Delhi, North India, On The Road, Road Journals, The Higher Himalayan Research Walks and Treks, Uttarakhand
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FINDING Brahma Kamal: The Divine Flower Seat of Brahma: On a Rainy Night from Delhi to Chamoli- II

While studying culture and ancient practises in the Higher Himalayas.
Continuing from

Pandava Forest and the Brahma Kamal : The Nights of Change in the Himalayas

: ँ :

Who would have known that a journey which merely started in documenting the culture of the mountains will end in a never-ending quest of finding the way to my own being.

May be this is what Living in general teaches us. Like Googly in Cricket.

Guruji and I came back to his home. It was cold and only a bulb far was filling the mountain home with some light. He stood for a while without speaking, almost waiting for the words to arrive. That mountain Narayan, that slope lead the last Pandava to Heaven, with a dog. We were seeing it together, in the dark. The tip of it shining, because moon was raining that night.

And that is where you will find the Lotus of Brahma; a whole valley of flowers up there surrounds the divine flower; because they too revere it. They want to be near it because they know what powers Brahma Kamal has been bestowed upon. They look up to him because the gods come to him in the form of fog; carrying prayers, requests and boons, which soon then, lead to rains.

“Like it wasn’t easy for Draupadi, Guruji said. The wife of the Pandavas, as the painful memories of her insult in the Kaurava court kept tormenting her constantly throughout their exile and even long after the war. She felt never at peace. But one evening she saw the most beautiful flower floating away downstream. She couldn’t place which flower it was. And later one night in the meadow, her eyes fell on it the moment this ‘golden’ lotus was about to bloom, she felt a strange bliss passing through her body that was almost spiritual. But the lotus withered as quickly as it had bloomed. It was at this time when she sent her most devoted husband Bhima to look for it, and while on his quest for the flower, Bhima met Hanuman.


And today, when the call finally arrived five long years later, it was raining like clouds have leaked. Monsoons had extended their visit. Images of whole mountain sliding down the valley were doing the rounds.

It had been raining for past many days in Delhi, and seemingly forever in the Himalayas on news channels. Monsoons had extended their visit. News of landslides, roads being washed away, death, rocks falling on bridges, bridge falling in the river, river washing houses away due to cloud burst, flash floods had filled the mind of one and all with fear all throughout the northern and central Indian states. And specifically amongst the Himalayan people. The same news of water everywhere, loss of lives, destruction has been repeating for last ten years. Every monsoon carries with it a fear. From the memory of the havoc that had fallen here in 2013. Pure terror. Not very different from my mother’s who wasn’t ready to let me go this time round.


——


Brahma Kamal has been a mystery to not only me but for all the legends whoever have walked the Himalayas in all periods of history, they know what this flower is.

For years had passed only remembering the stories of ‘Brahma Kamal’, the star like lotus flower, named after Brahma, the God of Creation; A plant so sacred that it blooms not in the sun, but late in the night. For a very brief period, and only in the months of rains; no one knows where but somewhere in the higher Himalayas where feet cannot trample any other; A rare, magnificent, first snow like white, shy, ancient, as old as the Himalayas themselves; a flower whose fragrance is known to stay for over a month if it is ever plucked. But I had never seen it. Never held it. Even hardly read about it. But I had heard about it from the saints, sages and the elderly. From the trekkers, and probably it was about time to become the one telling this story to the world.


The moment arrived.


I knew the direction, and the region where Guruji had pointed five years back. Even though It was unreal to see myself climbing, all alone up there but I had surrendered everything to my deep rooted path of finding it, and whatever may happen, will be welcomed.

I reached on time at Kashmere Gate’s Interstate Bus Terminal. I took the ticket. It came out to be the smallest mountain bus standing at a corner, like this one dorky pig under it. Whom I wanted to befriend, I had biscuits for him but he wanted to keep it to himself as he went deep under, in retrospection. I of course respect that. It was 2030 and the bus started.

