Day 142 | 2 June 2015 | Mangalwedhe to Manchur | The Walk of Hope 2015-16

  • Day 142 promised to be a tough one with clear sky and a scorching sun, Mangalvedha, Solapur, Maharashtra
  • The morning sun peeps through a canopy of trees, Mangalvedha, Solapur, Maharashtra
  • A very warm reception during the tea break at Brahmapuri, Solapur, Maharashtra
  • 4.Walk-of-hope
  • These precocious teens have to be chastised for riding a man size bike, Manchur, Solapur, Maharashtra
  • The bridge over Bheema River, Manchur, Solapur, Maharashtra
  • 7.Walk-of-Hope
  • A tank full of water, a rather unusual sight in these areas, Mohol, Solapur, Maharashtra
  • The centuries old Sri Siddheswara Temple on the banks of river Bheema, Manchur, Solapur, Maharashtra
  • The courtyard of the Sri Siddheswara temple, Manchur, Solapur, Maharashtra
  • A warm welcome to Sri M at the temple premises, Manchur, Solapur, Maharashtra
  • 13.Walk-of-hope-maharashtra
  • Sri M offers worship to Lord Siddheswara, Manchur, Solapur, Maharashtra
  • Sri M gazes at the Bheema river and the temple of Lord Siva in the middle, Manchur, Solapur, Maharashtra
  • Sri M in an intimate Satsang with the Padayatris under the extended arms of a Banyan tree, Siddheswar temple, Manchur, Solapur, Maharashtra
  • Traditional welcome to Sri M just before public Satsang in the premises of the Siddheswar temple, Manchur, Solapur, Maharashtra
  • Sri M in Satsang which was preceded by some mellifluous Bhajans, Siddheswar Temple, Manchur, Solapur, Maharashtra
Walk of Hope left Mangalwedhe for Manchur, leaving as usual at 5.30 am.The padayatra is now crossing the land through which Bhima River and its tributaries flow. Where there is water, there is abundant greenery. Sugarcane farms dominate these areas. Some farms growing fruits, particularly grapes, can be seen now and then. These areas are rich in livestock— more cows, goats and buffalos are spotted than people.

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In contrast, where there is a scarcity of water, there is desolation. The land is barren and devoid of trees, people and associated life. There are strong winds and one can see that the lands are windswept, made evident by gullies on sand dunes. There are a few trees but far too few for shade. The yatris took a small break whenever they could find some shade. They found it hard to believe that these dry lands could be brimming with water when they saw some flash flood warning signs! Cycles and bullock carts still seem to be the mode of transportation for many people here, overcrowded jeeps serve as short-distance public transport and old buses for longer distances. A vacant building close to a farm was the breakfast spot today. After breakfast, the heat forced the yatris to take breaks every now and then. Today, the usual searing and dry weather was replaced by heat and humidity. If one had a choice, a padayatri would prefer dry heat to humidity, it is easier to walk without breaking into profuse sweat. The walk covered over 19 kms and it took more than 6 hours to complete. Though the padayatra did not pass any villages today, they crossed an occasional hamlet here and there surrounded by farms. The cross-roads sported a few shops. As they approached the Bhima River, it got greener and cooler. There was water in the river, but the level was fairly low. One could stand in knee deep water in the middle of the river. In monsoon, the depth is at least 20 to 30 feet. The river feeds surrounding areas and it is visibly prosperous. The walk stopped a few kilometres outside Manchur and then proceeded to the Ravinar Math from there. The Ravinar Math of Manchur served as the resting place. The heat in the afternoon makes it very difficult to rest. The tin roof over the hall where a few men stayed did not do much to alleviate the exhaustion that comes from walking in the scorching sun. There was no breeze, and the fan blew heat wave after heat wave in the room. With temperatures touching 44 degrees outside, the best one could hope for was a fitful sleep. Many padayatris were able to sneak in a dip in the river. After dinner, a king cobra was spotted crossing the path to the toilets and that was enough deterrent not to visit that area in the night. Post the disturbed sleep after lunch and a cup of tea, Sri M and many padayatris visited the Siddheswara Temple. It is an ancient temple that overlooks the BhimaRiver. Giant steps lead down to the temple. The Shiva Linga here is a 'swambhu-linga'; which means it is natural and