Climbing on the mountain trail
Slipping feet on treacherous shale
Chilling in the morning air
Other pilgrims passing there,

Left his family long before
Searching heaven’s open door
With his begging bowl in hand
Over rivers, burning sand.

Saffron robe sways in the breeze
Whispers prayers his god to please,
Glances toward those distant hills
Sparkling snow and wind that chills.

Ashram* hiding out of sight,
Dreams that visit him each night,
Voices urge him on to face
Mysteries from out of space.

Droning prayers from pilgrim band
Things he cannot understand,
Earnestly he seeks to know,
Go most others cannot go.

Wearily he crests the hill
Summoning his flagging will,
Hope now drives him down the track
Forward, for he can’t go back.

Mountain villagers look on
Watch him come and see him gone
Offerings his bowl they bring
Joyful praise with songs they sing.

Then he reaches ashram peace
Climbs stone steps upon his knees
Now to spend his final days
There unlock the heaven’s ways.

“© Copyright Ian Grice 2012, all rights reserved”

*An Ashram in ancient India was a Hindu hermitage where sages lived in peace and tranquility amidst nature. Today, the term ashram is sometimes used to refer to an intentional community formed primarily for spiritual upliftment of its members, often headed by a religious leader or mystic. Wikipedia

6 thoughts on “Pilgrim

    1. Yes they do Steph, but it is somewhat different in the sub-continent. There the latter part of life for the the orthadox requires renunciation of family life and the practice of austerities and intense spiritual seeking in an ashram, preferably in the Himalayas.


  1. As recently as 50 years ago, in India it is not unknown for a married man to simply walk out on his family in search of nirvana…sometimes returning years later as a ‘swammy’.


    1. There are four stages in a good Hindu’s life as I recall. 1. Childhood, 2. marriage and initial married life,3. business and family and then 4. renounce the world and spend the remaining old years in an ashram never to see family again. Fortunately the majority don’t do that as it would be difficult on the wife and children though I suppose their religion would condition them to accept that.


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