Day 144| 4 June 2015 | Kamti to Solapur | The Walk of Hope 2015-16

  • WOH Day 144 & the Padayatris attack the 6 km left for Solapur,-Maharashtra
    1.WOH-Day-144-&-the-Padayatris-attack-the-6-km-left-for-Solapur,-Maharashtra)
  • Typical Solapuri house with its stone-paved frontyard, stone walls
    Typical Solapuri house with its stone-paved frontyard, stone walls
  • Reception in front of the Sant Jnaneshwar mandir Degav, Solapur
    3.Reception-in-front-of-the-Sant-Jnaneshwar-Mandir,-Degav,-Solapur,-Maharashtra)
  • Sri M offering prayers at the Sant Jnaneshwar mandir Degav Solapur
    4.Sir-offering-prayers-at-the-Sant-Jnaneshwar-Mandir,-Degav,-Solapur,-Maharashtra)
  • Inside a wayside pre-primary school, Solapur
    5.Inside-a-wayside-pre-primary-school,-Solapur,-Maharashtra
  • Sri M blesses the junior Varkari devotees, Solapur
    6.Sir-blesses-the-junior-Varkari-devotees,-Solapur,-Maharashtra)
  • First reception in Solapur city
    7.First-reception-in-Solapur-City,-Maharashtra)
  • Sri M with the finely decked-up children of the Jnyana Prabodhini School Latur
    8.Sir-with-the-finely-decked-up-children-of-the-Jnyana-Prabodhini-School,-Latur)
  • Sri M joins the Varkari singers and dancers with joyful abandon, solapur
    9.Sir-joins-the-Varkari-singers-&-dancers-with-joyful-abandon,-Solapur,-Maharashtra)
  • Breezing past Sri babsaheb Ambedkar Chowk Solapur
    10.Breezing-past-Sri-Babasaheb-Ambedkar-Chowk,-Solapur,-Maharashtra)
  • Ceremonial welcome on arrival at the Jnyana Prabodhini School Solapur
    11.Sir-was-given-a-ceremonial-welcome-on-arrival-at-the-Jnyana-Prabodhini-School,-Solapur,-Maharashtra)
  • Before his address at the Jnyana Prabodhini School auditorium, Solapur
    12.Seated-before-his-address-at-the-auditorium-of-the-Jnyana-Prabodhini-School,-Solapur,-Maharashtra)
  • "Don't worry, the saw will stop short of his companion's feet," Solapur
    13.Don
  • Dexterous hands reeling off jowar rotis by the dozen, Solapur
    14.Old-yet-dexterous-hands-reeling-off-jowar-rotis-by-the-dozen,-Solapur,-Maharashtra)
  • "What a way to beat the scorching sun," Solapur
    15.What-a-way-to-beat-the-scorching-sun!,-Solapur,-Maharashtra)
  • The junior Varkari group and their Guru led us through the busy Solapur streets
    16.The-junior-Varkari-group-and-their-Guru-led-us-through-the-busy-streets-of-Solapur,-Maharashtra)
  • Sri M in his address, at the Jnyana Prabodhini School auditorium
    17.Sir-addressing-the-assembled-at-the-Jnyana-Prabodhini-School-auditorium-on-arrival,-Solapur,-Maharashtra)
The Padayatra left Kamti around 8.00 am after breakfast. Walking 7 km, they reached Solapur, one of India's urban areas, in about 3 hours.

