Being the Lord incarnate, Neelkanth neither needed to perform austerities
and penances like normal aspirants, nor resort to self-abnegation. However,
He set an example
for those who would later follow Him, to depict the importance of: austerities
and service, pilgrimage, scriptural study under the auspices of a true
Guru and other endeavors. In His first episode of austerity, in Muktinath,
a sacred shrine in the Himalayas, He meditated on one leg for two and
a half months without food. His longest period of abstaining food occurred
during His visit to Manasarovar in sub-zero temperatures. After His
last meal in Diwali, in mid-October 1792 in the Badrinath shrine, He
trudged bare-footed over snow-laden mountains and barren, rocky and
desolate landscape of Tibet. He returned to Badrinath six months later,
in mid-April 1793 when the shrine's pujari offered Him the second meal!
A simultaneous feat on His four-day stay, was that He probably had to
smash the frozen surface to have His ritual daily bath in the lake!
no ill-effects that plague mountaineers, such as : snow-blindness, frost-bite,
hypothermia, pneumonia or other disorders. He even remained oblivous of His devastated body, unbelievably emaciated to skin and bone, with only water (plasma) instead of red blood (Haricharitramrut Sagar 2/25). More astonishing is that
He travelled alone as an eleven-year old, to an inhospitable place He
had never visited, nor asked somebody about its route and direction.
in Nepal, He embarked on a different form of austerity. He sought out
Gopal Yogi, an adept in Ashtang Yoga, a phenomenal yoga discipline.
In only 9 months Neelkanth mastered this eight-fold yoga. Its fruit
is Samadhi, in which one has fully conquered his consciousness, known
as 'chitta-vrutti nirodha'. However, as fruit of Gopal Yogi's personal
endeavors, Neelkanth granted him the highest realization, God-realization,
thus redeeming him. Totally fulfilled, Gopal Yogi then left his material
body. During His stay here, Neelkanth also studied the scriptures under
Gopal Yogi's guruship.