Tapasya in Puul Ashram
Having blessed Hanumanji, Nilkantvarni continued His Vanvicharan. He walked through the very dense forest and came to the foot of the Himalayas, he saw beautiful snow capped and black capped mountains (Kalahimegrhiv). He walked through the forests surrounding these mountains following the river that flowed through the forests. He soon came to the stem of the river where He rested for a while. Pleased that Nilkantvarni honoured him by placing His Lotus feet upon him, Himalaya Himself appeared in a divine form and showed Nilkantvarni the path to follow. After walking for three days along the path shown, He came to the path leading to a holy place called Puul Ashram. He walked for a few days along this path and soon to come to Puul Ashram where the river Gandki flowed. Near here was a Muktnath Temple, Lord Vishnu temple. Nilkantvarni entered Puul Ashram and at the temple He remembered Bharatji's Tapasya.
Bharatji was the son of Rushbadev Bhagwan. He became a King and ruled for some years. He then gave up his Kingdom to one of his sons to renounce the world and ro seek salvation. He seeked salvation by performing tapasya, renouncing his attachment to worldly goods and only to commit his time to please the Lord. Bharatji came to Puul Ashram to perform his tapasya away from all mankind. Each morning, Bharatji would take a holy bath in the river and pray to Lord SuryaNarayan. One morning, he saw a pregnant deer being chased by a lion. The deer tried to flee the lion by trying to jump over the river but in her fear, she gave birth and both mother and baby fell into the river. The mother drowned leaving behind the baby to fend for itself. Bharatji saw this whole event and took pity on the baby, retrieved it from the river and took it back to his ashram and treated it just as he would treat his own child. Time passed and the deer became older and started to wander. The deer one day became lost and did not return. Bharatji became worried and searched the forest and in his despair Bharatji died. Bharatji had forgotten his reason for coming to Puul Ashram and had become attached to the deer rather than Bhagwan, attachment to things other than God is a great sin. He had committed a sin and due to this, he had to take rebirth as a deer. As a deer, Bharatji realised that he was previously a king and that this rebirth was his penance for his sins. Bharatji stayed in a cave, eating nothing but dried leaves and soon his life as a deer came to an end. He was reincarnated into a human form born to Brahmin family. He however retained his memory and remembered what had happened in his last human life and therefore devoted his life completely to God. To help him in his devotion, he acted like a mad, illiterate Brahmin so that no one became attached to him and he became attached to no one.
Remembering this episode, Nilkantvarni also performed Tapasya for four months, Chaturmas. He performed this Tapasya standing on His left leg, with His right leg rested above His left thigh and His hands raised above His head. At the end of the four month period, on Prabhodani Ekadashi. Lord SuryaNarayan became pleased and appeared before Nilkantvarni. Lord SuryaNarayan gave Nilkantvarni two boons. For the first boon Nilkantvarni asked, "Oh Lord, the exterior and interior ignorance and darkness are the original cause of this painful world, just as you are able to destroy all the exterior ignorance and darkness nothing should come in my way of attaining the perfection in my vow of celibacy, self control and non-attachment to worldly objects. For the second boon He asked for Lord SuryaNarayan to appear whenever Nilkantvarni called upon Him. Lord SuryaNarayan honoured Nilkantvarni's wishes and granted Him these boons and ended His tapasya. The next day (12th day) He met other Sadhus and Rushis who had been witnessing His severe Tapasya. They asked Him why He was performing the Tapasya. Nilkantvarni told them the story of Bharatji and explained the importance of non attachment to worldly goods and also for the wellbeing of the humans in this world. Nilkantvarni then set off southwards to continue His Vanvicharan