Day 187 | 17 July 2015 | City walk in Ahmednagar | The Walk of Hope 2015-16

  • Sri M 'Live on Air' on Nagar Radio 90.4 FM - Ahmednagar
  • At the Snehankur Orphanage - Ahmednagar
  • 3.Four-Vedic-sholars-in-the-making,-Ahmednagar,-Maharashtra
  • 4.This-poor-lady-has-only-the-Lord-and-two-Dwarapalakas-for-company!!,-Ahmednagar,-Maharashtra
  • City Walk at Ahmednagar
  • The Mayor of Ahmedabad welcomes Sri M - Jalna, Ahmednagar
  • Warm welcome to Sri M at Sukkur chowk, despite the drizzle
  • WOH day 187 - The Mayor joins the padayatra
  • Palnting a sapling at Snehalaya - Home for the Distressed
  • Garlanding a statue of Swami Vivekanand at Karunalaya
  • An avid painter himeself, Sri M looks at his pencil sketch done at Snehalaya
  • Meeting Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan's parents - Ahmednagar
  • Smearing vermillion on Gandhiji's bust - Snehalaya Ahmednagar
  • Sri M in the wards of the HIV patients at Snehalaya - Ahmednagar
  • In deep prayer - one of the inmates of Snehalaya
  • Sri M addresses the inmates, patrons & workers of Snehalaya - Ahmednagar
  • 2.Sir-visited-the-Snehankur-Orphanage,-Ahmednagar,-Maharashtra
Walk of Hope undertook a short walk of 10 km through the city of Ahmednagar on this day. As in any urban area, it took awhile even when the yatris walked as fast as they could, navigating through the thickly populated city—heavy with traffic, surrounded by noise and pollution, a concrete jungle with very few trees.

