Day 101 | 22 April 2015 | Sirigere to Bharamsagara| The Walk of Hope 2015-16

  • "Get well soon, my child."
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  • Colorful water pots galore
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  • A demanding little admirer of Sri M
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  • A public reception accorded to Sri M at Bharamsagara
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  • Silhouetted against the morning amber sky.
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  • Another scenic moment from the Walk of Hope 2015-16
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  • The searing summer bearing down on the Walkers.
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  • Walking past a huge brinjal grove.
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  • Rustic rhythms near Bharamsagara
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  • A glimpse of agrarian Karnataka
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  • A hearty welcome to Sri M at Bharamsagara.
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  • Harmony at its best.
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The Walk of Hope featured from Sirigere to Bharamsagara on this day. The yatris were transported to the starting point and they walked till the Brihanmath. After a short break here, they continued on till the stopped for breakfast at a farm at 8.00 am on the roadside. They covered a distance of 18 kilometers from Sri Taralabalu Brihanmath to Bharamsagara.

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Cutting across large tracts of rural lands, the padayatra proceeded onwards to Bharamsagara. Walking through the countryside is an experience and the best description falls short of doing it justice. The Indian countryside is as beautiful as the picturesque scenes painted of a French countryside; the cobbled village streets are as dainty as Parisian walkways that evoked the same ephemeral beauty leading to a state of quietude by just being there. When people congregate in large numbers in cities with closed and limited space, where the focus is on making a living, there’s a feeling of discontentment in many a mind. There is a quiet calm and contentment in the people when they pass through rural these areas. Sometimes, one comes across villagers whose eyes contain the depth of the oceans! One muses, is urban ‘development’ the real answer to our needs? Today’s walk traversed through narrow winding village roads that progressed through vast open fields in full bloom, while some were just tilled and ready for new crops. The only sounds one hears were of birds chirping and the wind rustling. Only two or three vehicles were spotted in an hour. As the sun came up, ialso became humid and walking in humidity was particularly strenuous. Soon, the pleasure of walking in the countryside also ended and the padayatra was back on the highway to Bharamsagara, a small village of about 7000 people. As the padayatra entered the village, Sri M and the procession were welcomed by a group of about 60 people and a troupe of drummers led the walkers. Very soon, they crossed the town and the padayatra reached Sri Maruthi Temple—the halting point of the day. The stay point continued to be at Sirigere – Sri Taralabalu Ashrama. On completion of the walk for the day, the yatris were transported back to Sirigere. The evening saw heavy rains and the planned evening program had to be cancelled. Instead, there was a spontaneous and a unique Satsan.- the longest yet, and Dr. Shivamurthy Shivacharya Mahaswamiji also joined in. Sri M began thus: “Akhaṇḍa-maṇḍalākāram vyāptam yena carācaram| Tatpadam darśitam yena tasmai śrī gurave namah|| (Which) pervades the entire unbroken form of the circle (of creation), moving and unmoving. To that beautiful and benevolent Guru through whom that state was revealed (to me), salutations. Gurur Brahma Gurur Vishnu Gurur Devo Maheshwara Gurur Sakshat Parabrahma Tasmai Shree Guruvey Namaha The Guru is Brahma(The creator), Lord Vishnu(The preserver, and Lord Shiva (the destroyer) To that very Guru I bow, for He is the Supreme Being, right before my eyes. Loka samasta sukhinoh bhavantu – May the entire universe be happy”. “Firstly, thank you Swamiji for coming. First, I will say a few words, then we can interact. There is an ancient Upanishad, which is part of the Sama Veda - this Veda is very important because all the music that we have in this country traces its roots to this Veda. Nobody chants the Sama, it is a Gita, you sing it. In Gita, Krishna talks about his Mahimas. He says. 'Among the Vedas, I am the Sama Veda', so this illustrates how important this is. Keno Upanishad is part of the Sama Veda.”  “It is so important that, three thousand years ago or so, it asked the question - 'Who are you?' Normally, when we have a fight, we ask that question - 'Who are you? Why are you fighting? Who do you think you ?' But here, somebody asked that question 'Who are you?' Keneshitam patati preshitam manaha Kenaha pranaha prathamaha praithi yukthaha Keneshitaam vaachamimaam vadanti Chakshuhu shrotram ka u devo yunikta “Who is it that gives the first impulse to the mind to think? It did not say what? It said who? See the difference. It's not as if an image is there, it's this: Who is it that gives the first impression to the mind, the first impulse to the thought? Who is it that gives the first impulse to prana to begin its movement? Who is it that finds meaning for words at the beginning of all speech?”  “When the eye says it sees, the ear says it hears, which is the deva that is actually hearing? Of course, the process of trying to define that, they talk of something, which the Upanishads describe asThat which cannot be put into words. First, to ask who, then to answer by saying Shrotrasya shrotram manaso mano Yadvacho ha vacham sa u pranasya pranaha Chaksushcha chakshur athimuchya dheeraha Pretyasmaallokadaamrutha bhavanti “It's like saying it is eye of the eye and the ear of the ear. That doesn't make us understand, so whatever Upanishads I have studied is not through scholarship but by sitting on the banks of the Ganga and Yamuna and listening. I did not study it. There's a lot of difference when someone who knows talks and someone who reads talks. So, it has become indelibly impressed in my head.” “So, this question of who, people mistake it. I am completely following the teachings of Babaji. We like to think that as soon as this question is asked, we come up with an answer because we have read so much. We say it's the Atman that sits, it is the Atman that thinks. We maybe right but who knows what the Atman is. I think one has to go a little bit more carefully about this. First, find out who you are, as you are, now.” “Many times, we have weaknesses and we cover it up by saying we are the atman. That's there but one needs a great deal of purification. For purifying, we need to know where the defects are and to know the defects, we have to look at ourselves carefully. So, self-study doesn't mean I say that I know I am the Atman - it is to look at yourself carefully. Self-study means, to look at myself - what are my characteristics, where do I stand, how do I react with people. It is very easy to sit in a cave and meditate and say that I am free of anger and jealousy. In the cave, there is nobody to get angry with, no one to be jealous about. Only when we exit the cave and come into the society, we can find out who we actually are.” “When somebody calls me a wise man, I may be very happy. When somebody calls me a fool, what is the reaction, what happens? This self-study is the meaning of saying Who Am I? It is the study of this particular movement. Unless I find that, I cannot find That essentially. So, if we carefully look at ourselves, from the time we are born to the time we die, we are faced with so many reactions, so many relationships in this world. We cannot run away, if we run away, we will be faced with the same relationship there also. There is no way, no escape.” “So, in this relationship, we have to study ourselves carefully with the understanding that to touch the ultimate Who, the mind has to become free of selfishness, of self-centeredness. It is the most important thing to understand. One can say I am the Brahman and still be very selfish. The criteria that Babaji said to me, which I understand now; but in those days I used to quarrel, not quarrel but raise objections that appear very stupid now.” “The thing is, it is beautifully described in the Gita. One is, the three qualities that Krishna describes when Arjuna asks him about the best of yogis. If you don't want to attribute it to Krishna, it is okay, we can say it was Veda Vyasa. In the question asked, the teacher - because in the Gita, Krishna is considered to be the teacher and not the one with the flute or the Gopikas. So, he is in the role of a Guru. The question asked is; who, according to you in Bhakti Yoga, is the best of Yogis and the greatest of Bhaktas?” “One is the controls of senses Samyam indriyam gramam, sarvatra sama buddhayah, te prapnuvanti maam eva, sarva bhuta hite ratah. So, to get there, to get a picture of who I am, the first step is to get a control over your senses. Nowadays, there are a lot of new age teachings which say that you need not control, you indulge. That is also Tantra. Don't think that if you become a Sanyasin or a celibate, you can control your senses. Even if you lead a married life, you can control your senses. Control your senses - not abstain.” “You should look at all the sense organs, all the pancha-indryias, as one. They are not different. When you get angry or when you get delighted, the feeling comes in this area (points towards the stomach), it is roughly the same area. So, can