Mai ki bagiya
Narmada is the daughter of Siva. What happened was that Siva was dizzy after he drank the kaalakuuta visham (poison) after ksheera sagara mathanam. (Ksheera Sagara Mathanam (Location)) , or the churning of the ocean of milk. There are two places on the east coast where he fainted and Amba, our divine mother revived him.
He wanted a quite and beautiful place to recover and after searching, he found Amrakut, the mountain of mango trees. He sat there and meditated. A few of his drops of sweat fell to the ground and and turned into the Narmada River. The Narmada River is so pure that Ganga herself comes there once a year to cleanse herself. Over time Amrakut became known as Amarkut and then as Amarkanth and now as Amarkantak. It will eventually be known as Amardham.
When Narmada was a little girls she played in the garden with her friend Gulebakavali. Gulebakavali is a plant native to Amarkantak and has many medicinal values. Her play ground is called mai ki bagiya (daughter’s garden). You can see the Gulebakavali plant there. The gulebakavali flower is said to bloom in yakshaloka on full moon day and restore eyesight.
It is a beautiful and holy place. There is a priest trained in Vedic Hymns (upto Sastri) there as well as a Mouni baba who completed the narmada parikrama and has been only writing and not speaking for several years now. He will answer your questions if you pay him, but in this holy place I have neither questions nor prayers, just happiness.
Though people are bathing and washing clothes in the narmada, to my eyes the water looks polluted. To the locals, she looks perfect as only your own mother and daughter can, always at any age and any stage.
Narmada is the only river in India for which a parikrama is possible, they tell me. It takes over 3 years by walk and more than 2 weeks by bus (plus 17000 Rs). You start at Omkareswar and come back there. Had I known about this earlier maybe I would have done the parikrama. But I cannot walk that much yet and I cant be rushed. I need to pause and think where I go.. so perhaps what I did suited me best.
Narmada’s proposed marriage (Sonmudi)
When Narmada grew up, she was engaged to be married to the river Son, who is a male river and the son of Brahma. The river Sone starts at Sonmudi. Sone Bhadra Purusha finally never married Narmada. He married Joshila River. Narmada was upset initially but she remained a kanya, a maiden yet mother to all. (You can find a completely different story here. as given in the Skanda Puranam. According to this she married King Purukutsu who was Samudra Deva (the ocean) incarnate).
There is a devi pheetham there and a wonderful, lovely view point. There is a wonderful big hanuman holding a Siva lingam in his hand. There is a place connected to Sandilya and Brahma here. No one wanted to tell me the story. They wanted me to buy a Hindi book and I did not want to increase the weight of my baggage! Pretending of course that I could read it.
The monkeys there are trained to beg channa from you. Many kids were pleased to feed the monkeys.The hanuman langurs are beautiful monkeys with grey backs and black faces. One of them caught my leg and wanted stuff. I just raised up my empty hands and waited for it to let go.
As a rule I never look at monkeys in the eye. (When I was a kid, a horde of aggressive monkeys used to terrorise the neighbourhood in kaadu malleswaram. While we closed the doors and waited inside, they would open the taps, drink water, help themselves to coconuts or anything they found outside and push off in about half an hour. My sister could imitate their aggressive stances and sounds very well and could confuse my great grandmother who could not see very well).
Next Stop : Karna’s Sun Temple
Authorship and Copyright Notice : Satya Sarada Kandula : All Rights Reserved