Purpose of a Pilgrimage

“He (Swami Rama) explained that to grasp the true intent of a scripture it must be read three times: first you read it before going on the pilgrimage; then you read it at the pilgrimage sites; and finally you read it as a means of teaching others and sharing your experiences. He said that if we go on a pilgrimage without knowing the significance of the holy site we visit, we will come back as ignorant as before.” (pg 214, At The Eleventh Hour by Pandit Rajmani Tigunait.)


Swami Sivananda: “Even during the course of all your travels, kindly keep up the Bhava and let the Nama-repetition roll with the rolling wheels of the train or car. This is an effective Sadhana for travel.” (pg. 52, Revelation)

Swami Sivananda: “Have a programme. Stick to it so long as you are at your place. When you are on tour, increase Japa Sadhana and Mauna Sadhana.” (pg.126, Revelation)

Swami Sivananda: “This place is full of the holiest spiritual vibrations. This Ashram, the Divine Life Society’s headquarters, will provide the best field for doing selfless service, and for developing the sterling virtues of adaptability, humility, love and devotion. You will surely be immensely benefitedby your stay here.” (pg. 173, Revelation)

Paramahansa Yogananda: “There is great value in visiting places where saints have lived… Such places are forever permeated with the vibrations left there by the divine souls who walked those grounds. Their vibrations will remain until this earth is dissolved. Where souls have communed with God, there you will find greater communion and response from God. Often such pilgrimages completely change one’s life for the better.” (pg. 1, Self-Realisation Fellowship Visitor’s Directory)

“Oh, how glorious are they whose tongues are chanting Your holy name! Even if born in the families of dog-eaters, such persons are worshipable. Persons who chant the holy name of Your Lordship must have executed all kinds of austerities and fire sacrifices and achieved all the good manners of the Āryans. To be chanting the holy name of Your Lordship, they must have bathed at holy places of pilgrimage, studied the Vedas and fulfilled everything required. Srimad Bhagavatam 3:33:7 

“The purpose of pilgrimage is purification,” said Swamiji (Vishnu Devananda), sitting at his favourite place on the left side of the little entrance to his cave “Sivananda Guha” facing the noisy and tumultuous Ganges and the gigantic rocky mountains.

“Purification. Letting go our IDEAS, attachments, all these little worms and insects of our thoughts that are eating us alive, day and night. Letting go and finding peace. Breathe in this wonderful, magic energy that invigorates and makes one feel and taste each and every moment as unique and eternal. (pg. 116, The Yogi)

Gita 10:31 “…among the streams I am the Ganga.”


Swami Sivananda: “Ganga is the form of Vishnu. Her sight is soul-stirring and elevating. She flows in the valleys and lives by the side of Parvati, daughter of Himavan. How magnificent She is when She flows in the valley of Rishikesh!….To have a look at the Ganga in Rishikesh, is soul-elevating. To sit for a few minutes on a block of stone by the side of the Ganga, is a blessing. To stay for some months in Rishikesh on the bank of the Ganga and do Anushthana or Purascharana, is great Tapas which will take the aspirant to the abode of Lord Hari. To live forever on the banks of the Ganga and spend the life in meditation is Sivanandam.” (pgs. 97-98, Lord Siva and His Worship)
“One will have all sins washed away with one dip in Mother Ganges… is the common belief.” (pg. 116, The Yogi)

“You must have very good karma to be able to come here from that far, to have this dip in the Ganges,” Swamiji (Vishnu Devananda) said. So many people dream to do so and they cannot come, even those who live in India. What else do you want?” (pg. 116, The Yogi).

“Being in the vibrations of saints and sages. Walking on their footsteps. Being in their presence. One feels so tiny and insignificant visiting these holy places, these holy temples!” (pgs. 116-117, The Yogi)

Swami Sivananda: “Most of the persons renounce their homes in search of PEACE and some serene atmosphere… They go to places like Rishikesh and Uttarajashi. But do they find? The same world WHEREVER they go. WHY? It is because they CARRY their SAME mind ALONG with them. The mind is saturated with all sorts of impurities…,” (pg. 326, Sadhana)

Swami Sivananda: “Besides coming here occasionally, kindly try to create a Divine Life atmosphere in YOUR own home. Sing the Lord’s Name, do Japa, practise meditation and THERE Rishikesh IS established!” (pg. 194, Revelation) 

Swami Sivananda: “…do mental Japa all along the journey, never waste even a minute. Read Gita, sing His Name… journey is a Divine chance for [people who are otherwise always engaged.” (pg. 150, Revelation)

Swami Sivananda: “Combine Bhakti, Karma and Jnana with Yoga. Sing the Lord’s Name for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening. Then, the house itself will become Vaikunta.” (pg. 202, Revelation)


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