Greetings from Wonders of Pakistan


·

Image Source
We at Wonders of Pakistan use copyrighted material the use of which may not have always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We make such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” only. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.
Advertisements
Published in: on 31/12/2011 at 6:59 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags:

Pilgrimage to Mata Hinglaj (Hingol), Balochistan [5 of 5]



The legend further says that once a son of British officer was walking on the beach with his dog. He threw a ball for the dog to fetch. The dog ran to get it but came back without the ball and was very frightened. The British officer asked his Hindu servant to go see why the dog was frightened.
The servant saw a giant person with huge braided hair on his back. He immediately recognized that the Lord Shiva was sitting there. He came back and told what he had seen. An excavation followed and found the temple “cave” under the ocean. The temple was created and is still preserved. 

·

SOJOURN IN A

HOLY, WHOLESOME LOCALE

·

by Jay Shah

·

WELCOME TO SAND DUNES, HINGOL RIVER AND CAMPING

 Our caravan of 30 people and 10 cars left the Shrine to go to the campsite. If you have been on a Dune buggy in sand dunes you would visualize what fun it is to go up and down in the sand dunes and seeing the Jeeps and SUVs get stuck in the sand!

(more…)

Published in: on 29/12/2011 at 3:21 pm  Comments (1)  

Pilgrimage to Mata Hinglaj (Hingol), Balochistan [4 of 5]



The 52 parts of Sati’s body fell in different parts of India and Pakistan. Wherever a part fell a “temple” was created and was called Shakti Peetha (seat of Shakti – consort of Lord Shiva). Ambaji near Mt. Abu, Vaishno Devi etc. are part of these 52 Shakti Peethas. The Brahm (scalp and the forehead) fell at Hinglaj. Sati’s forehead had Sindur (Hingol) and hence the area came to be known as Hingol and the Shrine as Hinglaj.
There is another legend involving a King named Hingol but generally the legend explained here is more popular and accepted. [Image above shows a female Hindu devotee from Pakistan throwing rose petals while praying at the Shri Hinglaj Mata Temple April 25, 2011. Every year thousands of Hindus from Pakistan and India gather to attend a four-day ritual at the temple].
·

LEGEND OF HINGLAJ MATA

·

by Jay Shah

·

Legend is that Sati the daughter of one of the most powerful King Daksha had fallen in love with Lord Shiva and had married Him. Lord Shiva is part of the Trinity –  Lord Brahma (Creator), Lord Vishnu (Sustainer) and Lord Shiva (Destroyer). Lord Shiva lives a simple life of an ascetic in Himalayas with long braided hair, His loin cloth is the skin of a tiger with a cobra in His neck as His garland and surrounded by spirits as His escorts and spends most of time in penance. Obviously the mighty King was not too happy about this marriage. Once there was a meeting of many Sages (Rishies) and Lord Shiva was present there doing his penance with closed eyes. King Daksha came there and all of the Saints and Sages stood up in respect but Lord Shiva was in His penance and He did not notice the King and did not get up. The King felt insulted and decided not to ever invite Lord Shiva to his home.

Later on the King had arranged for a big Yagna and invited everyone with special instruction to come via the Himalayas but did not invite Lord Shiva and Sati. As Sages and other invitees were going through the Himalayas Sati inquired and found out that her father had arranged for a Yagna. Traditionally, Lord Shiva gets the first seat in any Yagna but He was not invited. She asked Lord Shiva to go to the Yagna but He explained that her father, in his ego, had not invited them and it is not proper to go where you are not invited. Sati felt that the daughter does not need an invitation to go to her father’s home and insisted on going. Lord Shiva reluctantly agreed to let her go with His escorts but He stayed in Himalayas.

When Sati reached her father’s home, She noticed that her father purposefully ignored Her and said some insulting chosen words about her husband – Lord Shiva. Sati realized her mistake in coming and decided that she cannot go back when her husband was so badly insulted by her father and immolated herself in fire produced by her Yogic power. The escorts protested and started disrupting the Yagna.

There was exchange of curses between the King, chief escort Nandi and Sage Bhrugu who was to conduct the Yagna. Nandi cursed the King that he will have a face of a goat. In the meantime Lord Shiva came to know the sad demise of His beloved Sati. He produced Veer Bhadra spirit from His hair and asked to go destroy the Yagna and the King. Lord Shiva took the body of Sati in His hands and went in a trance of Tandav Nrutya – a dance that is supposed to be the pre-cursor of the total destruction of the Bhramand (Universe). Veer Bhadra severed the head of the King and the Yagna stopped. People got frightened with the pending total annihilation of the Universe and requested Lord Vishnu to stop Lord Shiva’s dance

Lord Vishnu took His Sudarshan Chakra (Golden Discus) and cut the Sati’s dead body in 52 parts to calm Lord Shiva from His Tandav dance. Lord Bhrama praised Lord Shiva and asked Him to forgive the King and to restart the holy Yagna. Lord Shiva calmed down and took a head of a goat and put on the body of the King and made him alive (Nandi’s curse was thus fulfilled) and took the first seat in the Yagna and let it commence.