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Many, including people associated with JnanaPrabodhini, and a group of about 70 or 80 children joined them. Members of the Varkari denomination, playing cymbals while dancing and chanting Ram Nam, led the procession. With many old and new friends joining, the number has gone up to about 200 again. Jnana Prabodhini, literally 'Awakener of Real Knowledge' in Sanskrit, a social organisation in India, was started with the motto of "Motivating Intelligence for Social Change". A non-political organisation, it is based on the ideals of Swami Vivekananda. At JnanaPrabodhini, the padayatris were led into a large hall and formally welcomed. After lunch and rest, they gathered in the evening for the Satsang. There were about 250 people in attendance and after the hour-long satsang, Sri M interacted with those present and answered questions. “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 sukinoh bhavantu Sarvebhavantusukhinaha May the entire universe be happy May all be happy “Hindi or English? I do not know Marathi. I will speak in Hindi, and now and then speak in English, as there are some friends here who do not understand Hindi. Now, addressing this subject for today,’ What is meditation?’, there might be many here who know what it is, however clarification is always good. I will tell you what meditation is according to me, based on my experience. This is not to say that what you are doing is not right.” “This expression,‘Dhyan’, comes from the ancient Gayatri Mantra of the Rig Veda. It comes from ’Dhi Mahi’ of the Gayatri Mantra. A part of the mantra means, ‘I meditate upon that effulgent light’. That is what ‘dhyan’ means. Then, there is the reference in Ashtanga Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, which by a conservative estimates should be at least 2000 to 3000 years old. No one knows the age of Patanjali. I feel it is very historic because he is depicted as half human and half snake, so he cannot be a normal human. In the oldest Yoga Sutra, meditation is defined.” “Looking at the Ashtanga Yoga Sutra, (it is called ‘Ashtanga’ because there are 8 parts or steps), there is yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratayhara, dhyana and samadhi. Yoga means ‘chitti-vritti-nirodha’, or Yoga is that which removes what disturbs the mind. It is not to make the mind completely blank; if that were so the person would die. If that is what you want, you do not need to do all this, you can take a bar and hit yourself on the head.” “Vrittis are those that cause an imbalance, that distract, that cause impurities. There are good Vrittis too; there is no need to remove them. When there is no distracting thought, it is called Yoga. Chitta is the mind stuff. Yoga is a set of methods that can clear distractions, impurities and imbalances from the mind. This is what Patanjali has said.” “Not so long ago the situation of Yoga was very bad. Those who studied Vedanta said that Yoga and meditation were not needed. Who saved Yoga? Natha Sampradaya saved Yoga and its practices. I am not saying this because I am from that tradition. If you look at the texts that we have on Yoga, all of them have been written from someone of the Natha tradition. Goraksha Shataka, Shatchakra Nirupana, Hathayoga Pradipika and many more - all these have been written by Nathas. In Maharashtra, there were many great Yogis. There was Sant Jnaneswar who translated Bhagavat Gita into Marathi, which is known as Jnaneshwari. His Guru was Nivruttinath, and his Guru was Gahininath - they were from the Natha tradition. So, the Nathas have done a lot of work in saving Yoga.“ “In Ashtanga Yoga, the first two steps are yama and niyama. Without these one cannot move forward. If one has to do something, discipline is required; this is Yama and Niyama. They basically mean that one should not go to the extremes with anything - neither should a lot of food be taken, nor should one eat too little, neither should one indulge too much in the senses, nor should one reject them; the middle path should be taken. In Bhagavat Gita, Krishna says to Arjuna, ‘This is not for those who either eat too much or too little, or sleep too much or sleep too little’. Moderation is required’.” “This also includes non-violence. Someone who commits violence will not be interested in Yoga. Such a man will always have a distracted mind and can never have peace. Other rules say, do not steal, and do not lie. Saints and great beings everywhere say the same thing. Suppose you lie, now to cover this lie, you will tell another lie; in time, you will be buried under a mountain of lies. There will be the stress of being found out all the time.” “Next is anger. In Karnataka, Basavanna founded the Lingayat sect. He said something very nice about anger. He said that anger is like fire that burns your house down and not the neighbour’s. What happens in anger? In anger, we do things that we would never do when are calm. Another thing is Brahmacharya. Brahmacharya is that ‘charya’, that action, which leads you to Brahma. It includes many actions and excludes many actions, it is not only this or that thing, everything is included.” “The next is simple living. If you have more and more belongings, you will worry about someone stealing it. If you have a lot of money, you will worry about the income tax department. All of you know this. Those who can, like Janaka, live with money but are