1 February 2005
11-year old Neelkanth has long dreamed of being a Yogi, and in the darkness of the rainy evening of June 29, 1792 he secretly leaves his family behind in the Northern India city of Ayodhya by plunging himself into the Saryu river at flood stage. Landing downstream, he begins a 7 year barefoot trek that will cover 8,000 miles through much of India. The young Yogi impresses everyone he meets, providing spiritual inspiration, but declines offers to remain in the villages he visits. He tames a fearsome lion terrorizing one village. Heading into the Himalayas barefoot, and wearing little clothing, he survives freezing temperatures using Yoga and meditation. He crosses a pass at 18,000 feet and treks through the deepest gorge in the world before transversing rain forests, jungles and following coastlines. At Jagannath Puri he is invited by the king to take part in the annual Rath Yatra (Festival of Chariots). Finally he ends his journey in the village Loj in Gujarat where the great teacher Ramanand Swami convinces him to take his place. Neelkanth becomes Bhagwan Swaminarayan whose lessons still inspire millions to find unity in their diversity.
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