WHAT ARE THE SHAKTI PEETHA

The 52 parts of Sati’s body fell in various areas of the South Asia subcontinent. Wherever a part fell a “temple” was created and was called Shakti Peetha (seat of Shakti – consort of Lord Shiva). Ambaji near Mt. Abu, Vaishno Devi etc. are part of these 52 Shakti Peethas. The Brahm (scalp and the forehead) fell at Hinglaj. Sati’s forehead had Sindur (Hingol) and hence the area came to be known as Hingol and the Shrine as Hinglaj. There is another legend involving a King named Hingol but generally the legend explained here is more popular and accepted.

All Shakti Peetha have no idol of Sati, as is generally the case in any temple, and instead there are two Shaligrams (large stones) with two eyes – one Shaligram is for the Sati and other of Bhairav (Lord Shiva). The Hinglaj Shrine is in an open “cave” with two Shaligrams, a Trident and picture depicting Lord Parsuram (reincarnation of Lord Vishnu) who annihilated the Khastriya (Warrior) clan for insulting Brahmins instead of protecting them and the clan heads ran to Hinglaj Mata for protection and Mataji asked Lord Parsuram to stop the annihilation.

Legend has it that Lord Ram came here with Queen Sita and brother Laxman for penance after killing King Ravana who was a Brahmin. It is said that in recent times Guru Nanak also has done pilgrimage of Hinglaj Mata and so did the great Sufi poet Rumi.

To learn more about the legend and list of all Shakti Peethas search for Shakti peethas at  en.wikipedia.org or cut and paste this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakti_Peethas in your browser.

 As I mentioned, this Shrine is also revered by Muslims as Nani Bibi Mandir. My attempts to find the legend behind Nani Bibi have not taken fruit yet. On a Mountain top there is another temple but, due to time constraints, I was not able to go there. There are three water wells also on the mountain top. Two wells have bitter tasting water and the middle one has sweet water. Legend has it that Sita was very thirsty and Lord Ram used His arrow to open the Earth and get the sweet water. Legend of Nani Bibi has similar story that a person used His sword to get the sweet water from the Earth.

As I left Shrine with sad but overjoyed heart the Volvo group people asked me to stay and have dinner with them. Clearly I would have loved to do that but I was with 30 other people and it was getting late to go to the Hingol River bank and set up a camp for the night. In the end I did get to eat Prasad of delicious and famous Dakor Gota!

[As always, click on individual image to see full size].

Continued…

Next: Sojourn in a holy, wholesome locale

Previous 1_2_3_4_5

Related Articles:

1. Traveling through Pakistan – The Katas Raj Temple 2. KATAS – A Paradise Lost and a Paradise Regained! 3. Hinglaj, the Hindu holy shrine in Hingol, Balochistan
Source, Title Image
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ‘Wonders of Pakistan’. The contents of this article too are the sole responsibility of the author(s). WoP will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this post.

YOUR COMMENT IS IMPORTANT

DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF YOUR COMMENT

Wonders of Pakistan supports freedom of expression and this commitment extends to our readers as well. Constraints however, apply in case of a violation of WoP Comments Policy. We also moderate hate speech, libel and gratuitous insults.
 We at Wonders of Pakistan use copyrighted material the use of which may not have always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We make such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” only. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.
Published in: on 29/12/2011 at 3:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

Pilgrimage to Mata Hinglaj (Hingol), Balochistan [3 of 5]



Originally the “temple” was on open cave and it is still the same way but some devotees, in recent times, now have built a tile floor, a door, and a bell. The priest welcomed me with Conch shell sound and ringing the bell. I am sure it was for welcome of Pujya Annaji who was with me in spirit and not for me. I was delighted to see the bell and rang it loudly for Mataji.
·

AT THE SHRINE

·

by Jay Shah

·

As we started walking towards the Shrine a short man with “Hare Krishna, Hare Ram” scarf on his shirt came running to me (I was in Shorts and T-shirt and have no idea what made him zero on me out of all other members of the Offroaders club with me, who were in usual pants and shirts) and asked directly whether I was here to do prayers! Again it has to be my Guru doing this, otherwise I cannot explain why he would zero onto an American for prayers to perform when there were other natives with me.

