Day 185 | 15 July 2015 | Parner to Hiware Bazar | The Walk of Hope 2015-16

  • WOH day 185 began on a surprisingly cool dawn - Bugewadi to Hiware Bazar
  • Descending the Hanuman Ghat- Jamgav
  • Enroute to the Khandeswar Mandir before entering Hiware Bazar
  • Reception at the Khandeswar Mandir
  • Sri M offering prayers to Sri Khandeswar and His consorts - Daidhnegunjal
  • Sri M at the Visweshwar Mandir
  • Grand civic reception for the Walk at Hiware Bazar
  • A marching band leads the way - Hiware Bazar
  • Floral carpet welcome - Hiware Bazar
  • 10..Sir-receiving-a-guard-of-honour-by-scouts-and-girl-guides,-Hiwre-Bazar,-Ahmednagar,-Maharashtra)
  • Sri M with the padaytris having an informal chat over tea
  • Sri M at the village mosque built by the villagers for the lone Muslim family amidst them.
  • Consecrating the proposed place for the upcoming temple at the hilltop - Hiware Bazar
  • The panoramic vista from the hilltop - Hiware bazar
  • 15.Arms-akimbo,-Sir-imitates-the-little-one,-Hiwrebazar,-Ahmednagar,-Maharashtra)
  • Sri Popat Pawar, the village Sarpanch with Sri M - Hiware Bazar
  • Sri M addresses the community at Hiware Bazar
  • Sri M with the grand old dame of the village, all of 104 years
It was a relatively cool morning as Walk of Hope left Parner—passing through Daithane Gunjal, Jamgaon and Loni Haveli—covering 18 km to reach Hiware Bazar . The steel blue sky was overcast with grey clouds. A strong wind blew as they moved through spectacular terrain—rocky and barren with little bits of green here and there—which unfolded before the yatris as they descended the Hanuman Ghat near Jamgaon.

