Sunday, 23 August 2009

Khwaja Sharif of Ajmer - Garibnawaz

Tomorrow my sister and I leave for Jaipur, and from there we'll take a day trip to Ajmer to pay our respects to Moinuddin Chisti, affectionately known as Khwaja Sharif or Ajmer Sharif or Garibnawaz. He was a perfect master, Baba said. He was also the initiator of the quawalli form of Sufi music made so popular by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

Baba visited Ajmer and the shrine of Ajmer Sharif more than once. We too will go and say hello. If we are lucky, we'll be able to stay late enough to hear a quawalli performance. I've been 3 times before, but this is Dolly's first time. She's very excited.

We may even manage a trip up into the hills to Pushkar, the holy place of pilgrimage for Hindus and the site of one of only 3 temples dedicated to Brahma the Creator. Pushkar is a town of temples, it has 1008 temples in a small area, and the Pushkar lake. It is said that when Brahma was carrying the elixir of life to Swarg (paradise) three drops spilled onto the earth. One fell into the Ganges, one into the Godavari river near Nasik and the third drop fell into Pushkar lake. Thus, while bathing in the two rivers will cleanse all sins, it is enough to only look at the lake at Pushkar to have the same result!!

I, however, took a totally unplanned dip into the holy waters the last time I was there, and was immersed over my head. This was a result of wanting to cool my feet on a hot and sunny day, slipping on some green algae and sliding into the lake. I came out very cleansed. Unfortunately, since then I've probably accumulated a lot more sins, so perhaps another dip is called for. If we make it there, that is. Baba went to Pushkar too. Its lovely to know that we are in places where the Avatar of the Age walked too.

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