Day 114 | 5 May 2015 | Dharwad to Belur| The Walk of Hope 2015-16

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  • Cry not baby, this is to beat the heat', wayside scene, Dharwad, Karnataka
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  • Fitting that Bapu, the Great Padayatri is emblazoned on this walker's Shirt, Dharwad, Karnataka
  • Waiting to garland Sri M on the Dharwad Belgaum Road, Karnataka
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  • The traditional & the modern, the flux that is India, Dharwad, Karnataka
  • Sri M being garlanded at Mummigatti, Dharwad, Karnataka
  • Curiosity and glee in equal measure - near Belur, Dharwad, Karnataka
  • At a wayside shrine near Belur, Dharwad, Karnataka
  • Sri M being received at halting point, Adept Management Institute, Belur, Dharwad, Karnataka
The Walk started in a beautiful setting with a bright full moon adorning the dark sky. Little did the padayatris know what was to come. They got into The Walk of Hope bus and were happy to proceed with the yatra after a break but it was not to be so. The bus got stuck in soft mud and would not come out. The intention was to transport the group in a bus for a short distance of 5 kilometers; instead, they travelled in the cars of local volunteers, the luggage van and the ambulance. The padayatris, in smaller groups of fives, tens and fifteens, got into these vehicles and left for the starting point. The bus was later pulled up with the help of a crane and arrived at the camping point in working condition, before nightfall.

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The early hours saw the padayatris walking through a sleepy Dharwad city. Dharwad city is what Bangalore may have been like a decade or two ago. Like in many cities earlier, the roads are lined with shady trees and sunlight filtered through them gently; the birds chirped happily in the morning mist and the open grounds were full of green grass. The group was out of the city in an hour or so and stopped for breakfast at around 8.00 am. The walk was quiet today and they passed through only two villages. Located not far from the city, these areas were populated and many villagers greeted and met Sri M and the padayatris along the way. For centuries, Dharwad acted as a gateway between Malenaadu (mountain areas) and the Bayalu Seeme (plains) and it became a resting place for travellers. The name is derived from the words 'Dwarawata', 'Dwara' meaning "door" and 'wata' or 'wada' meaning "town". Dharwad is famous for its contributions to Indian classical music and to Kannada literature. It is home to prestigious educational institutions as well as the main campus of Karnataka University. The Hubli-Dharwad region has contributed some of the greatest exponents of Hindustani classical music including Sawai Gandharva, Mallikarjun Mansur, Bhimsen Joshi, Basavaraj Rajaguru, Kumar Gandharva and Gangubai Hangal. The Walk of Hope walked to Belur and covered some 18 kilometers in 6 hours. The padayatra passed through the villages of Mammagatti and Kumbapur. With the rising temperatures, even a relatively short walk of 18 kilometers felt much longer and tiring. Walking on, the padayatra reached Belur at 11.30 am and stopped at Adept Institute of Management Studies. Adept Institute of Management Studies and Research was started by the Adept Foundation with the aim of providing quality education to students of North Karnataka. The Foundation has other institutions too that excel in providing education. After some refreshments, the yatris walked about a hundred meters to the Centre for Entrepreneurship Development of Karnataka (CEDOK) building, the resting point. Here the group was given spacious rooms with 6 to 8 people sharing a room. They gathered again in the evening at the open-air amphitheater for the evening program. It was here that the second surprise of the day awaited the padayatris. Fifteen minutes into the program, it started to rain heavily. It was not just rain alone; it was more of a torrential hailstorm. Hailstones, round and as large as pebbles, poured down like water. Winds were strong enough to uproot trees. Loud thunder followed the lightning that lit up the sky every few moments. The padayatris had to retreat indoors, there were about 150 people squeezed into a small room. A handful of volunteers gallantly rescued the equipment from the hailstorm and set it up, in a matter of minutes, in the small room and thus began the Satsang: Sri M adressed the gathering thus, “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.” “First, I must thank our host for allowing us to be here, for looking after us and for making our padayatris comfortable. There is someone here who insists that it should be a question-answer session. My good friend, Anand, is very fond of questions, so he wants everyone to ask questions. Of course, we will discuss questions.” “Before that, let me make it clear that in this inner spiritual journey, the most important thing is experience and for that we have to lead