Inmates of the Gandhi leprosy Seva Sangh meet Sri M - Ahmedabad
Sri M with a stricken child at the Gandhi Leprosy center - Ahmedabad
Sri M's elation at being in an institution that echoes the Walk's objectives - Gandhi Leprosy Seva Sangh-Ahmedabad
Greetings from the oldest inmate of the Gandhi Leprosy Seva Sangh - Ahmedabad
WOH Day 240 - the Walk breezes over the flyovers of Ahmedabad
It is always invigorating to have young blood joining the Walk - Ahmedabad
The urbane chaos of Ahmedabad
Warm embraces from the Islamic brethren - Surelia Junction
Students from the local madrassa join the padayatris during their break - Surelia Junction
Leaving Surelia Junction for Vastral Ahmedabad
Moving away from Ahmedabad city, Walk of Hope reached Vastral today, covering about 18 kilometres in 6 hours. The areas they passed through were just extensions of the big city. Vastral is the last city extension of Ahmedabad. The hot and humid day saw saw them walking on many dusty roads with heavy traffic. Finally the walkers reached the Ahmedabad - Vadodara Expressway.
The day saw Sri M being received by many small groups of people along the way. Most of the people joined in and walked for a while. Today, a number of young people walked with the padyatra—the largest group to join them was a group of about 100 to 120 students and teachers from a local Madrassa near Surelia Junction, Ahmedabad. Other smaller groups of students also joined in on the way.
Sri M and the yatris visited the Gandhi Leprosy SevaSangh of Vastral in the morning where Sri M interacted with the inmates. Sri M addressed the inmates and the authorities at the Gandhi Leprosy Centre. Soon after this, they finished the walk for the day and rested for some time after lunch. In the evening,the Satsang was held at the Environmental Sanitation Institute of Ahmedabad. The Satsang saw about 400 people in attendance.
Sri M started the address by thanking the organizers, the dignitaries in the audience, the padayatris and all present, addressing the as brothers and sisters.
The address at the Environmental Sanitation Institute, Ahmedabad went thus:
“Om Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah
Sarve Santu Nir-Aamayaah
Sarve Bhadraanni Pashyantu
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”
" When I came in, I saw that this center is named Ishavasyam. Now, the term Ishavasyam has been taken from Ishavasyam Upanishad. This was also Gandhiji’s favourite Upanishad. This text has something very profound in it – that we are the essence of That All Pervading Energy whom we call God, but it also does not find excuses for laziness while we are here on this earth. You will understand when I talk to you and give you an explanation. We have our Sanskrit scholar here. In case, I make any mistakes, please do correct me "
“The text starts with
Isavasyam idam sarvam
Yat kim ca jagatyam jagat,
tena tyaktena bhunjitha,
ma gridhah kasya svid dhanamkurvann eveha karmani
jijivi secchatam samah
evam tvayi nanytheto 'sti
na karma lipyate nare
“Ishavasyam Idam Sarvam means that the Supreme Energy which is called Isha here, there is no place where it is not present. I interpret it this way. Ishavaasyam- vasyam – pervades. Idam sarvam; it pervades all things, there is no thing in which or where it does not exist.”
“Yat kinca jagatyam jagat – meaning that which moves. The universe is called jagat as it keeps moving. Meaning, it keeps moving and changing all the time. It does not stop –being always in motion. Jagatyam means to move. This is why the universe is called Jagatyam because it is in movement all the time. Look at anything, the planets move around the Sun, Earth also is rotating & moving, even the stars are in constant movement. Nobody can stop time. And, change cannot be arrested. And, you know about the mind. It does not stay still for a moment – keeps running. This is what we call Jagat. When it stops moving, then that world does not exist. The mind is also like this. When the mind stops all it’s habits and becomes peaceful and quiet, then one does not see the world anywhere.”
“The world ends. But in everyday life, we see that life goes on. We cannot say that it is not life and it is Maya. It is called Maya only because it is there today and is not there tomorrow. It is not mean that it does not exist. Till we are there, reality is also there. What can be done? Do we bring in change or don’t we? I thought about this for a number of years. When I did not get a clear answer, I asked my Guru Maheswarnath Babaji. He said, when you are hungry, you eat, right? I said, yes. When somebody is hungry and he does not have food, what will you do? I said I will give him food. I did not need any other answers after this. So, when we live in this world, serving others is a very big sadhana. If you sit down the whole day with your eyes closed – anyway, nobody can sit quiet like this for more than 5 minutes -once Babaji told me that if you sit and meditate for 20 hours every day for 20 years and if a hungry child’s cry from the neighbourhood does not reach your ears, then your 20 years of sadhana is a complete waste! This is what he said. My mind changed completely after hearing many such truths from him. It turned into a sort of madness.