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The main produce of this area is onion. As they came closer to Hiware Bazar there were many farms, lush and green, dotted with trees. En route, they stopped at the Khandeshwar Temple built at the top of a hill. The villagers built the temple, made of red sandstone from Rajasthan, with every person helping out in some way or the other. Sri M and the padayatris offered prayers at the temple and there was a moment of respite from the heat as they sat in the temple courtyard. Leaving behind this area, the padayatris proceeded towards Hiware Bazar and reached there in an hour where the school band of around 60 students greeted them and led them to the Visweswar Temple to offer prayers. Students, who showered the yatris with flowers, lined the road and they walked on a floral carpet as they left the temple to walk to the town square where Sri M was received by a guard of honour. Sri M and the yatris also visited the mosque built by the villagers for the only Muslim family in the village before they reached their place of rest for the day. This was one of the warmest and grandest receptions so far! After lunch and some rest, they gathered to visit a hilltop that housed the samadhi of a saint. There are plans to build a temple here with the work scheduled to commence shortly. Sri M consecrated the ground and initiated the construction of the temple. Following this, the yatris gathered again at the town square for evening Satsang where Sri M interacted with the villagers. He visited the oldest person in that village—a 104 year old lady as well as a Devi temple nearby. The whole village had gathered to hear Sri M speak. Addressing the gathering for half an hour, Sri M said: “First of all, Namaskaars to all of you. I am very happy to visit your village. Namaskaars to all the inhabitants of the village, and to Popatrao Pawar. I thank you for having invited us here. Deepak Dada said that this work is going on here so we felt that we should visit. Yesterday, Anna Hazare - he walked with us for some time - asked us if we were going to visit Hiware Bazar and we said yes, we were. In Ralegan Siddhi, we stayed at Anna Hazare’s ashram but did not visit many places. Here, Popatrao Sahib took me on a trip all around the village and showed me what work was done, from the water tank to the watershed development land. Looking at everything, I had a feel of what work was being done here.” “I will say that our padayatra is for Manav Ekta. What does Manav Ekta mean? It means one can come from any place, one can have any religion, one can have any ideology or belief but everyone is a human being. If we live like that than our nation will be strong. There is only one Muslim family here. All the villagers have come together and built a mosque and a dargah for them to pray. How can this be? This means that what we are saying is nothing new. We do not have to say anything new about Manav Ekta.” “Sometimes, it is forgotten so we have set out with the message to remind people about it- that we are all human beings. 3000 years ago, the Vedas said Ekam sat viprah bahuda vadanti - the Truth is one but the wise call it by many names. We are walking in Maharashtra; this is the land of saints. What did Mauli say? He said that in the heart of every being is a spark of the Divine. This is also what we say in our Nath tradition too. I am from this tradition.” “In the heart of every human being, be it a man or a woman, sits the Supreme Lord. This is what is called Khuda Ka Noor. Every human being is a walking temple of God. Just as we worship in the temple, service of human beings is the worship of God too. How long can you worship in a temple? For an hour? But, you can serve a human being for your entire life, and in doing so worship God all the time. Swami Vivekananda called this Daridra Narayana Seva.” “If one does this, one’s spiritual life will also begin. Some people think, I have set out on a spiritual life; I am not saying this about the padayatra. They think that they will sit quietly in a cave and reach That. Nobody has reached That like this. For That, the mind has to be pure and the mind is purified through service. If the mind is purified, then only will one be able to meditate. Try to do it before, you will run after 15 minutes. From tamoguna one moves towards sattvaguna through rajoguna - through activity. When the mind is purified, then one finds the connection between atma and param-atma.” “In the Vedas, it is said Atmano Mokshartham jagat hitaya - think of the liberation of the soul and the welfare of the world. Swami Vivekananda used to say this. In Gita, Arjuna asks Sri Krishna who is the greatest devotee, who is closest to you? He said, the one who isSarva bhuta hiteh ratah - the one who has the welfare of all beings in his heart. So, this is nothing new, I am not saying anything new to you. Sometimes, we forget this. Someone says that you are different and then you fight - I am not speaking about you, sitting in front of me. When the fight breaks out the one who said you are different is sitting in an air-conditioned room.” “So, do not let this be forgotten - that we are all human beings. With this message, we started out on 12th of January - Swami Vivekananda’s birthday from Kanyakumari. Now, we have covered 3000 Kilometers and reached your village. This is a padayatra and not a ratha-yatra; we are walking. You must be thinking, why are they walking in this age of cars? Any great work is done in small measures. Now, we have come here.” “I am very happy that what we say about Manav Ekta - you have done it. People meditate and sit in their rooms. But it is very difficult to work. It is difficult to go into the field and work. Many go away to become sanyasis but they come back. This is nothing religious. Dharma means to work. We are going through villages and not through cities. I am seeing that in the villages there is a different environment. Someone said that if you ignore villages all development would disappear. In the cities, people go and just sit. They do not know how their food comes. I asked someone how ‘Moong’ grows, they did not know. In the city, they do not know where the food comes