a certain kind of life. Without experience, we cannot answer questions. Without that kind of life we cannot answer questions. Today, you or I may have a set of questions and there would be answers too - theoretical answers to theoretical questions. Then, some more questions will follow. Then again, you will get theoretical answers to theoretical questions. This is an unending cycle that will go on until we descend into the earth and rest in peace. The questions will go on, to be followed by answers till these too rest in peace. Once you go there, there is no way to rise and ask questions. In the Christian burial grounds, they write 'Rest in Peace' - RIP. My Guru Babaji used to say, “Rise if Possible”. Not possible! Only then, the questions cease.” “Till there are questions, it is not possible to answer a final question and remove all questions from somebody's mind. When, in the course of one's spiritual progress, one comes across certain spiritual experiences, it is then that the questions are answered. I am not saying that one should not ask questions. I used to ask my Guru, Maheshwarnath Babaji, many questions. In retrospect, I often wonder what silly questions I asked then. As I moved ahead, I felt that the questions were pretty silly but he answered them. If he didn't answer the questions, he said 'baad mein dekha jayega' - we will see afterwards. Because, he knew that as we move along in this field of spiritual development, the answers often come by themselves. This is one part, secondly, when I answer your questions, it is my answer to your questions and not your answer to your questions. The answer to your questions should come from yourself; my answer to your question would be a second hand answer that you may feel free to accept or reject. When you answer your own question, there is no question of you rejecting your own answer, because it comes from an inner experience.” “If you look at the Bhagavat Gita, it is considered to be a dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna. Gita itself declares 'Srimad Bhagavad Gitasu upanishadsu, Bhramavidyaam yogashastre Sri Krishna Arjuna Samvade;' Samvada literally means a dialogue; it was a dialogue between Arjuna and Sri Krishna. Now, if you read the Gita, in how many places is Arjuna talking? Two places only, when it starts with 'Arjuna uvaacha'. What about other dialogues? These start with 'Sri Bhagavan uvaacha'. Why? Because Krishna declares that you and me (Please, not you and me but Krishna and Arjuna) have passed through many lives and the only difference is that I know and you don't; not that you have not passed. Therefore, when you begin to understand, then the answers to your questions will come.” “I will give you another example. You may ask me how tasty a food item is. There is a food item that people in the southern part of Karnataka like, its called ragi mudde. In Kerala nobody eats it. I have a friend who looks at ragi mudde and expresses disgust. Now, if I try to describe ragi mudde to you, unless you eat it, will you know what it is? I can say it is very tasty. 'Very' means what? I can say it will be nice if you put ghee in it. But, if you have not eaten it or tasted it, you may not know what I am trying to say. You may outright reject it because you are not accustomed to it.” “Okay, I was laying the foundation till now.” (Going through a container with paper slips)“There must be at least a hundred questions here. You must give me the liberty to do a lucky dip and pull out a few. The other reason for selection would be the subject that we are dealing with; I hope the questions are about That and not about politics, which I don't want to answer. This subject, which we are dealing with, is understood when one understands the limits of one's intellectual achievements.” “However much we may think, the mind is limited and cannot think beyond a certain point. This observation is not anything new; this is old wine in new bottle. The Upanishads, which are supposed to be the height of intellectual enquiry into the Supreme, proclaim thus: yanmanasa na manute yenAhurmano matam. ‘That’ which the mind cannot reach. The mind here includes your mind, the brain, your thoughts, your intellect, everything. There cannot be any mind without thoughts. Therefore, when the mind understands its limitations, when the intellect understands its limitations, when it understands that this is not within the circuit of this cycle, then only the actual answer occurs.” “Sorry, this is a question and answer session and I am going on like it is a monologue, but we have to set a base. Otherwise, like a good friend of mine said, ‘They keep on arguing and discussing on and on for no reason whatsoever’. Usually, I think some people ask questions because at home they are not allowed to speak. That is very easy to recognize. You ask them to speak and they come to the mike and ask their questions, which usually takes five to ten minutes, after which they say 'thank you very much' and they are very happy. I am not saying that you should