Every sage in Sanatana Dharma has his own speciality. It may well, also be true that the opinions that every sage holds may not comply entirely with other sages. This is because the people of the world are varied and depending upon the shades of personalities prevalent in human civilisation, there exist sages of different kinds, to cater to those classes of personalities. These variations in the life of sages is particularly useful in serving as guiding posts to these varied individuals. But among these sages, there are some who are compared within the Shastras (शास्त्र) (Books of Dharma) as TirthaRaj (तीर्थराज, King of pilgrimages) Prayagraj (प्रयागराज), the emperor amongst holy pilgrimage spots. The definition of a pilgrimage spot, as defined in Sanatana Dharma, in the region of Bharath, is a place where there is presence of at least one river that finds its mention as a holy river in the Vedic texts. At Sri Prayagraj, there is a confluence of the three holiest rivers of the world namely the Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati.
Sri Tulsidas Goswamiji Maharaj, in the Ramcharita Manasa says that it is Bhakti Devi alone which represents the banks of the river Ganga. The path of Karma is actually the banks of river Yamuna and the path of Jnana is represented by the banks of the river Saraswati. It is the confluence of all these three paths that are represented by Sri Prayagraj. There are many such sages, whose life represents the path of Knowledge. There are other sages whose life represents the path of Bhakti. There are still other sages whose life is an epitome of the path of Karma. So depending upon the suitability of an individual to take up one of these three paths, he prefers to follow a particular sage whose life represents one of these three paths. There are 4 river bathing banks that have been mentioned in the Manas which also represent TirthaRaj Prayagraj. This concept has been elaborated through the life of the great crow-bodied sage Sri Kagabhushundi (काकभुशुंडी).
Sri Kagabhushundi narrated his life to the great eagle Sri Garudaraj (गरुड़ राज). His life is a great boon to Sadhakas (साधक), spiritual practitioners, even in recent times. There is an event in one of the earlier lifetimes of Sri Bhushundi (भुशुंडी) where he was cursed by Lord Shiva to become a python, following the disrespect that Sri Bhushundi had shown, in that lifetime, towards his spiritual master, Guru. The Guru, was extremely saddened at the event and prayed to Lord Shiva to relieve Sri Bhushundi from the curse. Lord Shiva, praised the Guru and told him “Although your disciple is unworthy, I am pleased with your kind-heartedness towards the misfortune of your disciple. To satisfy you, I shall add some leeway into the curse.” In the curse, initially Lord Shiva had said that Sri Bhushundi will first take birth as a python following which he shall then take 1000 births in the bodies of lower creatures. Yet influenced by the prayers of Sri Bhushundi’s Guru, he said “Bhushundi, you shall not undergo the pain and suffering that accompanies such births. You shall ever remain free of such trouble. You shall also remember all your lifetimes in the course. This will be my blessing to you”, He further added. It should be noted that the life of Sri Bhushundiji is not an autobiography of praise, this by no means.
In one such birth, he was born in Sri Ayodhya Puri (अयोध्यापुरी). where there was a famine that wrecked Ayodhyaji and to save himself, Sri Bhushundiji, shifted his base to Sri Ujjain (उज्जैन), the land of Sri Mahakaal (महाकाल). He started comparing the regions of Sri Ayodhya and Sri Ujjain Puri. He thought thus, Sri Ayodhya is the birth place of Lord Sri Rama while Sri Ujjain was the land of Lord Shiva, Mahakaal. Now his mind started playing tricks with him. He wondered whether Sri Rama was superior or was it Lord Shiva. People, devotees often end up in arguments trying to compare Dhams (धाम) (House of the Lord) like Sri Vrindavana (वृंदावन), Sri Ayodhya, Sri Badrikashrama (बद्रिकाश्रम) and other holy sites. Now he started wondering, that if Sri Ayodhya has been attacked by famine, is it not clear as to which land is more superior? It is then to be understood that the superiority or inferiority of a place is dependent on one’s
own choice of the deciding parameters and it is obvious that the parameter choice will be different from person to person. Now somebody may experience that Sri Vrindavana Dham is parched out in summer, while it is pleasant for the whole year in a place like Sweden, so naturally Sweden is a better place. Such an argument shall be ridiculous. It is to be understood that when we are talking about Sri Vrindavana the parameters to be considered, are the spiritual fervour of the place, the mood to perform sadhana or spiritual rigour, the austerities that are to be carried out and how much it supports our spiritual growth rather than trying to gauge the climate of the place. On the other hand, Sweden may be a place for bodily comfort and sense indulgence. It maybe for tasting intoxicants and other materials for bodily use. How can such a place be considered to be at par with Sri Vrindavana? The comparison grounds between these places have no commonality whatsoever.