Symbols of the world's religions



Jean Adriel

Another expedition with Baba — which was for me particularly significant — took us about five miles from Nasik to the Pandulena Caves. These rock dwellings — twenty-two in number — are situated near the top of a mountain which commands a magnificent view of the whole surrounding country. Most of them were originally carved out of the rocky mountain wall by the Pandava brothers, disciples of the Avatar Krishna, who lived, according to some traditions, about the seventh century B.C.

The legend tells how Yudisthira — then overlord of all India — had gambled away his kingdom in a game of dice. As punishment he and his four brothers, of whom Arjuna was one, were banished from the kingdom and wandered as homeless exiles for about twelve years. It was during this period that they carved out these caves as shelter for themselves; here Krishna and other great sages came to visit them, and from here they wandered forth with Krishna on many pilgrimages.

No doubt this exile constituted the preparatory phase to that great battle of the Mahabharata — Kurukshetra — in which Arjuna received his initiation at Krishna's hands. It seems as if a similar drama has but recently been enacted on a more comprehensive scale, and perhaps Baba's foreknowledge of the war to come was one of the reasons he made a special point of our visiting these caves. Again a group of disciples had been undergoing long years of rigorous training, preparatory to a world initiation which the subsequent world-wide war heralded.

In later times other Masters lived in these caves with their disciples and left upon them the imprint of their lives there. A particularly unusual one had been occupied by a famous Jain Master with his circle of eighteen men. A balcony, which extended in a semi-circle around the cave, was supported by seventeen pillars, each resting on a massive stone jar. In the center of the cave was a raised pedestal or altar.

On the steps in the center — where Baba now sat — the former Master would sit — Baba informed us — with his disciples gathered around him, on the steps below, as he instructed them in spiritual Truth. An adjoining cave with eighteen cells, also carved out of the rock, they used for meditation.


AVATAR, pp. 192-193
1947 © Jean Adriel


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