The eastern horizon was slowly taking the crimson hue. We set out to scale the the imposing Mount Parthi whose blue silhouette was faintly visible in the first rays of dawn. After a brisk walk of 20 minutes on a bridle path, we took a detour and measured the crests and troughs of two small hillocks on foot and reached the base of this hill which fills the panorama of Puttaparthi. Right from my first trip to Puttaparthi this hill has held my fancy. Its imposing presence fills every aspect of life in Parthi. I have witnessed its myriad hues from blue in the morning, to green in the day, to brown sun kissed in the afternoon to a faint outline in a starfilled night. It has been a silent witness of every little prank of the avatar right from His birth. Climbing such a hallowed peak was exciting.
Imposing backdrop of Puttaparthi
A shepherd called out, "Have you set out on something?" I looked at the hill and pointed at the summit. He added, " Don't take it head on, you will get stuck after hitting the gigantic boulders in its bosom. Take a sideways path and you will able to scale it." He was imparting a good lesson, "Never take head on with a man of a mighty ego, but take him sideways to win over him.
As we set out, we found a dried stream and tenaciously followed its course. We found many Malingas on the way. Yes, you heard it right- Many Malingas!!! a nickname for the countless lemon grass bushes which we encountered on the way. With a golden hue they all looked like the queer hair style of Lasith Malinga. Aditya, an enthusiastic trekker said with a twinkle in his eyes, "Be careful, don't take their support to climb, they are very deceptive like Malinga's toe breaking yorkers." The dry foliage was unusually thicker near the dried up stream, as if the countless trees were waiting for the stream to come back to life to quench their thirst. We followed a path little away from the obscure boundaries of the stream to avoid getting stuck in the dry foliage. One enthusiastic member said, "Let us reach the ridge from the side, then it is going to be easy to scale this peak." All nodded in agreement. Countless dry leaves were strewn on the path making a crackling sound when we tread on them. One enthusiastic climber commented rather gleefully, "So many potato chips, but can't eat even one of them."
We encountered many boulders on our way as if countless sages were lost in mediation for ages. A jungle lizard was the only denizen who came out to enjoy the fresh morning air. It noticed us and turned into a stone as we walked past bushes. All others especially of the slithering type, perhaps to our relief, were still in deep slumber. We negotiated the steep climb on twos, at some point on all fours and also slid past few rock cut tunnels and dry foliages.
Swami's photo on the top seemed to await us
View of Puttaparthi from hill top
After a long and arduous trek of around an hour, we noticed a few trees dancing to the tune of the fresh morning breeze. One of the members of this trekking group said, "We have reached the ridge,the trees here are getting swayed to the wind coming from the other side." It was a long serpentine ridge embellished by some sporadic rocks and tall cacti. We continued over trek upwards for another half an hour clearing many rocky obstacles and avoiding the thorny bushes and reached the top where a beautiful photo of Swami was awaiting our arrival. Puttaparthy seemed like a tiny dot from that altitude.We were at a point where they say the heavens and the earth meet. Above us was a vast expanse of blue sky with few clouds floating like cotton wool and below us was a brown blanket with many small and big sized folds and occasional random designs of green and white. The colossal edifice of the temple of healing with its majestic central dome was visible as a speck far away in the horizon. We heard a faint honk of a horn and located a miniscule bus tenaciously following the zigzag road.
|Heavens above and earth below|
Our insignificance in this vastness of the creation struck me. We get entangled in the petty likes, dislikes, opinions, dogmas created by our parochial thinking and completely forget the grandeur and infinitude of our heavenly father.