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Quotes on Pilgrimage from Hindu Scriptures

The sage beholds that mysterious Being wherein all come to have their one home. Therein unites and there from issues the Whole; that all pervading Being is the warp and woof of all Creation. (Yajur Veda, 32.8)

By means of the tirthas the person performing it overcomes great misfortune, and for such a worshipper is laid open the path of the virtuous by all quarters as well as all beings.(Atharva Veda, 18.4.7)

One who, having forsaken the teertha of the Self, merely visits the external teerthas is a person who having forsaken the invaluable jewel at hand goes in search of mere glass. (Sri Jabala Darshana Upanishad, 4.50)

One who has (God) here (in the heart), has Him there (in the teerthas) also. He who has Him not here, has Him not there. (Sri Ramakrishna)



At each place of pilgrimage there is a special time when the spiritual current flows. If at
those times an aspirant meditates, his mind easily becomes absorbed and he finds increased joy in his meditation. (Swami Brahmananda)

Just as some parts of the human body (e.g. the right hand or ear) are held to be purer (than others), so some localities on the earth are held to be holier than others. Tirthas are held to be holy on account of some wonderful natural characteristic of the locality or on account of the unique grandeur of the local waters or on account of the fact that some sage resorted to them (for austerity). (Skanda Purana, 4.6.43-4)

‘The tirthas are primarily associated with the great acts and appearances of the gods and the heroes of Indian myth and legend. As a threshold between heaven and earth, the tirtha is not only a place for the “upward” crossings of people’s prayers and rites, it is also a place for the “downward” crossings of the gods. … Considering this vast corpus of Indian mythology, which recounts the deeds of the gods and heroes, it is not difficult to imagine that the whole of India’s geography is engraved with traces of mythic events. It is a living sacred geography.’  (Diana Eck)

In Hinduism, pilgrimage is often the process of learning to see the underlying or implicit spiritual structure of the land this often involves a change in perspective, a change that is religiously transformative. Pilgrimage is the process whereby pilgrims open themselves to the sacred power, the numinous quality, of the landscape, whereby they establish a rapport with the land that is spiritually empowering.…The physical immediacy of pilgrimage, the actual contact with the land, intensifies the experience of appropriating the story of the land, learning to see its underlying, implicit structure, sensing its spiritually enlivening power. The experience can be lasting, transforming one’s perspective permanently.’ (David Kinsley)