Day 122| 13 May 2015 | Yamakanamaradi to Sankeshwar| The Walk of Hope 2015-16

  • 'Thamaso ma jyothirgamaya', from darkness to light, Sankeshwar, Karnataka
  • Day 122 was cloudy and the Padayatris were spared of the summer sun, Yamakanamaradi, Belgavi, Karnataka
  • Reception at U-Khanapur, Belgavi, Karnataka
  • 'An affectionate tweak', near Kadalagi, Belgavi, Karnataka
  • One of the many uphill climbs encountered in Belgavi district, Belgavi, Karnataka)
  • The Padayatra has this group of college girls intrigued! Gottur, Belgavi, Karnataka
  • Relaxed, yet curious, this elderly gentleman watches the Padayatra, Belgavi, Karnataka)
  • Sri M plays an improvised string instrument during the break!, Chikkalgud, Belgavi, Karnataka
  • For a bumper tomato crop, Gottur, Belgavi, Karnataka
  • Young, sweet and pious, what a combo, Gottur, Belgavi, Karnataka
  • Along sugarcane fields, where our sweet nothings come from, Chikkalgud, Belgavi, Karnataka
  • Sri M in private convervation with Sri Sivalingeswara Mahaswami of Nidasoshi Mutt, Sankeshwar, Belgavi, Karnataka
  • Packed house at the SJPN Trust, Nidasoshi Mutt, Belgavi, Karnataka
  • 14.Sri-Sivalingeswara-Mahaswami-felicitates-Sir,-Nidasoshi-Mutt,-Belgavi,-Karnataka)
  • Sri M in Satsang at the SJPN auditorium, Nidasoshi Mutt, Belgavi, Karnataka
The day’s walk from Yamakanamaradi to Sankeshwar started around 5.30 am. The padayatris were transported to the starting point in time. Yesterday’s showers had chilledthe atmosphere and the roads appeared as if washed clean. For most of the day, the sun hid behind the clouds and there was a gentle breeze. However, the sun caught up with the yatris after breakfast and it became fairly sweltering and humid.

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Breakfast today was arranged at a petrol pump on the wayside and was a relatively long affair, lasting about 45 minutes. It was intentionally delayed so as to reach the destination at a particular time. The destination, being a college,would not have preferred the padayatra to reach early, as that would have disturbed the students. Today, the yatris had Idli, Vada and Black Forest cake. As always, around 20 minutes were spent on breakfast, the rest of the time was spent in doing pretty much nothing and savoring every moment of it. After breakfast, the padayatris slowed down. The slow walk on this stretch was really worth it as the landscape was a sight for sore eyes. Today’s yatra passed through the ‘Vegetable Belt’ of Belagavi. A farmer claimed today that they can grow everything but salt on their lands. These large stretches of land are worked on by thousands of small-scale farmers and they grow all kinds of vegetables and fruits. The new crop was planted as recently as in March or April, so the plants looked very fresh—their tender green shoots swaying with the gentle breeze. Many fields interspersed with narrow pathways provided such sights. The padayatra has been progressing comparatively slowly—usually it covers about four kilometers in an hour. However, these days they cover only about 3 to 3.5 kms an hour as Sri M’s left knee is giving him some trouble that he says will be fine in a few days. The number of padayatris has dropped and the group is nearing its original core strength of 100 or 120. A few new walkers have joined, who intend to stay on until Kashmir. It is nice to have new people join the core group of walkers. This group is more of a family by now and new members are welcomed in different ways by different people. The new entrants are told to be prepared to repeat their life stories over and over again for a week or two until everyone else gets to know them. The padayatra left Yamakanamaradi and reached Sankeshwar, covering a total of 18 kilometers today. The walk was rather slow today and it took 6 hours and 30 minutes to cover the distance. The Walk of Hope touched many villages of Ullagadi, Chikkalgud, Vallabhgad and Honilahalli. All except Sankeshwar were small settlements. Small groups of about 30, 40 and 50 each greeted Sri M and the yatris at various places on the way. The family members of padayatris are like vital supply lines to a battlefront. In remote places such as the ones being passed through at present it is difficult to get the kind of goods one gets in the cities. Padayatris keep a track of whose family members are to come next and place their requests, which are almost always fulfilled. It is also worth a mention that over the period, the need for these goods has diminished and the seasoned walkers have learnt to do with less. This is also a hidden boon because one’s life is simplified, one’s bag gets lighter, one requires less, one depends more on others and, in turn, one helps others more. To think of it, not many things are required to lead a simple life; a seasoned padayatri can trudge