Badrikashram - Inner Steadiness

The Pandavas just entered that space in the Himalayas known as Gandhamadana. As they entered the area, a terrible storm started brewing. Very fast and dangerous winds started blowing and created a storm of dust and rubble. The dust, along with leaves, covered the air around the sky making it was impossible to see anything. The group could not see or talk to each other. The wind was uprooting one tree after another and each of the Pandavas, along with members of the group, took shelter in different places. Bhima protected Draupadi.

After some time, the winds started calming and it started raining pellets of ice, accompanied by thunder and lightning, making a deafening roar. The water in the rivers started rising and taking the uprooted trees with them, small streams turned into over-flowing rivers. Then, all of a sudden, everything became silent again and the Pandavas continued their journey through Gandhamadana, hoping to reach Badrikashram before dusk.

After a while, Draupadi sat down totally exhausted and then she fainted. All the four brothers ran to help her. Nakula and Sahdeva began rubbing her feet and the others tried to wake her up. Bhima went to Yudhisthira and said to him, “Even though I am capable of carrying all of you let me call my son, Ghatotkacha. He is a rakshasa and can move at very great speed, he has great strength and will be able to carry everyone.” Yudhisthira agreed and so Bhima meditated upon his son who appeared immediately in front of them, with folded hands. Ghatotkacha immediately lifted Yudhisthira, Nakula, Sahdeva and Draupadi. He called some more of his rakshasa followers who lifted the other rishis and Brahmins alongside.

The group then moved very fast through the mountains and forests, which were filled with wonderful sights and different animals. They saw the mountain called Kailasa in the distance and also passed the ashram of the two ancient rishis, Nara and Narayan, who had been reborn as Arjuna and Krishna. Then in the distance they saw a Badri tree (Ber or jujube). It was huge with its branches spread out in all directions and was filled with divine fruit.

The group alighted from the shoulders of the rakshasas and saw the wonderful ashram named after the mighty tree. It was filled with light and still untouched by the rays of the sun. Just at the sight of it all hunger, all thirst and weariness vanished. All of them felt as if they had been lifted out of all the pain and suffering they had ever seen. It was filled with Brahmins chanting slokas which pervaded the air and destroyed all the negative thoughts in their minds. It would not have been possible to enter the ashram if anyone held even a trace of negativity.

The Pandavas had crossed the most difficult part of their journey. The word Badri means steady. To reach the inner space of steadiness, one has to pass through great storms of emotional upheaval. One then uses the energies transformed, or the Rakshasas, to reach one’s goal. Dharna Shakti or the power of visualisation, or Ghatotkacha, is what takes us to the highest peaks of inner consciousness.