sojourns were fraught with fearsome hazards. The most threatening included:
inclement weather, treacherous terrain, raging rivers, dense jungles
with wild animals and humans too, in the form of looters and tantrics.
He visited Manasarovar, a wondrous and sacred
lake in Tibet, at a height of 14,950 feet during the harshest season
of the year; winter. Only garbed in a loincloth and bare-footed, He
gladly tolerated the freezing winds and the snow flurries.
He easily scaled precarious peaks, passed through some of the world's
deepest valleys and often plunged in fast flowing rivers. The heavy
tropical monsoons and humid jungles did not bother Him the least. As
for wildlife, the whole sub-continent then teemed with such fauna. Those
which were life threatening did
not frighten Neelkanth. Later in life He revealed that He had subdued
the fear of death on leaving home (Vach. Gadhada I.29,
He encountered animals such as: tigers, snow-leopards, leopards, cheetahs,
rhinos, wild buffaloes, bears, hyenas, wolves, jackals, large and poisonous
snakes and crocodiles, which flourished in almost every region. In the
forests, wild bees and similar insects, leeches and the stinging nettle
- as witnessed by the colonials - would have been nightmarish
for bare-bodied and bare-footed Neelkanth.
Finally, the threat from humans. River thugs frequented the banks of
rivers, especially the Ganga and its deltas in Bengal, to loot pilgrims.
Thugs too frequented roadways, often not sparing even mendicants! Evil
tantrics and bands of armed ascetics then lorded over many parts of
Bengal, harassing and looting peasants. Tantric ascetics hurled evil
mantras on Him in Sirpur, near Kamakshi. Further on a powerful tantric
named Pibek, tried his potent mantra shakti on Neelkanth. When he invoked
his deities, they thrashed him senseless, ordering him to beg Neelkanth's
forgiveness and accept Him as the Lord supreme.