along any road with a light bag. On reaching Honilahalli, the yatris were transported to HIT College, Nidasoshi. They were allotted rooms with men assigned two or three sharing a room, while women were assigned to another block in the girl’s hostel. The Hirasugar Institute of Technology—the halting point for the day—was established in 1996 in Nidasoshi, a town close to Sankeshwar. It provides quality technical education in various disciplines of engineering to students from nearby towns and villages. It is a fully residential institution, located in a quiet, green and pollution-free, rural setting. The evening program was held at SJPN Polytechnic College auditorium. His Holiness Shri Nijalingeshwar Mahaswamiji, the ninth pontiff of Shri Siddaa Sansthana Math, founded this college in 1984. Shri Jagadguru Pancham Nijalingeshwar Trust, the overseeing organization, was founded with the sole purpose of imparting education to the needy. Eminent personalities from industry and academic field have come together for this purpose. The yatris assembled in a hall at the college, not more than hundred and fifty meters away. By the time the Satsang started, there were about 300 or 350 people in the hall, mostly students. Some teachers and locals were also there. The Pontiff of the Nidasoshi Math, Sri Shivalingeshwar Swamiji joined Sri M before the Satsang and later felicitated him. Following the Satsang, Sri M called some padayatris on stage, to relate their experiences. Sri M’s then addressed the gathering thus: “Om Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah Sarve Santu Nir-Aamayaah Sarve Bhadraanni Pashyantu Maa Kashcid-Duhkha-Bhaag-Bhavet Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih Om, May All become Happy, May All be Free from Illness. May All See what is Auspicious, May no one Suffer. Om Peace, Peace, Peace. Loka samasta suiknoh bhavantu – May the entire universe be happy” “Sri Siddhalingeshwar Mahaswamiji, Dr. Ajai Singh, Smt.Tara Ajai Singh, principal of the institution, staff, students and all my good friends who are walking with me.” “I understand Kannada very well but it is difficult for me to speak. I will speak in English. I have adopted the policy of speaking in Hindi when I go to villages and in English when I go to schools and colleges because I know they can understand English.” “I am not surprised that Swamiji summed up the essence of what the Walk is about in 10 minutes. I will give you a few details. This is called the Walk of Hope. 'Bharavaseya Nadige' in Kannada, 'Asha Yatra' in Hindi and 'Pratyasayude Padayatra' in Malayalam. Now, this padayatra started from Kanyakumari on 12th of January 2015. We will probably reach Srinagar in April, 2016 and we have done 2000 and more kilometers till now and there is still another 5000 kilometers to go.” “We are very thankful to Swamiji, the Matha and the institution. They have welcomed us and are looking after us for no reason other than love and compassion. This walk is not merely a physical walk from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. People have done marathons; they have also walked for peace and harmony. Adi Shankaracharya was the first to undertake such a walk; many others have walked, including Swami Vivekananda. As Swamiji correctly said, when Swami Vivekananda was walking in India, he was not known,it was only when he went to Chicago and he came back that people said 'Oh! Swami Vivekananda!'” “In our country, there is an attitude problem in recognizing good work; it has to be recognized in the West before it’s accepted here. (I know that I am speaking in English but I am sorry, there is no way out). Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa told somebody to read the Bhagavat Gita and that person did not read the Gita. After a couple of years, the same person who refused to read the Gita, told someone else (in the presence of Sri Ramakrishna) that Gita is a very good book and to read it. Sri Ramakrishna laughed and said that some Englishman must have told him that Gita is a good book. This is the situation here.” “So, Swami Vivekananda wandered the length and breadth of India - north, south, east and west. His idea was that deep inside every human being, there is a spark of the divine. It does not matter whether one was born in this family or that family, whether one was rich or poor, whether one was a known person or an unknown person, whether one is a beggar on the street or a king, inside every living being there is a spark of the divine.” “Swami Vivekananda said that the whole purpose of life—the aim of life—is to manifest that divinity through work, through worship and through devotion. Since I am addressing students, I say that education is not about putting information inside you; it is the unfolding from within. You can search for information on Google, why do