we monitor that and instead of allowing the senses, can we control them? Ashwamedha is not killing the horse, senses are the horses, is it possible to reign in the horses? For that, a simple life is required. Unfortunately, we are so surrounded by so many distractions that make us lose our control.” “Second, sarvatra sama buddhayah…Why am I saying all of this? Because, this is the way one can reach the ultimate understanding of who you are. This is with what we started. In Brahma vidya, they don't tell you the exact practical steps you have to take, you have to learn them from a Guru, you need a deep understanding of it, as it is. Now, Sarvatra sama budhaya means to be able to keep your mind tranquil in the midst of all circumstances. This has to be practiced, don't wait for the day when this will become possible, it is not like that, you have to practice. Even for that, Karma is required, you cannot sit just like that, you have to work, even meditation is a karma, it is an act. You can't say it is not.” “So, deliberately keep the mind quiet - because, ultimately, how does it matter what other people say if you know where you stand. That means tulya-ninda-stutir mauni santusto yena kenacit  aniketah sthira-matir bhaktiman me priyo narah “Somebody praises you, somebody curses you, don't get affected. Suppose, I say to you that you are a fool and you don't know English, does it matter? You might think it's 'phool' - flower.  So, it's the language that has created the problem because you have loaded it with meaning, the philosophy nama-rupa. So, if you can stay calm and quiet in the midst of all circumstances, I am not saying you should not discuss something, but deep down, if there is quietude and if a person becomes a master in that; in heat or cold, in sadness or happiness, if the mind can be kept balanced, one becomes a sthitha-pragnya. In that state of calmness, you know who you actually are. Not somebody, but who you actually are.” “And, third, which is so important, Sarva Bhuta Hite Rataha...- to think of the welfare of all living beings. People come and ask me if they should be a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian. Deep down in your mind if you feel that you can live without killing a fellow living being, then adopt it, don't ask me. Even if a religion says it is so, it doesn't matter, it is a fact. So, Sarva Bhuta Hite Rataha.., have the welfare of all living beings in your heart. Living beings also include human beings, please. Some people feed sugar to their ants but scheme how to pull somebody down. That is not ahimsa.”  “So, if one can follow these three statutes and the mind settles down, then what happens is your ego normally what do we think - that we are the greatest; there is another kind of ego which says 'I am totally thoughtless' so if that too is cut off, then ahamkara goes; then the inner being is also the outer being as described in the Upanishad ‘Isha vasyam idam sarvam Yat kincha jagatyam jagat “Everything moves in the world, there is nothing that does not move. I think in Basavanna’s philosophy also, the movement is called 'Jangama'. This 'Jagat' (world) is called 'jagat' because it is 'Jagatyam', because it is moving. So, when you understand this, then you will find the center, which is absolutely still. Like the eye of the storm, which is absolutely silent.”  “So, one has to work on understanding oneself which is very important, serving others is another important factor, sticking to the truth is perhaps more important than sitting and closing your eyes. I am not saying that one should not do that. Who knows what you are thinking? Nobody knows. So, this is what I wanted to tell you today. That the truth is such, people look at images and forget the facts, the essence.” “Just now I was reading some of the teachings of Basavanna; they are very simple and he says, don't steal –‘ma gridhah kasya sviddhanam’.- the wealth is everybody's, who can claim it? Don't kill, don't lie, don't praise yourself, don't blame others, don't be angry and don't show intolerance to others. So, this has to be practiced. You cannot expect that it will happen to us. It has to be consciously practiced. There is a theory that says that everything will happen, there is instantaneous Moksha, it doesn't happen like that, one has to work hard. There is no such instant lightning that hits you; you have to work hard. And a certain amount of discipline is very necessary.” “Little bit earlier, I was reading an interesting book. I wish you all read it. Belagere Krishna Shastri has written a book on somebody called Mukundooru Swamiji, a very interesting book. He explains things so well that you are delighted to read it. Babaji was more sober, not like this man. But still. Just now I read a story of how the saint stopped someone from stealing. Apparently, there was a thief in a village whose habit was to steal. So, he would steal whatever