Day 156 | 16 June 2015 | Tondle Bondle to Malinagar | The Walk of Hope 2015-16

  • A warm reception at Malinagar Sakhar Karghana , the day's destination - Malshiras
  • Sri M offers prayers at the 'padukas' of Sant Gehani Nath - Malinagar Sakhar Karghana-Malshiras
  • The beautiful shrine within the Karghana premises - Malshiras
  • Thanking the singers for the wonderful bhajans - Malshiras
  • Satsang at the Malinagar Sakhar Karghana hall - Malshiras
  • WoH Day 156 - A fine drizzle announces the day's proceedings - Thamboli Vasthi
  • The unusual sight of a bunch of quiett padaytris at the crack of dawn evokes surprise - Thamboli Vasthi
  • Reaching the ancient town of Velapur, where Bhima vanquished Bakasura - Malshiras
  • Ruins of a great Mahadeva temple - Velapur
  • Sri M at the Sri Naganath Shrine - Velapur
  • Sleeping outdoors to beat the heat - Velapur
  • Sri M at breakfast point - Velapur
  • Planting a sapling at breakfast point - Velapur
  • A quaint shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva under a banyan tree catches Sri M's attention - pandarpur - Akluj Road
  • He made gallons of fresh sugarcane juice for us - Akluj, Malshiras
  • Along the Palkhi Mahamarg from Pandarpur
  • Reception at Akluj - Malshiras
  • 10.One-of-the-rare-times-so-far-when-umbrellas-had-to-come-out,-Thamboli-Vasthi,-Malshiras,-Maharashtra
It was drizzling when the walkers left early in the morning. The weather has changed dramatically; the sun seems a lesser being now. Umbrellas are so not wanted now. The walk is moving on the Palki route from Pandharpur towards Alandi.

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As usual, the yatris stopped an hour into the walk for a tea break. An hour later, they stopped for breakfast at a local satsangi’s house in Velapur. Sri M planted a sapling here. Then, they stopped every forty-five minutes or so for small breaks before reaching the halting spot around noon. Along with the weather, the surroundings too seem to have changed, again with a suddenness that does not fail to surprise! The dry, arid lands have given wayto rich, lush green lands - full of trees and farms. Monsoon is definitely closing in. Trees are plenty, providing plenty of shade and there’s a nice breeze. Walk of Hope from Tondle Bondle to Malinagar covered a distance of 22 Kilometres in about 7 hours. The padayatra passed through the town of Velapur and Akluj before reaching the destination. The highlight on the walk was an ancient Shiva Temple in Velapur where Sri M and the walkers offered prayers. Velapur is said to be the town where Bhima killed Bakasura, the man-eating rakshasa mentioned in the Mahabharata. They also visited Sri Nagnath Shrine in the same town. Akluj was another town where Sri M was welcomed and received by the local police and people from the community before they reached their destination point. The resting point today is the Malinagar Shakkar Factory at Malshiras – or the Malinagar Sugar Factory. The factory is well maintained. With tree lined broad walkways, stone brick pathways and many chirping birds, it took the walkers a while to figure out that it was indeed a factory. Their stay was at the guest house. If one overlooked the hitch of having only one good indoor toilet for 40 men, the stay in the guest house was fairly comfortable. In the evening, everyone gathered near the administrative block of the factory. From there, they walked to GahininathTemple where the 'padukas' of the saint are kept. Sri M and the padayatris offered prayers here and proceeded onwards to a small hall for the Satsang. The small hall could take in only about a hundred people but today about fifty more people managed to squeeze in. There were Kabir and 'Ram-Nam' bhajans for half an hour. Satsang with Sri M followed. He addressed the gathering thus, “Akhaṇḍa-maṇḍalākāram vyāptam yena carācaram Tatpadam darśitam yena tasmai śrī gurave namah (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 May the entire universe be happy” “I do not know Marathi so I will speak in English. First of all, I would like to thank everyone who welcomed me and the padayatris here,and all who have given space for the padayatris to stay. I am not a Sanyasi, so I cannot call it Bhiksha. However, the food that we eat everyday, one should consider it as God giving us Bhiksha. So, I thank you all for this. I thank all of you who have come here.” “The best experience I have had here was witnessing the bhajans at the temple of Gahininath, where I went to see his Padukas. In front of the Padukas, they were singing bhajans. I enjoyed those bhajans so much that I wanted to sit there and just listen. But they told me that I have to speak. They do not let me go anywhere. Everywhere I go, I have to speak at every place, so here I am speaking.” “I call myself M. Others call me Sri M. You must be thinking what this M means. Firstly it means Manav - Human. It is my belief – not even my belief, it is my experience - that the all-pervading Supreme,Isha Vasyam Idam Sarvam, sits in the heart of every being. Thus, every person is a walking temple. Just as you go to a temple and worship God there, one should worship this moving temple and take care of this temple. It has to be kept clean, it has to be kept pure, it has to be worshipped daily.” “I think of all of you, those who are in front of me, I worship you as if you were a temple. How do I do this? I do pranams in my mind to each and every one of you. If I were to do it really, you would think what he is doing. What will happen? Nothing will happen. I am not seeing you, I am seeing the God that sits in your heart. Second, I was born in a Muslim family