Mountains have always been a source of mystery and wonder for me. During my childhood, my visits to the mountains endeared me to the climate and the peace of the hills.
I often questioned myself as to why mountains are associated with spirituality. A recent visit to the Vaishno Devi shrine gave me the answer.
We had gone to the mountains burdened with worries and concerns. But as the car climbed up the circuitous route to Katra and Vaishno Devi, it became cooler and the verdant green mountain with the shrine of the Mata began to beckon us. I felt rejuvenated and forgot my sickness because of the sacred aura of the shrine, its sublimity and etherealness everywhere. I felt attracted to read about Mata Vaishno Devi and her whereabouts. What I learnt about her was that she was actually a girl who had a mind inclined towards God since childhood. She had set her heart and soul on marrying Sri Ram who met her when she was deep in meditation. When she told this to Ram, he said that he was already married, but if she managed to recognise him in disguise, he would surely marry her.
She was unable to recognise him but Ram did not disappoint her and promised to marry her in a future life.
What, however, left an indelible impression on my mind was her deep and boundless love for Ram. What else is enlightenment but the realisation of love at the highest level?
The aura and tranquility of love was apparent in people who came from far and near to visit the shrine.
The long winding route around the steep mountain did not tire them or deter them.