Sri Badrikasrama

Since I featured one of the 8 svayam vyakta kshetras, Sri Ranga Kshetra last week, I thought it would be nice to post successively on the remaining 7 sacred sites, especially since some are not so well know among devotee circles.

The Himalayas surrounding Sri Badrikasrama

This post is about the famed pilgrimage spot- Sri Badrikasrama. This place was a pilgrimage spot since ancient times, and was revered as the abode of the twin sages Sri Nara, and Sri Narayana who were incarnations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. These incarnations are still present in Sri Badrikasrama, meditating for the welfare of all living entities. The story of Their appearance as well as the Lord’s pastime of bewildering Cupid are intriguing, and add to the sanctity of this place, tucked away in the Himalayas

Sri Uddhava replied, “My dear Vidura, now I am mad for want of the pleasure of seeing Him, and just to mitigate this I am now proceeding to Badarikasrama in the Himalayas for association, as I have been instructed by Him. There in Badarikasrama the Personality of Godhead, in His incarnation as the sages Nara and Narayana, has been undergoing great penance since time immemorial for the welfare of all amiable living entities.” SB 3.4.21-22.

Sri Badrinatha Temple, Sri Badrikasrama

Srila Prabhupada’s purport mentions, “Badarikasrama in the Himalayas, the abode of the Nara-Narayana sages, is a great place of pilgrimage for the Hindus. Even up to the present, hundreds and thousands of pious Hindus go to pay respects to the incarnation of Godhead Nara-Narayana. It appears that even five thousand years ago this holy place was being visited by such a holy being as Uddhava, and even at that time the place was known to be very, very old. This particular pilgrimage site is very difficult to visit for ordinary men because of its difficult situation in the Himalayas in a place which is covered by ice almost all year.”

The Supreme Lord gives darshan as Sri Badrinarayana, or Badri Vishal in the main shrine of the temple. The deity is a 2ft tall black salagram shila, seated in the padmasana (lotus) posture, with upper two arms holding the conch and discus. The deity was said to have been recovered from Narada kund (nearby) by Sripad Adi Sankaracharya when he visited the place on pilgrimage. Sripad Ramanujacharya is also said to have visited this shrine, and Sripad Madvacharya visited this sacred place twice.

Beside Lord Badri Vishal, Lords Nara and Naryana rishis, Uddhava, Garuda, Kubera, and Ganesha also give darshan in the main sanctum itself. The most auspicious darshan of the Lord is the first darshan in the morning- nirmalya darshan. Following this, the Lord is bathed, and decorated with flowers and tulasi garlands until He is barely visible. The puja is conducted by Naboodri pujaris from the south Indian state of Kerala.

Sri Badriasrama Temple, on the day it re-opens

The temple of Lord Badri Vishal remains closed for the portion of the year when the weather is most severe. The priests conduct the worship at Joshirmath, about 50kms south during this period. The last worship is offered to the Lord, and the shrine is closed with the ghee lamps lit. After 6 months, the shrine is re-opened, and the beautiful Lord gives darshan to all, with the shrine’s ghee lamps still lit. During the time when the shrine remains closed to humans, it is believed that Sri Narada, and the other celestials continue the Lord’s worship.

In the Srimad Bhagavatham 11th Canto, Chapter 4, the ashamed demi-gods offered their sincere prayers to Sri Nara-Narayana, the best of all sages, situated at Sri Badrikasrama, as follows:

The demigods place many obstacles on the path of those who worship You to transcend the temporary abodes of the demigods and reach Your supreme abode. Those who offer the demigods their assigned shares in sacrificial performances encounter no such obstacles. But because You are the direct protector of Your devotee, he is able to step over the head of whatever obstacle the demigods place before him.”

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Sri Badrikasrama

  1. Awe-SUM. I just read SB 3.4.21 this morning, but you left out my favorite part of the purport: “A few months during the summer season people can visit this place at great personal inconvenience.”

    Will your upcoming posts shed some light on this bit:
    “There are four dhamas, or kingdoms of God, which represent the planets of the spiritual sky, which consists of the brahmajyoti and the Vaikunthas. These are Badarikasrama, Ramesvara, Jagannatha Puri and Dvaraka.”(?)

  2. DustOfGopisLFeet

    Dear SriRanganatha Krishna, I could not agree any more with the previous commentator Acyuta Dasa and I quote (re: ” few months during the summer season people can visit this place at great personal inconvenience”). I do however want to mention that the trip is worth every bit of that personal inconvenience since even climbing with the help of a mule or a pony is still quite arduous since these sweet weight bearing animals tend to veer off the safe path right towards the most perilous, ….and if not for the watchful eyes of the guide/gurkha , they will most certainly and amazingly venture head-along into the path of no return…i.e. towards the steep cliffs and precipices.

    Also it is quite true the path to these Himalayan Pilgrim spots and usually the pilgrims undertake their trip with the buses first going to Kedarnath (the abode of Lord Shiva…another Swayambhavu manifestation within the Kedarnath Shrine , as a matter of paying respect to the greatest of Vaishanavas, Lord Shiva who is blemishless & is known to embody a very mellow soft heart since Lord Shiva is constantly meditating upon the Greatness& Glories of Lord Narayana Himself.), and then to BadriNath. It is common to find out that some bus had gone off the cliff taking with it many pilgrims….it is a constant reminder of how fragile & really dangerous these pilgrimages could be. Landslides are common due to mans erosion and the rogue bus drivers are still a very much a never ending reality in those dangerous, really nerve racking bends, curves and narrow winding roads which are not paved that well, beseiged with landslides during the travel months.
    I am talking
    Also, I have but to add from my own cherished memories of visiting this two places (Kedarnath &
    Badrinath…that the sights are incredible & second to none) in 1981 with my then 10 year old sister who was the bravest of all, who always claimed that She had “Willpower” when asked if she would rather have the Pony ride or will she walk…..the answer was always the Same, “Appa I have WILLPOWER”…..the WILL can also be taken for the bow, which is our determination, taking us the arrow to the Direction of the Lord, the arrow of our Mind/WillPower……so my little sister Sharmila really was an inspiration at that young age. The comfort foods around that time usually was hot mountain chai and hot hot (steaming hot Potato Bhajjis).. The Pahadi or Mountain food was really unique, unlike anything which is found south of RishiKesh.
    The hot springs just a little below the Badrinath temple is very famous, with the pilgrims, Sadhu& the very mischievous primates/ monkeys all keeping company simultaneously in the Hot Springs during all times, whether it is bitter cold 2.00AM or 11:00AM Even during the months of May/June/ July the nights & even days are bitter cold/damp due to the cloud cover and moisture. I also cannot forget to add, that when the pilgrim reaches the plateau of Kedarnath, it gets flattened with real sweet green grass like a lush lawn from one side of the vast area, with gentle brooks suddenly appearing right amidst that velvet garden of green, in a pure blue-white, gurgling, cheerful, sparkling, twinkling, blissful streams with big Boulder size pebbles for the pilgrims to sometimes step on. Then the fog/mist somehow romances the pilgrim as though drenching them with God’s Welcome Teertham of the Holy Waters, gently on the travellers face and being. That amazing sight itself feels like one has ascended to God’s Realm and is WORTH ALL INCONVENIENCE. It is a MUST SEE/TRAVEL MUST for all lovers of scenary, Lord Krishna/Lord Shiva/Excursions/trekking etc.
    Jai Sri Krishna

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