Thoughts To Consider Regarding
a Pilgrimage to India
From Brenda Roberts, Quiet Heart Pilgrimages to India!
If you are thinking about going on a pilgrimage to India, you're probably finding it an exciting …and somewhat daunting prospect!
There are several devotees and travel agencies who offer pilgrimages to India, and we each do it a little differently as regarding group size, itinerary, timing and organizational style. The cost may appear different, but it is about the same; all factors considered. The trick is to know what factors to consider!
While there are many personal factors to consider, being clear about each of the following points will give you very important foundational information upon which to make an appropriate decision for your needs, desires, and capabilities.
According to your karma and receptivity, whichever pilgrimage you choose will surely ultimately be the right one for the blessings and lessons Guruji wants to give you at this time in your life. But, like all else on the Journey to Self-Realization, to get in tune with a Guru-guided intuitive and common sense determination, it is necessary for us to do our part. As a veteran of over 40 pilgrimages to India, here is what I would recommend:
· Don’t go alone the first time (and if you are a women don’t go alone, ever, unless and sometimes even if you have family there.) The structure of a well-organized group can give you more safety … and freedom to be inside and take a closer walk with the Divine Beloved of your soul. Note: the ashrams often will not take one lady by herself.
· Consider if you prefer to travel with the dynamics of a large group, the intimacy of a small group, or travel solo in the care of a personal guide.
· Do you prefer to be with a mixed or same gender/age group?
· Be aware of what your desires are for your pilgrimage: do you want to focus strictly on those places related with our line of Guruji’s? Do you want a broader experience of India and it’s historic attributes? Do you want to camp, hike, raft, and trek?
· Do you want luxury or midrange accommodations and transport? Or do you want the greatest economy possible and don’t mind the reduced comfort and sanitation that inevitably accompanies doing India as cheaply as possible?
· Pay attention to cost: find out what exactly is included and what is not included in the pilgrimage tour you are considering. Ask what, if any, extra charges you might encounter during the trip.
· Communicate with the leaders and ask as many questions as you have. Then pay attention to how you resonate with what you hear. Your trip will be intense, so it is important to feel good with your choice of Pilgrimage Leader and with the details of the pilgrimage they offer.
· Pay attention to what kind of response, support, and preparation detail is available to you.
· Know that India is different. The standards and cultural behaviors are different than Western standards and cultures. A good guide will have intimate and extensive knowledge, understanding, and experience of both cultures; knowing what the differences are and knowing how to gracefully, comfortably, respectfully appreciate, navigate, and harmonize these differences.
· Get referrals and talk with them if you can. Be prepared that almost everyone who goes on pilgrimage to India has an experience of a lifetime and they will be enthusiastic about their experience … as will you. (The few I have heard from who did not have a pleasant time were either not well-prepared ahead of time or the itinerary was not well organized or the group was overly large.) As you listen to the experiences of others you will hear things that may have personal significance for you. These are the things that will be clues for you to consider and compare.
· Pray for guidance. This is your guarantee for attunement and the perfect pilgrimage for you. Bring Guruji into your decision-making process.
· Once your decision is made, practice surrender. We westerners are generally control freaks, but any trip to India demands that you are flexible, and in the moment; it is the nature of the country. The more you can let go and let God, the more you will be able to absorb of the spiritual essence of your pilgrimage.
· After you have done your part to get all the information, used your common sense, and have listened for the intuitive feeling of Guruji’s guidance, then is the time to trust that you asked for and received guidance for the right group for you; when you can get to that inner knowing, then let the leader you have chosen take care of the details while you take the hand of Guruji.
· It is very helpful to remember that wherever you go, whatever you do on pilgrimage, an insight and perception of the Divine Presence is only a thought away.
· The joy of pilgrimage begins when you make the decision to do it! Enjoy the planning and preparation process; the thinking and dreaming, the surrender and trust that Guruji is giving you this great gift. Pilgrimage to India is a soul-etching, life-changing experience; it starts before you leave and continues to “cook” after you have returned home. Enjoy and savor every part of it!
Hope this helps - Jai Guruji! Jai Ma!
With you in Their Perfect Care,
Semi-private pilgrimages to India twice yearly, exclusively for SRF/YSS Kriyaban
disciples of Paramahansa Yoganandaji. Group size: 4 devotees only.
© Brenda Roberts 2021