not ask questions but please understand what I am saying.” “Now, the other thing is that all the knowledge that we have has, what each one of us call, our rational framework. Each one of us has a rational framework and we do not move an inch here or there from it, since it is very difficult to do that. Not only for you, I am also talking about myself, it is difficult!” “A small child has its own rational framework. He has studied many books and by the time he reaches high school, he thinks he knows everything. He has a certain framework, an intellectual framework born of the knowledge that he has acquired up to high school. When he grows up and goes to college, his framework changes. Why? It is because his inputs have increased. What he thought to be true, he has found not to be true. And what he thought not to be true, he has, maybe, found true. Why? It is because the data has increased.” “It goes on progressively. He goes into Newtonian physics where everything is laid out perfectly - 'every action has an equal and opposite reaction' and so on. Then, he graduates into quantum physics, i.e., if he chooses to, then all his firm foundations collapse. Why, because a very important theory of quantum physics is the Principle of Uncertainty; one really doesn't know if something is a particle or a wave, nobody is sure of the basic building block. Now, all his sureties are gone and he says maybe, may not be. The schoolboy who has not touched this subject is very sure of what he knows. As you move forward, you are less sure. When you move even further, you are not at all sure. When you are not at all sure, you have found it.” “Now, this is because our entire so-called rational framework, which we have, is built on the data that is gathered by the five senses, which are called the pancha indriyas - the five senses. We have no other sense of perception. Do we? We can heighten our seeing with a microscope or a telescope but we don't actually have another instrument within ourselves. So, all the data we gather is based on the five senses - eyes, ears, touch, taste and smell. We have no other sense and based on the inputs and data from the senses, we create a framework.” “Unfortunately, these senses are misleading and sometimes these might be completely wrong, and it is based on these instruments that we base our rational framework. I will give you an example. You may wonder what this has to do with the Walk of Hope. This is the inner Walk of Hope, hoping that we will touch something. Take eyes for example, one of the instruments of perception. Every morning, according to our eyes, the sun rises and according to our eyes, the sun sets. This is what we see with our eyes but even a school boy will tell you that it is not so, the sun neither sets nor rises.” “If seeing is believing, then this must be true, but it is not. Take the example of sound; when you hear a sound, after some time you feel that the sound stops; but the sound does not stop for a long time, it goes on. The frequency of our ear is not able to detect it beyond a certain wavelength; that is all. There is something called the dog whistle, which the dog can hear but I cannot hear. Why? It is because my instrument of sense perception is not built to receive that small sound - sound of that frequency.” “You see? What I am trying to say is that the rational framework that we have is based on this imperfect data. So, the framework has to be imperfect. You can try to make it perfect up to a certain limit but that's about it. Now, Rishis said there are senses of perception other than these five Indriyas. When these are opened, when these are activated, then our perceptions change. When our perceptions change, then our rational framework also changes.Then, we have access to a multi-dimensional world, and not merely a three dimensional world. This capacity to activate this instrument of perception in us might be called 'jnana drishti'. I am deliberately not calling it the 'third eye' because this expression has become fashionable these days. The other day, somebody said that 'his third eye had opened in two weeks'. I said thank you very much, no problem.” “So, when these hidden instruments of perception, which are within us, are activated then we begin to see things which are normally not seen, we begin to experience things which are normally not experienced in this three dimensional world. It is difficult to fit those experiences into the framework of three-dimensional worlds; that problem is also there. In the Upanishads, the Rishi himself says, Na vidhyo na vijaaneemo yathaitad anushipyat – We do not have the knowledge (intelligence) to teach this. I don't know how to explain this thing to you, I find this very difficult. If a Rishi can say that, what about fellows like us?” “The most important thing is that you cannot buy or purchase it. You cannot purchase that experience, however much money you are ready to pay, because it does not depend on that. It depends on how much you are able to sacrifice yourself in the journey