was possible. The saint said that it is not right to steal, whatever there is, it belongs to Him. But the thief said, it is in my nature to steal. So, the holy man said that you try not to steal. But the thief could not resist the temptation to steal and that night he stole many things.” “Finally, he came to Swami and said, ‘Guru, I want to stop but I cannot’. So, the Swami said ‘Okay - from now on don't tell any lies, be truthful’. The thief agreed. But his habit of stealing did not end. But, whenever he stole something and someone came and asked him, he would say yes and give back their things. So, finally, there was no point to it and he stopped. Teachers instruct people in different ways, there is no standard rule.” “If you have read my autobiography, you will know I was so fond of masala dosas. One day, I was sitting in Arundhati cave and meditating and Babaji told me to fix my attention on Bhru-madhya (the forehead). I was sitting there and the only thing I could see was masala dosas. Babaji came up to me, taps me and says, 'Has your bhru-madhya become the shape of a masala dosa?'. I said, 'Babaji, sorry I did not know you knew this'. Babaji said to me that I know this and many more things than you know. So, then there are two ways of sorting it out. I thought he would put a hand on my head, and say 'go', and from then on it would be gone. But he did not do that, he took me to Madras Cafe and fed me masala dosa and that’s how the craving went. Not that I don't eat masala dosas now but that craving has gone, that desire is not there so much. This is all that I wanted to say today; based on this if there is anything you want to know, please ask and you need not be afraid that I will scold or anything.” “But, sometimes, one has to scold. Once upon a time Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa went to Bairagis - Vaishnava sadhus - and he was already a very famous person. He used to go there suddenly, without announcing. He used to call his nephew Hriday, put a white cloth on himself and sit in the audience. Everything was going on fine. Suddenly, one poor young man went up and said something to Babaji. Babaji flared up, he said ‘You rascal, for doing this, you will go to hell a hundred times, Vaikuntha is out of bounds for you’ and so on. When Sri Ramakrishna heard this, he could not bear this, he threw down the white cloth and stood up and said, ‘Who are you and how can you say who will go to Vaikunta and who will not?’ There was a commotion and finally people told the Bairagi that this is the priest from Dakshineswar, and Babaji apologised. So, if I say something and you can't bear it, please stand up and tell everybody. Sometimes, one has to be a little hard otherwise people will take us for a ride.” “As I have always told you, for me the Guru is Maheshwarnath Babaji, so for you too, the Guru is Maheshwarnath Babaji. I am your friend. I will be with you, I will do whatever, I will listen to whatever you have to say, I don't mind. You don't have to give me any special place for this. If we remain as friends and you speak the truth, that is enough.” Following this, there was an interactive session. Some of the Q&A is described below: Q. It is the problem of the language and language is loaded with meaning and this language, we have been used to it for millennia. Now, somebody says something to me, how can I be equanimous? A. In this particular context, please note that it cannot be generalised, you must understand that since this word has been used constantly, how does it matter? Babaji used to tell me; some Natha pantis used to come and discuss and they used to call you 'moorakh' (a fool), if you tried to discuss with them. Babaji used to tell me, don't get upset, go and look at the mirror, you may be a fool. Who knows? Maybe you are a fool. Take it that way.  When somebody says something, don't allow the loaded meaning to influence your mind. Before you speak also, one principle which is apt is to find out what you are saying before you are saying, who am I going to say this to - that is also very important. A mother's child has died and we know that it is a natural thing but we won't go and tell her that death is a natural part of life because that is not the appropriate time to do so. What can you do, you can only sympathise and cry with her and share her pain, that way her mind will be settled. If this much is followed daily, half our problems will not be there. This is very simple. Q. While the Indriyas also help us to find out about the world outside, maybe they are also covering up the reality of the objects, the actuality? A. It is true and you have to watch carefully. The Indriyas can show you many things but they can also be very wrong. Every day we see the sunrise and every evening, we see the sunset, but is that so? If seeing is believing, that is true. But even a high school child knows that it is not so. It