Date: 24 April 2018


Time uploaded in London –  14-29 (British Summer Time)


Post No. 4945


Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks. Pictures may be subject to copyright laws.







Hindus know very well the benefits of travel. They have been doing the longest pilgrimages. It is a wonder of the world that they travel from one of the country to the other. Though we hear about pilgrimages to Mecca, Jerusalem, Lourdes etc for followers of other religions, Hindus started thousands of years before them. Balarama did want to be part of Mahabharata war and so he went on a long journey. Before him,  Rama travelled on foot from Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh to Sri Lanka in the south sea. The pilgrimage is mentioned in the Tamil epic Silappadikaram as well.


Another unique feature of Hindusim is they have thousands of pilgrimage centres. Every family fas a family deity and they visit the shrine from different parts of the world. Though Kasi/Varanasi/Benares is the holiest shrine for Hindus, they don’t stop there; they visit hundreds of other centres. There are 108 Vishnu shrines, 51 Goddess centres and 12 most famous Shiva shrines venerated by the Hindus for thousands of years.

Five Pandavas, particularly Arjuna travelled to far south and married a Pandya princess (Alli Rani) and he made inter galactic travel in Matari’s shuttle, according to Mahabharata.


From the Vedic days, we come across some statements in support of travel:

Vedas refer to the sea travel and Aswins rescue of Bhuj and others from the middle of the sea. It also mentioned 1000 oars ships.


Adi Shankara who lived 2000 years ago (See Kanchi Paramacharya’s dating) walked through the length and breadth of India several times and established Mutts (Religious Centres)  at five places in five different directions. Guru Nanak, Ramanuja and several saints also walked from one end of the land to the other.


Tamil devotional literature has several stories of kings and poets visiting Kailash in the Himalayas. Even before the foundation of Islam, Mecca has been a centre of pilgrimage to Hindus. Ancient travel records show that they boarded ships from Sri Lanka and Kerala.


Here are some quotations on Travel from the Vedic literature:

When Rohita, son of Harischandra left the forest and went to a village, Indra came to him in human disguise and said to him,

“There is no happiness for him who does not travel, Rohita! thus we have heard. Living in the society of men, the best man often becomes a sinner by seduction, which is best avoided by wandering (travel) to places void of human dwellings; for Indra is surely the friend of the traveller. Therefore , wander”

Rohita thinking, ‘A Brahmin told me to wander’ wandered for a second year in the forest.

Again Indra met Rohita and said, The feet of the wanderer are like the flower, his soul is growing and reaping the fruit; and all his sins are destroyed by his fatigues in wandering. Therefore, wander!

–Aitareya Brahmana 7-3-15

The fortune of him who is sitting sits; it rises when he rises; it sleeps when he sleeps; it moves when he moves. Therefore, wander!


The Kali (Yuga) is lying on the ground; the Dvapara (yuga) is hovering there; the Treta (Yuga) is getting up; but the Krita (yuga) happens to walk. Therefore, wander!


In another translation of the same verse we find,

“ A man who sleeps is like the Kali age ( iron age); a man who awakes is like the Dvapara age (Bronze age); a man who rises is like the Treta age (silver age) and a man who travels is like the Krita age (Golden age).


It is interesting to note that the same terms are used in the throws of gambling dice: Krita- throw of four, being reckoned the best, Treta-  the throw of three, Dvapara – throw of two and Kali- the throw of one, worst of all.

This corresponds to the golden sayings in Tamil Proverbs

It advises Tamils to beyond the seas and bring treasures. Another proverb says If you sit and eat, even a hill of treasure will melt away. Oldest Tamil book says that a person can be separated from his wife for traveling to study, business or war.

Hindu Ascetics are advised to travel without stopping in a place for more than 24 hours. They can stay in a place for Four Months (Chatur Masya Vrata) only during rainy season.

Kalidasa’s Meghaduta is the oldest Travel Guide in the world. It describes each and every place from the centre of India to the Himalayas.

Aitareya Brahmana continues,

“The wanderer finds honey and the sweet Udumbara fruit (fig); behold the beauty of the sun, who is not wearied by his wanderings. Therefore, wander, wander!

–Aitareya Brahmana 7-3-15


Mahabharata on Travel,

The union with brother, mother, father and friend is like that of travellers in an inn

-Vyasa in Mbh. Shanti parva 28(41)


Without travelling to a foreign land, one does not obtain glory, fame, knowledge of accomplishments or anything – Kathakosa

The self-respecting person finds his own worth that he is able, worthy and can attempt and know by journeying in alien lands.

-Vishnusharma, Panchatantra, Book 1.



Very interesting thing about travel is overseas  travel for Brahmins is banned by Manu Smrti and for women by the oldest Tamil book Tolkappiam.


