Day 254 | 22 September 2015 | Dahod to Jhabua | The Walk of Hope 2015-16

  • Colors rule supreme in rural India - Dahod
  • 2.For-us,-empowering-them-would-be-the-key!,-Dahod,-Gujarat
  • Taking a breat at Hangela, the last stop in Gujarat before the MP border
  • WOH day 254 - Entering the sixth Indian state in the itinerary
  • Interaction at Hangela
  • Nearing the Gujarat - MP border
  • Sri M takes playful aim as the tribal dancers whip up a frenzy at Pitol - border point
  • The Gujarat team accompany the padayatris on the final stretch - Pitol
  • Sri M with the teams of both Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, at the border
  • The padayatra moves on into the "heart" of India - Pitol
  • Welcome on MP soil - Pitol
  • 12.Dishevelled!-after-a-marathon-garlanding-session!!,-Pitol,-MP
  • Padmashree Prahlad Tipaniya tying a traditional turban at the first felicitation on MP soil
  • The first satsang on MP soil- Pitol
  • Sri M at the Sri Sankat Mochan Sidhi Hanuman Temple - Pitol
  • Sri M at the interactive session with tribal children - Jhabwa, MP
Walk of Hope covered 20 kilometres from Dahod to Jhabua today, taking about 6 hours in the process. Walk of Hope left Gujarat and entered Madhya Pradesh—with only 6 more states to go, these days mark the half-point of the yatra.

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Gujarat had welcomed the padayatris with showers and, as the walkers did the final stretch today, it rained again until they crossed over. It was an emotional moment for the padayatris too as they had to bid farewell to their hosts in Gujarat who had taken care of them and thank them for their unconditional hospitality and step into unexplored Madhya Pradesh. A completely different landscape - rolling hills, fields, trees at equal distances, a pleasant breeze and sunshine - awaited them in MP. There was quite a gathering with people from Gujarat saying goodbye and residents of Madhya Pradesh welcoming Sri M into the heart of India. Pitol was where the welcome reception awaited them. Sri Prahlad Tipaniya, a well known folk singer who invokes Kabir in each of his songs, welcomed Sri M with the tying of a traditional pagdi (turban), along with a troupe of beautifully dressed tribal dancers walking and dancing. They danced around Sri M and it was indeed full of rhythm and graceful energy. They also visited the Sri Sankat Mochan Sidhi Temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman where Sri M and the yatris offered their prayers. Sri M briefly addressed the gathering at Pitol, the very first in Madhya Pradesh: “Om Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah Sarve Santu Nir-Aamayaah Sarve Bhadraanni Pashyantu Maa Kashcid-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” “Our esteemed MLA Sahab and our Menon Sahab, Raj Kumar ji and Shukla ji, Zorawar Sahab, sitting with us on the stage and those respected ones sitting in front of us whose names I do not know; and those who are with us, representatives of the Sangh are also here, I thank all of them; and Prahlad Tipaniyaji who has come all the way to take us along, Kamalji has come and before that my brothers and sisters present here and our dear padyatris who have walked 3700 km with me in rain, heat and all kinds of weather, bearing all forms of hardship.” “It is God’s Grace that we have reached here comfortably; we have to walk another 4000 km to reach Srinagar. I will not speak much because this is not a Satsang but to those who looked after us, made the arrangements in Gujarat and brought us till here; to them I wish to express my gratitude and bestow my Aashirvad on them all.” (Audience applauds). “I also thank all those who have come here, in full readiness to welcome us, to take us along further. I know they have a lot to do and are extremely busy in making all the arrangements.” (The audience applauds again). “I say to you all that we will do all that you ask us to do; now that we are your companions.” “The only one aim of our yatrais Manav Ekta - Oneness of Humanity, which is not something new. In Bharatvarsh - India, it is a very old concept and is elaborated in the Vedas but sometimes we forget it. To remind people about it is the aim of this yatra, to let them not forget that we all are Manav (human).” “I call myself ‘M’ because the first letter of Manav or Manushya (human) is ‘M’. So, this is our mission which is going well till now. I have felt that the response has been very good. People will awaken and will join hands to make Bharat (India) strong.” “A time will come when people