25/10/2011 Pilgrim Rituals

During the austerities many pilgrims often do not stay at home, but prefer to stay in a hall adjacent to a temple or in special prayer halls called Bhajana-madom’s built for the purpose of group worship, singing devotional songs and so on. His food is called Bhaksha-alms. He should not entertain any worldly distinction of caste, creed, religion or occupation. For the time being, he becomes a recluse for all practical purposes. Although he is in the midst of society, he leads a very different pattern of life, relaxed and transcendental, his mind mostly occupied with the thoughts of the Supreme Truth. He is like a Yogi who lives in a solitary cave in the mountain fastness. During this period the pilgrim usually wears blue or black clothes with a shawl of the same color over his shoulders. If he is working in an office, he wears the dress of a Swami after office hours. It is almost a total break from the ordinary pattern of life and this special discipline for a certain period reinforces him physically, mentally and spiritually. Some modern psychologists are of the opinion that the suppression of the sexual instinct is not advisable. According to the Yogic approach the withdrawal from indulgence in sense pleasures with the aim and effort for a spiritual breakthrough results in a healthy sublimation of sexual energy, and thus reinforces the body , mind and spirit. The pilgrims is thus availing himself an opportunity for an all-round recharging. Many pilgrims, after returning from the pilgrimage, long eagerly for the next chance

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