not carved out by man. There is another Shiva Linga in the river which is said to have been visible at some point and subsequently a small complex came around it. The main temple complex is in a courtyard. The courtyard has two equally ancient and massive Peepal trees. As a result, it was much cooler inside the temple than outside. Nobody seemed to know exactly how old the temple is. Some said that it was 3000 years old, some said 5000; the temple priest even went as far as 10000 years. What was certain is that seems to be ancient. The stone inner sanctum was as smooth as silk, evidence of countless devotees having offered worship. The areas around the temple are said to have the interred remains of countless yogis and realised beings. The unusually quiet spot is said to have been visited by innumerable saints, most of whom were not well-known. This area has connections to the great saints such as Swami Samarth of Akalkot and Basaveshwara, the founder of Lingayats. The surrounding areas have many temples and a few of them are in ruins. The whole ambience of the temple and the surrounding area was fascinating. This temple is a hidden gem and gives an inkling of what genuinely old temples were. Sri M and the padayatris offered prayers at the temple and gathered in the open courtyard for a private Satsang for a short while. They then retraced their steps and went back to the Math. About 150 people had gathered for the public Satsang at the Math. After a session of bhajans, Sri M began with the opening chants: “Akhaṇḍa-maṇḍalākāramvyāptamyenacarācaram Tatpadamdarśitamyenatasmaiśrīguravenamah (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 GururDevoMaheshwara GururSakshatParabrahmaTasmai Shree GuruveyNamaha 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. Om SarveBhavantuSukhinah SarveSantuNir-Aamayaah SarveBhadraanniPashyantu MaaKashcid-Duhkha-Bhaag-Bhavet Om ShaantihShaantihShaantih 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. Lokasamastasukinohbhavantu May the entire universe be happy” “My Namaskars to everyone. I do not know Marathi so I will speak in Hindi. I come from the southern part of India so I know the languages they speak there. There is a little bit of Sanskrit in them so it is okay. Marathi also has Sanskrit and Hindi, so it works.” “I will not speak on the Walk so much because we are in temple premises. Instead, we will do a spiritual Satsang. After the bhajans we had just now, I do not feel like speaking. The wave of devotion comes to my heart, and I feel like remaining quiet in that. But they have told me to speak, so I am speaking.” “We have come here from Kanyakumari, having walked about 2380 kilometres. We will walk 5000 kilometres more and we will reach Srinagar in April of 2016. With God's grace, it will happen. As the Muslims say, 'Insha Allah', it will work out.” “This yatra is an external yatra. What is needed also is an internal yatra. Now we are sitting here at this Siddheswara Temple, where there are so many samadhis. Maharashtra is the land of saints. Many saints have come here and many have gone from here. We are now going to the samadhi of Swami Samarth of Akalkot from Solapur.” “This internal yatra— many people think that it happens by reading a book, others think that it happens by practice of yoga, some think that it happens by learning Vedanta. All this is fine. But it happens only when there is Bhakti - devotion. Otherwise, we would have said 'ahambrahmasmi' but we cannot be Brahman. How can it be that someone will think that he is so-and-so and he becomes that? It cannot be. Devotion is needed.” “What happens before devotion? The heart begins to melt. Whenever there is compassion in the heart, when you see the pain and suffering of others, it is the beginning of devotion. If there are tears in someone's eyes when the name of God is taken, that is devotion. Someone came to me and said that I work in the police department and the nature of my work is such that I have to be harsh. But when I take the name of God or listen to devotional songs, tears flow from my eyes, what am I to do? I told him, leave the police job. There is nothing that you get from that job that is as great as this.” “So, let me introduce myself first. Many people call me Sri M. I do not use 'Sri', they call me Sri. I call myself M. It is so because most of all, I consider myself a Manav - a human. I am born and have some experiences, that is secondary. But before that, the first thing is that I am a Manav.” “I consider every person as a Manav. This