from all over the world will come to India again in quest of knowledge, as they used to in the bygone eras. This is my dream“ (applause from the audience). “So, now shall we start our walk again?” “Namaskar, salaam and good day.” In the evening, the padayatris gathered in the Palace Grounds for the Satsang. A number of students and young people were present and after the satsang, Sri M answered a few questions by the students. Satsang with Sri M: “Om Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah Sarve Santu Nir-Aamayaah Sarve Bhadraanni Pashyantu Maa Kashcid-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 Om Shanti, Shanti, Shantihi” “My namaskaar to all. Do forgive me if you notice any mistakes in my Hindi, because I am from the South, from Kerala; I can talk but do make room for my inaccuracies as you being students are bound to notice slip-ups on my part.” “This yatra (journey) began from Kanyakumari on 12th January and we have covered 3700 km till now. We entered Madhya Pradesh from Jhabua and 4000 km more remains to be walked. Our aim is to reach Srinagar in Kashmir by April, 2016.” “We started from Kanyakumari because it is a sangam (confluence) of three seas. So, thinking that Kanyakumari is a good example to demonstrate our principle - our message of uniting all people, of bonding all humans - we chose to begin our journey from there.” “We have already walked through four states and from the response that we have got till now, it appears to me that this yatra of Manav Ekta (unity of humanity) will succeed. I am not walking alone; 60 to 70 people are walking with me from Kanyakumari who will accompany me till Srinagar. And wherever we go, lot of others also walk with us; sometimes 200, sometimes 300; sometimes 500 and even a thousand have joined us in our walk.” “From the yatra (journey) till now, we have understood that the matter of Manav Ekta is not at all a new topic. It is a concept intertwined in Indian culture but sometimes we forget this; and when we forget it even for 10 minutes and when the fire of hatred ignites, it results in violence.” “So our message is to not let it ever happen; don’t forget this aspect. As we walk, we want to convey to all humans that they know about Manav Ekta; they know that humanity is one but forget it every now and then. To remind them and to not let them forget of their unity is the aim of our walk and nothing else.” “We can be of different names, different religions and different ideologies. In Kerala, the Communists don’t believe in God; that too is fine, it is each one’s personal belief. But do remember that we are all human. Why? Because all are born from a mother’s womb, nobody falls from the sky and we all return into this very Earth. This little play that goes on from birth to death, what has the human to do with it? Without violence, peacefully with love and goodwill we can easily live out our lives; therefore, there is no need for hatred and aggression.” “So this is our message. Many have walked with this message before me; it is not as if I am the originator of it. Look into the ancient religions of India; Vedic Dharma is the earliest. Every prarthana (prayer), everything, every puja (ritual of worship) and every aradhana (worship) ends with OM shaanti, shaanti, shaantih ( peace, peace, peace).” “When you go to the temple to pray, prasad is distributed. If you open a Sanskrit dictionary and look it up, prasad means shanti (peace). Whatever is cooked and given, we like it and eat it as God’s prasad. God’s prasad in reality is shaanti (peace).When two Musalmaan brothers meet, they greet each other with a salaam. What is the meaning of salaam? It is shaanti (peace); may Khuda’s (God’s) peace be bestowed upon you, that is its meaning. The Jain Dharma is very ancient also. It begins with ‘ahimsa paramo dharma’ (nonviolence is the supreme law). The same is the case with the Bauddha Dharma. They all want to take their followers towards peace.” “Inspired by such thoughts, Mahatma Gandhi - without indulging in any violence - showed the door to the British who had been ruling us for more than a century. Later, of course, some violence did take place but that is a different matter. The British could not understand how to deal with a man who was unwilling to indulge in any sort of aggression, restraining himself from even picking up and throwing a single stone! The Mahatma resorted to only peaceful means. It was by employing Satyagraha (truthful insistence) that he succeeded in ending British rule in India.” “From this one can conclude that peace is a