by Swami Kripalvanandji, April, 18, 1974 *
The Sanskrit word ‘maha’ means great and ‘tirtha’ means ‘a sacred place of pilgrimage.’ The village of Kayavarohan, locally known as Karvan, is located in Baroda (Vadodara) district. It has been a famous sacred place of pilgrimage in all the four yugas (ages). It was known as Icchapuri in the Satya Yuga, as Mayapuri in the Treta Yuga, and as Medhavati in the Dwapara Yuga. It is now as Kayavarohan (Karvan) in the Kali Yuga.
During the time of Lord Rama, the great sage Vishvamitra decided to elevate Medhavati to a status parallel to that of Kashi (known today as Banares or Varanasi), which has the reputation as the most sacred of places for attaining liberation. The devas (gods) were highly opposed to this change and sought to prevent it from occurring. Kayavarohan was then second only to Kashi as a sacred place.
Sage Vishvamitra was given the holy Gayatri Mantra in Medhavati/Kayavarohan. Often referred to as the most well-known mantra of all of India, repeating this mantra purifies the intellect. One of the synonyms for intellect (Buddhi) is Medha. This event inspired Sage Vishvamitra to rename the spiritual sanctuary of Mayapuri to Medhavati.
It was right from here that the Gayatri Mantra first started and spread outwards. In the waning years of the Dwapara Age, during the incarnation of Lord Krishna, Lord Lakulish first manifested here. Since that time, this place came to be known as Kayavarohan, implying thereby that Lord Shiva himself descended into a human body here. (kaya = body, avarohan = to descend into)
This sacred place, considered extremely auspicious, was also known for the penances undertaken here by the great sages Bhrigu and Atri. Thus, Kayavarohan has been a place well established for its spiritual accomplishments as well as its spiritual energy. It is a place for the attainment of Gayatri Mantra, Ram Mantra, as well as the five syllable Mantra, Om Namah Shivaya.
Kayavarohan has been renowned as a great religious center in all the historical eras. It has ceaselessly sanctified the soil of Bharat with the celestial flow of Sanatana Dharma (Eternal Truth) and Sanatana Civilization. With respect to places of pilgrimage, what sanctifies and enhances the reputation of a particular place is its holy association with such venerable spirits as Lord Sri Krishna, Lord Rama, Lord Buddha, Lord Lakulish, Sage Shankaracharya, etc.
The sacredness of the place can be constantly evinced in their own [Gods, yogis, rishis, etc.] playgrounds. By very definition, an exalted pilgrimage place is one which: 1. reverberates with sounds of sacred learning, 2. is potent enough to release one from the shackles of worldly ignorance, 3. is imbued with the powerful energy of tapas (penance), sacred knowledge, and righteous conduct, 4. is a thriving center of cultural activities or which is a lively playground for the activities of a saintly person.
A branch of the narrow-gauge railway line connects the town Miyagam Karjan with the city of Dabhoi. The station of Kayavarohan falls along this line. For an alternate route, a village by the name of Por is along the highway between Bharuch and Baroda. Kayavarohan sits about six miles from Por on a fairly well paved road. One can also come to Kayavarohan on the S.T. (State Transport) bus route from Baroda to Sinor.
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