mind, body and soul. It is the practical class of religious theories that I have gotten acquainted with while growing up. It is the closest that I feel with myself and with the divinity of Shri Adinath Dada. If given a chance and if I’m blessed enough, I would embark on this journey as many times as possible. The Jain scriptures explain that Shri Adinath Dada visited Shri Shatrunjay Giriraj countless times (99 purav) and that Shri Shatrunjay Giriraj has liberated countless souls and will continue to. While countless miracles in the past have been experienced by devotees here, in the present date a lot of unbelievable incidents continue to establish the truth.
Why is Adinath Dada of Shri Shatrunjay Giriraj so revered?
The first Tirthankar of this avsarpinikal, Shri Adinath Dada has visited Shri Shatrunjay Giriraj countless times (99 purav) the darbar is where his sermons were held under the Rayan Vriksh from a Samavsaran which was built by celestial deities. Hence, Adinath Dada is ubiquitous here. Shri Shatrunjay Giriraj in itself is a hill that has immense powers to evoke a sense of peace and positivity and this was explained to us by Shri Adinath Dada, he introduced us to this holiest of holy places.
I felt lucky and blessed to be at the very same place where once our protector was. It is an experience that will always remain close to my heart. This blog post does little justice to the many conversations that I’ve had with myself while continuing with the journey every day from 6:30 am to approximately 2:00 pm sometimes 4:00 pm – never had a defined schedule, never felt the need to have one.
The hills spoke to me sometimes, as I looked over the valley, gazing at the distant horizon I heard a voice telling me – Is the essence of peace fading away? How much at peace am I with me? I wondered. The hills echoed – At this moment, you’re enough; you contain within you a power to face situations with equanimity. Lives within you, a part that is as pure as me. Realizing the truth, I felt at home yet again.
So far, I had spent my lifetime doing what life commanded, sometimes with a defined purpose sometimes simply going with the flow. The many soliloquies that I’ve enjoyed while completing Navanu over a period of 50 days rekindled within me a desire to let peace prevail at all times – the experience empowered me to not fear obstacles but to find peace in knowing that there is always a way to overcome every obstacle. The biggest miracle that I experienced was to know that the soul’s strength is immense and that it always was within me. Shri Shatrunjay Giriraj is the reason and witness for a number of miraculous incidents that are always going to be milestones for me. Leaving aside the scientific aspects, the divinity that resides here is incomparable. The scientific reasons could probably be the enablers but certainly not the sustaining factors. I have been surrounded by a number of influencers at many times who could’ve inspired me to try a particular activity but the wish had never been strong enough. However, at Shri Shatrunjay Giriraj, you wish for a positive activity once and it soon is a reality. I hope to always keep the experience alive with my words, actions and thoughts here.
As I started climbing down on the last day, completing my 124th yatra, a series of flashbacks kept coming to my mind – repenting some of my actions, appreciating the many blessings, lamenting a few detours, rejoicing several achievements – the way ahead seemed unclear – do I want to depart? Do I want this to end – the answer, I’m sure is known. I wished to be a kid once again and play in the courtyard of Gods one more time.
The sun was beginning to set; I had a car to board at 6:30 pm. I took one last glance at the shining spires, looking benevolent and inviting under the setting sun. I hoped to treasure the image so as to revisit the same at my heart’s will. A part of me lives there, I’ve planted a tree of memories divine, often it gives me a wonderful positive feeling, the blessings and love of Adinath Dada empower me, forever guiding, empowering and liberating – such is the land of Shri Shatrunjay Giriraj – a part of me lives there…
For everything that I couldn’t convey through this blog post, this song certainly will –