is the Earth that moves. So, we can't entirely trust the Indriyas. When you are a young man, you may see someone and think of her as very beautiful, but in your old age, you may think of her as not beautiful anymore. It is you who has changed. You can give the best food to somebody but if he has jaundice, there will be nothing.You cannot feel it because your Indriyias are limited. Q. If you do some sadhana and then after some time there is a break or you go down, what you have done, will the merits remain? A. According to Babaji and according to my understanding and according to Gita, any good deed you have done, any Sadhana you have done, they are never washed away. It is like a bank account, it is always there. If it ends at square one, you can start at square two. The important thing is that you restart and not stop. This comes as answer to Arjuna when he says 'I am not able to control my mind, I am not able to advance in the world, I am not able to advance in spirituality, will I be caught in between?', and the answer is 'you have done good deeds and if you are a spiritual practitioner and your aim is finding the Truth, then in the next birth, you will be born under such circumstances that what you have left incomplete will be completed. All circumstances will be provided for you.' Such a person is called 'Yoga Bhrasta'. It is said that such a person will either be born in a wealthy family where he will not have to worry and can pursue his spiritual goals or he will be born in a family of wise men and saints so that from childhood he will be guided towards completing his journey.Personally, I don't think this is theory. It is my understanding that these things can happen, that you have left something halfway and circumstances are provided for you to complete the remaining part. Om Shanti Shanti Shanti!” After this, Shivacharya Mahaswamiji spoke and his Satsangs are such that every few minutes, people would break into laughter. He started thus,  “So he (Sri M) was talking about anger and I recollected what Basavanna said of anger, 'Why do you get angry at people who are angry with you? Why do you react violently with people who act violently with you? What is it that you got and what is it that they lost? When you get angry and react violently, you will lose your temper.” Giving an example using fire, he said –“When there is a fire in your own house, it will first reduce your own house into ashes before reducing the house of your neighbour into ashes. When you are angry, you think you are retorting at the other person but you are the loser. This is the Vachana of Basavanna in this regard.” “When someone tells you, you are so and so, you get very agitated. Basavanna says that if someone says ill of you behind your back, you know why? If you give something to somebody who is celebrating his or her birthday, they will be happy. If some person is talking ill of you, they are giving something to you and it is free, you have not given him anything. And he takes pleasure in it. You are not going to lose anything, so be happy.” “Regarding the practice by householder and the practice by celibates, the practice is in the mind. Allama Prabhu says, 'What is the use of shaving off your head? If a Swamiji has taken sanyasa, do you think the cat has also taken sanyasa?' It may look that the cat is doing meditation but the moment it sees a rat, it pounces.”  “So, again Allama Prabhu says on the Indriyas, this body is like a cart and the wheels are the legs, the cart is driven by one man. Not one person but five persons drive this human body. When one person drives the cart, it is okay when five persons drive the cart, then the axle collapses. So, you have to be very careful while driving the cart.” “I was reminded of a wonderful episode in maybe the Chandogya Upanishad. Once, gods, demons, and human beings went to the creator and asked him for some advice. When gods asked him, he said 'da'. When demons went and asked him, he said 'da'. When humans went and asked him, he said 'da'. Later on, he called them individually and asked what they understood. The gods said that we are vagabonds, we do not have control over our sense organs, by 'da' you meant 'damyata' - control yourself. Then the demons went privately and he asked, what did you understand? They said, you told us you are very cruel. By 'da' we understood 'dayatva' - compassion, develop that quality. When human beings went and were asked, what did you understand by 'da', they said that we are very selfish, 'da' means 'dana' - give to people.” “The problem lies with the mind and not with the sense organs. A knife, in the hands of a surgeon can save a life; in the hands of a dacoit, it takes a life. So, we cannot blame the knife as such. So, we have to tame our mind. Make the mind behave, as you want. The mind should not control you. You should control the mind. That comes from Sadhana”. “Who is a karma yogi? Karma yogi is not the one who gives up action but does the action without attaching oneself to the outcome of the action. Many people have completely misunderstood the meaning of this. It does not mean, that you should not care for the result, nobody will act without looking at the fruit, and there is nothing wrong with that. By doing this, what am I going to get? There is nothing wrong in that. But, don't be tempted or instigated by the fruits to act. The fruit should not be the criteria for the action.”