Day 111 | 2 May 2015 | Varur to Hubli | The Walk of Hope 2015-16

  • Floral welcome to Sri M as the Padayatra enters Hubli City, Dharwad, Karnataka
  • A bright, cheery cymbalist leads the Padayatra entering Hubli, Dharwad, Karnataka
  • Sri M offers worship at the Fatah Shah Dargah, Hubli, Dharwad, Karnataka
  • Sri M performs Arathi at the Samadhi of Siddharoodha Swami at the Mutt on arrival, Hubli, Dharwad Karnataka
  • Sri M greets Jain Monks who stopped to meet the Padayatra, Dharwad, Karnataka
  • A Jain monk makes his way to his destination, 'walking' as is his usual-practice, on the crack of dawn, Dharwad, Karnataka
  • 'No, we are not the Argentinian Soccer team in training !', Hubli, Dharwad, Karnataka
  • The Karnataka Police has left a mark of lasting love on the Padayatra, right through our journey in the state,Dharwad, Karnataka
  • Sri Arvind Bellada, MLA Hubli, joins the Padayatra, Hubli, Dharwad, Karnataka
  • Sri M being received with-traditional devotional music and Arathi, Hubli,-Dharwad, Karnataka
  • Sri M greeted outside the Darga of Fatah Shah, Hubli, Dharwad, Karnataka
  • Where faiths co-exist ever so peacefully, Hubli, Dharwad, Karnataka
  • Sri M just outside the Samadhi of Siddharoodha Swami, Hubli, Dharwad, Karnataka
The padayatra started again at 5.30 am to walk to Hubli, a distance of 17 kilometers. Prior to this, they were transported from the Siddharoodha Swamy Math to the halting point of the previous day to start the walk. Being a long weekend with May Day and also being in close vicinity to the twin cities of Hubli and Dharwad, many people joined the walk today, their numbers almost doubling the participation. The padayatra reached the day's stop, Sri Siddharoodha Swamy Math by 11.00 am after a few stops, with Sri M and the banner holders setting a fast pace. Mornings are a good time to cover longer distances as the sun is gentler and the breeze is cooler.

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Today, a Satsangi treated the walkers to authentic North Karnataka cuisine. The Jolada Rotti is an unleavened Indian bread made out of jowar. The name translates into 'sorghum bread', and it is also called Bhakri – being the staple food in these parts also stretching to many parts of Maharashtra. It was served with pulse curries such as Jhunka, Enne Gai (brinjal in a spicy gravy) and assorted chutneys. The view during breakfast was something one can rarely ever see in the city - faraway lonesome trees in vast open fields, countless blades of tall grass quietly rustling in the gentle breeze, the sky coloured with the fresh hues of the early morning, a pleasant breeze and the sleepy morning sun as accompaniment. One of the walkers celebrated his birthday today and decided to treat the group to Dharwad pedas, a milk-based sweet and a local delicacy. This stretch saw a number of Jain monks passing by and many of them stopped to interact with Sri M and the walkers. Walking on, in a village called Gabbur, Sri M was greeted by locals, numbering about 40. They welcomed Sri M and performed a pada puja (ceremonial washing of feet) and soon after, the walkers entered Hubli where they were welcomed by a group of 80 people who joined the walk. Sri M was accorded a welcome by ladies performing Arathi and traditional devotional singing troupes with small boys playing on the cymbals. They visited the Hazrat Fateshahwali Dargah – dating back 400 years. Sri M and the walkers offered their prayers here and then walked back to Sri Siddharoodha Swamy Math well before noon. On arrival, Sri M performed arathi at the Samadhi of Sri Siddharoodha. Hubli, officially renamed to its original Hubballi (meaning a flower creeper in Kannada) is a large agglomerate city with a rich history. The city has had the influence of the British, Shivaji, the Mughals, Hyder Ali, the Peshwas and others at one point or the other in history. The twin cities of Hubli and Dharwad, collectively referred to as “Hubli-Dharwad”,is the second-largest city in Karnataka after Bengaluru. Crops like cotton, chilly and peanuts are grown aplenty in the surrounding rural agricultural areas, and Hubli is a major trading center for these commodities. It is also an important city for the Indian Railways, as it is the headquarters for South Western Railway Zone and the Hubli Railway Division. Hubli also houses the largest number of government offices outside Bangalore. It is the commercial hub of Karnataka, with its wide cluster of industries and has a large number of small and medium industries. The city of Hubballi has been a tinderbox of communal clashes in the last 10 or 15 years with many clashes between the communities; so the padayatra has a special significance to the city.Reaching Sri Siddharoodha Swamy Math, the padayatris rested till the evening and gathered for bhajans and satsang in the Matha grounds. The evening program was graced by dignitaries