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Introduction text here....

DIVINE MARGA
PILGRIMAGE

Spiritual Masters and Their Sacred Temples
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Anandamayi Ma - The Bliss Permeated Mother

Sri Ma Anandamayi, born Nirmala Sundari Devi in 1896 in Kheora, now Bangladesh, is widely recognized for her spiritual eminence. She was married at twelve and later revealed her spiritual self-initiation in 1922. Her husband was named Bholanath by her, and she moved with him to Shahbag, where her reputation as a divine figure grew, leading her to be called Anandamayi Ma, meaning "Joy Permeated Mother".

She traveled extensively across India, attracting devotees who saw her as the embodiment of their inner vision of the divine. She was revered by various religious communities, being hailed as a living deity in different forms, such as "Manush Kali" in Bengal and "Devi Narmada" by the Narmada River.

Anandamayi Ma's personality combined an aloof mystery with profound compassion, drawing people from all walks of life. She demonstrated an innate spiritual wisdom, often elucidating complex spiritual matters without formal education or training from a guru. Her life exemplified the coexistence of normalcy and transcendence, akin to experiencing both sunlight and moonlight simultaneously.

She taught a God-centered life, advocating for spiritual equality for women, including opening the sacred thread ritual to them. Her teachings were conveyed through a mix of humor, songs, practical instructions, silent meditations, and discourses, inspiring thousands to aspire to a noble spiritual ideal.

Anandamayi Ma Ashram in Haridwar

Located in Kankhal, about 3.6 kilometers south of Haridwar Train Station, this ashram offers a peaceful oasis for meditation and self-reflection. It is a place where visitors can experience inner peace and connect with their spiritual selves.

At the ashram, dedicated spaces are available for meditation and yoga practice, providing individuals with the opportunity to delve into their spiritual journey. These serene spaces are designed to create a serene environment conducive to deepening one’s practice and finding tranquility amidst the chaos of everyday life. Additionally, the ashram provides areas for spiritual study and reflection, allowing visitors to engage in profound self-reflection and explore the teachings of Anandamayi Ma. Through these spiritual activities, individuals can embark on a transformative journey towards inner peace and enlightenment.

(Info on the group visit here...)


 

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Sai Baba of Shirdi

Sai Baba of Shirdi (c. 1838–1918) was an Indian spiritual master revered by both Hindu and Muslim devotees. He emphasized self-realization, love, forgiveness, charity, inner peace, and devotion to God and Guru, while condemning religious and caste discrimination. He practiced and taught using elements from both Hinduism and Islam, and his Hindu devotees considered him an incarnation of the deity Dattatreya.

Born to a Hindu Brahman family and adopted by a Sufi fakir, Sai Baba arrived in Shirdi at 16, where he initially meditated under a neem tree. After briefly leaving, he returned in 1858 and stayed permanently, living in a mosque he named Dwarakamayi. He kept a sacred fire (dhuni) and gave visitors sacred ash believed to heal ailments.

Sai Baba advocated for prayer, chanting, and reading holy scriptures, encouraging Muslims to study the Qur'an and Hindus to study texts like the Ramayana and Bhagavad Gita. He stressed performing duties without attachment, contentment in all situations, and the importance of faith (Shraddha) and patience (Saburi). His teachings combined Hindu and Islamic elements, emphasizing the unity of all mankind and the validity of all spiritual paths, seeing "Ishwar" (Hindu God) and "Allah" as synonymous.

Sai Baba's inclusive approach and teachings of love and unity attracted a diverse following, inspiring devotees to lead moral lives and fostering harmonious coexistence among different religious communities.

Sai Baba of Shirdi Temple in Shirdi Town

Located at a distance of 122 Km from Nasik in the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra, Shirdi is the home of Sai Baba. It is believed that Sai Baba arrived at Shirdi in 1858 and spent 60 years of his life here until he attained salvation in 1918. Sai Baba is popularly known as the 'child of God', as he always spread the message of universal brotherhood.

 

Shirdi is a secular place where all religions are treated as one & a belief in the power of Faith & Patience is foremost. A place where all heads bow down in prayer, where faith prevails, where hopes are built, where patience pays, and where infinite joy and everlasting contentment abound. 

 

The footprints of Saibaba have made this town a holy place. Millions of devotees continuously flock here from all over India and abroad. 

(Info on group visit here...)

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Avatar Meher Baba - the Compassionate Father

Meher Baba was an Indian spiritual master, considered by followers as the Avatar or God in human form. Born in 1894 to Zoroastrian parents in Pune, he transformed spiritually at 19 after meeting Muslim saint Hazrat Babajan. His mystical experiences were further integrated by Upasni Maharaj and other spiritual figures. By 27, he gathered disciples who named him Meher Baba, meaning "compassionate father."

He traveled widely between 1931 and 1937, promoting understanding of true religion and integrating Eastern and Western spiritual perspectives. From the late 1930s, he focused on contacting spiritually advanced individuals called "masts" and serving the poor and lepers.

In 1949, he began a "New Life" of total reliance on God, renouncing his possessions and connections. He ceased public darshans after 1958, dedicating himself to spiritual work in seclusion. Notably, Meher Baba remained silent from 1925 until his death in 1969, communicating through an alphabet board and hand gestures.

Meher Baba’s teachings emphasized love for God, simplicity, and honesty, eschewing rites and rituals. He promoted the idea of divine love transcending all barriers and presented a cosmology where God is the sole reality and the universe a dream. His major works, like "God Speaks" and "The Discourses," explain complex spiritual concepts, advocating for love, selfless service, and the internal renunciation of desires to advance towards God-realization.