very potent weapon. Peace is not a sign of weakness; only a man of strength who respects truth can live in peace. So do not mistake a man of peace to be a weakling, it is not so! He who is the strongest and resolves not to use his strength marks the beginning of peace. So, we are walking with this message in our minds.” “I thank those from Jhabua who welcomed us so warmly at the Madhya Pradesh border; many had come. We have now reached here and have a long way still to go. It will take us more than 70 days to walk through Madhya Pradesh covering about 18 to 20 km every day.” “It appears from the response that we have received till now that the yatra (journey) is having an effect. So it appears to us. Now this is an Asha Yatra (Walk of Hope) and we will come to know only after reaching Srinagar whether this hope of ours has been fulfilled or not; we cannot say so as of now. However, from the response that we have received till now, it does appear that it has had some effect.” “We have interacted with people in small villages on the way who declare that they too think like us and support our endeavour. Please understand that about 60 to 70 percent of our population lives in villages; and you are the new generation that has to take this country forward. Therefore, we want to sow the seeds of peace, Manav Ekta (unity of humanity) and sadbhavana (goodwill) in the hearts of students such as you.” “I have grown old, my hair has turned grey but it is you who have to run this world when you grow up. I have full faith and am confident that our attempt at sowing the seeds of peace, Manav Ekta (unity of humanity) and sadbhavana (goodwill) is a good effort. But trees don’t grow merely by sowing seeds. Seeds sown today will not grow into trees the next day, no one has ever seen it happen and it takes time. So our effort is to sow these seeds.” “If this thought takes root in the hearts of children such as you, then even if someone comes and says that you are separate, you should tell them that whatever they say may be right but we all humans are one. Our names may be Amar, Akbar or Anthony but we are still one; say this to them.” “A day will then come when the tree of Manav Ekta will grow very big and thousands of Indians will rest in its shade. The tree will bear good fruit and flowers whose fragrance will spread all over the world, whenever there is a gentle breeze. The whole world will observe that the sweet smell of peace and sadbhavana (goodwill) is spreading all over. This the whole of mankind will see. This is our aim and it is our dream that a time will come when the lost glory of Bharat will be restored.” “Thousands of years ago, students from all over the world used to come to Takshashila and Nalanda for knowledge and to learn about peace. Now we go to Harvard. It is my dream that this day will come, it will surely come. Swami Vivekananda had declared each century as a century of a nation and had said that the 21st century will belong to Bharat. It is my dream that his words will ring true. What we are doing is very little, there are others too who are trying.” “We know that you cannot walk with us till Srinagar, so we implore you to explain our message of Manav Ekta and sadbhavana to others in your homes, schools and offices. Tell them that ‘M’ had come and explained all this to us. Spread this message at home, to the people in your neighbourhood, across the whole of India and finally, across the whole globe. If this message spreads far and wide, then this world can be so beautiful.” “It is said in the Vedas, Sarve bhavantu sukhinah; Loka samastaḥ sukhino bhavantu. Happiness and peace must prevail in the whole Universe, but the beginning has to be made in each home first. That is why we are doing it first in Bharat. Because of this effort, Bharat will become strong. It is very necessary for Bharat to become strong. It will become strong because all of us will live together.” “If the students have any questions for me, please ask. After hearing your questions, if I think I have the answer, then I will reply.” “Namaskaar. Thank you.” An interactive session followed with a number of young people asking questions: “Q1. (Although the question is inaudible in the audio recording, from the answer it seems apparent that it was related to the blast at Petlwad town in Jhabua district on 13 Sep 2015 in which 89 people were killed and nearly 100 were injured). A. That I do not know, read the newspaper to find out but I have heard that some dynamite was stored and that a gas cylinder had burst. I do not know. But we want to go