such as Sri Basavalinga Swami of Hubli’s Sri Rudrakshimath, Sri Tajuddin Khadri, a respected peera from the Islam community, Father Dr. Thomas of Basel Mission, Swamiji of Hulkoppa – Basavaraja Swamigalu, Gyani Major Singh from the Hubli Gurudwara, Sri Raghuvirananda Swamiji of the Ramakrishna – Vivekananda ashrama and Sri Legdup from Sakya Monastery. After bhajans and the welcome address, Sri M addressed the gathering of more than a 1000 people. “Akhaṇḍa-maṇḍalākāram vyāptam yena carācaram| Tatpadam darśitam yena tasmai śrī guravenamah|| (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.” Referring to himself being addressed as Pujya, Sri M started his address by saying: “It is not 'pujya' Sri M, it is only M. I do not speak Kannada though I understand it. I find it difficult to speak the language. Someone suggested that I speak in English and Nayana Kashyap, who translated my autobiography to Kannada, will translate.” “First of all, Namaskaaras to everybody and also Salaam Alaikum. The Walk of Hope, started on the 12thof January which happens to be the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, is now moving throughKarnataka and we are hoping that it will reach Srinagar in April of 2016, God willing. As my friend said, Insha-allah. The essence of the walk has already been discussed, especially through Swamiji's songs which he sang beautifully and 'Om Tat Sat Om', which kind of sums up the walk.” “I don't want to talk too much because someone has already expressed that we talk too much, but we don't walk. The walk is more important than the talk. The talk can be actually put in very simple words. St. Francis of Assisi was walking one day along with his disciples. One of them asked him, ‘When are you going to give us a few words of wisdom?’ St Francis replied ‘After the walk’. Since he was kind and a very austere person, no one questioned him and he kept walking. After the walk he sat down and the disciple again asked him, ‘you said you would talk, why are you not talking?’. He said, ‘my walk is my talk.’” “This walk speaks for itself. The film gives you details about it, the literature also give you details about it. We have done more than 1700 kilometers. As of now, everything is okay. We will be covering more than 7000 kilometers by April of 2016. Question is, why did we start from Kanyakumari?” “Kanyakumari is the sangama of three great oceans. And also, it is a very special place for me. Once upon a time, there was nothing but a rock across the sea there. There was a great being, Swami Vivekananda, who also walked all over India - north, south, east and west. Unlike us mad people who are walking continuously, he stopped at some place, stayed there for some time, talked to people and moved on, but he walked. He swam across the sea to the rock - the story is he took his clothes, tied it around his head and swam across. Now this swimming, in this tumultuous ocean of prejudices and insecurities, was very symbolic. And, when he reached the rock, he sat there and meditated. It was from there that he got the direction what to do next.” “I am not talking about myself but all those who are walking with me. We thought that by starting from Kanyakumari, we will be able to do something for the nation. Its’ great tradition said, more than three thousand years ago, Ekam Sat. Viprah bahudaa vadanti - the truth is one but the wise may call it by different names. Sometimes, we forget this. Either in revenge or anger or misguidance, we forget the fact that we are basically human and we, as 'manushya', are one.” “Why do people call me M? This is because I call myself a 'manushya', a human being. So, I thought 'M' is a better name. People call me Sri M but I call myself M. Even the 'Sri' is also not necessary.” “So, this movement is a group movement consisting of me, the people who are walking with me and all of you here. I am sure you would not have come here unless your hearts were with us. That itself is a good sign for Walk of Hope and the hope being fulfilled.” “This ancient thought, the action which I am performing, does not come from a compulsion to do something connected with outward society. It is a manifestation of my inner experience. I don't want to say this but I cannot stop from saying that my own inner experience says there is only ONE. You may call it 'Khuda' - which means 'khud aane waali cheez' - the thing that comes of itself. If you translated it into Sanskrit, it would be 'Swayambhu'. Or Allah. You can call it God - the Generator, Operator and Destroyer or you can call it the Supreme Brahman or Shivam, whose ultimate definition is 'Shunya'. Shunya here does not mean nothing.” “We started our walk from Kanyakumari at the place called Zero Point. It is the land’s end, there is only the sea after that. I told my friends that we should have the ego on zero terms when we start the walk.From the Buddhist standpoint, the ego