and not on how much you can pay; for instance, a great scientist does it. Forget about religion and so on, take the example of Karl Marx, he was a great political scientist, there is no doubt about that. He may or may not have been right, I agree, but he was a great scientist. He was so interested in his research, which led to his writing the ‘Das Kapital’. But when he died, there was no money to buy a coffin for him.” “So, they didn't have money to buy coffin for him. What I am saying is that the man was so intent on his research that he had no time for anything or to work for his own satisfaction. This is what we see in the case of all spiritual people also; they are so involved in understanding the truth, they are so absorbed. There are no quick solutions, there are no short cuts; there are no quick answers to questions.” “Next important thing is that the question should be allowed to stay in your mind and not seek an immediate answer, because an immediate answer may invariably be wrong. If you allow the question to settle in your mind, the right answer will come at the right time. This is very important, especially in this field. This is not like the Pythagoras theorem, which you can construct immediately. This is something, which is somewhat like quantum physics. It is not a linear logic; it is what in modern terms is called fuzzy logic.” “Suppose something is in this direction, where this person is sitting, and I have to go towards it, then I have to move from here till there. What if something is here all the time? Where do I move? The Upanishads declare the Truth to be Tat dure, tadantike tad antarasya sarvasya - it is far yet so near. Now, that cannot be a physical object in which case either it would be here or it would be there, it couldn’t be at all places at the same time. So, how do we find out or look at something which is here and now and everywhere and not somewhere you have to go. When all movements cease, when all grasping ceases, when the mind ceases, you will probably get the answer to your questions. Having said this, now I am going to do a lucky draw and pick up some questions.” Following this, Sri M randomly picked up questions from a container, read the questions and answered them. Excerpts are as follows: Q. Where do thoughts come from? Are these always our thoughts? A. Believe me that in this world where we live, many of our thoughts are not our own. They are picked up from different places. We are so influenced from outside that we think they are ours but they are not ours. Let me give you a simple example. Today we live in a world where we are bombarded by advertisements. If you watch TV, and you are watching news, even in between the news, the advertisements are there. Suppose, everyday you see a little girl dancing and a particular soap powder being advertised, and the tune gets into your head - 'Washing powder Nirma'. After a while what happens is that when you go to the supermarket, you may pick up Nirma. We really don't live and think for ourselves but do it through pressures, through advertisements, through society. The moment you begin to think for yourself, not influenced by anything, you will find out the source of your thoughts, where they come from. I don't have to theoretically answer this. Q. How can countries like China be made to shun expansionism, it’s influence in Pakistan, North Korea, etc. A. Honestly, I really don't know. I think the seeds of living together must be sown in every country, not only here. I basically believe in the Vedic dictum, Sarve bhavantu sukinaha... It is not only for us but for the entire world. And it is Loka samasta sukinoh bhavanti.. So, it is necessary to do it but the practicalities of doing it, I have not been able to work out. Why? First we have to look at the place we are living in, whether in our small group, in our own little family, we understand this dictum of Vasudeva Kutumbakam – the world is one family. Unless we are able to embrace each other as sparks of the divine in our own house and look at the ideas of expansionism and power in our own little group, how are we going to solve China's problem or Pakistan's problem. So, we have to start from here in our own little house. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa loved to tell this story. He used to say that God laughs only twice. Once, when brothers go into the field with their measuring tape and measure it and say that this land is yours and this land is mine, God has a good laugh. This laughter echoes in a beautiful letter written by a Red Indian chief, whose name was Seattle, after whose name one of the American cities is named. When the missionaries went there, they saw the vast lands and asked him to sell the lands to them. He said ‘I cannot sell this land because this land does not belong to me’. He said that the land belongs to the Universe, ‘We are only grazing our cattle here. So, if you want to graze your cattle here, please take it’. The other time when God has a good laugh, according to Sri Ramakrishna, is when