It turned out that he was the priest for the people who had come on the Volvo buses and had studied at well known Sola Vidyapeet (Sanskrit Vedic School) near Ahmedabad, Gujarat for seven years. It was as if Pujya Annaji, my Guru, had even arranged for a Brahmin for me to perform prayers! Considering what I was told by everyone in India and by my Pakistani friends that there is generally no one there, I cannot have any other explanation other than that my Guru had arranged all this for me.

The priest showed us the way. As we moved up the hill he showed us first the temple of Meldi Mata (popular in Gujarat) and then Kali Mata (Goddess Kali). I changed from my Shorts and T-shirt into a Shola (silk wrap around cloth) and took a dip in the water near Goddess Kali. I performed some prayers and then we moved upwards to the Shrine. Again there was a little pond (with very small fishes near the Shrine and I took a quick bath in it and entered the Shrine.

Ma Kali

HAIL AND SALUTATION TO MATA HINGLAJ

The two large red stone – Shaligrams to the right of the flag and the Trident are for Mataji and Bhairvanath)

Originally the “temple” was on open cave and it is still the same way but some devotees, in recent times, now have built a tile floor, a door, and a bell. The priest welcomed me with Conch shell sound and ringing the bell. I am sure it was for welcome of Pujya Annaji who was with me in spirit and not for me. I was delighted to see the bell and rang it loudly for Mataji.

MIRACLE PLANNED NINE YEARS IN ADVANCE

I was asked to crawl with nothing on the body including any jewelry or glasses meaning totally naked or I must have a brand new cloth without any stitches! The dilemma was where to get the cloth that was never worn and had no stitches where there are no shops! I decided to crawl naked.

I had no problem taking all my jewelry out and giving to the priest but I just could not take out my wedding ring no matter how hard I tried. I prayed to Mataji to accept this as if my dear wife Anu was coming in the tunnel with me also.

As I was ready to be naked to crawl in the tunnel, I realized that the Shola that I was wearing, exactly met the specs, was brand new – never worn and no stitches!

When I visited my Guru’s home first time in 1997 he had given me this brand new silk Shola which I had kept for all these years at his Gaddi (Alter) in our home. As I sat in the car to go to the airport for my flight to Karachi, somehow a voice called me and I ran back in the house and grabbed the silk Shola that my Guru had given me. It was brand new without any stitches in it and that is exactly what I was wearing – it is as if my Guru has planned this Pilgrimage for me in 1997 some 9 years ahead of my actual Pilgrimage!

I was all prepared to go in the tunnel. As I entered the tunnel some of my Pakistani friends were not sure whether I should do this knowing that it was totally dark tunnel and it may take me 10-15 minutes or more to crawl in it and that there may be some poisonous snakes or spiders or both! Suffice to see that I was absolutely at peace with myself knowing that my Gurumata asked me to do this pilgrimage so she and my Guru were protecting me. And if a snake did bite me then I would have preferred to die in the lap of Hinglaj Mata instantaneously vs. suffering some cancer like illness in a hospital! No, I did not have the good luck to die in Her lap and I came out of the tunnel without any mishap. As I crawled in the tunnel, people outside kept saying “Jai Mataji” (Salutation to the Mother) and I would respond the same way assuring them that I was just fine.

IS IT SEVEN OR IS IT FOURTEEN BIRTH‘S SINS?

As I came out the priest told me to do a summersault (it was rather difficult for this tall and fat guy for sure!). He explained that this is a symbolic act signifying that I just came out of the Mother’s womb and that I have taken a new birth now wiping the sins of my last seven births. The experience was just divine. One of my Pakistani friends cracked a joke. He said, “Maharaj, you are mistaken; Jay’s sins of not seven but fourteen births have been wiped out.” The priest was clearly confused and slightly irritated and said that he has studied Shastras (Scriptures) and that it says seven years. My friend explained that since I came from America and I had the American passport and to get that passport I must have done enough Punya (good deeds) to wipe out the sins of seven births and hence seven births for the American passport and seven birth for going through Mataji’s womb makes fourteen births, isn’t it? I am sure that the priest was not very amused as I was.

After this I got back all my jewelry and spectacles to wear. The priest gave me a special necklace made from some shrubs in the area with its own legend tied to Lord Ram. I was told to wear till I die and it should burn with my body and not be taken out. Soon I was led in front of Mataji and Bhairav’s Shaligram. I was just in tears of joy to be in front of Her. The peace and happiness that I experienced cannot be described in words. You must have the faith to experience this bliss.

