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Heera Lal of Shulpani hill in Narmada Parikrama

Excerpts from the book of Vivek ji: Narmada Parikrama -Walking the 3,000 kilometres of sacred Riverbanks of holy Narmada
Vivek ji with Heera lal from Shulpani hills in Narmada parikrama
Vivek ji with Heera lal from Shulpani hills in Narmada parikrama

After walking a few kilometres from Bijasen, As we embarked on our arduous journey to the sacred land of Kuli, little did we know that fate had a peculiar encounter in store for us. It was amidst the vast expanse of the mystical landscape that we crossed paths with a man named Heera Lal, a figure whose reputation preceded him. Whispers of his notorious deeds, particularly his penchant for confiscating the belongings of unsuspecting parikrama participants, had spread far and wide. However, a remarkable transformation has taken place within him, altering the course of his life's journey.


No longer bound by the shackles of his past, he has embraced a new purpose - to serve the parikamavasis, those who have chosen to dwell in the austere wilderness. With unwavering determination, he now dedicates himself to the arduous task of providing nourishment amidst the unforgiving terrain that surrounds him. As we ventured forth, the roads that lay before us seemed to offer a glimmer of hope, a semblance of ease in traversing the treacherous terrain that lay ahead. However, our optimism quickly waned as we soon discovered that these paths, though paved, were no match for the unforgiving nature of the land. With each step we took, it became abundantly clear that the challenges we faced were far from over. The terrain, rugged and unyielding, tested our resolve and pushed us to our limits. The once promising roads now seemed like mere illusions, taunting us with their false promises.


As the sun reached its zenith, casting its golden rays upon the land, we sought respite in a quaint village nestled amidst the rugged terrain. The month of November, though heralding the approach of winter, had not yet relinquished its grasp on the land of Shulpani, for the air still carried a gentle warmth. With weary bodies and parched throats, we yearned for a moment of respite from our arduous journey. And there, like an oasis in the desert, we discovered a haven of solace beneath the sheltering embrace of a mighty tree. Its branches stretched outwards, offering a sanctuary from the relentless sun, as if nature herself had conspired to provide us with much-needed shade. As we settled ourselves upon the cool earth We made a stop at a farm where a member of the Bhil Janya Jatis community, who holds influence in the area, kindly offered us a place to have our meal and take a break. However, it was evident that our host was very talkative, and we expected that our rest would be disturbed. I have yet to encounter an individual who does not require someone to communicate with. This person was capable of conversing with anyone, even if they were in a state of deep slumber. Yogesh, the pathfinder, was attempting to rest after a challenging day when the gentleman l persistently engaged him in conversation. Despite Yogesh's request for silence the person continued to speak, causing disturbance to others in the vicinity. My eyes were closed and I was soaking up all the joy going on around me as I lay in the bed I had been given. Some individuals chose to relocate to a more peaceful location, but this was not a viable option for all. This marks the commencement of the Shulpani recreational activity.


In the vast expanse of the Shulpani region, where the land is unforgiving and the soil is barren, a population of extraordinary resilience thrives. Despite the challenges posed by the infertile terrain, the people of Shulpani have managed to carve out a life for themselves, defying the odds and embodying the indomitable spirit of human perseverance. In the vast expanse of this sacred land, there exist a group of resilient individuals who lead a humble existence, relying on scarce resources to sustain themselves. Despite their own meagre means, they possess a remarkable quality that sets them apart - an innate generosity that knows no bounds. It is this very generosity that compels them to offer sustenance to those who embark on the arduous journey of the parikrama. On a serene day, a band of parikramvasi meandered along, their weary figures hinting at a lack of nourishment. Lokesh was dispatched with a lunchtime call as per my instructions. It was impossible not to consider the daunting task of sustaining themselves amidst the harsh realities of this untamed land. And so it came to pass, exactly as it had been foretold. Once more, I found myself graced with the privilege of experiencing in the warm embrace of Mother Narmada. In a curious turn of events, the provisions that had been carefully set aside to sustain a modest group of thirty individuals found themselves in the hands of nearly fifty people. Despite this unexpected increase in numbers, it was a remarkable sight to behold as each and every person was adequately fed.



Excerpts from the book of Vivek ji: Narmada Parikrama -Walking the 3,000 kilometres of sacred Riverbanks of holy Narmada

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