While travelling in the jungles of Himalayas, during my yatra of the four hill shrines, Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath by foot, this happened. I was taking a shortcut, which I seldom do, if there is a motorable road. Because, the effort and the energy wasted to navigate is more than in the motorable road. But, it was tempting, the walk from Gangani in Yamnotri road to Uttarkashi in Gangotri road, through the motorable road will take little more than three days and can be done in a day or two. From Gangnani one can reach the other side which is around 10-15 kilometers short from uttarkashi.
So, after a little thought we started the gamble of the shortcut, the routes in the Himalayas are similar throughout, if we get stuck in a place we might be circling in the same place for days. We, went for around two hours, and got stuck in a small valley, having difficulty in finding the correct route. After some time of walking on all the directions, leaving one person to help us navigate to the center, finally we understood we are stuck. I prayed to Lord Ganapathi singing loudly the small poem written by Bhagavan Ramana in the introduction of Aksharamana malai as an invocation. Viola, out of no where in that jungle one small boy came saying, he will guide us to the correct route, and he did just that. He said he is a shepherd and is on in his way to relieve his younger brother who is taking care of the cattles in the mountain. When we came to a clear route, he invited us with him to his place, and have curd, milk and other milk products, which would delay our trip, so, we took leave of him there. He said for us to cross the amall wooden bridge and once we come to the clearing on the mountain top, take the straight road. We promised to the mountain top as were promised, and collected some akruts (nuts) which had fallen from the trees and after that came to the plain top of the mountain. We had a lapse of judgement, my disciple Srinivasan, who was travelling with me said pointing to a red flag, this shold be the route. And there was a small 2 foot road. Looked like a well tread path. So, I went in the lead on that route, after an hour we after a lot of difficulties came to a boulder which was hiding the other side of the road. Thinking once we cross the rock we will be able to come to a proper road, I went ahead. Once I took a half circle I saw a deep fall in front of me, with nothing else to protect my fall. I told my disciple to turn back and incase I don’t return, complete the journey without me. Saying this I just made myself comfortable as much as possible by leaning on the stone, my legs were shaking more of fatigue than of fear. After slowly regaining my strength I crawled back to the side which we had come from, and came back to the point we started, close to the flag. By this time we had lost 2 hours and a lot of energy. When we went around from there we saw a sx feet walkable road which we should have taken in the first place. We came down to the Gangotri road, and stayed in an ashram close by (bharati jis ashram) and proceeded to Uttarkashi the next day.
After staying in Kailash Ashram, for two days because of the request and love showered by Swami Anant Chaitanya, we proceeded towards Gangotri. After 2-3 days of travel we came to Harsil, where this Sanyasini Sarada mataji stays. She is the one who was initiated by one of the eight matts of Udipi, and stayed for a long period in Tapovan above Gangorti beyond Gomuk.Because of kidney failure and other complaint she was strictly advised by the doctors against staying in Tapovan, and heeding to the requests of the devotees she started staying in Harsil. We both, with the other three who travelled with us and lost on the way and who caught up with us in Uttarkashi, reached her place. Though we could have done the 25 kms to gangotri decided against it. Mataji, normally does not allow anyone to stay with he in her kutia, it is a rectangle room inside a rectangle room. In the inner rectangle she stays, the outer rectangle has her kitchen in one corner and diagonally opposite corned has a small puja altar. She dismissed all the help we offered to cook and did the cooking for all of us, we five and mataji and another boy who stays in the hall built for the travelling sadhus. She prepared food, Rice, Rotis, Dhal and some vegetable. You should understand here, if one walks around 50 kms daily, his appetite will be at its best J. And with that kind of hunger, we found it difficult to eat what the mataji was serving. When we thought we had eaten enough Mataji will refill our plates and ask us to eat it, saying, you all are growing people and are walking so should take enough food etc. Believe me, that is the day in my entire life, in which I had eaten sooooooooo muuuuuuuch. Love makes it possible.
After eating she asked for a small satsang, which I obliged, and spoke of Advaita (monism) J (Udipi matt is the seat of the Dwaita (dualism) philosophy, and she who has done somuch of sadhana is not eligible the who is). After listening keenly, she said, I accept what you say, and understand that it is true too, but I cannot forget Krishna, so, in my next life I will take Advaita. I didn’t argue.