Delhi Oct 19th

Chinmaya Dham Yatra with 62 delegates from UK, Australia, Canada, Kuwait, USA, India, Philippines, Hong Kong, St. Martin and Singapore started from Delhi on October 19th 2009.
During the inaugural speech, Guruji explained the purpose of this yatra. The main goal was stated as being to travel together while learning about Gurudev, bonding as a Chinmaya Family in the process.
During this yatra, one of the main priorities was to retrace the steps of Pujya Gurudev, thus deepening our understanding of Gurudev’s vision of Chinmaya Mission.  Know different members, we stand as one family – it will be a bonding experience for centers we visit and among the yatris.
As Guruji put it in the address, “Bharat did a Ram Dham when he visited Lord Rama in the forest; we are doing a Chinmaya Dham.”
Pujya Guruji did an introduction of the Delhi center, and its several branches, including DCST, CMD and CORD.
In 1953, Delhi became the third city, after Pune and Chennai, to host a jnana yagna by Pujya Gurudev.  He spoke on the Mandukya Karika for 91 days.  Since then, Delhi has been a hotbed of Chinmaya Mission Activity.
In 1992, Gurudev performed the Bhoomi Puja (Ground-breaking ceremony) for the Chinmaya Center for World Understanding (CCWU).  When Gurudev attained Mahasamadhi in 1993, his body was kept there overnight as devotees poured in to pay their respects to the Master.  The spot where his body sat during that night is now the site of a beautiful Samadhi Shrine surrounded by a lotus pond.
CCWU also houses Chinmaya Chetna, an interactive multimedia exhibit showing Gurudev’s life and teachings.  Photographs and videos capture Tapovan Kutir, Gurudev’s childhood and other precious moments with the Master.  It also gives us a broad view of what Chinmaya Mission is today.  Chinmaya Chetna shows how one noble ideal transformed an individual life and through it, the society at large.

October 20 Delhi to Uttarkashi via Dehra Doon

As we packed into the ATR Turbo-Prop, overflowing with enthusiasm to get going, we found out that the yatris’ luggage didn’t fit in the aircraft (everybody had packed light, apparently).  Swami Mitranandaji stayed back to get the rest of the luggage over successfully and arrived later that night at Uttarkashi.
All of us were reminded of Guruji’s words “Lord is a teacher and teaser.”
After a warm welcome from CM Dehra Doon, who also provided us with lunch and snacks for the trip, we boarded our next modes of transport, three buses named Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati.  Guruji moved between the buses and spent time with all the yatris.
We arrived later that evening at Tapovan Chinmayam, a well kept, aesthetic, serene ashram at 9:20PM.  Swami Dhyananandaji was at the entrance with a garland to welcome Guruji. Nearby, we could hear the mother Ganga roaring. We experienced more teasing from the Lord as we were made to wait till the next morning to see the majestic Himalayas and beautiful Ganges.
A little about Uttarkashi: Situated 165 km from Rishikesh, the town is so high that even the lowest regions are 5,800 ft above sea level. It is bordered on all sides by a mountain range called Varanavata. The tributaries of the river Bhageerathi flow around the mountain tract like two hands hugging the plains. At the central point in the plains, almost like the lap of the mountain tract, is Ujeli. It is here where the Tapovan Kutir, the home of Swami Tapovan Maharaj, is.
Built in 1936 by some of his devotees, its location is truly unique. Built into the side of a hill, with the river Bhageerathi flowing beneath, it is a picture of serene solitude. The kutia was a small, spartan one-room hut where Tapovanji lived; it remains the same, untouched, even today. The mud-walled, dung-floor hut contains his cot and kamandalu (water pot) and little else. But the little verandah outside the hut, where the Mahatma would sit and marvel at nature’s beauty or give Vedantic discourses, has been converted into a shrine. Devotees speak in hushed tones of profound experiences while meditating there. It is here that Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda spent several years studying at the feet of his guru.
Recently the capacity of Tapovan ashram was increased. A 3-storey building, Tapovan Chinmayam, built on land donated by a devotee, was inaugurated on 15 March 2005 by Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda. It has 24 well-equipped rooms with balconies, all with a breathtaking view of the Bhageerathi and surrounding mountain range.
Today the ashram can house around 130 people. The satsang hall on the ground floor of Tapovan Chinmayam can comfortably seat about 300 people. A large, white marble murti of Lord Jagadeeshwara sits in the middle of the stage, with Goddess Saraswati and Lord Ganesha gracing either side. Portraits of Swami Tapovanji Maharaj and Pujya Gurudev look on. The foyer is dedicated to a pictorial life sketch of Swami Tapovanji Maharaj.

October 21 Uttarkashi

Most of the yatris would agree that waking up in the Tapovan ashram was similar to entering a state of meditative contemplation. The presence of Swami Tapovanji Maharaj was easy to feel and difficult to deny.
After everyone had eaten breakfast, Guruji invited everyone to see Gurudev’s kutia.  There, the yatris observed the humble dwelling of a master in the making.  Later that morning, Guruji shared that it was the 26th anniversary of his sanyasa diksha. He described how spending that day in Tapovan Kutir made him feel very blessed.  Guruji then proceeded to describe, very movingly, how he met Gurudev and how Guruji came to Uttarkashi.
We made a pilgrimage to the nearby Soumya Kashi temple, which is over 6000 years old. Individual abhishek (oblations) was done by everyone.  Then we had lunch, rested, drank tea and then had satsang with Guruji.  He described the five most important places for the different stages of spiritual seeking.  Varanashi is ideal for shravana, Haridwar and Rishikesh are considered the best for mananam, and Uttarkashi and Gangotri are optimum for Nididyasanam.  After coming to Uttarkashi, Guruji’s advice was for all the yatris to just abide in their own selves.  Following that, we performed a samashti padukapooja for Guruji’s sanyasa diksha day. The ceremony was most certainly a culmination of that day’s descriptions by Guruji of his initiation into the wonderful world of Chinmaya Mission.
Chinmaya Mission’s foundation is based on two different dynamics given to Gurudev by his two gurus: the intense unwavering tapas of Swami Tapovan Maharaj, and Swami Sivananda’s love and compassion for all. Gurudev’s style of teaching and imparting knowledge can be seen as a combination of both.  Guruji explained that the early members of Chinmaya Mission were the bedrock that provided the foundation upon which the organization is built today.
At 6:30 in the evening, we performed both Tapovan and Ganga aarti.
During satsang with Swami Dhyananandaji, he explained that Chinmaya Mission’s origins are in Uttarkashi. He wonderfully described how the importance of Uttarkashi is described in Skanda Puranam Kedar Kand.