Five Benefits To Visiting Pilgrimage Sites

[Radha-Krishna]“The eyes which do not look at the symbolic representations of the Personality of Godhead Vishnu [His forms, name, quality, etc.] are like those printed on the plumes of the peacock, and the legs which do not move to the holy places [where the Lord is remembered] are considered to be like tree trunks.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 2.3.22)

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बर्हायिते ते नयने नराणां
लिङ्गानि विष्णोर्न निरीक्षतो ये ।
पादौ नृणां तौ द्रुमजन्मभाजौ
क्षेत्राणि नानुव्रजतो हरेर्यौ ॥

barhāyite te nayane narāṇāṁ
liṅgāni viṣṇor na nirīkṣato ye
pādau nṛṇāṁ tau druma-janma-bhājau
kṣetrāṇi nānuvrajato harer yau

1. Association with saintly people

The Sanskrit word is tirtha. This refers to a sacred place, an area which becomes a pilgrimage site. Sort of like that famous amusement park or that popular tourist destination, the tirtha has significance extending beyond the moment.

For this reason, saintly people tend to congregate there. You will not merely meet other tourists. The sadhus live in these places because they feel protected. They feel sheltered by a different kind of energy.

महात्मानस् तु मां पार्थ
दैवीं प्रकृतिम् आश्रिताः
भजन्त्य् अनन्य-मनसो
ज्ञात्वा भूतादिम् अव्ययम्

mahātmānas tu māṁ pārtha
daivīṁ prakṛtim āśritāḥ
bhajanty ananya-manaso
jñātvā bhūtādim avyayam

“O son of Pritha, those who are not deluded, the great souls, are under the protection of the divine nature. They are fully engaged in devotional service because they know Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, original and inexhaustible.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.13)

The bestselling authors go on a book tour. At a scheduled appearance at a library or bookstore, patrons can have a direct meeting. They can get further insight into the mind of the person who published words of interest.

The saintly people at pilgrimage sites have insights into the beyond. They have the ability to both bless the people approaching them and give knowledge that can transform life into something much more meaningful. After all, the main distinction with the human life is that there is the potential to identify the meaning to an existence. The animals do not have such facility.

2. Association with Vishnu

Tirthas are not chosen at random. They have historical significance based on association with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One of His names is Vishnu, which specifically refers to the personal side of the Absolute.

The entire world belongs to Vishnu. He is the source of both the material and spiritual. Nothing is separate from Him. Nothing has an independent identity, in the true sense. Everything is dependent upon Him.

The sacred places are generally those having a connection to Vishnu in the personal form. He descends from time to time. Since He comes from the spiritual world, these appearances are known as avataras.

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has declared that just as God is worshipable, so is His land. A place like Vrindavana is sacred because Vishnu as Krishna roamed the area and did many wonderful things. To be in Vrindavana is to remember Krishna, and to remember Krishna is to associate with Him.

3. The passing of transcendental knowledge

[Krishna-lila]Saintly people and devotees have knowledge to share with others. In the sacred place, it is easier to remember Vishnu and the many wonderful things He has done. Since He is God, His activities are glorious. It is blissful to remember glorious activities, especially those relating to someone who is an ocean of mercy, karuna-sindhu.

“The word urukrama means ‘the one whose activities are glorious.’ Krama means ‘step.’ This word urukrama specifically indicates the Lord’s incarnation as Vamana, who covered the whole universe by immeasurable steps. Lord Vishnu is powerful, and His activities are so glorious that He has created the spiritual world by His internal potency and the material world by His external potency.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.7.10 Purport)

4. Setting a good example

There is the tendency to follow what a respected person does. Especially if they are considered an authority figure, their actions essentially set the standard for proper behavior and what others might strive for.

यद्यदाचरति श्रेष्ठस्तत्तदेवेतरो जनः ।
स यत्प्रमाणं कुरुते लोकस्तदनुवर्तते ॥

yad yad ācarati śreṣṭhas
tat tad evetaro janaḥ
sa yat pramāṇaṁ kurute
lokas tad anuvartate

“Whatever action is performed by a great man, common men follow in his footsteps. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 3.21)

By visiting sacred places, others might learn about them. If they were not aware before, they come to learn of the significance based on the example set by the leader. This sets in motion the chain reaction of association with saintly people, remembrance of Vishnu, a valuable use of time, and so forth.

5. Proper use of the legs

The more a person advances in their understanding of the Supreme Lord and the role of the living beings, the more they tend to appreciate the various gifts of nature. They are thankful to have eyes and ears, for instance, as this allows for connecting with God through sight and sound.

At the same time, if they see others wasting such gifts of nature, in staying disconnected from spiritual life, they consider it to be a shame. Shrimad Bhagavatam has the verse comparing legs to tree trunks. This is if the legs are not used to travel to sacred places.

[Radha-Krishna]The comparison might seem a little extreme, but there is love at the foundation. Devotees are so thankful for the opportunity they have to practice devotion, to be connected with the all-attractive one, that they consider any other kind of standard of living to be useless.

In Closing:

In this valuable form to find,
Then why to waste time?

Legs given to me,
For deity to see.

In that sacred place to go,
Where sadhus and shastra to know.

The most of this chance I’ll get,
And a proper example set.

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1 reply

  1. Radhe Radhe ❣️ oshriRadhekrishnaBole ❣️ Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare
    Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

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