When I met Anna in Ralegon Siddhi, I told him that people call me mad. Anna replied – only a mad person can do something worthwhile. So a mad man has begun this padayatra from Kanyakumari to Srinagar. Behind this mad man, there are other mad people walking along. I sometimes wonder why these people are walking with me? I don’t understand how and why they have such faith in me! So, the objective is to walk from Kanyakumari to Srinagar and I feel that they will not return before that. We will see what happens after Kashmir. ”
“So, this is the meaning for the first two lines only - Isavasyam idam sarvam, yatkimca jagatyam jagat.”
“Tena tyaktena bhunjitha, ma grdhah kasyasvid dhanam – Normally, we assume that we are happy when we gather material things - this is how we think. However, the Upanishads say and it has also been my personal experience that we are truly happy only when we let go of these things! So, the Upanishad says tena tyaktena bhunjitha, meaning – Let go and Rejoice! Let go! This could be about material wealth on one side and about the mind, on the other. Suppose, somebody had slapped me 10 years ago; it has not happened, but just suppose, how long does the pain last? 10 minutes, half an hour, an hour or maximum, a day! It will not last longer than that. But while the physical aspect of the slap disappears in a day, we will not let it go from our minds that easily. It keeps playing in our minds like a tape continuously; the act of the ‘slap’ is over. But we do not let it go as the plan to slap him back after 20 years is being hatched in the mind!! Tena tyaktena bhunjitha – means to let go of this, move ahead and enjoy! But no, the memory of the act takes control and becomes a big bee in our bonnets! Even then, we are not ready to let go.
At night, we sleep.Please understand that sleep is like a mini-death. Just now, somebody mentioned that there’s a saying in Gujarat– Surat ma janam and Kashi ma maran. So, when we sleep at night, it is like a mini-death. When we wake up in the morning, it is a new day ahead of us; but we will not let it go. If we are able to treat every day when we wake up as a new day without baggage from memories, then we have understood the psychological aspect of the Upanishads. Tena tyaktena bhunjitha – we hang on to the old image so tight that we are unable to change. We do not give it a chance to move on.”
“Ma grdhah kasyasvid dhanam – finally, whose wealth is all this, anyway. Whose is it? It belongs to God, not to us - sometimes with me, sometimes with you. But it does not belong to anybody. I am here for a while; another person is here some other time. We do not have anything. I will tell you a small story. Once, I had a conversation with a very big smuggler.Just listen to his philosophy; I am not saying that you too should become a smuggler please! ISKCON was building a new temple in Mumbai. Babaji had told me that I had to learn about Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Gaudiya Math’s principles, so I said – Fine, shall I go to ISKCON? He said – Yes, go to ISKCON and stay there for a while. Thus, I stayed in ISKCON and was like a Brahmachari there. I too had a bag with a mala; you must have seen them with a bag and the mala. I stayed there for 6 months chanting Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare. So, when they were building this new temple in Juhu - at that time, there was only a small temple, we used to stay at that temple -there was need for money to build the temple. Somebody had told one of the inmates that Haji Mastan would donate money; he donates to temples, mosques and to everybody. The inmates asked me to go with them as Haji Mastan was from the South and he would be happy if you spoke to him in Tamil.”
“So I wentto meet Haji Mastan along with the sanyasis from ISKCON. I was also like one of them. We had to wait in his house for a while and - after some time - he arrived and alighted from his car. He was a thin, tall man and he seemed to have a toothache. He came and said – I am sorry I am late, please sit down, what have you come for? The sanyasis were all looking at me and I looked back at them – what do we say to him? I finally spoke to him in Tamil – these people are building a big temple here and in case you would like to donate some money. He said, yes, yes, I will donate. He called somebody and asked the assistant to go to a room - I am talking about the 70s - there is a closed bag with five lakh rupees, bring it and give it to them. The man went in, brought the bag and everyone was shocked! All the notes were in 100s; not in 500 or 1000s; so you can just imagine how big the bundle was! The ISKCON people asked in whose name do we give the receipt? He started laughing saying -there is no need of a receipt. He then said, please have some tea.There’s no hurry, don’t run away. He thought we were scared. He then sent word for tea.”