The priest prepared a small fire pit and asked me to put the Bangels and Chundadi on Mataji and put the 10 Kg of dry fruit and 2.5 Kg of Sindur as Prasad. He was about to start his prayers and I requested that I would rather prefer to do the prayers that we do at my Guru’s place if he did not object. He was kind enough to light the lamps for me to do prayers in my way. I was just overjoyed to do the prayers. There was a person in the Volvo group who is a protocol person at the Karachi airport and he was kind enough to take the movie of my experience at the Shrine.

He was so nice that even though he had a day off from his duty he showed up at the airport, waiting for me to whisk me through the formality of immigration and customs, when I left for Mumbai a day after. Again I consider this as my Guru taking care of me. If I get the blessing and permission I would like to go again and not only redo this pilgrimage but do the pilgrimage of another Shakti Peetha in Pakistan same distance from Karachi in opposite direction near the famous Moen-Jo-Daro excavation and Katas Raj temple of Lord Shiva.

Mahera (Hamid Omar’s daughter) has made a documentary of my pilgrimage and someday I will be able to see that after she gets time to do editing in her busy NGO work of saving animals from cruelty in Pakistan. She has done lot of work to help animals who suffered in the recent massive flood in Pakistan in 2010. She recently successfully appealed publicly NOT to slaughter goats on Bakra-Eid and instead donate funds to buy goats to be given to the severely flood stricken families who lost their animals and provide them with milk and livelihood – something worth doing across the Muslim world.

The Offroaders Club members have adopted several villages affected by this massive flood and have set up tent cities, food supplies, medical help, medical clinic and a pediatric hospital. As you complete reading this article I will appeal and urge you to donate funds to their humanitarian cause.

[As always, click on individual image to see full size].

Continued…

Next: Legend of Hinglaj Mata

Previous 1_2_3_4_5

Related Articles:

1. Hinglaj, the Hindu holy shrine in Hingol, Balochistan 2. Traveling through Pakistan – The Katas Raj Temple 3. KATAS – A Paradise Lost and a Paradise Regained!
Source, Title Image
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ‘Wonders of Pakistan’. The contents of this article too are the sole responsibility of the author(s). WoP will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this post.

YOUR COMMENT IS IMPORTANT

DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF YOUR COMMENT

Wonders of Pakistan supports freedom of expression and this commitment extends to our readers as well. Constraints however, apply in case of a violation of WoP Comments Policy. We also moderate hate speech, libel and gratuitous insults.
 We at Wonders of Pakistan use copyrighted material the use of which may not have always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We make such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” only. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.
Published in: on 29/12/2011 at 2:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

Pilgrimage to Mata Hinglaj (Hingol), Balochistan [2 of 5]


In April each year, thousands of Hindus flock to the cave temple of Hinglaj Mata. The shrine is located in a remote, desolate and hilly area of Pakistan’s Balochistan province, 250km (155 miles) north-west of Karachi. The high point of the four-day pilgrimage comes on the third day when high priests chant mantras, inviting gods to accept the offerings of the devotees and bring them peace and plenty.
·

·

ON MY WAY TO HINGLAJ

·

by Jay Shah

·

Mr. Khalid Mahmood had invited me that evening for sailing on his boat in the Karachi harbor. Knowing that I had to leave early in the morning for the Pilgrimage I declined and settled for a dinner at his home. I suggested making a light dinner of soup and salad. He laughed heartily and said, “Well, why don’t you tell me that you are vegetarian – we are also vegetarian!” Lo and behold the dinner consisted of a grand feast of Pani Puri, Bhel Puri, Paratha, Sabzi, Ragada Pettis and of course Salad and soup among many other delicious items!

He and his wife Laila (Lali) both had studied at Rutgers University in New Jersey and had met there. She is a great photographer and she was leaving for Bangkok in the night flight. His lovely daughter Ravi and wonderful boss Luna (his dog) were also there along with his two retired friends: Dr. Shaukat was with famous Rand Corporation (R&D lab in California, USA) who was helping the victims of the huge Earthquake that had hit Pakistan a year ago and Dr. Atlaf from World Bank who had started a music academy in Islamabad to revive the classical vocal (Gharana) music. We had a very enchanting evening of wonderful music and intellectual/philosophical/spiritual talks.

The house was really lovely – somewhat like a Hacienda style with fountain and a Koi fish pond and had all windows overlooking the atrium but none facing the outside of the building.

(more…)

Published in: on 29/12/2011 at 1:38 pm  Comments (2)  
%d bloggers like this: