In the foothills of the Himalayas, Joshi’s is a common stop for locals and people on pilgrimage like American Rebecca Harvey.
“This is my fifth time in India and this is the longest I’ve been in India: for three months,” said Harvey.
She traveled to the Dunagiri mountain from Oregon, inspired by Paramahansa Yogananda’s book, “Autobiography of a Yogi.”
“Ever since I first read the autobiography, I’ve wanted to have a pilgrimage to Babaji’s cave,” Harvey said.
The hiking path to that cave can often be sprinkled with fallen red rhododendron flowers. Once inside its ancient walls, devotees pay homage to the cave’s history of Kriya Yoga.
Kriya is, in its simplest explanation, a meditation technique to calm your body and mind to help you feel God’s presence.
For Harvey, it can be, “an experience of intense communion, where you really feel like God is hearing you, and you are experiencing something of what God is -- inside of yourself,” Harvey said.
Gerhard Stadler is also on a pilgrimage in India. He’s braving a rare March snow storm in that same mountain range to climb the 500 steps of a historic temple dedicated to Divine Mother. He later shared how his spiritual path changed his life decades ago.
“I had everything,” Stadler said, including a successful business, a family, and wealth. “But I was not happy.”
Until he found the, “Autobiography of a Yogi,” which introduced him to Kriya Yoga meditation and the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda.
“That changed, totally, my life. That was the best thing,” Stadler said.
Two pilgrims on the same spiritual path, yet from different parts of the world. They agreed on this: a passport isn’t required to feel God’s presence.
“We have not to go to India to find God, we find God inside,” Stadler said, while pointed to his chest. He explained that we find God through the silence of meditation.