So Brahmins and women should not go abroad (from India)




Is Pilgrimage Necessary? (Post No.3073)



Written by London swaminathan

Date: 19th August 2016

Time uploaded in London: 14-48

Post No.3073

Pilgrimage is considered an essential part of Hinduism. Other religions also have their own pilgrimage centres. Whatever religion you follow the pilgrimage will be useless if you don’t have purity of mind. I have given two stories in my earlier posts (please see the links below) to illustrate this point. The story of ‘Gangajal to a Donkey’ by Saint Eknatha and the ‘Story of taking Bitter gourds to pilgrimage centres’ by Tukaram are given in those posts.


Now let us look at two beautiful Sanskrit slokas/couplets which gives the same message:-

Kshamaa tiirtham tapastiirtham tiirtham indriyanihraha:

Sarvabutadayaatiirtham dhyaanam tiirthamanuttamam


Etaani panchatiirthaani sathyatiirtham sa sarvadam

Dehe tishtanti  sarvasya teshu snaanam samaasareeth


river green

There are six holy water sources which are the best of the bests.

They are the following sacred waters known as :–



Self -control

Kindness towards living beings


Truth /sathyam

Always take a dip in the five and one place that are already in you.


Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa also supports purity of mind when you do a Yatra/travel to a holy place (Please read the links)

Adi Sankara on Pilgrimage

The conviction of the truth is seen to proceed from reasoning upon the salutary counsel of the wise and not by bathing in the sacred waters, nor by gifts nor by a hundred

Pranayamas (breathing exercise).

He says in Vivekachudamani (verse 13),

Arthasya nischayo drushto vichaarena hitoktita:

Na snaanena wa daanena praanaayaamaas satena vaa


Appar alias Tirunavukkasar says in Tamil:-

What is the use of bathing in Ganga or Kaveri

What if bathing in cool Kanyakumari

Or bathing in the roaring sea waters

If you dont see God in everything

-Tevaram 5-99

tunga river

All the great saints agree in one point that pilgrimage is useful when you have purity of mind and maturity see god everywhere.

Please read:–

Bitter gourds and The Meaning of Pilgrimage!, Posted on Date: 6 November 2015

Gangajal (Ganges Water) for a Donkey!  posted on 13 March 2014

–Subham —


Bitter gourds and The Meaning of Pilgrimage!

12 jyotirlinga

Picture shows 12 Great Shiva Shrines around India.

Article Written by London swaminathan

Date: 6 November 2015

Post No:2306

Time uploaded in London :– 10-06   AM

(Thanks  for the pictures) 


There was a great saint named Tukaram. He was a votary of God’s name. Once people from his village decided to go on a long pilgrimage and they requested Tukaram also to follow them. Tukaram expressed his inability, but requested them to be kind enough to take with them to all the places they visited some bitter gourds that he would give them. He wished that the bitter gourds should be given a dip in all the holy waters where they took bath and also have them taken to all the temples they visited.

Not caring to know the significance of what the saint said, the villagers took the bitter gourds from him and carried all along the pilgrimage, obeying the instructions of the saint in regard to dipping them in the holy waters and taking them to the temples.

bitter gourd

In a few months, the party returned from the pilgrimage and handed the bitter gourds back to Tukaram. Tukaram was happy and invited all the members of the party to a feast next day to celebrate the successful completion of their pilgrimage. Tukaram made a special dish out of the bitter gourds which he had sent on the pilgrimage. They were served with various preparations and they started eating. When they tasted the gourd dish, they all remarked it was bitter and asked Tukaram why he served it. Tukaram, as if greatly surprised, asked them how it could be bitter when it was made out of the gourds that had gone on the pilgrimage. It was no doubt bitter when he handed them over to the pilgrims before the pilgrimage, but he wondered why it had not lost its bitterness in spite of pilgrimage. This was a great lesson to all the pilgrims.

There are so many who go on pilgrimage and return as bitter before. But if you go on a pilgrimage as urged by God within, and continuously remember Him all through the pilgrimage and see only purity and goodness of God everywhere, you will achieve purity. Such a pilgrimage will surely beneficial to you.

ashta vinayak

Picture shows Eight famous Ganesh shrines in Maharashtra.

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa on Pilgrimages

As cows, after eating their fill, lie down quietly at a place and chew the cud, so after visiting a sacred spot or a place of pilgrimage, you must take hold of the holy thoughts that arose in the mind while there, sit down in a solitary corner and think of them till you are immersed in them you must not devote yourself to the pursuit of the senses driving away the higher ideas from your mind immediately after you leave the holy places.


Travel in all the four quarters of the earth, yet you will find nothing (no true religion) anywhere. Whatever there is, is only here (i.e. in one’s own heart).


The milk of the cow in reality pervades the whole body of the animal through its blood, but you cannot milk it by squeezing the eras or the horns; you can get the milk only from the teats. Similarly God pervades the universe everywhere, but you cannot see Him everywhere. He manifests Himself more readily in sacred temples which are full of the spirit of devotion diffused by the lives and spiritual practices of the devotees of former times.