India is often described as one of the most spiritual places on earth. Dunagiri is one of those special places where, it is believed “the distance between heaven and earth shrinks, the veil between the two worlds becomes so thin; one is actually able to perceive something of heaven itself”. Its greatness lies not merely in its fascinating history and captivating natural beauty, it is rather the serene and spiritual atmosphere of this place that strikes the mind and brings peace to the soul. For spiritual practices, Dunagiri offers particularly charged vibrations that are readily apparent to a sensitive practitioner.
Sensing the deep spirituality of these sites, ancient people built many of their places of worship here, or simply marked them with stones, and later yogis and monks also built their ashrams and hermitages here. Visiting these sites even today, one can lose all track of time and space, feeling deep inside that one is on holy ground. Dunagiri - also known as Drongiri, is known as the birthplace of present day Kriya Yoga. It is mentioned in the book “An Autobiography of a Yogi” by Swami Paramhans Yogananda.
Dunagiri...History, Spirituality and Yoga...
“Spirituality is not a progress or a search or travel in time. It is travel in eternity.”
The Principles of Sahaj Marg, set 1, p. 86 lecture "Religion and Spirituality" -Rev. Chariji
From very early times places such Drongiri (Dunagiri), Badrinath, Kedarnath have been known as Soul of Gods (Devatma Himalaya) since these places are also the meditation spots (asanpeeth and sadhna-sthali) of many realized souls. Dunagiri or Drongiri is counted amongst one of the seven Kulparvats of the Purans. It is said that just like grass and shrubs growing near a sandalwood tree imbibe some of the fragrance of sandal, similarly every part of these mountains is imbued with the spiritual vibrations of the “realized souls”.
For spiritual yogis, Dunagiri shaktipeeth is an extraordinary place to gain special progress in their path. Seekers can feel the palpable vibrations and divine energies of saints who have meditated here since millennia. The trees and naturally growing medicinal-herbs in the forests here seem to be also charged with these vibrations. Due to this, it is believed the process of dhyaan and samadhi is facilitated with divine assistance. For followers of spirituality, Dunagiri is known to be a concealed shaktipeeth (gopniya shaktpeeth) where the primordial power removes the veil of Maya and Illusion and propels as well as motivates one towards the path of Pure Truth and Liberation. According to Swami Satyeswarananda Giri there are only two Vaishnavi Shaktipeeths in India. One is Vaishno Devi in Jammu and Kashmir, and the other is Dunagiri which is a gupt shaktipeeth and hence not counted in the 51 shaktipeeths mentioned in the Puranas (though some other texts such as Devibhagwatpuran, Matsyapuran etc. mention 108 shakipeeths). Dunagiri is significant since like Vaishno Devi in J&K, it is a self-evolved (self-evident) shakitpeeth, not based on the story of Daksha’s Yagna after which Devi’s body parts fell in several places where a shakitpeeth was established thereafter.
From time to time spiritual seekers have been blessed with the light of self-realization at Dunagiri. The divine power, Shakti, has been witnessed here by saadhaks. Dunagiri attracts such saadhaks (seekers) from not only Uttarakhand, but also from Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Southern India. It is also a special place for many seekers from foreign countries who visit to meditate here.
Dunagiri and Kriya Yoga
Dunagiri is also intimately associated with Mahavatar Babaji and Kriya Yoga. It was at Dunagiri in 1861 that Shyamacharan Lahiri, better known as Lahiri Mahashaya, was given initiation into Kriya Yoga and the discipline of Kriya Yoga was re-established in the world after having been ‘lost’ for centuries. This first meeting, spectacular and miraculous, occurred at a cave at Dunagiri. The full account of this meeting is well documented in the famous book “Autobiography of a Yogi” by Swami Yogananda Parahamsa (chapter 34-Materializing a Palace in the Himalayas). The cave at Dunagiri is well marked and is visited by thousands of pilgrims from all over the world.
Swami Satyeswarananda Vidyaratna also meditated at Dunagiri for twelve years before receiving Purna Diksha from Mahavatar Babaji. He has also recounted in books his meetings with Mahavatar Baba at Dunagiri.
Other famous Saints connected with Dunagiri:
Among the famous saints of Uttarakhand who are known to have made Dunagiri as their sadhna-sthali (chosen place for spiritual practices) are Haidakhan Baba, Neemkaroli Baba, Sombari Baba, Harnarayan Swami, Shri Ram Baba, Mahatama Laxminarayan Das, Nantin Baba, Mahatama Balwant Giri, Mahant Pawan Giri and Baba Kisan Giri. Mahavtar Baba gave initiations to Haidakhan Baba in Manas Yoga, to Neem Karoli Baba in Mantra Yoga and to Sombari Baba in Pashupat Yoga (The Divine Himalayan Yogi by Sw. Satyeswarananda Maharaj, Page 108-109). After Dunagiri these saints traveled to various parts of India and established ashrams there.
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