not attached to it are very few. Another is, do not accept gifts. I am sure you all know the meaning of the word gift. Why is it said that Yogis should not accept gifts? Suppose, you come to me today and bring me a gift. Tomorrow, you come to me and bring me a gift. Third day, you come and also bring me a gift. Now, suppose you come to me after a week and do not bring me a gift, I will wonder why you did not get me something”. “People are such that there are weaknesses. For a Yogi, this is not good. It is okay for the common man but not for a Yogi. Now, suppose you bring a few thousand rupees - these days thousands don’t work, lacs of rupees work - who will get attention? The one who has come with money or the one who has come without it? Usually, the one with money gets more attention. A Yogi or a saint will consider all the same. Someone who has not reached there yet will see them differently. Many think they have reached but it is not so. With or without gifts or money, similar attention should be given to different people.” “After that, comes asana. Asana does not mean standing in a pose for two hours. Asana is that in which you can sit with comfort for a long time. There is padmasana, and sukhasana. Even if you cannot sit in these postures, sit on the chair and if you are comfortable in that, that is your asana. If the body is not fit and healthy, the mind will not be able to focus. The asanas in hatha-yoga make and keep the body healthy. Secondly, in our bodies there are the glands, like the pituitary, thyroid and adrenal glands. The asanas are such that they massage these glands.” “I will cite a simple example. If you often get angry, get yourself checked for ulcers. The two are often interlinked - with ulcers one may get anger, with anger one may get ulcers. If that is ruled out, then know that the adrenal glands are working overtime. When there is a lot of adrenaline in the body, there is much activity. But the downside is that there is anger. If one does matsyasan regularly - matsyasan is sitting in padamasan and reclining backwards. What happens in matsyasan is that the heels press where the adrenal glands are. In this way, the adrenal glands are gradually bought under control.” “In shirsasan, there is more flow of blood towards the head. I tell people that if you do not like to do pranams in public, go to your room, close the door and do pranams many times. Blood circulation will improve, and it is good. In Islam, the prayer is such that they go up and down many times. So asanas are made for this. Most importantly, an asana is that in which you can sit comfortably for a long time. There are many asanas and one may select the one he likes most.” “After this is pranayama. Pranayama means understanding the rules and regulations of prana. Prana is not the breath alone; it is the internal system of energy, which is called prana. It is very closely associated with the breath. If you can control your breath, you can control your prana. There are many pranayams. According to Yoga, there is the Ida and the Pingala and through these channels flow Prana and Apana. Pranayama is balancing these two and making the flow equal. There are many rules and regulations.” “How was this first found out? If you are in anger, observe your breath. The breath will be very agitated. When you are sitting quietly and listening to music you like, it can be anything, observe your breath. It will be very slow. This means that when the mind is quiet, the breath is slow and when the mind is agitated, the breath is also agitated. It was thought that if the mind and breath work together like this, would it be possible to control the mind by controlling the breath? From this come many Kriyas of the pranayama.” “If you are not interested in dhayana, this pranayama alone is good for you. There are people who do not breathe properly; their breath is very shallow. To fill the lungs to capacity is very good for the body and the mind. After pranayama, comes pratyahara.” “Pratyahara means that the Yogi can focus on something at will, or, take away his focus from something at will - when he wants to. It is doing one thing at a time. When he is driving, he is driving. He is not driving and meditating. When he is meditating, he is meditating. This is the principle of pratyahara. Now, in the Yoga Sutra, the next steps are dharna, dhyana and samadhi.” “When the mind is immersed in one object, one sound, one idea, this is dharna. If it is kept like that for a long time, that becomes dhyana. For this, there is mantra japa, there are asanas, there is pranayama. There are also some people who are born with bhakti and taking the name of the Lord, they reach Him. For them, nothing is needed because their mind is one pointed as it is. For others, they have to do this or that to get to that stage. If it comes by birth, then what is one to do! What asanas, what pranayama, whatkriya did Mirabai do? She reached there just chanting the Lord’s name. Here, there are the Varkaris. What do they do? They just sing the name and their mind is fixed in that.” “The Yogis follow these systems step by step. Dhyana means having no other thought in your mind other than what you have fixed it on - be it an object, a mantra, a form, whatever. And it goes on for a long time, that is dhyana”. “The last step is Samadhi. What is Samadhi? Samadhi is when you are immersed in dhyana for such a long time that you forget yourself. It is not