is also Manav Ekta. They may have different faiths, different religions but they are Manav and they are all humans. For this, the heart of a person has to change. Otherwise, he will say it but it will be for something like gathering votes; after the elections are over, he will forget what he said. There are some that won't forget, there are some good people too.” “The one who, from inner experience, knows that all are one; when he talks to others, they too will know that he is speaking the Truth. That is why I say that bhakti is needed. Now you know what M means. Also, when I was born, my parents named me Mumtaz Ali, that is also M. And thirdly, when I went to Himalayas when I was nineteen, my guru Maheswarnath Babaji, of the Nath Panthis initiated me. Now understand that if I am here if I am doing something, if I am breathing, it is all because of the grace of Maheswarnath Babaji.” “There is nothing here. First, this was emptied. Then, something was put in. It is his prana and nothing else. I do not even say that I am doing this. Something is being done because he is doing it. If he makes me do good things then good will happen, otherwise I will remain quiet. When he initiated me, with great love, he gave me the name of Madhukarnath. With great love and affection, he used to call me Madhu. I have heard no one call 'Madhu' with such love and affection. When he used to call me, I just used to sit and look at him. This is how M came about. Outsiders called me Mister M. Here, they call me Sri M. It is okay if you call me just M.” “When I was with Babaji, I studied Bhagavat Gita and Vedanta as I wandered about with him. He did not even have slippers; he used to walk bare feet. I could not walk bare feet, I needed rubber slippers. He used to walk in front and I used to walk behind. One day, he asked me, what do you consider yourself to be? I said that I consider myself to be your dog. After thinking for a bit, he said, okay but don't wag your tail too much. I said, 'aadesh'. Even now, I do not wag my tail too much.” “When two Nath Panthis meet, they say 'Alak Niranjan'. Then, they say 'Aadesh'. Aadesh means the instruction of the Guru, the aadesh of God, the aadesh of animals and nature all around. When he taught me Bhagavat Gita, he stressed on one thing very much.” “There are eighteen chapters in the Gita, Gita is a dialogue between Arjuna and Lord Krishna. After every chapter, it is written Iti Srimad Bhagavadgeetaasu Upanishatsu Brahmavidyaayaam Yogashaastre Sri Krishna Arjunasamvaade. This is the samvad of Arjuna and Krishna, this is Brahma Vidya, this is Upanishad, and this is Bhagavad Gita. Wherever I go, if people are ready to listen, I speak on twelfth chapter first. Without it, nothing is possible; we can neither go forward nor can we go backward. Bhakti is the most important thing.” “Some people wonder that if bhakti is the most important thing, why is it not written in the first chapter? The first chapter is Arjuna Vishada Yoga, it starts with Arjuna’s suffering, when he is in a state of confusion. Our state is not very different; in one way or other, we are all suffering and confused. So, with Arjuna as a symbol, the Gita starts. After that comes Sankhya Yoga, followed by Karma Yoga.” “Like this, Bhakti Yoga comes in the twelfth chapter. Now, understand this that until ninth chapter, the dialogue between Arjuna and Krishna is straightforward; there is nothing odd about it. Arjuna asks a question and Krishna answers it. Like this, it goes on till ninth chapter. In the tenth chapter, this simple dialogue stops. Suddenly, Krishna says that among the mountains I am Meru; among the achalas, I am the Himalayas; among the Munis, I am Kapila.” “Arjun awonders that till now, He was talking to me like a charioteer would; after all, Krishna was Arjuna's saarathi. Krishna spoke like a friend or as a relative would. Arjuna wondered why Krishna suddenly started speaking like that. From that point onwards, Krishna was starting to break what is known as the common intellect. After this, what happens in eleventh chapter - Vishwa Roopadarshan”. “Then, Arjuna understood that Krishna is not what he appears to be. For him, the logic that two and two equals four broke down. He understood that Krishna cannot be understood by the logical mind. Krishna had to wait till this point to speak on Bhakti Yoga.” “Arjuna asked- some say that those who worship the Supreme as formless are the greatest devotees, others say that those who worship the Supreme with form are the greatest devotees. Who, Krishna, is