In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of an important conversation that is happening between Bhishmachaarya and Sage Pulasthya, with regards to the various characteristics and benefits of embarking upon “Teerta-Yatras”. Readers should remember that it is this conversation which Sage Naarada is referring to, in order to give a reply to Yudishtra’s question. While we go deeper into the context of “Teerta-Yatras”, we should not forget the situation in the Mahabharata story where this comes. Yudishtra and Co. are preparing themselves to commence a “Teerta-Yatra” for the next few years and as they are about to commence their journey, Sage Naarada knocks at their doors! As Sage Naarada comes, Yudishtra asks an important question to him, pertaining to the benefits of undertaking such “Teerta-Yatras” in one’s lifetime. For this, Sage Naarada is making a direct reference to this conversation between Bhishmachaarya and Sage Pulasthya, which we’re currently witnessing. Yesterday, we had stressed upon yet another important point that when we’re embarking such spiritual tours, we should never have that “I” attitude in us. We should always develop that humility wherein we should recognize Bhagawan’s divine “Anugraha” for giving us such a golden opportunity. Moreover, we’ve also witnessed that while travelling on such tours, we should give bare minimal importance to the physical comfort, and the focus should completely be on worshipping the deity / Guru who is presiding over that place. For instance, if we’re visiting an “Ashram”, we might not be able to expect 5-star or 7-star facilities over there. We would only get basic minimum facility to make a living. We should learn to adjust to it and focus on our spiritual development, rather than craving for more physical comfort and needs.
Thus, the point is very simple – When we’re embarking on “Teerta-Yatras”, we should be prepared to face any sort of hurdles that might come our way. This is where our Sanaatana Dharma talks about two important “Phalams” (Fruits or Benefits) – “Drishta Phalam” and the “Adrishta-Phalam”. To put this in simple context of understanding, if we’re feeding a living being with some food and if that living being is relishing the food that we’re serving, the happiness that we gain out of it is the “Drishta Phalam”. Whereas, by feeding a hungry living being, we obtain the “Punya-Karma” for performing that act. This keeps invisibly accumulating in our “Karma List” maintained by Bhagawan. Thus, the “Phalam” that we obtain through this route is nothing but the “Adrishta Phalam”. Now applying this to our context of “Teerta-Yatras”, by taking that effort through manoeuvring all the physical hurdles, we obtain the invisible “Punya Karma” called the “Adrishta-Phalam”. When we visit all the places wherein Bhagawan Krishna, Bhagawan Rama, Bhagawan Shiva, or either of all the Spiritual Masters have set their foot upon, automatically our minds are going to get purified and with this, our “Adrishta Phalam” is going to be on the rise! This is one way of understanding the point on why we should be ready to sacrifice our physical comfort.
Moreover, we shall also understand it in another way – In today’s context, given all our erratic and haphazard food habits, sleeping routines, work environment, etc. many of us are seriously lacking physical exercise. I’m sure most of our readers might agree to this point without any doubt! Because of the lack of physical exercise, we start developing “lifestyle diseases” such as blood pressure, diabetes, etc. at a very young age itself. All of us might be knowing that many of our temples and other places of worship are expansive in terms of area and perimeter. Thus, if we’re ready to stretch ourselves a little bit more, by walking (Circumventing) around the deity of the expansive temple(s), this would indirectly serve as a good physical exercise for all of us, isn’t it? For instance, if we’re visiting the holy “Kshetra” of Tirupati-Tirumala, and if we’re dedicating time to walk and climb up the seven hills, what more exercise do we require?
Of course, we can argue by saying that we’re doing “work-outs” at home with certain gym equipment, and why should we really invest time in walking / climbing hills or mountains to visit these “Punya-Kshetras”? There is a definitive difference between “working out” at home / gym as against walking / climbing up to reach a “Punya-Kshetra”. The mindset with which we do the workouts / jogging, etc. at home might be very different from the mindset with which we visit a temple, isn’t it? While we walk up to Tirupati-Tirumala, we would keep chanting “Mantras” or “Slokas” like Vishnu Sahasranama, etc. and while doing so, we are indirectly purifying our mind in the process of purifying our body. Thus, both these purposes get served here, isn’t it? Whereas, when we’re “working out” at home, we might not be very sure if we would have such spiritual thoughts within us.
Hence, the point here is that, if we visit a “Punya-Kshetra”, it is a golden opportunity to cleanse both our mind and our body together! So for today, let us understand this important point, and let us ponder over it. We shall continue this discussion in the next episode as well, to witness more such important points! Stay tuned! 🙂