I thought I’d post this definition of a pilgrimage, which I read this morning in a newsletter from the Parmarth Niketan Mission, in Rishikesh, India.
To me, it beautifully encapsulates what it means to embark on a pilgrimage –
A yatra or sacred pilgrimage is a divine experience.
It is an internal journey as well as an outer journey; a true pilgrimage takes us not only to a Source of the Divine in the external world, but also to the Divine Source within ourselves.
In this way, every minute and every moment of a pilgrimage is puja (worship), not only that which we perform in the temple upon arrival.
The pilgrimage experience touches us so deeply that it transforms us and turns us into vessels and vehicles of transformation for the world.
Interesting, I’ve just spent the last week at the ashram looking into the 10 devis making up the Mahavidya, discussing their particular characteristics and – believe it or not – colouring in their yantras, accompanied by lots of chanting and twice daily havans (fire ceremony). Every thing I brought back smelt of smoke!! I also recorded a couple of the chants we did and am loving listening to them 🙂 Rishikesh will be so very special, I’m sure.
Bill I agree that is a lovely way to think of and define a pilgrimage!
Is that why pilgrims keep going back for another pilgrimage Bill?
Beautiful description of a pilgrimage Bill – I love the mandala too.