One particular day and moment in Badrinath

The ashram in Badrinath will be completed in the next few years.  All kinds of obstacles have hindered progress, but on this day I feel nothing but enthusiasm and can envision the first six apartments completed and ready for use by summer of 2012 and the Meditation Hall construction well on its way towards finishing up about the same time.

It is really a miracle to me to watch construction here on the hillside on the opposite side of the Alakananda River, directly below Neelakantha Peak (21,600 ft.)   A four hour trek up the Narayan mountain takes one to the base of Neelakantha. The hike is like a taking a straight path up to heaven.

The location of the ashram is difficult for the construction workers.   Workers have to carry all the building supplies, rocks, cement mix, rebar, doors, glass, the furniture, etc. on their backs for the kilometer or so, over a suspension bridge and up the steep steps.    Many of the workers seem very young, most of them this year have come from Bihar.   They seem rather disinterested and reluctant to work very hard.   There are only a few workers in town now, due to the ban on construction in all of Badrinath and the lateness in the season.  Badrinath, Gangotri, Kedarnath have all had building bans in effect for several years now.   We do everything, under the radar,  so to speak.

Up until  this moment the ban and the need for an extra strong foundations in this cold, snowy, avalance prone,  rather unforgiving region has made me less than confident that the ashram would be more than a strong foundation, a few pillars and alot of dashed dreams.    But today, I feel nothing but assurance that there will be a Babaji’s Kriya Yoga Ashram in Badrinath one day, which will support sadhana for thousands of people for a hundred years!

All the participants in this years pilgrimage to the Himalayas are high with enthusiasm and anticipation of the Ashram.   Many put on work gloves and get right to work, leveling land, carrying water, mixing cement, laying cement.    Everyone in sight of the  funny assembly line of Spanish, Brazilian and Swiss and Indians preparing and laying cement smile and stare with curiosity.

The altitude in Badrinath is over 10,000 ft., higher at the ashram site.  There is stress on heart and lungs, but at the same time the site feeds the soul and energizes us.  All kriyabans are so focused, so involved in what they are doing, that the Bihari workers get caught up in the same energy and begin to work at the same pace.  At the end of the afternoon work, everyone claps applause in appreciation.

Apparently there is at least one person, not so happy with what he sees.  A mouni baba, who recently built a nice blue house just above the ashram ( built during the building ban),  watches us as he rushes by… Govindan calls him over to introduce himself.  The Baba acts friendly and asks alot of questions.  Govindan explains what is planned.    The Baba is nothing but encouraging and says as he leaves, “All one has to do is to brush the dust away, and all you see is God.”    With that he walked down the mountain and apparently directly to the local magistrate and complained about the activity of building at our site!   We were notified later in the day of his complaint.

The next day construction activity continued.

There is another Mouni Baba who has an ashram just below us.  It is a high, bright red building that grabs attention the moment you arrive in Badrinath.  Twenty or more flags wave from the rooftop.  Mouni Baba dresses in bright red and now he is wearing his hair long, in dread locks that reach past his knee.  New is a sign in English claiming to be a Kriya Yoga Teaching Center, his photo on a huge posture with Babaji above his head, pasted to the entrance of his ashram.    He is a colorful sadhu in all ways.   We sat with him for about 45 minutes discussing the importance of opening chakras.   He is all about the power he confesses, ” Shakti power is all important.   It keeps others from attaching him.”   His plans is to build a huge ashram in the space between our two present sites.  We look at the material he hands us requesting a $20,000 donation towards building.

There is no clean, quiet, place for more than a few people to gather together in Badrinath, so I have long longed for a Yoga and meditaition Hall for us to use.   Most halls here are small or smoky, cold and dark.

All the pilgrims with us have found their favorite mediatation spots and many a small flat area to do some asana.  The energy of the mountains and that generated by all the sadhus who have practiced Yoga and meditation over the ages have created a magnificient vortex, which carries us all away into deep and profound meditative perception.   No one is frustrated either by a busy mind or an unsteady body.    Something magical happens in this place, the mind empties, becoms vibrant and clear.

Sitting at the ashram construction, my back against a stone wall of a small hut, storing grain for the cows.  Rising in front of me is a massive mountain range.   Then enormity of the Nara and Narayana Mountains surrounding me takes my mind and breath away.   There is snow on the mountain tops and a quietness that engulfs the entire area.  It invites, or rather instills stability and devotion in one.

For meditation to be strong one needs stability and devotion… devotion and conviction to the teachings, to the techniques, to the lineage.   Then  the practices will be powerful and profoundly transformative.  Without these, meditation can be tranquilizing.   But it is conviction and persistence which will result in samadhi and some form of liberation.  Devotion brings the final results.

Babaji Kriyayogis are an amazing group of individuals because they have taken Mahasiddha Babaji as their personal Guru and  have full faith in the teachings and techniques of the tradition.   It is that full faith in the teachings that leads one to the Impersonal Absolute and liberation.   The Kriya Sangam is a network of interdependent caring individuals willing to do the work required to attain spiritually and to keep the sangam strong.

A loud mowing breaks my contemplation.   Looking up I feel an affection for the cow that is making my acquaintance over the stone way in the neighboring field.   The cows here are charming creatures,  well-cared for and respected.   Four women are walking up the hillside, bent way over, carrying about forty pounds of hay on their backs.   Two women talk so loudly to each other, that their voices are carried in the wind through the vast spaces to me, as if they are just a few steps away.   The ladies here all have  lined faces, laughing eyes, filled with curiosity even though they rarely smile.   It would be interesting to learn Hindi so that I can have some converstation with them.

The smallest cow I see is mooing louder and louder, like a child who is not being listened to by its mother and irritated by it.    The huge cow chowing down near me has enormous curved horns that looks vaguely  like some exotic musical instrument made from a rich mahogany.   His black fur looks like velvet.  T his is one healthy cow.   The milk they produce tastes quite sweet due to the sweet spicy herbs which is an important part of their diet.   When we begin to stay here at the ashram, Rohit says the villages will deliver milk and vegetables daily.   It will be like living in another world, an earler, simpler era.   What benefits we will all gain just from that experience – free from the pull of politics and complexity of modern life for a while.   Only thing demanded is patience, patience with the uncertain and changeable weather, the black outs of electricity, the cows that hog the walkways, with each other.

No one can remain unchanged.  Badrinath transfixes me.







    • Mouni Baba
    • February 5th, 2012

    “A mouni baba, who recently built a nice blue house just above the ashram ( built during the building ban),  watches us as he rushes by…”

    • Yara Ulcay
    • March 1st, 2012

    Dear Durga,
    How can we help in the construction of Badrinath Temple?

    In our satsang today, during the meditation, both me and one of my friend here Iris, asked about why the Badrinath temple is not finished yet. The answer to us were that He wants everyone envolved with the constuction, a big amount of people should be helping, he said: you could help to carry some of the stones too…
    Is there any pilgrimage planed to Badrinath this year???

    from Istanbul

  1. There is hardly any place on Earth that makes you experience the presence of God,the way the air of Badrinath makes you experience that.It gives me such great happiness to know that Babaji’s Kriya Yoga Ashram is under construction at Badrinath Dham.Please let me know if I can contribute in anyway….

    • Kamal R. Soogrim
    • June 16th, 2012

    Dear Sir.

    I don’t practice yoga but would like to start soon.
    Is it possible for me to come to Badrinath to learn and possibly help in the ashram building? Maybe I can stay for 3 months.


    K Soogrim

    • john barker
    • September 28th, 2013

    wow it went through

    across the great ocean

    will it crash against the hard rocks of


    or sweep up on some forsaken shore

    only gods knows the depths of our longing

    only god can truly answer our


    @john barker

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