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The Arduous journey in Shulpani hills during Narmada Parikrama

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

This morning, we departed from Kuli and made our way towards Semlet, a quaint hamlet nestled in Shulpani. It dawned on us that this would be the final day we would have access to many of our arrangements there were carried in vehicles by the management group before we reach to Dhadgaon which could take 4-5 days from here.

The path we were to embark on for our foot march in parikrama and was vastly different from the roads our vehicles would traverse. It was clear that once we reached Semlet, we would part ways with our trusty automobiles, with no chance of reuniting them for several days. We had made prior arrangements for the transportation of the Puja's kalash to our location on the following day, when vehicles would be unable to traverse the route.

Additionally, we had also arranged for the provision of food for the day. I had spoken with my devout follower, who presently holds the esteemed political position in Maharashtra. He assured me that he has meticulously arranged everything for our upcoming parikrama days. For it is said that the river goddess had her own grand design, one that surpassed our mortal understanding. In the realm of mortals, we often find solace in our meticulously laid plans, believing that they will guide us towards our desired destination. Yet, in the presence of Mother Narmada, our plans were but feeble attempts to navigate.

As we ventured further into the wilderness, the landscape began to undergo a remarkable metamorphosis. The once clear and well-defined path that had guided our steps was now fading into obscurity, leaving us with an unsettling sense of uncertainty. No longer could we rely on the familiar markers and signs that had guided our journey thus far. The terrain, once predictable and accommodating, now presented itself as a formidable challenge, shrouded in ambiguity. With each passing step, the path seemed to dissolve before our very eyes, leaving us to navigate through an uncharted wilderness. In the heart of this sacred mountain range, lies the tranquil abode of the revered Mother Narmada. Her presence, a mere few kilometres away, casts a divine aura over the surrounding landscape. The mountains, standing tall and proud, seem to bow in reverence to her sacred being. It is here, in this invisible realm, that devotees from far and wide seek solace and spiritual enlightenment.

As we ventured forth, we encountered many residents of Shulpani each having radiant features. It was not their affluence that brought about this radiance, but rather the beauty of their smiles. The murals, adorning the walls or any other surface the children could lay their hands on, were a sight to behold. Their artistic features left me completely mesmerised. As I made my way through the impoverished community, I encountered a multitude of children who were without proper clothing. Moved by their plight, I distributed a number of t-shirts to these young ones. Later on, we came across a group of women whose sarees had been completely destroyed. We approached them and offered some new sarees. As I stood there, my eyes widened in astonishment. Before me stood a group of children, seemingly around the age of ten, yet they lacked a fundamental skill that I had taken for granted - the ability to operate a simple pencil and sharpener. It was a sight that left me both perplexed and concerned. How could it be that these young ones, who should have been well-versed in the ways of the written word, were so unfamiliar with such a basic tool of expression? It was a stark reminder of the disparities that exist in our world, where some are afforded every opportunity to learn and grow, while others are left behind, their potential untapped. And so, with a sense of duty and determination, we embarked on the task of showing them the way to use it. As our weary bodies made their way down the rugged mountain path, the anticipation of a much-needed meal filled the air. Our trusty companion, the motorbike that faithfully carried our supplies, had always been a reliable source of sustenance during our midday breaks. However, to our dismay, as we reached the end of our arduous descent, the sight of the motorbike was nowhere to be found. Left with only the snacks we had brought along, we found ourselves in a state of collective hunger. The provisions we had packed, once a mere afterthought, now became our sole sustenance in this moment of need. With a sense of unity, we gathered together, each contributing what little we had, and shared in the meagre feast before us. The taste of the snacks, though simple and unassuming, brought a temporary respite to our growling stomachs, as we savoured every bite in a silent acknowledgment of our shared difficulty.

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


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