the greatest and the dearest devotees? Krishna replies that the worship of Supreme as the formless is fine, but that cannot happen for everyone, that is for only some people.” “Why is that? This is so because, to you and me, to us, the name and the form are important. How do I know you? I know you by your name and your form. If the form of everyone was the same, no one could recognise the other. The name and form are associated, one evokes the other. We are attached to the form of our bodies. Some say that they believe in the formless aspect of the Supreme but every morning when they get up, they look at their faces in the mirror, they are so attached to their own forms.This is like learning to swim by jumping in the sea. It cannot happen for everyone. A life belt has to be put on, or one has to learn how to swim in small ponds. So, do not think that it will happen fast. If you consider God with form or without form, both are fine.” “So Krishna continued, I consider the greatest yogi and the one who is closest to me to have three qualities. These three qualities whosoever has, I consider him to be my greatest devotee.” “The first is Samniyamyendriya graamam- the one who has the capacity to control his senses. Now, see the animal has no control. A human is a human because he can control his sense at will. These days, man has become an animal; he has lost all control over his senses.This is the Kali Yuga. The Yogi who is the closest to me is the one who has the capacity to control his senses. If the control is lacking; at least, he is trying to develop his capacity for control.” “I feel the best way to develop this capacity is through Bhajans and Kirtans. If the essence of Bhajans and Kirtans touches the heart, the sway of senses will diminish in time. The mind of man is such that it flows somewhere. And if there is no Satsang, there is dursang. So, it is much better to have Satsang. The essence of THAT, when one begins to experience that joy, the senses come under control of their own.” “Second, sarvatra samabuddhayah; under all conditions—be there happiness or misery, be there heat or cold; in every situation, the yogi’s mind remains calm. The mind should not be allowed to be upset. If someone says that we are very good then we are flying high. But if someone calls us an idiot, we go down in darkness. But what difference does it make? The one who criticises is much better. Why? Because if one listens to praise for a long time, one starts to believe that he is actually a great person, even if he is not.” “But when one criticises, there is the chance of finding out that something might be wrong with me. Take the one who criticises as a form of God. And if there is anger, what happens? Basavanna, the founder of Lingayats, has said that anger is like a fire that burns down your house first, before the neighbour's house. That is why, the one who is calm in happiness or in suffering is the greatest Yogi. And what is the way? Again, the same, Bhajans and Kirtans. Drown in the joy that comes of it. Great devotees were like that, great saints were like that, they did not know what praise or criticism was.” “And thirdly, who is sarva bhoota hite rataah; the one who has the welfare of all beings in his heart. The one who has the welfare of all beings in his heart, I consider him to be my closest and most loved devotee. One will understand this when one understand that there is the spark of the Supreme Being in the heart of every person, be it man or woman. It called Atman. Sufis call it ‘Noor’. Saints are those people whose mind has been cleaned, so only that (noor -light) is reflected. This does not mean that it is not there in others.It’s only that it is covered.” “If there is the Supreme Being in every heart, then each person will worship everyone else as a living, moving temple. When we go to a temple, we worship. So, will we not worship this moving temple? The way to worship human beings is through service. I do not want to say too much, my walk is my talk. The best thing that I have to give to you is to tell you that Bhakti is the greatest. Immerse yourself in Bhajans and Kirtans and everything will work itself out. With this, I conclude. It would be nice to have one more Bhajan.” “Thank you! Namaskaar! Saalam!” “Om Shanti ShantiShanti” After the late Satsang, there was dinner and the padayatris turned in after a long and tiring day.

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  1. Wonderful satsang.

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