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Ahmednagar, founded by Ahmed Nizam Shah in 1494 on the site of a more ancient city, Bhingar, is a medieval city with historic relevance. Numerous Mughal-era buildings dot the environs. The British used Ahmednagar Fort, once considered the second most impregnable fort in India, as a jail to house Jawaharlal Nehru and other Indian nationalists before Indian Independence. During his confinement in 1944, Nehru wrote the famous "Discovery of India" here. Meherabad, where the Samadhi (tomb) of the spiritual master Meher Baba is located, is a place of pilgrimage visited by thousands each year. Along the way, the yatris stopped for refreshments at a car show room and were joined by the owners. The weather changed immediately and the rain cooled the atmosphere as yatris went to their resting place in a lodge where almost everyone had a room, each room shared by two or three. Lodges are good! After lunch and some rest, it was time to go to the Snehalaya shelter for the evening. Snehalaya, a social organisation supporting women, children and LGBT, provides a safe exit point from poverty and the commercial sex industry. Founded in 1989 in Ahmednagar to fight AIDS and to end human trafficking, Snehalaya, run by Indians, for Indians, serves our hidden population: the uncounted and the uncared for. Sex trafficking is estimated to be worth $12 billion a year and trades on people's misery without any moral compass or ethics, enslaving women and children into a cruel existence. Without awareness or access to healthcare and safe sex practice, infections flourish and unplanned pregnancies pass HIV on to innocent children. Poverty and illiteracy keep the crippling cycles in place. Then, when considered unfit for service, women and children are tossed out of the system to perish as outcastes. Only with the right education and intervention can this situation be changed. Snehalaya operates to build trust and access on both sides of the sex industry by rehabilitation, education, healthcare and awareness, and supports 15,000+ beneficiaries a year. Later, Sri M planted a sapling here as the padayatris gathered to watch the proceedings. Thereafter, the Satsang started. Sri M addressed the gathering thus, “Om SarveBhavantuSukhinah SarveSantuNir-Aamayaah SarveBhadraanniPashyantu MaaKashcid-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 sukinoh bhavantu - May the entire universe be happy” “Respected guests on this stage, as well as Girish Kulkarni who is not on the stage. I know the names of Unnikrishnan and his wife because the name of Sandeep is still in my mind and heart, and those in front of me, Namaskaars to all of you and Salaam.” “What I said just now, ‘Sarve Bhavantu Sukhina’ - may all beings be happy, this is nothing new, this was said 3000 years ago. For this alone, we have set out on this padayatra from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. ManavEkta is nothing new that needs to be explained to you. It is an integral part of this great nation. Our aim is to not let people forget that we are all human beings. If this is understood and lived by, India will be very strong.” “Like Mahavira has said, ‘Ahimsa Paramo Dharma’ - Non-violence is the ultimate dharma - should not be forgotten. To make people remember this, we are walking. Some people call me yogi. I would like to tell you that I am married and I have two children. I am not the kind of yogi who goes to the mountains or wears different clothes. I am wearing these normal clothes. A Yogi is one who carries the message of love and peace. One does not become a yogi by staying for a long time in difficult poses.” “In the Bhagwat Gita, when Arjuna asks, ‘Who is the greatest devotee, the greatest Yogi, the one who is closest to you?’, one of the things Lord Krishna says is ‘Sarvabhoota hiteratah’- the one who has the welfare of all human beings in his heart, that one is closest to me, the greatest Yogi. When Swami Vivekananda started the Ramakrishna Mission, he started it with the Vedic ideal of ‘Atmano Mokshartham jagathitaya cha- the welfare of the world as well as the liberation of all should be striven for. MaheshwarnathBabaji, who was my Guru, said to me, "You can meditate for 30 years in a cave for 10 hours a day but, if when you leave the cave, and you do not hear someone’s cry, all your Sadhana has been for nothing". This padayatra comes from my inner spiritual experience.” “As we walk along, we are surprised that there are such dedicated people who are doing good work. They are not after publicity. They are simply working. First, I went to the orphanage where they are taking care of small children who have no parents. There is no better work than to care for innocent children. That is why I am not able to speak a lot. I feel that this work that you are doing - everyone will one day come to know of it - how it started and how it expanded.” “I know all of you cannot walk with us. Swami Vivekananda says, ‘Daridra-NarayanaSeva’ is the highest service possible. All of you who are sitting in front of me, I would like to say to you that when you grow up and become adult citizens of India, continue this work. To try and live comfortably in big cities and to run behind money - everyone does that and none of them have much of it. Try to do some good work, as is being done here. Remember that someone came here who spoke of these things.” “We think that when one walks with their feet on the ground, then the message of love and peace are sown in the ground. I do not know when it will happen, today or tomorrow, but someday, maybe after many years, these seeds will become a great tree and the tree will bear fruit and flowers. I am 66 years old now and I will go away. Those who will come will enjoy the fruits.” “I was speaking to Mr. Girish and he told me about the work that is going on here. One of our aims on this walk is to promote such good works in any way possible. Everyone does some work in this world. When one serves, it is our duty to help in whatever way possible. You are a part of our family –‘VasudhaivaKutumbakam’ - The whole world is one family. Great people have been born in India. In Ahmednagar, many were put in the jail during the Independence struggle. Jawaharlal Nehru wrote ‘Discovery of India’ in Ahmednagar Jail. I consider AchuthaBhogale my good friend, even though he is much older than me. You are in such a place, so such thoughts are in your mind and heart too - Service and Sacrifice.” “I am happy that the parents of Major Sandeep are here. From the time the incident took place, from that time Sandeep has been in my heart. I felt that here was someone who sacrificed everything in the service of this nation. Great parents of a great son, they are involved in the work of peace - this is the greatest thing. To prevent violence is why we are walking from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. We have so far covered 2800 Kilometers. We will reach Srinagar in April of 2016.” “As Muslim brothers say, Inshallah, we will reach. I say - God willing, we will reach. One should understand that this language is different but what is being said is the same. Religion maybe different, ideology maybe different, there are people who do not believe in God but are good. Remember this, that we are all one. India will become united and strong this way. I feel that, like in the olden days when people came to India for knowledge, once more a day will come when people will come here again for knowledge. You will see it as you grow up. I see this for India and it is also why we are doing this AshaYatra.” “Thank you. Om Shanti Shanti Shanti.”

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