does not exist, but suppose it does, if we can keep it zero and completely empty, then it is unending actually. How do we draw the shunya or a zero? We start with a dot and draw a circle and you don't know where it started and where it ended. This eternal movement is called 'jagatyam' –that which moves is called this 'jagat'.” “We have to sit and understand this that in every human being there is a spark of the divine. With the permission of Father, may I quote from St. Paul, “Know ye not that ye are the children of God”. I quote from the Haddis - ‘Man arafa nafsahu faqad arafa Rabbahu’ -If you can understand yourself, you understand the Lord. Once this is understood, we see ourselves as sparks of the same divinity that exists everywhere. ‘‘Isha Vasyam idam sarvam, yat kincha jagatyam jagat….”. - there is no place where IT is not.” “We are all One, our heart is the center through which the divine operates. If we understand this, we find there is no difference among human beings - whatever religion they belong to, whatever ideologies they have. I would also include those who don't believe in God. There are many religions who don't have an Ishwara - Jainism, Buddhism and such - but nobody contends with the fact that you have to purify your mind; that you have to be compassionate; that you have to love others; that you have to be kind - kindness is Dharma.” “I was reading the Vachanas the other day. It says there is no Dharma greater than kindness. When anyone starts reading the Quran, it starts with ‘Rehman ul Rahim…’ the compassionate, the merciful.’ Now if a spark of the divine is in all of us, the compassion and mercy should also come from us. The more we go towards it, the closer we are moving towards the Supreme Being. When Arjuna asked Krishna in Bhagavat Gita’s Bhakti Yoga chapter, ‘Who is the greatest of all the yogis, who is the greatest of bhaktas?’ Krishna said a few things but the most important thing that strikes us is this: Sarva bhuta hiteh ratah - One who has the welfare of all living beings in his heart”. “Now, thinking on these matters and having experienced the fact that there is a spark of divinity in all human beings, we are being ‘down to earth’ i.e, putting our feet down on the earth and moving with the common people to remind them that they are human beings. Even if someone tries to say otherwise, tell them that you are human beings. Because you are all born from the wombs of a mother and finally, we all go into this earth. So, therefore, this is basically a way of moving around and telling people to remember that we are human beings, and we must purify your life, move forward, do good to others, be compassionate. Sometimes, we forget this.” “All religions are basically meant to convince us finally that others are not different from us; they are the same. This sameness is what we are trying to cultivate on this walk. We talk to people; we eat with them; we sit with people; we sleep in their houses. Tomorrow, we are moving from Hubli. I think it is a wonderful thing to do, this moving.” “I was checking this term the other day. To sit in one place is 'sthavara' and to move is called 'jangama'. So, we should not forget this and we should keep moving. This movement is Walk of Hope and this movement applies to all as a common factor.” “This is one thing I like about Islam (referring to the dignitary who left just before the evening namaaz). As soon as the call came, he went for prayers, leaving behind this function and all; this discipline is amazing. Very often, you read so many scriptures, you do so many things and the discipline gets a bit messed up. Sometimes, you miss out the discipline in compassion for others, that's okay, I understand.” “So, there are different ways of looking at religions. Some are strict and some are not. This country has a Vedic culture where everything is very open. Any rivulet that flows goes into this ocean and there is this ultimate ocean of Supreme Reality. Now, this is the most important thing that I am trying to talk to people and keep reminding them. I keep reminding people that “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God”. It was not said that people of this religion or that religion shall be called the children of God. It was said that “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.” “Last, I want to tell you that this message has nothing to do with my ego. The earlier we get rid of it, the easier and better the work will be. You know, saints have done what thousands of men cannot do in a thousand days - the saints have done it in one day. Why? Since their center is dissolved, the work is done by the Almighty, not by them.” “When Swami Vivekananda was returning from his last visit to Amarnath, only Sister Nivedita was with him. He was in a different mood and he kept saying, 'Shivohum, Shivohum, Shivohum'. Sister Nivedita got very worried because she had heard his Guru saying that when Swami Vivekananda found out who he was, he would leave his body. So, she got very concerned.” “So to divert him, she asked him, ‘There are so many mathas to look after and there are so many responsibilities’. He replied –‘You think I did it? I did nothing. You see that Kali in Dakshineswar, she was riding on my shoulders, all that was done by her, not by me.’ So, the more we reduce ourselves, the better. We think we expand, we become big, that is not true.” “I want to wind up with a small story, which I am so fond of that I keep repeating it everywhere. A wonderful person who heads the Matha in Sirigere told this to me. In Sirigere, there is a matha called the Taralabalu Math. We visited and stayed there. I liked the place, so I went back and stayed there the second night also. While having a Satsang, Swamiji said ‘I will also come’. We persuaded him to sit not in front of me but with me. While talking, he told a lovely story - he told many stories - but this story is very interesting. I want to conclude with this. If we can think about it, we can settle all our differences and perhaps we can also beat death when it comes.” “He said, once upon a time there was a sculptor who used to make beautiful sculptures. One day, he went to a temple to make a sculpture. The priest of the temple was a great astrologer and he said, the sculptures are all right, but within one month, you are going to die. What will you do about it? The sculptor said, ‘I don't know what to do about it, can you tell me what to do?’ The astrologer said ‘you are such a good sculptor, go to your studio and make you own sculptures so that when the yamadhoota comes (he rides a buffalo so he is not that smart), he won't know which one is the real one; you stand in the middle and the yamadhoota won't know which one’. So it happened. The yamadhoota came and looked around, all images looked the same. So, he went back confused”. “Yama asked him where the sculptor was and the yamadhoota said,’ I could not find him, they all looked the same’. Yama said ‘What a fool you are; anyway after a month his time comes again, this time you bring him. The yamadhoota asked him how. Yama said, ‘You go there and look at all the sculptures, don't try to find out which one is him. Just praise the sculptures’. So the yama-doota went there and said ‘Oh! What a beautiful sculpture! I wonder who made them’. The sculptor could not control himself and he said,’ I made it.’ The yamadhoota said ‘Your time is up. Lets go!’ “If we can free ourselves of this ego, wherein we keep stressing ‘I am doing, I am walking’, then, we can beat Yama probably. Please remember this, you can do wonderful things without saying 'I' did it. Surrender to the Lord and say, He did it or She did it or It did it or whatever. Say, the Lord did it, I didn't do a thing. If you can follow this principle of purifying your mind and keeping it clear and compassionate with full of kindness, then we have succeeded with Walk of Hope here in Hubli itself, even before reaching Srinagar.“ “When we are walking, please walk with us in the mind even if you can’t participate physically. If you can, please walk with us for ten minutes, fifteen minutes or even one day with us. We will consider it as a great support. Participation can be with the heart, participation can be with the feet - either way, it's fine. To the holy men who are sitting here, who are from different Mathas and from different religious places, I would request that you please pray for us and give us your blessings so we can fulfill the hope of Manav Ekta, which is also the aim of Manav Ekta Mission.” “I would like to add just one more thing. Now, in this country, people cut across religious boundaries to accept religious practices. Here, we know that Siddharoodha Swamy was very interested in Sufi teachings. Apart from that, I want to mention a very personal experience. In the Ramakrishna Mission, my diksha guru was Swami Tapasyananda, who was also the Vice President of the Ramakrishna Mission. I knew him since childhood when he was the President of Trivandrum Ramakrishna Mission. I decided that I will take initiation only from him. Those days, he could not initiate due to certain rules in the Matha. Later on, the President was also allowed to initiate people. One day, he said come to the Math and I was initiated when both of us were in Chennai.” “Why I say this is because one day,I went to the Mylapore Math in Chennai and he asked me, ‘Do you do your prayer five times a day?’ I said, ‘Swamiji Maharaj, I have forgotten it and I don't do it but I am meditating.’ He said, ‘Why I am asking is because I do it and I get a lot of pleasure from it.’ You see! Nobody will expect a monk from Ramakrishna Order to do something like this. This is what I wanted to say.” “Thank you very much!” “Om Shanti Shanti Shanti!

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