the doctor says, ‘Definitely you are not going to die’. These are two things that we can definitely not say. What I am saying is that let us solve our problems first before we go and solve the problems of China and Pakistan. Perhaps the fragrance of That may waft into our neighbouring countries. Nobody is bad. Don't think that people are bad. But, sometimes they act in different ways. Even we, are not completely good. When we become good, we would be able to influence others. There is no other solution. Q. Is Kriya given to everyone? If yes or no, then why? A. Let me make the background clear because in my autobiography you will find that I follow the Nath Parampara. Since my Guru was a disciple of Sri Guru Babaji, the method of meditation he followed was that of Kriya. Now, Kriya is nothing mysterious, it means a technique or a method, thus the Kriya may be of any Parampara and not only of Sri Guru Babaji. Different methods are adopted and suited for different people. We ourselves do not believe that Kriya alone can take one to God, because we don't sell Kriya. If we were to sell kriya then we will have to say that it is the best. We don't! We don't offer it for a fee! For some people, kriya is suitable, for some people kriya may or may not be necessary. I have someone before me, who is a wonderful musician. For her, I don't think, she needs to practice kriya. For her, music is kriya. Babaji used to say that the kriya is a method by which you can fix your attention on the divine. So, if your music can take you there then you don't have to do anything else. I am not saying that kriya is unimportant; it is from my parampara, I will defend it to the best of my capacity, but it is not necessary. What kriya did Mirabai follow, tell me. Nothing! She just prayed and cried and called. On the other hand, what kriya did Ramana Maharishi do? We don't know of any kriya he did. He only centered himself on his true Self and found it. There are different ways to find the truth. It is not always necessary to do kriya. That's why when people suddenly come and ask for kriya, I don't always give them and they think that I am trying to hide it. No, I have to give it if that person needs kriya. If he does not need to take kriya, I direct him to do something else. How do I find out? Only through knowing the person can I know. People just come up to me and ask for kriya, in which case how am I to find out. Then, I say, okay we will see. When you move with a person, you think that maybe kriya is good for that person. It's not that we are discriminating against anyone or anything like that. There may be great saints who do not know anything about Kriya, meaning Babaji's kriya. They might be doing something else. There are other kriyas, there are different kriyas, and there are different ways of reaching divinity. There are different ways of meditating. There is a meditation where you take a linga and look at it, that is also a kriya. Why do I call it a kriya, because it has all the necessities of a kriya. It is because it has a symbol, because it has something to do with breath, that is why it is also called 'prana-linga'. People may not go deep into this perhaps. This has also to do with your inner experience because it has to do with your bhava. So we have no objection in giving Kriya to anybody. The person with a weak digestive system cannot be fed pickles and papads every time. Please remember that nowhere in my book it is suggested that if you have not taken Kriya, you will not advance spiritually. I don't know about others. Q. What is Dharma in Kaliyuga? A. What is the aim of all dharma? Why do we perform any dharma? It could be Satya dharma, Ravana dharma or any other classifications. We perform it for our happiness. The aim of dharma is service. The greatest dharma in any Yuga is service before self, which fortunately also happens to be the motto of Rotary Club. Now, in this climate, it may not be always possible to do service before self. The more percentage of service you are doing, the more you are moving towards dharma. The less percentage you are doing service, the more you are moving away from dharma. This is all we need to look at. I know people who are always thinking about themselves and give no thought about their neighbour. There are people who don't even think about their families, only about themselves. There are rare cases where when one moves out of self-centeredness, then one can perform dharma. Otherwise, whatever you may do, there is self-centeredness. This is my understanding. I maybe wrong, I stand to be corrected but this is what I think. Q. Why are there so many religions on earth? Are they essential for humanity? Are religions man made? Or are these God inspired? A. You see, it is like this. You have food, shelter and clothes and then you have other needs also and one of these needs is spiritual. Normally, our needs are limited to fulfilling our sense organs and desires but there are some people who begin to think that maybe there is something beyond. From that