Experiences of Stephen Alter ,A Himalayan pilgrim
Stphen Alter was born in The Himalayas in India He made pilgrimage on foot to Gamgotri Yamunotri Kedarnath <Badrinath aand Chardham yatra .He mingled with people came across and understood their culture habits ways of living .aaaaaahe exchanged his views with themand enriched himself .He wrote a book named “”sacred waters-A pilgrimage up the Ganges River -To the Source HIndu culture ”.he defined man;s life very interestingly He said “”A man;s life should be as fresh as a river .It should be the same channel but a new waterevery instant ”QUoting the sacred words of Henry David Thorough ,agreat philosopher and guru of mahatma gandhi .Stephen had known many things duringhis travels .He recorded all in his bok .The book is very interesting to read and to know various things that we donot know .It is a surprising experience .He visited many forgotten temples in The Himalayan Region as no one can dare to reach them .Such was his thrilling experience .He told thaat he had made such yatras bywaljing to search for inner self .A wonderful travellogue he wrote with whole hearted devotion To sacre Himalayas and THe Devabhumi and parama pavani ganga maayi .In every word and sentence hehe expresses these devotional and eternal values .
He cited an experience that pikgrims from Haridvaar take ganga jal with kaavadi having t wo big containers on both sides of the neckTo the Gamgotri which is 300 kilometers away to mix the sacreganga jal there at Gamgotri .Such adevotional pilgrimage pilgrims do atleast one time( once) in their life time The man with kaavadi alongwit the the two containers with Gangjal shold never rest his kavadi on the floor >that means the kavadi should not touch the ground >see how difficult it is!None dan deter one;s strong feelings ,It isup to the person to complete the pilgrimage whole heatedly .Such strong willed people are many in The Himalaayan region the author says .Reading this item we take aback with feaar in our heart .
He brings another interesting story .In Haridvaar and Hrishikesh we come across in the Ganges water golden green coloured fish called ”Masheer ” .each fish weighs 100pounds and 4feet in length.People treat them as sacred fish and offer them eatables like maramaralu .Some devoties adorn the fish with golden rings .such is the faith the have .I soppose tthe golden fish is mathyaava taara of Lord Vishnu .
In rainy season this fish travel to the upper regions and getpregnency deliver the offsprings and hatchthem Then onlythey they come back to the originalplace .
Stephen Alter completes his book with a quotation from The Kathopanishad very aptly “Beyond the senses are their objects ,and beyond the objects is the mind -Beyond mind is pure reason ,and beyond reaason is the spirit of man ”.
A special on the occasio of Ganga Pushka raalu’
Gabbita Durga Prasad