The Mystique of ‘M’
Without much ado and without making anyone the wiser, M slipped out of the Centre. He took a train to Hardwar and Rishikesh. He felt that he was the prodigal returning home.
At Rishikesh, he decided to stay in the Divine Life Society, founded by the doctor-turned-saint, Swami Sivananda. It is an ideal place for a sadhak. It is situated on the banks of the Ganga. Yoga and Vedanta are taught in the ashram, the senior swamis are mostly helpful; and when one has time one can wander around and meet sadhus and seekers of all sects.
That pilgrim season found M again on the road to Badrinath, sometimes following the common pilgrim routes, at others discovering his own path through forests, staying at roadside dharmashalas and choultries and many a time in forest hermitages beside a river. After many days he reached Badrinath. He managed to commandeer the shelter of a choultry to give the much needed rest to his tired limbs. When he tried to sleep, he found that his single blanket was insufficient to fend off the cold, but he did not seek help. The travails of the previous journey had weathered him. Moreover, who would be bothered with anything when the fire of spirituality had burned away all desires and weaknesses that flesh was heir to? He slept.