from. You will know this only if you live in the village. People don’t know how rice comes about. They just go to the market, pay a hundred rupees and get a packet of rice. There is this thing about environment. If you look at our Rishis - where did they live? They used to live surrounded by trees. To look after and nurture trees is also our dharma. Just as you do abhisheka for a shivling, an abhiskheka of the trees is an abhisheka of God. Remember this. If there is a tree in your house, remember to water it. It makes a huge difference.” “We have to cover 5000 Kilometers more. It is my faith that we will reach Srinagar in April 2016. It is my message to you that we should live together.” Tulsidas said Kaam krodh mad lobh ki jou lou man mein khan Tau lou Pandit moorkhouTulsi ek saman. Sometimes, this Krodh causes problems. When there is a fight, it is rarely between religions. One person maybe named Akbar and the other Anthony and when they fight they say that it is a fight between religions and violence breaks out. Something happened in Maharashtra yesterday. There are many children here, you are the future of India, remember that we are all humans. No one is greater, no one is smaller.” “There was a Swamiji from a Lingayat Math whom we visited. After his studies, he spent two or three years in Vishwa Hindu University in Benares. On his first day of teaching, the students asked him what his name was. He said, Shivacharya. They asked him what followed his name, intending to ask his surname because the surname lets one know about the caste. He said, I am a teacher, you are in front of me - the students and the blackboard is behind me, my name is Shivacharya.” “A good man may come from any religion and is good; an evil man may come from any religion and is evil. Remember this. The one who does good, no matter who he is, respect him. Here is an example.” (Pointing to Sri Popatrao Pawar) “Rather than working in the city, he came to his village and has done tremendous work. For that, inspiration is needed. This inspiration comes from within. It does not come from outside. Swami Vivekananda says that it is like a flowering within and everyone gathers when there is fragrance. Living for others is the greatest thing. When one is like this, then spiritual life begins. One may do Kundalini Yoga or whatever but nothing will happen for a hundred years.” “Please remember that someone came here, to your village, and spoke about Manav Ekta. Remember what I have told you. When you grow up, do some kind of service to others.” “Yesterday, I told Annaji that people think I am mad. He said only if one is mad can work be done. If one is happy being mad, then one can face any difficulty. Yes, he may be mad but this is a good kind of madness.” “I want to say this before I finish this address. I come from a Muslim family in Kerala; you must be wondering how this must be because I am quoting from Sanskrit. When I was 9 years old, Babaji blessed me. After college, after I got a degree, I went straight to the Himalayas. When I got initiated into the Nath tradition, I was given the name of Madhukarnath. For three to four years, I wandered there. After that, he told me to go back and share this with others. I told him I was happy there. He told me that it maybe so but who will you get angry with, in a cave? If you go in a bus and if someone steps on your feet, you will know if there is anger.” “I told him that I was happy in the Himalayas, there was water from the Ganges, food from this or that ashram and I could wander anywhere without agenda. He said, I felt that I was teaching you to think of others and here you are thinking of yourself alone. He told me to leave the next day and do work, to work for others. He told me to marry and have children and lead a normal life. So that is why they say I am Sri M.” “M comes from Madhukarnath. When I was born, my parents named me Mumtaz Ali, which is also M. Also, the first letter of Manav, of Manushya is M. That is why they started calling me Sri M. But, there is only one Sri and not two or three. You can also call me just M. I am one with you and happy being with you. I do not want to say anything more. What you are doing here is not different from what we are doing. I will end now.” “Thank you. Namaskaar and Salaam” Sri M interacted with a media crew after this as the padayatris were shown the work done in the village through a presentation. The village experienced mass exodus during the severe drought in 1972. However, after 1989, when Popatrao Baguji Pawar, the only postgraduate in the village contested for the post of Gram Panchayat Sarpanch and won, people started coming back. He managed to get the 22 illicit liquor retail outlets closed, secure bank loans for farmers and start rainwater harvesting, water conservation and management programs, building 52 earthen bunds, percolation tanks, 32 stone bunds and nine check dams. The development plan was based on the village Ralegan Siddhi, 35 km away and in the same district, turned around by Anna Hazare. By 1990s, families started returning home and in 2012, the village with its 235 families and an overall population of 1250, had a monthly per capita income of Rs 30,000, up from Rs. 830 in 1995! Looking at this example, in 2012, the state and central government jointly announced a plan to establish a national-level center for training in Panchayati Raj system, for watershed development, sanitation and capacity building at the village. This work has been done under the aegis of Popatrao Baguji Pawar, credited with having transformed an impoverished village into a model of development that the government of Maharashtra wishes to implement across the state. The Hiware Bazar gram panchayat, with Pawar as its sarpanch, won the first National Award for community led water conservation in 2007. The yatris returned to their resting spot, had dinner and retired for the day. With no electricity as they slept, all that could be heard was the whispering wind!

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  1. Well Dressed Beggar says:

    Jai Gurudeva… Jai Kriya Babaji… Jai Madhukaranath… Jai Maheshwaranath…

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