After a five hour drive from Delhi we arrived at the Patajali Yoga Pith Guest House in Haridwar where we were kindly received and rested for the night. The ancient town of Haridwar at the foot of the Himalayas is considered to be the gateway to the heavens. All those desiring to attain liberation from material life visit and bath in the Ganges here. It is also a favourite place of Hindus for submerging the ashes of the dead.
Early the next morning the car of the District Magistrate arrived to lead our convoy of vehicles into the centre of the holy town. At the town's foremost and crowded bathing ghat, on the very edge of the Ganges our priests had set up an elaborate array of items for worship. We then sat as they chanted Vedic hymns and offered lamps, incense, turmeric and red powder (kumkum) to the Ganges and the pot containing Gangotri's ashes.
As the crowds and media bustled around us, final prayers were offered and altogether we scattered Gangotri's ashes into the very fast flowing current of the Ganges. As the Gangotri's ashes drifted away and deep into the Ganges, final lamps were offered and blessings were given that she would attain her resting place in the spiritual realm of Lord Krishna.
Vrindavan, Land of Krishna's Cows, our Next and Final Stop
On the 21st Feb 3.30pm at Keshi Ghat on the Bank of the Yamuna river in the track of land famous as the place where Lord Krishna Himself cared for cows, our delegation will be received by the prominent Goswamis (high priests) to perform the concluding ceremonies for Gangotri. Her final ashes will be scattered in the holy waters of the river Yamuna.
Another name for Vrindavan is Gokul, which means the abode of cows. Five thousand years ago Lord Krishna appeared in this area and grew up performing pastimes of caring for cows. Lord Krishna taught that cows should be honoured and taken care of as mother. The milk, yoghurt and ghee are not only our most nutritious forms of food but are also the very substances used by the priests to perform the Vedic ceremonies. We have always trusted cows' milk next to our own mother's milk. Therefore the cow is the embodiment of nourishment and sacrifice. It is forbidden for all Hindus to kill the cow under any circumstances.
It has been an incredible journey to India's most treasured holy places, Gangotri has become a household name throughout the country. Everyone is saying that she must have been a very fortunate and special soul. It is most appropriate that we perform the concluding ceremonies in the town of Vrindavan, as it is Krishna's own abode manifest on earth.
Raj Joshi stated "The death of Gangotri gave great sadness and grief to our community in the UK. As we have now travelled all over India and placed Gangotri's ashes with great reverence in each holy site, our sadness lifts. In Vrindavan we will have closure, but that closure is just the beginning of our campaign to seek Justice for Gangotri. The RSPCA made a mistake and must now face the consequences".
Mahamantra Dasa stated "I have been deeply moved by the visiting delegation. As a Hindu Leader of India I have been blessed to be the host of this historic visit by the UK delegation. We will now make sure that they have every resource and support to push on for justice".