Updated: Jul 13, 2019
by Parvati |
Sangha members recently embarked on a community hike, ascending 1440 meters to the peak of Bhagavat Parvat and descending by way of a number of neighboring towns and farms, ending with a special treat at the home of one of our agricultural workers in Calle Moras.
Ascending the Peak of Consciousness
On a misty morning in May, fourteen sangha members arrived at the entrance gate to Bhagavat Parvat, the highest geographical point of the ashram and the source of our watershed’s spring. Though the morning began with dense cloud cover and the all-too-familiar moisture of our climate, it did not stop the pre-hike preparations: calling upon the blessings of Shiva in a moment of meditation, stretching and warm-ups, and listening to a brief explanation of our imminent journey from Geiner, a Sat Yoga worker and our guide for the day. This introduction was not unlike our morning sadhana (spiritual practice) that resets the internal focus on the highest goal.
Bhagavat Parvat (BP) is a very important place for the ashram, both physically and metaphorically. Symbolically, the name Bhagavat Parvat is richly packed with meaning: the word Bhagavat means “blessed one” or “Lord” and is used as an epithet of deities in Hinduism and Buddhism. Parvat is the Sanskrit word for mountain, from which the word "peak" is derived. Hence, Bhagavat Parvat metaphorically denotes reaching the peak of consciousness and becoming Self-sovereign, having claimed and realized one’s own strength, power, love, and divinity.
The Sangha Reaches New Heights
From the entrance gate, we set out trekking south along an old work road enjoying sweeping majestic views of the Rio Nuevo valley that opened up to the larger city of San Isidro below. Within the first 30 minutes of our hike, the sun came out and the sky cleared – an auspicious moment for the group! We made a quick stop to don hats, visors and a generous application of sunscreen before moving on.
Our path took us all the way across the property of BP to a lesser traveled path where we had to make a choice: go downhill, the easy way to Calle Moras (our final destination) or travel uphill on a longer, more challenging route. The warrior spirit in the group emerged as we veered uphill, on the road less traveled, to the metaphorical peak of consciousness - the summit of the sacred mountain.
As we continued, the prominent ridge line took us weaving through lush, green forests filled with the magic of color, texture, sounds and biodiversity. We then ventured onto vast, open pasture lands that felt like a deep calming breath. These lands are well-trodden by cattle that have left behind a landscape of hard earthy stumps ensconced by meandering rivulets. It was a gamble to take one's attention off the treacherous terrain and precarious footing to enjoy the breathtaking views of the hillsides and Pacific Ocean. But the shifting perspective from the macro (beautiful view ahead) to the micro (the next step ahead) was not unlike the straight and narrow path of the spiritual aspirant that when approached diligence and attention, leads to the most vast vista that can be had - that of enlightenment.
A memorable point along the journey was one in which we transitioned from forest to pasture, cresting a steep hill that then opened to the site of a large herd of cattle. What made this particular herd special was that it was home to both cows (female) and bulls (male). This meant we must proceed with greater caution so as not to trigger any unease. We took some time to meditate deeply and collect our energies to create a field of peace and love before moving on in silence. It was a beautiful example of the power of silence, intention and connectivity with Mother Nature at more subtle levels.
The Descent into Calle Moras
After about 3 hours in total of both hiking and resting to take in the sublime views, we arrived to the second summit at 1440 meters. It was time to begin the rewarding descent into Calle Moras, with the added blessing of traversing banana plantations, hillsides filled with coffee, and fruit trees upon which we feasted!
As we entered the small town of Calle Moras, we passed a number of small homes and farms until we found that of Fabian, a beloved Sat Yoga gardener. He and his wife, Elena, and their young daughter, Emily, greeted our tired but blissed-out hiking group with a delectable and nutritious home-cooked Tico meal of handmade tortillas, picadillo de papaya, papas (potato), salad and a fresh guanabana juice that quenched our thirst and filled our hearts with gratitude. It felt like coming back home after pilgrimage.
The hike could not have been possible without the help of two of Sat Yoga’s workers, Geiner and Fabian. These two generous souls scouted the path before us, linking together the stretches of forest to pasture land and clearing the trails to create the most inspiring route.
It was a blessing to have our workers share their personal time and homes with us. As a community set away from the larger cities of Costa Rica, it is important for Sat Yoga to know and establish harmonious relationships with our neighbors. It is truly a gift to be able to come together as a community while discovering the beauty of the lands in and around our ashram.
Sat Yoga & Savegre Biosphere Reserve
The Sat Yoga Ashram and surrounding area is located within one of Costa Rica’s UNESCO World Biosphere Reserves. Much of the land in Costa Rica has been subject to forest clearings and overgrazing by cattle which leads to a less than ideal situation for the health of both forest and water resources, but almost seventy percent of our land is under forest protection.
This allows us to protect and regenerate the watershed of Savegre, our local valley; several spring sources of this area sit atop Bhagavat Parvat. We look forward to the future of rehabilitating this sacred land and contributing to the conservation of the world’s natural beauty by being accurate stewards of her intelligent order.
We tracked and documented the outing with a handheld GPS device and used the data to create a 3D image of our adventure. We were able to gather the following information about our journey:
In total, we completed a 9.6 km hike
We reached two summits, 1382m and 1440m respectively
Approximate total elevation gain of 150m
Ended after a long descent of 500m in the small town of Calle Moras