and my parents named me Mumtaz Ali Khan. So, M also comes from there too.” “When I met my guru, Maheshwarnath Babaji, and he initiated me into the ‘Natha’ tradition, and named me Madhukarnath. So, M comes from there. Also, the name of my guru starts with M so whenever people call me, I am reminded of my Guru. The one most important for me is my guru, Maheshwarnath Babaji. If you have read my autobiography, you will see that the hero is not me but Maheshwarnath Babaji. He kept his hand on my head when I was 9 years old. If his hand had not been kept on my head, then I would have lived like a very common man. I would have done some work and would have lived my life like any other. But because of my Babaji, my mind underwent a change and my whole life changed.” “I remembered that once he said to me, ‘Arre Madhu, kahan phas gaye ho’ - Where are you stuck Madhu? When I was 19, I felt that I was stuck in a cage. The cage was golden but a cage is a cage, be it of bronze, silver or gold. After I graduated and had holidays, I felt that I should run away, like a bird flies away from its cage. So, I went away to the Himalayas. Whatever I have learned is because of Maheshwarnath Babaji.” “You must be thinking that why is he walking like a mad person. Many Yogis are such that they are Parivrajakas - they do not stay at any place for more than three days. Maheshwarnath Babaji was like this, he never used to stay at one place for more than three days. For my sake, he used to stay for a few days here and there, even for a month. He used to say that if one lives for more than three days at any place, roots grow and it is difficult to get away.” “This padayatra that is going on is not of my imagination. Many years ago, Maheshwarnath Babaji and me were sitting by the banks of Ganges in Uttarkashi. Maheshwarnath Babaji did not have a banner, he did not have a flag, he did not have a following. He only had a kamandalu, a mala of rudraksha and a waist cloth. He did not even have slippers. The satsangs we had were very informal and spontaneous. Sometimes, he used to say - ‘Abhi sun le’ - listen now. Whatever I have learnt of Upanishad, of Vedanta, of Gita, it is because of Maheshwarnath Babaji. What he taught me, I understood.” “One day, he said that I have to learn Sanskrit. I said, why do I have to learn now, what you say in Hindi, I understand. He said, no, you have to learn. He said, what if someone says someday that a mad person has taught you all this? I told him, whatever you say, I consider it to be the truth. He said, no, go to Joshiji and learn Sanskrit.” “So, I went to Joshiji. I went there to him and sat in front of him. He said, what is your name. I told him, Madhukarnath. He said, Oh! Babaji has given diksha, he usually does not give diksha. He asked me, you have not pierced your ear. The Nathas usually have their ears pierced. I said no, Babaji has said they are not needed. He told me to sit and said that before learning Sanskrit in detail, the pronunciations have to be correct. So, he said, you will repeat after me, we will start with the ‘Taitri’ (Taittriya Upanishad). I said okay, I will try my best. So, we started.” “After ten minutes, he asked me if I was lying to him. I said ‘No’. He had asked me if I had learnt Sanskrit before. I had replied ‘No’. He said that the pronunciations were quite good. Thinking for some time, he said, what strange fellows this Babaji sends to me. So, on Babaji’s instructions, I learnt Sanskrit.” “I am saying this because when we meet people we think that the person is so-and-so, his parents are so-and-so, he is from this place, so on and so forth. But, who knows what that person was in the previous life. People think that one is a Brahmin, one is a Kshatriya, a Hindu, a Muslim, a Christian. I say to them, brother, how do you know what this person was in the last life? What was his name before? What was his caste or creed? We are such that from the time we are born to the time we die, we do not think of anything else other than this small personality.” “Uttarkashi is called so because the Ganga flows in the opposite direction there. It flows north-south everywhere but there, it flows from south to north. So, Maheshwarnath Babaji said, look Madhu, you will have to do a padayatra from Kanyakumari to Kashmir one day. I asked him, why, I am happy here wandering in the Himalayas with you. He said, you would have to do it. I flatly refused saying, no - I will not do it. Sometimes, there were disagreements between us.” “So, he reminded me of the time when he had asked me what I felt I was to him. I had said, I am your dog. He had said okay, but don’t wag your tail too much. I had said ‘aadesh’.” “He said, why do you wag your tail so much, what I say, just do it. Three years ago, I thought that Babaji’s padayatra is still left, everything else had been done but this remains. I felt that if this is not done now, it cannot be done. I am someone who has been doing yoga since I was 12 years old, because my father used to do it. I think that Yoga and Babaji’s grace is what has kept me fine till now. Also, I eat less. Some people think that eating more means more energy, it is not so. Unless, of course, you are a wrestler then you have to eat more. Or, you are a warrior and have to walk with a sword in hand.” “In this padayatra, there are many people. There are a few who are of my age. And, there is one who is older than me. He was a commander in the navy. He is about eighty years old. We have reached Maharashtra now, having covered some 2500 kilometres. We still have to do 5000 kilometres more; we intend to go to Srinagar. In April of 2016, we will reach Srinagar. As the Muslims