you have to carry it? But compassion, love, affection, concern for others, can't be taken from any computer. And if that doesn't unfold within you, if the lotus of understanding does not blossom, all your education is useless. We have nuclear weapons;imagine that the person behind the button has no compassion and goodness in his heart, can you imagine what will happen in this world?” “So, primarily, character must be developed. Yes, you must study; you can do good things with your technology. But to do good things with your technology, you need a good heart. This walk is not merely walking from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. Of course, walking at my age is not easy. There are others also who are my age, or nearing my age who are walking with us. In fact, there is someone who is much older than me who is walking with us. But, what is most important is that this is an inner journey.” “Moving from place to place, we come across problems, we come across anger. Question is how to move about without disagreement, without getting upset, and to stay together with love and affection. There are about a hundred people staying with us on regular basis, sometimes there are even more. I tell them that if this small group cannot stay together, there is no hope for Walk of Hope either.” “As Swamiji said, this is the problem we are facing today. Each person individually wants to become big; nobody is concerned about totality of human existence. The major culprit is our ego. People say that without competition, you cannot do anything, but that is not true. If you want to be excellent in your field, don't worry about competition. It doesn't matter.” “One of the greatest incurable diseases that people have, like baldness, is jealousy. Actually, there is no logic in jealousy. If somebody has a good shirt and I am jealous of it, what am I jealous for? He has a good shirt, I should be happy that he has a good shirt. Instead, I am jealous.” “The hope lies in you, the young people, who are going to be the future citizens of this country. We have become grey-haired. Please know that character building is the most important part of your life. I am not saying that you should not study; it is good to study. I will tell you my own example. When I was 19 years old, on finishing my degree, I went to the Himalayas. I did not run away because I was going to fail in the exams. That is one kind of ‘sanyasa’ - when one is about to fail in the exams, one runs away from home. I ran away because something else was more important for me than collecting a degree. So, I am not saying that you should run away from a degree college. I am saying that you should learn from experience. And that experience is going to help you when you come to the fore, when youbecome responsible citizens of the country.” “Look at all the responsible citizens of the country. Tell me, which international school did Dr. Kalam go to? He studied under the streetlights in Rameswaram. So what matters is character, persistence and one-pointedness. In Ashtanga yoga, this is called 'dharana'. It is not about closing your eyes and sitting - that is one part of Dharana and Dhyana. In daily life, Dharana and Dhayana is to do whatever you are doing with great attention and not to be distracted. In this Walk we are doing, we want that to happen inside us, so that when we come back from Srinagar, we will be different people. Unless we change, we cannot influence others. To steal everyday and to ask other people not to steal, this is hypocrisy. If, on the other hand, if I become the change, then people who come in contact with me will change even without any words spoken to them.” “As Swamiji said, it is better to walk than to talk. St. Francis of Assisi was, one day, walking with his disciples and his disciples asked him to give them a talk. He said that after the walk, he would give a talk. When the walk was over, everybody sat down, and his disciples asked him for the talk he had promised. He said my walk is my talk. So, through this walk,this is what we are trying i.e., express words that we can live together”. “In this country, in Bharat, it has been well known for thousands of years that there is only one truth and that you can approach it in many ways. The Parsis have come, the Jews have come, the Muslims have come, the Christians have come, the Buddhists were born here, and everyone has been welcomed with open arms and made part of this organic system called Bharat.” “As the Vedas say, Loka samasta sukinoh bhavantu- let the whole world be happy. This message has more value when it comes from this country because here it has been known for thousands of years; but people forget it. The aim of this yatra is to remind people that we are human beings, first and foremost. You may belong to some ideology, you may belong to some