“The problem is with the mind. Everybody is behind wealth and money. There is nothing wrong with that. An anonymous poet writes, 'we squander health in search of wealth, we scheme, toil and save, then we squander wealth in search of health and all that we get is a grave'. These are the four aims of life - dharma, artha, kama and moksha. Artha and Kama, they are the mundane values. Dharma and Moksha are the spiritual values. There is nothing wrong with acquiring money, wealth and such. Till the last moment of your life, you must acquire wisdom. But don't forget to do your Dharma. With this, if you practice, a lot of problems you can deal with.”  “People are very egoistic. You know after marriage, many people come to me. I tell them just two things to remember. If you are wrong, accept it but if you are right, keep your mouth shut. The second one is very difficult.”  “Once, there was a very famous sculptor. He had a roaring business. Once an astrologer came to him to place an order. After coming to know he was an astrologer, he could not resist and stretched his hand for a reading. The astrologer said, I am sorry to tell you that in one month you are going to die. The sculptor was perplexed, he asked the astrologer, is there any way to get over this hurdle? The astrologer said, it is easy, you create replicas of your own self, they should look very similar to you, you create some ten to fifteen of them and you stand between those statues. The Yamadoota who comes on a buffalo is an idiot, when he comes he will go back. So, day and night, he started preparing his own statues. On the fiftieth day, the yamadoota came and was confused. He looked around but could not find the sculptor. He was confused and went back. The sculptor went to the astrologer and thanked him saying I will complete your order without payment. Meanwhile the Yamadoota went to Yama and Yama asked him, why did you not bring me the sculptor? The Yamadoota told him why. Yama laughed, called him closer and whispered in his ear what to do next time.” “The astrologer warned the sculptor that the Yamadoota will come again in fifteen days and if you do the same thing, you will live. The sculptor was confident that he had passed the first time. He made a few more statues and when Yamadoota came, he went and stood among the statues. The Yamadoota did not go around looking for the sculptor. He went to the first statue, looked at it admiringly and asked, who is the sculptor who made such a beautiful statue? The sculptor forgot his act and said that he made it. The Yamadoota said, I have been looking for you, come. Saying that, he took him away. This is the ego.”“When one builds a house, you know what one says - 'it is the grace of God'. He does not say, I earned so much money and then I built it. There is humbleness and I find that humbleness in Sri M. Do you know that this afternoon, I was deeply touched. He recollected the words of his master Babaji, it seems his Guru had advised him that whenever you see a sanyasi, you must give him dakshina and Sri M-ji offered me some dakshina. It was a dilemma for me, what I should do? Sri M insisted. After I accepted, I asked him, could I contribute to the mission, and he said no. He said that I am giving you this from my personal money and I was in a dilemma, if I don't accept it, I would be hurting his feeling. I did not feel like accepting but I have accepted it. You know what I decided, I thought of Basavanna. Basavanna says that ‘I don't want to become a golden pinnacle on God’s Head; I want to be His shoes so that the devotees wear it’ - keeping this Vachana in mind, I have decided to offer a pair of shoes to every one of you. I will be very happy that I am aiding your walk.” “With these few words I would like to end. When there is cyclone in Kerala, there is rain here. I have been very happy that there have been rains and you have stayed on for two days. I would like it that you continue to stay here but you have a long way to go and I pray to God to keep your good health to tread the long path to Srinagar. Though I may not be physically with you, my thoughts are always with you. God Bless!” After the Satsang, there was dinner and everyone turned in for the night. The night saw frequent power outages but as it had cooled down considerably after the rains, the yatris slept peacefully.

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