This September, once again, we are going on a spiritual journey to the Himalayas, to the Holy Land of Gaumukh. Gaumukh is the origin of India's ancient venerated holy river, the river Ganges. It is technically the end of the glacier where the Ganges originates.  

Why is it important for yogis who otherwise spend time seated in their asanas to go for a thrill-seeking adventure into the Himalayas? Are not yogis supposed to find stillness in one place, find stillness in their bodies, in their minds, and in their breath? Is there not enough discovery waiting to happen on the mat, on the seat? Then why take this journey from being still to finding spiritual thrill? And why take this journey with a Guru? 

These spiritual places are places which reverberate with spiritual vibrations created since time without beginning. Innumerable yogis have meditated here and experienced the unexplored frontiers of humankind, of the human mind, and of the human consciousness, so much so that they have come in direct contact with our Creator, the Param Brahma. Through this, they have directly realized the highest purpose of life. And when a place becomes witness to these experiences, to this illumination, it starts resonating with high spiritual vibrations. 

Added to that is the geographical location of the Himalayas. By many accounts, the Himalayas are portals to divine ojas. When you go to these places that are so charged with energy, and you go with the right intent and meditate, you can connect with the spiritual field much more easily. Your spiritual journey receives a boost.  

However, going to such places as a tourist is very different from visiting as a spiritual seeker. If you travel just as a tourist, it can be comparable to you having a TV at home. The TV is receiving transmission of different kinds, different channels. All channels are accessible to a TV, but based on what numbers you press on your remote, you get the transmission of the channel you have selected and not the others. Similarly, if you go as a tourist, you miss the point. You are not able to connect with those spiritual energies.  

I have personally witnessed people who come to these holy places with the intention of finding something, anything that will help them transcend. They visit with the expectation that they will find stillness and that when they leave, they will take back with them an experience of spiritual elevation. While there is an expectation, there is a lack of reverence, of a sense of connection. The trip becomes a project where they go, touch this place, and come back with nothing much. Such journeys, because the intent is not clearly established, do not create pure results.   

It is pretty logical. And yes, there are hundreds and thousands of people who visit these places, but because their inner antenna is not searching for the right signal, they come back from these highly energized states, highly energized places, not fully spiritualized. On the contrary, when you go with a Guru, the elevated awareness of the Guru acts as a transformer that connects you to the higher power. The Guru transforms the abstract energies of these places and brings them to you with more purity and more intensity. As a result, the entire experience of your journey is maximized for your spiritual benefit. That is the role of the Guru. 

Added to that, when you are traveling with a Guru, with a realized Guru, somebody with a high awareness, you have also karmically made a decision that, “Hey, I have come to the spiritual place with an intent to further my spiritual journey. Yes, I will enjoy the beauty of nature. Yes, I will enjoy the healthy cuisine. Yes, I will enjoy the walks on the physical level. But what I am truly here for is that spiritual connection.” And this awareness is what transforms the seeker from the ordinary to the extraordinary.   

Therefore, the benefit of going on a spiritual pilgrimage with the Guru is that your spiritual connection becomes much more strengthened. It becomes stronger. Your spiritual evolution, spiritual transformation, gain speed through the intervention of the Guru. The Guru does this by harnessing the energies and the presence of much higher elevated beings. The Guru enters the evolved spiritual field, taps into it, and brings its energy to you by acting as a transformer. The Guru takes the immense power of these spiritual places and transforms it for your specific needs. 

On these retreats, even if you do not have a one-on-one with your Guru, even if you get limited time to meditate, the transmission continues. And for this to happen, all that is needed is the presence of a progressed Guru and a deserving initiate. Just that company is enough because it creates this beautiful circuit of spiritual transmission. This is coming from none other than the Source, from the Holy Absolute, from the ascended Gurus, from the venerated yogis of the Himalayas, through your Guru, and then directly to you.  

And it is not that only you benefit. This transmission creates a strong sphere of energy, a strong sphere of spiritual evolution that benefits everybody in the group. So, the meta point here is that when we go to these spiritual places, our intent matters, our bhaav matters, our Sankalpa matters. It also matters what hardships you have gone through to be in these places. These could be finding time in your schedule, finding the right financial resources, working on yourself to make yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually fit to go to these places as some of these pilgrimages are in high altitude areas which are not easily accessible, or something else.    

And not to miss, what also matters is the agency of the Guru who is constantly working for you, who is tapping into the Divine Grace, and who is untiringly sharing the insights that come spontaneously in these high energy places with you.  

So, the next time you get an opportunity to take a spiritual journey with your Guru, use the experience, leverage the experience, and see where it takes you.