religion, and you may even belong to a group that does not believe in God, like Marxism. Can we remain aware of the fact that we are human beings, and not let anyone else make us think otherwise?” “Let not anyone persuade us to think that we are not humans. We are all humans because we are born from the wombs of mothers. We are born from the womb of a mother and a mother knows the pain of childbirth, which is why a mother is accorded so much respect in this country. When it was about to be forgotten in the 12th century, a great person bought back the equality of mankind. You know we are talking about Basavanna.I was not exposed to his teachings before I started walking in Karnataka. It so happens that, in most places in Karnataka, we stayed in Mathas. There, I met the heads of the Mathas and talked to them, discussed with them, and found out that what we are trying to do is what was attempted before in the 12'th century, though in a different way.” “So, just remember that we are human beings,do not allow anybody to persuade you that we are different from anybody. Many times we forget this, we forget this in anger, we forget this saying we belong to such and such group or sect, and sometimes we do that for our selfish purposes. Just to be aware of this, we are walking from Kanyakumari to Kashmir for this purpose of uniting mankind.” “We are walking because it is only when we walk that we meet people and can convince them that it is true. In fact, a common man, generally, has no problem. It is we, the educated ones, who have so many problems. I have seen this. We are going through the villages wherethey have been told that someone who is doing a good thing for the nation, who is a spiritual person,is coming and they are all waiting to welcome us. On the other hand, when we go to an intellectual person, he is doubtful. See the difference! The belief has gone from the intellectuals! It should have increased with education but, with education, it has diminished.” “Our aim is to bring these thoughts together and make sure that future citizens believe in Oneness. I am telling the girls especially because they have great influence on the men.So if they change, everybody will change. A mother influences the child more than the father. So, this is the aim of the walk.” “It started many years ago, when I was 20 years old. Maheswarnath Babaji, belonging to Nath Sampradaya, sitting in Uttarakashi, said to me:“If you sit in a cave and meditate for 24 hours a day for thirty years and you cannot hear the cry of a hungry child when you come out of a cave, all your 30 years of Sadhana is useless. Then, he also said that one day I would have to walk from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. Of course, I said ‘no’ first, but it has happened now.” “I was trying to postpone it, but then I thought how would this body be able to walk after 66, and keep my promise to the Master. And, I really appreciate the fact that there are at least 70 to 80 people who are walking with me from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. They are people belonging to different states in India, belonging to different categories, belonging to different professions and also some from abroad,who are simply keeping the faith that I am doing the right thing. They think that this is the right thing to do and they are ready to walk with me. That itself is a wonderful thing and I thank them”. “Now, we started at Kanyakumari, the point that the highway department calls the 'Zero Point'. When we started from the Zero Point, I told my friends that this is where we would start from with our egos reduced to zero. If you start with thinking that you know everything, you know nothing. If you start like zeros, there is a chance that, as we go along, you may understand the Supreme, which is a larger zero, Shunya.” “The Ultimate Reality can be called the Supreme Brahman or Sat-Chit-Ananda or Shivam. It can also be called Shunya. When the Buddhists say Shunya, it does not mean ‘nothing’; it is what the words cannot describe. The Upanishads too say it is ‘That’which the words cannot describe. If one is with the small shunya, one cannot get in touch with the larger Shunya. So, while we are walking, we should not think that we are doing anything. This body is obeying an inspired command from the Supreme Being, and this, I think, is in the minds and hearts of the people who are walking.” “So, I have this to say - that when you walk, let us not think that we are doing a big thing. We are doing something that has to be done. As Swamiji said that every now and then when situation is bad, somebody inspires us to move forward. For me, Maheshwarnath Babaji is the inspiration. As we go forward, we see that there are so many great saints that have lived and worked in this great nation. So follow their principles and live your