The first movement of the bus is quiet a feeling and those first few moments when we feel neither still, or completely moving. Like between past and future. Bus windows making new frames of life. Those moments of Leaving everything we had lived till that moment. Everything becomes a past as we move to earn something new; that which we have already surrendered to, welcoming the new.

Like most, travelling solo felt exhilarating after quiet some time. To only travel in these times for experiences is altogether a blessing. It was a long route bus, and the smallest one in size because of where it will reach tomorrow evening, almost 20 hours later cannot be imagined right now. But as we moved, I started hearing that the bus will not go all the way; even though i do not want it to be true but it became the truth. The bus halted at Rishikesh. The roads were closed and only after any information that may even never come, we may go ahead.


It slowly started seeming improbable soon as it had started raining like someone was watching this bus closely and was intentionally pouring water over on it. And once it started from there onwards It was water, water all the way. No buses, or any traffic was allowed to go from here. There was a big landslide; a whole mountain had swept away a large part of the national highway, and it might even take a week before it opens.

I had befriended fellow travellers, an army man going home after months from Kashmir. To see, meet, hold his daughter for the first time. Another person, very talkative, was hideously drinking throughout the journey was pissed at the conductor for not telling him before. It strangely felt chaotic at the time when normally gods supposedly wake up. It was Four in the morning, and water was falling like a waterfall, ever-going, nobody can ever predict it will stop. We came out of bus. Ran towards the only shed making tea. I looked around, and quietly cursed myself of not taking the Umbrella from my mother, who had asked me at least thirteen times to take it.

I ordered teen(3) chai.

It was depressing to a point i had even started thinking of making plans to go elsewhere. But then the people who have to go because their home is there will find a way.

And the way was to ride back to Haridwar, as it was from there the buses were taking a much longer route to reach Gopeshwar. I had never known this route. Neither I had known from my previous travels that you can go around bypassing Rishikesh. So this was new and new was exciting, just that it would take ten hours more. There was no other option. I had to move, even if it is takes a long time. And as we moved, more than half of that day went outside looking at nowhere, as it was pitch dark all day long; clouds had demonised the whole morning aura and it went like till noon. But this detour slowly started looking like a drive through paradise via Kotdwar and Lansdowne, along a vibrating river. Water, water everywhere, coming down making dead springs alive again. I enjoyed it even though it took all my patience as we the travellers sat on the edge of our seats throughout that morning. None apart from the bus driver could comprehend where were we, as one big rock just missed the bus from falling on it, but had pushed it enough to stop it from moving even an inch, but it was better we becoming the news for the next day.


That bus dropped me at Rudraprayag. I took another bus to Ghagaria, from where i would start walking towards the valley of flowers to find my flower but as they say it is not you who is thinking, but all nature thinking through you. Like it had happened in Kashmir, when i was pulled to walk the most fulfilling trek to Amarnath, i was called again towards him via a valley i had never known existed till then. The bus reached Gopeshwar at 8 and dropped me to the valley of Mandal at 10. Pluto, that is Sumanto, my old friend from Delhi was waiting.

24 hours on the bus and counting

: ँ :

Thank you.

If today is the first time you have arrived on The Road to Nara, you are heartily welcome ~ Namaste

: ँ :

I will take this opportunity to introduce you to About me and importantly;

As a co-traveller, taking you through the Ten Lessons I learnt from several years on the roadbefore you coarse on youown Road to Nara.


: ँ :

If you are still here, you might like to know about My Little SchoolIf you wish to come over for a visit, to share your stories or one of your magic tricks with children, you are heartily welcome.

If you would like to contribute to this project by funding a student to plant a tree or towards his education, you can please do so here

: ँ :

Above all, If you have anything to share, or feel like saying a hello, please feel free to write to me at nara@road-to-nara.com

To visit other long-term photographic works, you can visit here.


