My name is Francis D’Souza. I did my Art Of Living course in August 2017. I’m now teaching Yoga full-time and serving society. I always had a dream to understand the source of Ganga and experience the spiritual source of the Self.
It was in Uttarakhand. I happened to plan a visit to Gangotri unaware of anything in the region, unaware about travel. I just took a local bus and reached Uttarkashi. Due to the ongoing pandemic, there were a lot of restrictions in place during that time. However, an Art of Living volunteer somehow came to my help and hosted me in Uttarkashi. I shared with him my desire to visit Gangotri.
He was of the opinion that it would be extremely difficult to reach Gangotri but my faith and longing to visit the very origin of the Holy Ganges was intense. I prayed to Gurudev expressing my intense desire. A few moments later, an Art of Living teacher reached out to me. He shared the contact of a priest in Gangotri while again reiterating that it would be incredibly difficult to reach Gangotri amidst the heavy border restrictions.
I still somehow managed to reach the border and prayed to Gurudev again. Suddenly, I got the contact of the district incharge and he agreed to let me in Gangotri district for doing Seva (service to humanity)
As I continued my journey, I realised that the cellular network was no longer available and the kind samaritan who had offered me a lift had to go the other way. I was left alone and still had a distance of more than 8 kms to reach the temple. I felt helpless as I would have to make that journey completely on foot and without any network coverage in case of emergencies.
But with prayers and faith, I continued walking ahead. Suddenly, an army officer approached me out of nowhere and joined me on the walk. He mentioned that there were tiger attacks happening in the area and it would be better to walk together as the sun was about to set. After walking for a kilometer, we got a lift from vehicle which was carrying vegetables for locals at Gangotri. I was shocked to receive all this help when just a few moments back, I had no hope of meeting anyone in the arduous journey.
As I finally reached Gangotri temple, the priests welcomed me. He told me that they were all waiting for Gurudev to visit the temple. The helpful priest offered me food and accommodation. He said that everything upto that point which helped me reach Gangotri was for a purpose. This purpose was to convey the intense desire of the local people to welcome Gurudev in Gangotri — where Ganga descended from Heaven.