Sameth Shikarji – A religious pilgrimage made in India!

Is time, energy and effort more important than faith? Did I need to travel half way across the world to see where our timeless sages achieved “Nirvana” or were “Liberated” or was it just a heartfelt wish or both? So I asked these questions to myself because I was trying to help myself figure out the truth of this so very blessed journey. So I walked up a 9km mountain to a 4500 foot elevation to explore where 20 out of the 24 Jain Tirthankaras achieved moksha or nirvana. I’ll start out by saying that in Jainism these Tirthankaras are idolized as Gods who have went through several lives and difficulties who have cut out all there karmas to achieve that ultimate state of freedom from multiple cycles of life and death. After climbing up the mountain I started questioning myself and started thinking about what my Guru’s Guru said about how “God is everywhere” and thought that if I meditate and one day conquer all my attachments deeply enough then I too have the chance to achieve that state. Then I also thought deeper and felt that this is the case for any human that can feel, think and decipher wholeheartedly between right and wrong, along with gathering the capacity to conquer all of their attachments and any sort of hatred.

So when I started my hike I saw “ people carriers” where 4 men would pick you up in a fixed chair attached to two long and strong pieces of wood and would carry you up the mountain. They were paid by the amount of weight you are. I understand that there may be some elderly people that need a service like that. I also saw a motorcyclist who would take you up the hill around the other side of the mountain. So was it worth my time, energy and effort? Yes, going up the hill was worth it because I was able to see all the nature and beauty of this auspicious place. My faith was very important because it increased as I ventured upwards. Sometimes we need an experience that can elevate our faith and give us more hope. Time, energy and effort are related to faith because we need to be alive in some way during this time to have this deep reverence.

I also had an experience while going up and while I was at the peak. I walked approximately 25 kilometers that day. I was overly exhausted and my feet and legs were killing me. The relevant revelation that makes me write this post is because I realized that value of experience and also the value of time is essential. When I was hiking back down about 3 km from the base I took a motorcycle ride down the hill. Did this take away from my faith or my convictions about the almighty Lord. No, I just realized that along with spirituality you have to also be practical. Why should I spend more time than needed or why should I self inflict more pain in my body, I asked myself.

So the question about needing to travel half way around the world is yes, because if I didn’t come I wouldn’t have had all those experiences and revelations, it was a heartfelt wish. Yes, if I meditate and conquer my material attachments then I can achieve anything. I’m so grateful to the Lord for his grace to let me see the places of nirvana for these Jain Gods!

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