To follow my walks through the rural Indian Subcontinent, find me at 
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by

Hi, I am Narayan Kaudinya. And i welcome you on this journey, the Road to Nara ! I am an Ethnographer and a practicing Indologist. I did my masters in History and further learnt Sanskrit, Yoga and Nerve-therapy. At 24, pushing most academic sounding, office sitting works away, i felt compelled to know and understand the world and my country, Bharat/India. I travelled, and as it happened i took up teaching in Kashmir and further up in the remote villages of Baltistan in the foothills of Karakoram Ranges. For around three years and many states later there came a time when i felt that it was only while teaching i learnt how to laugh, to see, feel, breathe, love and cry -with children, and mostly resource-less parents in the harshest-freezing border conditions. I write, and work as a documentary photographer and Filmmaker, with numerous published, exhibited and some awarded stories. In my travels and life i have let nature lead me, the divine mother, and as a Yogin, my resolve here is to share my experiences and thoughts as honestly, and through them to blossom in everyone the power and possibility in pursuing your breath, that you seek your true nature with courage and curiosity. Here, on this road i will share my spirit, my love for nature, the elements of life that are us. And in doing so, i'll be happy to see you along.

60 Comments

  1. This installment of the Indian documentaries on the ancient believes, religious rituals, and the culture of rural India is as riveting as by now readers expect. The author’s pursuit to find, touch
    and smell the rare, legendary, and mythological plant, Queen Of The Night, Brahma Kamal means total devotion. It involves traveling for hours, even days on buses, that have to change the directions as the monsoon is drowning the vehicles and the roads making the travel impossible.
    Lucky for the readers, the author loves the excitement of something new and forges ahead without hesitation. He is already lucky when he and other passengers of the bus narrowly avoid “being tomorrow’s news” when a huge rock falls down inches from them. Ravine on one side
    and the rock on the opposite side! Now, even I am getting pulled into this fascinating story.
    But we must wait to find out if he finds in the hights of the Himalayas this amazing plant that blooms only after dark for one night and only once a year. If he does it will bring him lifelong luck, as it is growing in the Land of Gods, Somehow I know that he will, and we will read about it in the next post.

    Joanna

    Like

    • Dearest Joanna, i love how you immerse yourself in nature. As i have always said you are more nature than natural humans.

      This was a different kind of journey as i was travelling against all odds, and even felt vulnerable at one point. Had even considered to not continue but as you write ‘that pursuit to find, touch and smell the legendary flower’ kept me at it.

      Yes, the ascent is yet to be written and lived : and i can assure you it was much more than merely meeting with flower.

      Like

  2. Michael Graeme says

    Thank you, Nara. I have friends who have ridden busses like that at the start of their trekking holidays, and they describe them as every bit as exhilarating as the mountain walking. Fascinating reading, a real sense of adventure and purpose.

    Like

    • Apologies Michael, as i could never write back on this post. My computer had and well, it is a loss. Now writing from phone.

      Yes, this adventure came out to be such, i wasn’t really expecting it but it turned out to be much more than it ever was before travelling in the Himalayas.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Also, the ascent to find the lotus came towards finding a lot many other things. i hope to share it with you soon.

      Thank you so much for your patience and support.
      Care and love to you

      Narayan x

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I struggle in prayer when I read your blogs about discovering the culture and superstitions of people who are so far removed from the Truth about The God Who Is. Your travels are fascinating and I wish sincerely that you knew Jesus so you could introduce the Lord of Life to these many precious folks you meet. Keep on telling us your stories; your travels are fascinating.
    ❤️&🙏, c.a.

    Like

    • Dearest CA, i love interacting with you howsoever less we have.

      And apologies for writing this late as my computer has crashed i do not have anything else apart from a phone now. Hope you are doing healthily well, and are safe.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your precious words and support. I am certain that all folks know Jesus, as god. They are respect him like they do to anyone who helps.

      Thanks you again.

      My care and love to you
      Narayan x

      Like

  4. What an arduous journey and quite dangerous with the likelihood of rockfalls. You tell the story in a way that helps me to feel it. Thank you.

