Dhumavati Sadhana Shivir:
Dhumavati Sadhana Shivir was conducted on 27th and 28th of the month of september on the auspicious occasion of Pitri Paksh on the remote and serene hills of Giri Ganga at outskirts of Shimla. This place is also a holy place for Hindus as legend has it that a siddha was performing an austurity and Joginis were testing him and they spilled the water from the siddha's kamandalu and because of the tapa of the siddha the spilled water became Ganga of the hills or popularly Giriganga and the location has a pool with a temple of Ganga and the siddha inside it and also a Shiv temple with goddess Durga, Ganesha and Kartikeya inside it. The shivir place couldn't have been much better then this because the team wanted a place which had a lot of vegetation and trees, far from the noises of civilization, calm and composed environment and since this is a Dhumavati Sadhana Shivir we were expecting some hurdles in the sadhanas and also change in weather too.
Let's start the review but before i start it let me introduce the Goddess and also decipher her symbolism with the things that i learned in this shivir. Dhumavati Goddess is one of the prime Mahavidya among the "Dus Mahavidya". Dhumavati Goddess is the goddess of feuds and duals. She is pictured as the Goddess who is a very old and a widow and wears white saffron cloth with dishellved white hair. She holds a winnowing fan and though she being pictured as a very old and poor olderly women she still sits upon a golden chariot in a Veer mudra or Dhumamudra. The chariot is crow driven and has a flag with crow inscribed on it and also a crow sitting on the top of the chariot. She being pictured as an old widow with disheveled hair represents she swallowing her own consort Shiva and she hides inside her the Shiva that all yogis aspire to be. If one perfects Dhumavati Mahavidya then the mystery of Shiva unfolds to the sadhaks. She is also called Alakshmi because of she being poor and holding a winnowing fan. It literally means the realistic view of life because everything in life isn't beautiful and pleasure giving. In Srividya you look at the pleasure part of life and through it attain the Goddess state situated at the bindu of ones forehead whilst Dhumavati sadhana is the opposite. Every sadhaks has to go through the rough patches of life being prone to numerous feuds and struggles both inside and outside. She causes the turmoil in the life of sadhaks and this is also the dark part and unless and until one doesn't conquer the inner feuds and outer then one cannot attain the real Shree that is ones inner self or the Dhumra Shiva state. So, Dhumavati sadhana means to attain the shivahood through exploring the dark side of ones life. This sadhana being realistic became the penance of several big hermits like Daitya Guru Shukracharya, Piplad rishi, Agyastya Muni, Maharishi Durvasha etc. She is pictured on Veer asana or Dhumra asana means the sadhanas for the braves. Her sadhana is done with a veer bhava i.e warrior mentality and not with a slave mentality because one has to win the battles of life to reach the supreme so she helps sadhaks in there pursuit of reality. Her chariot is made of gold because gold represents knowledge and posperity. The contrast of her being pictured as an old poor widow with a winnowing fan on her hand and sitting on the golden chariot means she is the way from the dark phase of ones life to the real wealth and the real wealth is not luxuries but inner bliss and the knowledge of ones inner self. So she literally means the real wealth of ones life is not luxuries but the inner bliss and knowledge. The winnowing fan in her hand means the hunger she has. The hunger for feud. The crow emblem represents the Pitri aspects because the crow is associated with being the messenger that takes the messages of ours to the ancestor so while doing Shraddha some part of bhog is given to the crow. Some part of the fruit of the sadhana also goes to the ancestors as it is done on Pitri Paksh where all rituals are abandoned and there is also rainfalls in these period with fogs and mist too.
It was a hectic day for me on the morning of 25th September as I had just arrived on Delhi and at the end of the day i had to catch a bus to Shimla and then reach the sadhana spot which is 95km further. I was picked up by one of the sadhaks who was taking a sookshma diksha and then after being fresh in his apartment he dropped me to another sadhak so that we all could go together. As previously warned by Kaulantak Nath that the sadhaks who were coming to the shivir would be facing some feuds while travelling. I travelled peacefully till Delhi thinking everything will go well but not until we caught a bus from Delhi. We were misinformed and misguided about the travel scheduled of the bus. We were asked to change the bus for Shimla from Ambala station and that was the last straw for us as we had made the payments till Shimla and we were asked to change buses. We had a feud over there and at the end after the help of patrolling policemen we were put to another bus and we reached Shimla in the morning and then picking other sadhaks over there we set our journey to the sadhana spot. We reached the sadhana spot at the end of the day as the road was heavily damaged by the rains. We had one of our vehicles damaged so we had to do two trips to the location. It was after 7pm that we selected the spot for cooking and to put the tents. It was at the opposite side of the Giriganga temple just above the rivulet. We put the tents through the help of torch light because we had no electricity and it was cold too. Nevertheless we managed to erect 3 tents and also a cooking place. The eve before the sadhana day all went in the preparation of the spot as we had reached there late and it was 01:30 am when we headed for our tents to say farewell to fatigues.