life.” “I have been reading the Vachanas of Basvanna and what a simple thing they are - do not steal, do not kill and so on. The most important thing is to consider yourself as the lowest of the low, the smallest of the small. It is actually so. In this vast universe, we are not even as large as the speck of dust. And this speck of dust thinks it is the world. Why does it think so? This is so because inside every speck there is the infinite which we think is ‘this’ (me) but in reality it is ‘That’ (infinite). With this understanding, keep your ego trimmed. If you have learnt a lot, do not think that you are the biggest; there are greater persons in the world, the list is unending. Keep your minds open and work without causing injury to other living beings. Sarva Bhuta hiteh ratah - the welfare of all living beings in your heart.” “You all cannot obviously walk with us but please walk with us in your mind. Think that you are also walking from Kanyakumari to Kashmir and that, one day, you will also reach the destination—which is to bring people together and to do good to others. In this journey, keep your purpose clear, it is very important; otherwise, you will be too caught up in the name and fame that comes our way. Remember, we are not after name and fame.” “Before I end, I want to tell you a little story, which I have become very attached to and I keep telling it everywhere. We went to Sirigere Math for a Satsang. Swamiji said he also wants to come and he joined us. He said he wanted to sit in front but finally, we persuaded him to sit next to me. After the Satsang, I asked him if he wanted to say anything and among many things he said, he told a lovely story. I am sure he must have sourced it from the Lingayat tradition or it may be from another source, I don't know. The story is that there was a sculptor and he used to make beautiful statues. One day, an astrologer came to him for some work. The astrologer looked into the sculptor’s palm and told him that in three weeks he was going to die.” “The sculptor asked if there was any way out, ‘since you are a great astrologer’. The astrologer said that since you are a great sculptor, you make sculptures that look exactly like you and place yourself between them on the day the yama dhoota comes. Your sculptures are so beautiful that nobody will know. The astrologer also said the yama dhoota won't know because he comes on a buffalo and he is a little stupid. So, he went and stood in the middle of all the statues and the yama dhoota came, looked around, and could not find the real one. He went back empty-handed. Yama asked, what happened, why was the sculptor not there with him?” “The yama dhoota told him what had happened. Yama said, ‘Foolish fellow that you are, after three weeks his time is coming again, so you go and bring him’. The yama dhoota asked, but how? Yama said, you go there and he will do the same thing again.So simply praise his work saying these sculptures are so beautiful and so on. So the yama dhoota went and said that these sculptures are so beautiful; I wonder who made them. The sculptor could not hold out any longer, he said that it is him who made them. The yama dhoota said immediately—then come, let's go.” “This is the problem, the ‘I’. If we can get rid of this I, many things are possible in this world. Usually, we think otherwise. The less you think of this‘I’, the more you are able to understand. So, please remember this, young people.” “Remember that humility is important. Here sits the former DGP of Karnataka, can you see him? He is sitting here, walking with us, so much so that some policemen can't recognize him because of the beard. There are other talented people walking with us. Tara Ajai Singh is there, she is the retired additional chief secretary, and she is walking from Kanyakumari. Why - why are they doing this? Without humility, this is not possible. I have a very famous friend from the cinema world even though I don't see movies. He is very famous. He is from Tamil Nadu. Can anybody guess his name? Rajnikanth! He is such a humble person. It is humility that takes a person to the top. So, please join us in this Walk of Hope, atleast in your minds and we can bring back the country’s lost glory. I think the government can do a lot but it is the public that forms the country so we should also appreciate that and do what is best for us.” “Thank you very much!” “Om Shanti Shanti Shanti!” “The padayatris walked back to their rooms and rested after dinner. Tomorrow, the luggage does not have to be loaded onto the bus and that means the padayatris get to rest a little bit more than usual.

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  1. Well Dressed Beggar says:

    Jai Gurudeva… Jai Maheshwarnath… Jai Kriya Babaji…Jai Sarva Santajana…

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