Avatar Meher Baba Ashram in Meherabad

In February 1958, Avatar Meher Baba indicated to his disciples and lovers that Meherabad would become the greatest place of pilgrimage in the world. Over the years he had told them that when he passed away, his body should be interred in the Tomb, known as the Samadhi, which had been built under his instructions on Meherabad Hill in 1938.

 

After Meher Baba passed away on 31 January 1969, people from around the world did indeed begin to come to his Tomb in gradually increasing numbers. In response to the increasing number of pilgrims, and in keeping with Baba’s own directives in the Trust Deed, the Avatar Meher Baba Trust became increasingly involved in providing facilities for visitors.

(Info of the group visit here...)

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Neem Karoli Baba

Neem Karoli Baba, also known as Maharaj-ji, was a revered Hindu guru and devotee of Hanuman. Born around 1900 in Uttar Pradesh, India, he later became a wandering sadhu before settling down at his father's request, marrying, and having children. He became widely known outside India for his American disciples like Ram Dass and Krishna Das.

 

A pivotal event in his life involved halting a train when forced off for not having a ticket, which resumed only after he was allowed back on, leading to a promise to treat sadhus better and build a station in Neem Karoli village.

Baba wandered extensively, acquiring many names and establishing over 100 temples. His main ashrams were in Kainchi and Vrindavan, with the Kainchi Dham ashram becoming a significant pilgrimage site. Neem Karoli Baba practiced bhakti yoga and emphasized service to others as the highest devotion to God.

He gave simple, often silent, teachings and was known for his humor and humility. He advised surrendering to God's will to overcome attachment and ego. Neem Karoli Baba's influence persists through his teachings, miraculous stories, and continuous spiritual presence felt by devotees even after his death in 1973. The 2021 documentary "Windfall of Grace" highlights the impact of his teachings on both Indian and American devotees.

Neem Karoli Baba Ashram in Vrindavan

It was in Vrindaban that Maharaj-ji chose to leave His body in 1973. The Ashram is located in Krishna’s holy city of Vrindaban on the plains of Uttar Pradesh. The first temple was inaugurated in 1967. This ashram is on Parikrama Marg a short ways from Mathura Road.

All are welcome to visit the Neem Karoli Baba Ashram and enjoy the temple room and grounds.  The ashram is a sacred space for meditation, devotional singing and satsang or spiritual discourse among aspirants. All members of the ashram community contribute to the sacredness of this place which is a haven of peace and spiritual inspiration for hundreds of visitors and guests each year.

(info of the group visit here...)

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Sri Ramana Maharshi

Ramana Maharshi, also known as Bhagavan, was a 20th-century South Indian sage revered for his teachings on self-awareness and inner peace. His guidance, encapsulated in the practice of asking "Who Am I?", directs seekers to their innermost Self, the unchanging reality beyond all phenomena. Ramana emphasized that true realization comes through the grace of a Guru, who is ultimately the manifestation of the inner Self.

Despite seeming inactive to casual visitors, Ramana provided profound spiritual instruction through silent darshan, personal interactions, and written works. He taught that the outer Master is necessary only as long as one identifies with the body; true understanding reveals the Master as the inner Self.

Ramana exemplified devotion through practices like circumambulating the holy hill Arunachala and composing hymns. He described the Self as a force or current that transcended physical existence, using terms like sat-chit-ananda (truth-consciousness-bliss) and the Heart to convey its essence. He believed the Self to be eternal, with states like sleep and waking merely transient phenomena. Our true nature, according to Ramana, is simple Being, free from thoughts.

Sri Ramana Maharshi Ashram in Tiruvannamalai

Sri Ramanasramam It is a spiritual center (ashram) in Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, about 160 kilometers southwest of Chennai. Ramana Maharshi lived in this place for 54 years until his samadhi in 1950. It is located at the base of the Holy Mountain Arunachala, which has been highly respected as a source of great spiritual power since ancient times. For Ramana Maharshi and the spiritual seekers associated with him, Arunachala represents and conveys knowledge of the transcendent self.

The ashram strives hard to preserve its surroundings. Hundreds of visitors are given accommodations so that they may practice the teachings in the vicinity of the sacred shrine hallowed by His continued presence. 

 

(Info whrn and how the group visided the ashram here...)
 

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Upasani Maharaj

Upasani Maharaj, born Kashinath Govindrao Upasni in 1870, was an Indian spiritual teacher regarded as a satguru by his followers. Born in a Hindu Brahmin family in Satana, near Nasik, he was deeply influenced by his grandfather, a learned Hindu scholar. Although not inclined towards formal education, Kashinath had an early interest in spiritual studies and meditation.

After experiencing significant personal losses, including the deaths of his first two wives and several family members, Kashinath pursued a spiritual quest. He spent nine months meditating in a cave, after which he met and was blessed by Shri Sadguru Narayan Maharaj of Kedgaon. This encounter deepened his spiritual journey, eventually leading him to Sai Baba of Shirdi in 1911.

Kashinath, renamed Upasani Maharaj, spent four years in a temple near Shirdi, enduring rigorous fasting and spiritual practices. By 1914, he achieved profound spiritual consciousness, guided by Sai Baba. Upasani Maharaj's teachings and practices began attracting many devotees, including prominent figures like Mahatma Gandhi and Merwan (later known as Meher Baba).

Living in Sakori from 1917, Upasani Maharaj played a pivotal role in the spiritual landscape of the region, continuing to guide and influence his followers until Sai Baba's death in 1918, after which he managed Sai Baba's last rites.

Upasani Maharaj Ashram in Sakori

Info of the temple - I could not fine - I will keep looking

 

(Info whrn and how the group visided the ashram here...)
 

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