Vrishabhadri hill - Devarayasamudra
10th December 2016
So the mountain (hill) was there beyond the ashram and someone had to climb it. Why not Clifford? We call it a hill but it is 500-600 meters high and very steep. I secured a local villager as a guide whom spoke no English but was otherwise a cordial competent chap. His sign language was not so good except for one sign which he excelled at. Pictured. He took his right elbow in his left palm, raised his right for arm and then cupped his right palm wagging it back and forth. This reassuring sign came about every 30-50 yards starting about a 1/3 of the way up. Apparently Cobras like to hang out under the shade of large boulders where there is grass, shade and maybe a little moisture. About this time I thought it might be a good time to be saying to myself the "Shivabalayogi Mantra" and hey, 1008 times wouldn't have been too much in the circumstances, no problem. I was told Cobras can appear and slither down a rock surface very quickly, nor was I enthused about stepping through knee to waist high brush and grasses where one could not see the foot placement.
We arrived at the top without incident in about 50 minutes, took photos, and headed down the other side. "The bad news had turned good, and then bad" (credit W. Finnegan) The guide spotted a cobra about 30 yards above us with nothing between but a flat sloping granite shelf. We kept going.
We did arrive safely at the bottom at the Ashram gate in a little over 2 hours. Baba later conveyed the hill is called Vrishabhadri Hill, named Bull Hill. The bull is represented as the mind that is oft running out of control. Shiva is portrayed sitting on a bull, illustrating his bringing the run away mind completely withdrawn to a standstill. Interestingly, Shiva is shown with a cobra. Keeping the mind quiet, while climbing a steep hill with Cobras lurking, now THAT, is a real challenge. Not recommended for the feign of heart.
P.S. Take a guide, a sturdy stick, and wear the right shoes. I brought light weight spike less golf shoes with me because I always planned to climb. No flip flops or sandals advised, and good luck
With extreme reverence and Purnam's to Baba