easy. Many people say that ‘I am sitting in samadhi’. This is not possible. When there is ‘I’, there is no samadhi. When there is samadhi, there is no ‘I’. This ‘I’ is a very bad thing. If this ‘I’ is gotten rid of, it is a very good this.” “I will relate to you a story. A Swamiji told me this. The padayatris have heard this story many times. We were walking in Karanataka and we were walking through Sirigere. We stopped at the Sirigere Math, and the Swamiji there, Dr. Shivacharya of the Taralabalu Math,told me this story. When we were having a Satsang for the padayatris, he said that he too wanted to join. When he was told that it was only for the padayatris, he said, ‘main bhi aapka hi hoon’ - I am yours only. So he joined us and after the Satsang, I asked him if he wanted to say anything. He is about 75 years old. He related this story.” “Once, there was a very good sculptor. He went to a temple for some work and the priest, who was also an astrologer, told him that he was about to die soon. He said the two or three weeks he would die, his time had come. The sculptor said, " Is there anyway I can escape this?" “He was told to go into his workshop and create as many statues that looked just like him so when yama-doota came, unable to detect the real from the statues, he would go back, empty- handed.” “The sculptor agreed to this and made many statues that looked like him. Unable to distinguish the sculptor from his creations, the Yama-doota went back to Yama and reported the happenings. Yama said, ‘Do not worry. His time will come again in three months’. Three months passed and the sculptor’s time came again. Yama told his doota, ‘This time the sculptor will use the same technique. Do nothing, just go upto the statues and praise them’. “The yama-doota went to the sculptor’s workshop and started praising the statues - ‘this statue is so good’, ‘these eyes are so lifelike’, etc. The sculptor could not remain quiet for long, and after 2 minutes, he said ‘I made them’. The yama-doota said," Come, your time is up".” “This ‘I’ takes you to death. To remove this is the task. If ‘I’ is removed, then that is Samadhi and nothing else is needed. If in this world one has to live and work, a little bit of ‘I’ has to remain. These were theoretical things, now for some practical things.” “I am sure many of you do something or the other. With japa, one can have dhyana. With pranayama, one can have dhyana. There are many techniques. If you are a bhakta, there is nothing you have to do. Just chant the name of the Lord and lose yourself in that. But this is rarest of the rare and not everyone has it. This is why something has to be done. In our tradition, we use ‘ham-sa’, that can be done. It is not such a big secret and can be given.” “Kriya is something that cannot be told in such a public gathering but the preliminary steps, those can be given.” “Only with regular practice does something happen. One cannot just do it for three months and expect something to happen. Not on our path. There maybe some others, I don’t know. This technique of ‘ham-sa’ or ‘so-ham’ goes like this. After waking up and before worship and breakfast, go to any place and set up your asana. Chant ‘Om Sri GurubhyoNamaha’ three times and then with a steady spine, sit up straight, chant Om atleast three times. Then, closing your eyes watch your breath.” “For the working of the body and the mind, breath is the most important. We don’t pay any attention to it. It starts when we leave the womb and stops only when we die. Breath is very important. If you don’t eat food, you can live for a few days. There are Jain Munis who don’t eat for many, many days. They eat two or three times a week and they are okay. Without water, one can live for a few days but without breath, one cannot live for even 2 minutes. Just try it. We do not pay attention to something as important as this.” “We say that the breath is the link to the Paramatma within. How do we do ‘ham-sa’? When we breathe in, we chant ‘ham’ and on the out-breath, we chant ’sa’. You can also do ‘so’ and ‘hum’. Effort has to be made until one starts to experience a little bliss, after that it goes on. According to one’s situation,some people reach that stage within one day, while others take many days. When this happens, the mind starts to quieten down. Leave watching the breath and focus on either Ajna chakra or at the heart. Imagine that there is a lamp lit there and the light radiates through the whole body.” “If you have an ishta-devata, then imagine that devata to be in your heart. You can chant OM or the devata’s mantra. After some time, sit as a witness. Think of when you watch TV and you don’t get involved in what is happening on the screen. Experience as the pure witness. You will experience bliss in this state. Focus on this bliss. Sit for as long as you can and after this, chant ‘Om Sri Gurubhyo Namaha’ and finish. This is easy, every person can do this for ten minutes, fifteen minutes, and even half an hour. This is best done in the early morning; it is okay if you do it in the evening or the night also. But do not do it on a full stomach; instead of turiya state, there will be shushupti state - you will fall asleep”. “With this, I conclude now.” “Thank you, Namaste and Salaam.” “Om Shanti Shanti Shanti.”

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  1. Thanks for narrating the meditation process.

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