need for spiritual fulfillment arises the need of religion. If you look at the history of religion, you will find that behind every religion there is a founder. Except in what is known as the Hindu system of thought, where there are many founders. But, generally, at-least there will be one founder and that founder is usually the one who has had some mystical experience. He tries to transfer that mystical experience to other people through certain laws and practices. He says that this is my experience and if you want to go there, this is what you should do. This is how religions have come about. Now, depending on geographical locations and the people there, it may change. When Krishna says in Gita,Yada Yada Hi Dharmasya Glanirva Bhavathi Bharatha, Abhyuthanam Adharmaysya Tadatmanam Srijami Aham' - it doesn't mean that he is incarnating differently, it means that whenever the climate is different and whenever a certain section of society needs it, somebody manifests, in some way, with some mystical experience, so that they can be guided. This is how all religions have come to be and all religious movements have come to be. But, what happens is that after some years, the organizations become more rigid than the core. When the organization becomes more rigid than the core, then different religions become isolated from each other. That is the problem. They were all inspired by a spiritual experience but after some time there might only be a few genuine practitioners. The rest, they only follow the rules and regulations put down by the founders, forgetting that these were laid down in a certain geographical situation, for a certain set of people, at a particular time. You can't stretch it forever or you cannot shift it to some other time .When this happens and you say that this is the right thing and you don't want to move out of it, then you get stuck. This is where the problems of religions come from otherwise they were all founded with good intentions. Today, I was discussing the same matter with our hosts. J. Krishnamurti had this wonderful story, which he used to relate. Yesterday, Professor Nagabhushan used another word - Kite. I am not a Kite but I have been close to him and I appreciate some aspects of him but I am not his bhakta. But the story is very interesting. He says that once the devil and his friend went for a walk and the devil picked up something from the grass and kept it in his pocket. So his friend asked him, what did you just pick up? The devil said that he had picked up the Truth. Imagine if Satan picked up the Truth, he is finished because he is the opposite of Truth. His friend said, if you have picked up the Truth you are finished, it is a dangerous thing you have done. So, the devil tapped his friend on his shoulders, smiled and said, don't worry friend, I will organize it. So, even truth, if it is too organized loses its reality. That is the problem. Otherwise, all religions in their own place are quite all right. If you stay for too long, the waters become stagnant and stagnant waters breed mosquitoes. Flowing water doesn’t breed mosquitoes. The nature of this world is to keep moving but we try to freeze it. Jagat is called jagat because it is Jagatyam i.e., in movement. In the words of another great philosopher, it is 'jangama', one that moves. Instead of flowing, we try to freeze. We try to even make flowing things 'sthavara’ (static); this is impossible. The whole crazy thing about photography is that life is moving but we like to freeze it, we like to say it was so; but it is not so, it has moved on. I am not saying this because I am tired of photography, it is not so. We try to freeze everything; it is not only about photography. When there are precious moments, we like to freeze them, because we don't know what is coming next. Sri M concluded the hour-long Satsang saying. “There were some more questions and, if you will allow me, I will stop. It has started raining, so please enjoy the rains. I have not given any special accord to any questions; instead I picked up questions randomly and answered the questions. If there are questions that have not been answered, it’s because those had not been picked up in lucky dip. These can be answered if you were to mail these to me. I have a personal Email ID which nobody else has access to, but it is not there on the website. You don't have to worry about privacy and please be a little patient because so many mails come. Sometimes people find that their questions were answered after they sent the questions and before I had even replied. But, please find out; the proof of the pudding is in eating it. Thank you very much.” “Om Shanti Shanti Shanti!” After Satsang, the padayatris walked backed to their rooms in the pitch-dark, lit up every now and then by a spectacular display of lightning. After dinner, they retired for the night.

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  1. Well Dressed Beggar says:

    Jai Gurudeva… Jai Kriya Babaji…

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