“I thought I should talk to him and I said – why do you do this smuggling? I knew that he had built orphanages and did other charity work, then, why is he involved in smuggling? He replied – please understand - he said something that sounded very much like what the Ishavasya Upanishads says – he said – who does the world belong to? I said it belongs to God. He responded – the whole world belongs to God, right? Fine, who has divided this into various countries? I said – these are man-made. Good, then, this is God’s land which we have divided into various countires. So, I am taking goods from one part of God’s land to another part. Why should I pay taxes? So, I do not pay them. I am just a businessman. They call me a smuggler. I had no response to this. I was stumped! I thought for a while and said – what about the people who die in the firing in between? He replied saying it was incidental and these things happen. In this too, in his philosophy too, there is a meaning. The whole world is One, we have separated them. Now, we have to bring them together again. How will we do this? First, we will do this work in our homes and then do it outside. This way, we will bring India together first. Sometimes, it goes to pieces. This is not so for the average Indian people because the saying, Ekam Sat, Viprah bahuda vadanti– We have only one Truth, the wise call it by many names - has been prevalent in this country from thousands of years. And Shanti – I always end every Satsang with Shanti, Shanti, Shanti”.
“When two Muslims meet they greet each other with Salaam-Alaikum. What does the word Salaam mean? It means Peace. Jews or Yehudis greet each other with Shalom. What does this mean? Peace. But what happens? It does not mean that people do not understand this. At least in India, everybody knows but sometimes, we forget. So, we are on this padayatra only to remind people about it – whatever you do, whatever be your religion, this is your personal faith. Remain with it -nobody is asking you to change your religion; it’s fine if you have a different ideology. I have many friends in the CPM who do not believe in God, there are people like this also.
But this does not mean that you lose faith in mankind. In mankind and in the Oneness of humanity, do not forget to look at this. This should not happen. So, this is how people say – prevention is better than cure; so this is a preventive measure. This padayatra is a walk towards One humanity. We walk 20 to 25 Kms every day – in the sun, in the wind, in the rain and in the heat. Why are we walking? Because we want to spread this message, whatever happens, we will bring people together. We will not give up; we will not let there be more divisions. I have this belief that India will become One, we are already one; when people from different ideologies and religions come together as One. Nobody falls from the heavens; we all go back to this earth. Why do we have this drama in between? And when there is violence, mothers and children in our house are also subjected to it like the ones in other houses; when there is sorrow here, they also go through the same.”
“We are walking only to spread this message and to sow the seeds of Manav Ekta. This will not happen in 2 days. Please don’t assume that it will happen immediately. This will take time. We sow seeds in the garden; how many days does it take for it to become a tree? The tree has to grow, so wherever we go - like how we are here with you - the idea of Manav Ekta should sprout in your minds and should grow roots. I know that this is so; otherwise, we will not be able to do all this work. I had gone today and visited this place – Village of Love. We will not be able to do this kind of work without love, compassion and the feeling of Manav Ekta. So, we would like to bring all such people together. Now, the Institute is very well done. Now, the thought is not to make another institute like this. You people are doing good work; the thought is to bring all people who are doing such good work together. I don’t want them in my house; flowers look beautiful in any garden. This is our objective and we are walking towards this. With God’s grace, we should be reaching Srinagar in April 2016. Our aim is to walk to the Srinagar City Square with the National flag and the flag of One Humanity.”
“When India becomes strong, as in earlier days, people from all over will come here to gain knowledge, this is my dream. Now, we go to Harvard or Oxford to gain knowledge.People will come here again. And, they will say this is a treasure house of love, compassion and mutual goodwill - take what you need from here. This is the aim we are walking with. And we need all your support to make this successful. I know that you cannot walk with us; but you can be with us in your minds. With this, we have no doubts that we will succeed. I also have this faith that you are already with us. Over and above this, I would not like to say anything else.”
“Namaskaar and Salaam”
“Aum shanti Shanti Shanti”