Mahavatar Babaji’s ashram near Badrinath in the Himalayas is known as Gauri Shankar Peetham.
It has been described by a devotee V. T. Neelakantan. According to him, he was allowed to make an astral visit to it twice in October, 1953.
Neelakantan suddenly found that he had left behind his physical body in Madras, India, and had taken on another body standing with Babaji in Gauri Shankar Peetham. His description of the ashram and its activities are given below :
The ashram is situated near the temple town of Badrinath in an area surrounded by sheer rock cliffs on all four sides with a row of caves at their base.The largest cave belongs to Babaji.In a corner opposite this cave are two waterfalls. The residents of the ashram, who numbered fourteen, at the time of his visit, use the largest waterfall for bathing and the smaller one for getting drinking water.
Even at night, though there is no visible light source, the whole area is well lit.
A mysterious force keeps any one away from approaching the ashram closer than a mile. As a result, no one can reach the ashram without Babaji’s permission. The residents were sitting in a circle, in front of Babai’s cave, eating a meal. Their clothing was white in color, with the exception of Babaji, whose dhoti (waist cloth) was in a light red color.
During lunch, they spoke in Hindi and English with one another. Their faces were radiant and expressed great joy and happiness. The residents included the sister (parental cousin) of Babaji, “Mataji Nagalakshmi Deviyar” (also known as “Annai”). She was wearing a cotton sari, white in color, with a green border and a long red sash over it and around her neck. According to him, she is a strikingly beautiful woman, with fair skin, a thin frame and is taller than her brother (Babaji).
Annai Nagalakshmi Deviyar is in charge of organizing the ashram and serves the residents in various capacities.
She supervises the preparation of a daily, simple, vegetarian meal served at noon. The meal is supportive of the yogic lifestyle of the ashram. She takes care of a large “Tulasi” (Holy Basil) plant which sits atop a “peetham” or shrine, nearly four feet high. She daily worships “Tulasi Devi” a greatest devotee of Lord Krishna. Tulasi Devi was granted a boon by the Lord to remain in His presence eternally as a sacred Tulasi plant in His celestial abode.
The residents of the ashram adhere to a daily schedule centered around the practice of yogic sadhana, which includes asanas, pranayama, meditation, mantras and bhakti yoga. Every one awakens at four in the morning. After taking a bath by the large waterfall, there is then an hour of yogic sadhana with emphasis on pranayama.
In the afternoon, the residents follow their individual respective sadhanas with occasional consultation with Babaji on the practice of the techniques. Babaji’s loving personality, his warm sense of humour and universal compassion endear him to all. If one had to choose one word which would best describe him, it would be “humility”.
In the evening the residents sit in a circle and chant around a large “Homa” fire in front of Babaji’s cave. The favorite chant is “Om Kriya Babaji Namah Aum”.
Kriya Yoga sadhaks should understand that the “Heaven on earth” – Gauri Shankar Peetham exists not only in the Himalayas, but also within the hearts of Babaji’s devotees….
[From the book – Babaji and the 18 Siddha Kriya Yoga Tradition – by Marshall Govindan].
From India :
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