In January 1968 I began my second tour to Assam and on the 19th of that month reached Gauhati via Delhi, Lucknow and Siliguri. I had been invited there by the store owner, Seth Sri Banwari Lalji. Upon my arrival I discovered he had been called away on an urgent visit. So, leaving my luggage at his store in Radha Bazaar, I went to the famous temple of Kamakshya Devi together with a Pandit from Kashi.
I was very sorry to learn that animal sacrifices were offered there and I sent a prayer to Mahaprabhuji to grant the followers of the goddess the understanding that the Devi is a Holy Mother and never is it a mother's will that her children kill on her behalf. I didn't enter the temple and instead went back to the city without having visited Kamakshya Devi.
About one o'clock that afternoon I returned to the store and was respectfully welcomed by the manager, whom Sethji had informed of my visit. A satsang was arranged for the evening, but it had to be postponed because I was unexpectedly called to Tejpur. Leaving my luggage in the store, I embarked immediately.
A week later I travelled on to Naugaon, where I received a message about a fire in the Radha Bazaar. Apparently most of the stores had been burnt in the flames. I was very concerned about my luggage as inside was the manuscript for this book! In the belief that my life's work was destroyed, I was unable to sleep all night.
At four o'clock the next morning, I was engrossed in meditation when I heard Mahaprabhuji's gentle voice. "Madhavananda, have you lost all faith? Don't worry! How could I allow your luggage to be destroyed in the fire. It was only because of your luggage being in Sethji's store that it was spared from the flames."
From Naugaon I travelled to Calcutta via Gauhati and visited many villages, among them Chandrapur in Maharastra, Nagpur and Bhopal before returning to Delhi. In Delhi I had a long and friendly conversation with Sri Morarji Desai, who later became Prime Minister of India.
From Delhi I journeyed to Nipal and after a short stay in the ashram there, visited the ashram in Ahmedabad and travelled on to Baroda Poona. Mangilalji Garg accompanied me on this journey. Today Mangilalji is known as Paramhansa Yogiraj Sri Swami Maheshwarananda, who is my faithful disciple, devoted to Mahaprabhuji with all his heart.
In Poona we stayed with one of Mahaprabhuji's disciples called Pandit Sri Shankar Lalji. Later we visited Rameshwaram and Shringeri Math, the residences of JagatGuru Adi Shankaracharya, head of the Shringeri order. I had an amicable meeting there with the later Shankaracharya and he gave me a rudraksh mala and some books. In return I gave him some of my own writings.
From there we went back to Bangalore via Shimoga. We also travelled to Kanya Kumari, where we saw the memorial to Sri Swami Vivekananda. After Madurai we finally reached Bombay and from there returned once again to Nipal Ashram in Rajasthan.
Rudraksh pearls are seeds with a special healing and blessing power that come from a particular shrub that grows in the Himalayas. Because of this power, they are used to make malas for meditation.
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