"Hey wake up and tell me where should we go for the morning toilet?" was the first sentence i heard at the morning of the shivir as one of the sadhaks had a great pressure mounting on and there ain't any toilets on Himalays. Reluctantly with a big stretch I accompanied him and we went to the deep rivulet side. The rule has it that at the Himalayas one shouldn't pee standing nor can one dump his or her excreta wherever they want. There is a standard modus operandi for that. First one has to dig a pit and then pray the local god and then take the dump and then cover it with mud. I was no new to it as I had already done the Maha Moksha Sadhana at Himalaya. We then took a holy dip on the pool of Giriganga with Kaulantak Nath and then paid homage to the Ganga and Siddha idol inside the temple. We went to the sadhana spot just few meters uphill from the tent. We had to make the yantra on the mud as this is a very secret sadhana and its procedure and its yantra is also secretive so we weren't given the printed slide like before. The sadhana was formally started and then the mysteries of the sadhana were unfolded and made clear to us. The yogic way of conducting the sadhana was also unfolded. The first day was basically all about "awaran puja". We had more then 7 awaran puja to conduct. So the first day was spent on the awaran puja and tarpan and yagyas. Since we didn't have a sound sleep the previous day because of the journey and hectic scheduled we hit the beds early.
The next day we woke up early and after a holy dip we were preparing for the final day. We visited the local Kali Ma Jogini temple situated some meters away from the rivulet. We offered a sweets to the Jogini and took her blessings for the smooth conduct of the shivir. We then did a brief yagna in the morning and we completed the remaining awaran puja of Dhumavati Mahavidya. We had to chant 3 rounds of those given mantras each in a secluded area where there were no other sadhaks in the radius of 10m. We put the avaran on the yantra and the awaran cloth was white color because its Dhumavati sadhana and the color red is prohibited because she is a widow and as had swallowed her own consort. Even the red clothes and use of maroon color is prohibited. So the white color cloth was used and also a white color boundary was made for the diksha. Kaulantak Nath then posed himself in the Veer asana or Dhuma Asana gave shaktipat dhumavati diksha by placing his thumb on the forehead of the sadhaks. A particular thing to be noted was the sudden change of the temperature and the start of the fog while giving this diksha. The surrounding started to be fogy meaning the Goddess Dhumavati was spreading her fog to bestow sadhaks with her blessings. The whole day we had to face drizzling rain then amazingly after this diksha there was a clear weather and we removed the awaran for doing the final Maarjan. After it we put the awaran and then completed the yagnas. The whole day and the other day we had a company of local musicians playing there flutes and drums as per the rule of kaulachar. At the end of the sadhana Kaulantak Nath paid gratitude to all the sadhaks and musicians and the goddess Dhumavati for the smooth conduct of sadhana because this is the sadhana that was conducted after 250 years in our lineage through the guru sishya parampara and that too with such ease and no climatic hazards and disturbance. This ain't possible except throught the grace of Goddess Dhumavati herself. She is the Goddess of feuds and her sadhana without feuds is impossible unless she wishes to. We were lucky in this aspect. So we had concluded the sadhana shivir and then we were packing the tents and then heavy rainfall hit us. We all had to take the shelter inside the tent. The most amazing thing was that whilst those two days when the sadhana was conducted there was no heavy rainfall but a drizzling rain and after the conclusion of the shivir heavy rains hit us. Is this her divine grace or coincidence?, I do not aspire to know the answer because some phenomena in life are just unexplainable. One can only use logic to those things that he has his control over and rest its all unknown mysteries.
We wanted to finish this sadhana early so that we could reach our destination on time. After the heavy rainfall and when the weather showed us the green light we set our sails to the direction of our destination i.e the preparation of another similar eonic sadhana called "Maha Aghor Sadhana Shivir" which is to be conducted on the 12-13th of October.