Ananda Bhairava Ashram
and Aadyapitha Mandir
The Kumaon hills and Himalayas provide the magnificent backdrop for this area, and it is considered a power center conducive to meditation and spiritual practice. There is a strong presence of Bhairava in this area, and Guruji particularly felt Bhairava to be looming largely over the snow capped peaks to the north of the land, so decided on the name Ananda Bhairava Ashram. Ananda Bhairva is both a particular form of Bhairava (“the blissful Bhairav), and can also mean the “bliss” derived from encountering Bhairava in all forms. The main temple of Kasar Devi (which is the namesake of the village) has a Bhairava temple, and Almora has many, including Ananda Bhairava who accompanies Nanda Devi. Aadyapitha Mandir (Sacred space of the Primordial Shakti) was thus named to honor Kamakhya (which is the Aadyapitha and Aadyashakti) and the Mahavidyas. Moreover, it is a sentimental naming, as not only is Kamakhya so deeply intimate to this tradition, but also one of the first Kali temples that Guruji visited in his time in West Bengal is named Aadyapitha. The mandir will also be a sadhana and satsang hall, where devotees and friends can spend time in meditation.
On January 28th 2013, the havan was performed to consecrate the land on which the Ashram and Mandir will be built. This kriya was done to clear any obstructions and with the intention of establishing this area as a place of wisdom, compassion, peace, devotion and awakening. The havan was done in a triangular kund using mango wood, and a large number of Devatas and Divine qualities were established in the fire. The puja was a great success, and many local people participated by being present for the ritual.
The Kasar Devi area is marked by peace and natural beauty, and one finds fresh views and vistas around each corner. The area is also know as a “power center”, and sensitive visitors certainly feel something different in the air there. Because of this, several saints (such as Anandamayi Ma, Neem Karoli Baba, Swami Vivekananda) were drawn to this area for sadhana and to spend time. In the 60’s, Kasar Devi became a destination on the “hippie trail” which was visited by many well know people of that counter culture. Even today, the area sees its share of backpackers and many return visitors who repeatedly feel drawn to come back. It is claimed that there is a gap in the Van Allen Belt directly over this area which also contributes to the atmosphere there. The Kasar Devi temple is located on Kashyap hill, and pilgrims climb a series of step to reach. The Devi is housed in a small cave there, and up a bit further, there are temples for Shiva and Bhairava. There are several nice places to sit in and around the temple, and visitors are treated to lovely views of the surrounding hills and mountains. Close to Kasar Devi (7km) is the town of Almora, which not alone has a larger market, but is home to the Nanda Devi temple, as well as temples for eight different forms of Bhairva. Also nearby, is the temple of Golu Devta, who is a local protector said to grant wishes. This temple is known for the large number of bells at the temple, which are hung there by pilgrims. Just 30 km’s away is the famous Jageshwar Dham, which has over 120 large and small temples within its complex. There are many other sacred sites in the general area, as well as within the broader scope of Uttarakhand (which includes the Char Dham).
Our vision for the Mandir and sadhana hall is to have Kamakhya Devi and the Das Mahavidya represented. We intend to centrally establish Ma Kamakhya using water from the sanctum of Kamakhya, placed in a triangular container which will be placed there. Guruji has said that at this time, he’ll also place with it a Kamakhya Yantra that he has used and empowered for many years. Kali and Tara will also be centrally located with some form of image, and there will also be images (pictures) for Bagalamukhi, Kamala, Matangi, Bhuveneshwari, Chinnamasta, Dhumavati, Bhairavi, and Tripurasundari. As mentioned, we’d like this mandir to be large enough to serve as a place where devotees and friends can sit, do sadhana together, and have satsang. The initial vision for the Ashram is a modest two room. This will be the base where Guruji will stay, receive visitors, and where sadhaks will meet for sadhana. With continued interest and financial support, it is our hope that in the future, we may expand on the housing so as to accommodate more people who would like to stay there.
As one can imagine, there are many costs associated with building, and because the location in somewhat remote there are additional expenses for transportation of material. It is considered a particularly auspicious action to be involved in the construction of a temple, as not only is it a service in devotion to the Devi, but also to all those people thereafter who would have that darshan and be touched in someway. It is something that one can contribute toward which will continue even after ones lifespan. We welcome all support in this endeavor and are asking that those who have the means and desire contribute with donation. Also welcomed are other means are support, whether that be in matters of expertise (in construction etc.), fund raising, or helping to bring this endeavor to more peoples attention.