say, Insha-Allah. God willing, we will reach there.” “Three years ago, I told my friend that I plan to do this padayatra from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. He said I am also coming, he did not ask anything, he just said that I am coming along. He is here with us. In this way, 60 or 70 people came forward and are now walking with us permanently. There were many who came when the walk started but this small group is walking from the start. With Maheshwarnath Babaji’s grace, we have been walking.” “We go to places where there are mosques, temples, churches, synagogues, dargahs - we go to any place where God is worshipped in any form. At no place did they say, do not come here. Why? Because, the very soul of India is Unity. Three thousand years ago, Vedas said Ekam Sat, viprah bahuda vadanti- the truth is one but the wise call it by different names.” “I say to them that this padayatra is not only external, it is also internal. If at the end of this yatra, there is no change in one’s life, this yatra would not be successful. Everyone knows this, I say this to the padayatris all the time.” “The mind should be watched very carefully. It will be the greatest thing if the ego is gone by the time we reach the end. If all of you come and walk with us, it will be very nice. But you all have work to do. If you can’t walk, it will be nice if you walk with us in your mind. Pray for the success of this padayatra. Remember that a man came walking with many people who said that we are all one, who said do not commit violence.” “In Bhagavat Gita, Chapter 12 - Bhakti Yoga, Sri Krishna is speaking with Arjuna. He says that he considers that person to be the greatest yogi who is Sarva bhuta hite ratah - the one who thinks of the welfare of all beings. That is why Atmano Mokshartha jagat hitaya cha- strive for the liberation of the soul but think of the welfare of this world too, is important.” “Many people sit with us, they talk to us, and understand that something good is happening. There are Hindu brothers, there are Muslim brothers, there are Christian brothers, there is everyone here. The thing that is most important is that the ego should not be too big, one should very carefully watch for that. If it becomes zero, it is the best. I want to tell you a story. The padayatris have been listening to this story every day, it is a very good story.” “When we were walking in Karnataka, we went to many Mathas. There, the Swamijis treated us as their own. We went to Sirigere Math and liked it so much that we stayed there for two days. The Swamiji of the Sirigere Math, Dr. Shivacharya of the Taralabalu Math told me this story. When we were having a Satsang for the padayatris, he said that he wanted to join. When he was told that it was only for the padayatris, he insisted that he join us. So, he joined us and after the Satsang, I asked him if he wanted to say anything, he said a few things. One of them was a story about the ego.” “Once, there was a sculptor who made very good sculptures. He was an expert. 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. That he will die in two or three weeks, his time had come. The sculptor said, okay I will die, is there anyway to get out of this?So, he was told to go into his workshop and make many statues that look just like him. When the yama-doota comes, he won’t know who the original is, he will look and not be able to find out and go back.” “The sculptor agreed to this and made many statues that looked like him. So, the yama-doota came and looked for him but could not find him. He went back to Yama and reported what had happened. Yama said, I know you lack intellect but do not worry. His time is coming again in three months, I will tell you what to do then. Three months passed and the sculptor’s time came again. So, the yama-doota went again to Yama. Yama said that when you go, he will use the same technique. You should do nothing;instead, you go up to the statues and just praise the statues. Do not search for him, just praise the statues, this is the trick.” “The yama-doota went to the sculptor’s workshop and started praising the statues - ‘this statue is so good’, ‘these eyes are so lifelike’, so and so forth. The sculptor could not remain quiet for long, and he could not bear it. After two minutes, he said ‘I made it’. The yama-doota said, come, your time is up.” “Even yama - death can be avoided, if there is no ego. It is not that one will not die if there is no ego. When there is no ego, then one understands that the spark of the Supreme Being that is within is also the same as the Supreme Being. Where there is no ego, there is Supreme Being. When there is ego, there is no Supreme Being. Everyday that we are walking with the padayatris, I keep on saying to them that keep your ego to a minimum. Just as there is an outer yatra, there will be an inner yatra too. In Natha tradition, Kashi is Ajna chakra and Srinagar is Sahasrara chakra and the way, the journey is the Shushumna nadi.” “I want to say to you that if you can walk with us for half an hour, for fifteen minutes, for ten minutes, that will be very good. If you cannot walk, then pray for us. Pray that the purpose, we have set out with, is accomplished.” “In Maharashtra, we often see and meet Varkaris. It feels very good to listen to them, there is much joy in listening to them. When we went to Pandharpur, we met them, we did not talk much but we listened to their bhajans. Like them too, we are moving forward taking ‘Ram Naam’. With this, I conclude now.” “Thank you once more. My Namaskaras to all of you.” “Om Shanti Shanti Shanti.”

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