    Like

    • “Dear Caro, apologies for writing late on this post. It was unavoidable as i had no computer left with me to write back. But now doing it via phone.”

      It has been wonderful to know that you feel there, as you read it, nothing else can be a better prize than this. I am so much thankful for your presence and your support Caro.

      Like

  5. When you write of the “pure terror” of the monsoon rains, I think of Mother Earth weeping for the follies of humankind. I like when you say that in finding your flower, “all nature [is] thinking through you.” In other words, to become our true selves, we must become one with Mother Earth.

    Like

  6. Another adventure. Bus trips like that are epic. I had one many years ago from the Southern tip of Chile to Buenos Aires accompanied by various people with chickens and one goat but no pigs!

    Like

  7. Probably the best account of our bus rides in the mountains. Felt like I was there with you but glad I wasn’t, not being the sturdiest of bus travellers. Can’t wait to read more about the Brahma Kamal. Is that the same as the thousand petalled lotus? Thanks for a most exhilirating ride.

    Like

    • Dearest Diti, firstly let me apologise for writing this late. i couldn’t help it.

      Your words uplift the writer in me, even though i try to be better but i am still only trying.

      Like

      • Please don’t apologise, Narayan. I consider myself fortunate for having access to your blog.

        Words are simply there to express thoughts and feelings. Anyone can use words fortuitously. It takes a real writer like you to connect with readers minds and hearts, the way you do, simply and honestly.

        Like

    • The final ascent to find the lotus lead me towards finding a lot many other things. i hope to share it with you soon.

      The thousand petal lotus are the chakras within us, placed according with out spine in tact. This brahma lotus is as big or ever bigger than our hands. Rest, i will lead you when you will read 🙂

      Thank you so much again

      Narayan x

      Like

  8. KK says

    What an adventurous trip, Narayan ji ! Hilly tracks are really dangerous, particularly at turnings. Landslides are also common, as you witnessed. But road is the only mode of transport there. I’m eagerly waiting when you will get Brahma Kamal.

    Like

  9. Oh my goodness what a ride! Although your English is not always exactly right, your storytelling nevertheless is so wonderful I am drawn in every time. I look forward to the next instalment!
    Alison

    Like

  10. AJ says

    “…it is not you who is thinking, but all nature thinking through you.” Wow, I wish I were so palpably connected with the universe like that. Awesome!

    Like

  11. Wow, this is absolutely exhilarating! The adventure, the likes of which I’ve only watched or read in fiction. Absolutely love your style of writing. “As if the sky was leaking”, “nature acting through you” and so on- so masterfully and poetically phrased.
    It’s indeed mystical that the scent of the Brahma Kamal would linger for a month after it is plucked! So ethereal.
    I hope the army man made it home to his daughter despite the heavy rains. As for your phenomenal adventure, I’m going to read it in the next part and I’m very sure it’s
    more than a fulfilling experience just to read about it. To experience it is something only a blessed few, like yourself, can undertake. 🙏
    So the moral of the story is always listen to your mom and carry an umbrella? 😉
    Wonderful write up! A divine adventure you’ve had, sir 🙏

    Like

    • You have lighted my day dear Sam, how lovely of you to write like in pure essence. Felt i was reading myself the second time. Thank you so much.

      Sometimes i find myself in a whirlpool of living like this. It is as strange, but working, walking towards the light makes it a blessing. Just like you, as a reader/writer are, a blessing.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much again.
      Also i read somewhere that you do not live in India, but are Indian? Is it true?

      Here, i have tried to build a family. And together we are walking towards that Road to Nara, there is only one. Would be happy if i am only called Narayan or Nara, dear Sam.

      My care and strength to you.
      Narayan x

      Liked by 1 person

  12. oh wow Nara, that was an adventure and a scary one at that. It wasn’t your time thank God and it sure makes for a great story. Love your pictures. Great pic of you in the day…and that sweet doggie!💖💖

    Like

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