there too and enquire from people as to what happened there. We have come here only today and whatever we know is from the newspapers. After we go there and talk to locals and find out more about it, we will tell you. So have you understood what I have said? Q2. What is the meaning of ‘M’? (The gathering claps). A. Okay, I’ll tell you, please sit down. What we write in Hindi as ‘म’ (M), is written in English as ‘M’. The letter ‘म’ has many meanings; I’ll tell you one by one. What is the first letter of the words Manav (human) and Manushya (man)? ‘म’, ‘M’. When I was born in Kerala, Trivandrum, in a Muslim home, I was named Mumtaz Ali Khan. Its first letter is also ‘म’. When I went to the Himalayas, my Guru Maheshwarnath Babaji, who belonged to the Nath Sampradaya (Nath tradition), gave me Diksha (initiation) and gave me the name of ‘Madhukarnath’. In the Nath Sampradaya, a name has to be given at the time of Diksha (initiation). He used to lovingly call me Madhu. What is the first letter of Madhukarnath? It is also ‘म’. But I like it best of all when people call me by the name Manushya or Manav. Because I believe - not believe - it is my experience that the omnipresent Ishwar or Bhagavan or Khuda, or whatever you say, resides in the hearts of all humans. This is my experience. That is why the whole of humanity is one, there is no difference. There may be difference is colour on the outside but there is no difference inside. That is why I consider myself a Manav and that is why the letter ‘M’ was chosen as my name. Some people used to refer to me as Mr M which I did not like. So someone added ‘Sri’ and that is how it became ‘Sri M’ but there is only one body, not two or three. (Applause from the gathering). Q3. These religious conversions that are taking place in Jhabua district in great numbers and the bomb blasts and terrorist attacks that happen and issues arise…. A. It is because of such incidents that we have set out on this walk so that we sit with people and try to put across to them that there is no need for violence, and we should live together in harmony. Just ponder on the question that if there is no illness, then where is the need for a doctor? A wound has been inflicted, first the wound should be treated. Peace should be brought about among the population by making them understand through dialogue that this is not the way to live. That is why whenever we visit a big city we undertake a day’s Satyagraha( truthful insistence) against terrorism. It is my belief that they will understand by and by because whenever such an incident takes place, it is a painful experience for all who are touched by it, isn’t it? So we should think about it as humans, not from the view point of different religions. It is this very issue that we have taken up and set out on this walk. What will actually happen, I do not know, this is only a Walk of Hope. Questioner (continuing) and what about those who, while staying in India, wave Pakistani flags? True, they eat food of this land, drink the water of this land, live on this land and think of themselves. I do not know whether these are those who think they belong to another country; but, if someone thinks that he belongs there, then it is wrong thinking. For this too, we will sit with people and discuss but no one will understand with violence. You set up one gun, he will set up two. You set up three, he will set up four and it goes on. That is why we want to settle it peacefully. Your question is very good; remember it when you grow older. Thank you (clapping by the audience). Q4. Swamiji, pranaam. I want to know about Kriya yoga, I have read a little and heard about it but do not know much. Can an ordinary person attempt to learn it? And, if yes, how difficult is it and how much can be learnt? A4. Though this is not the right place and venue to discuss Kriya yoga, but as you have asked about it, I will say a few words about it. Kriya is a technique; any technique can be called a kriya so there are a lot of kriyas. Why is kriyapracticed? It is stated in the Yoga Sutrasthat by following yam, niyam(the prescribed do’s and don’ts) and performing any of the kriyas, the mind can be purified and when the mind is purified, it becomes calm. Such a calm mind can then understand the link between the Aatman (soul) and Bhagavan (God). That is what is stated in many scriptures. When we talk about kriya,it is the technique given to us by Sri Guru Babaji. The Nath Parampara (tradition) too has its own kriya. Your question is whether an Aam Aadmi (common man), not from the party but an Aam Aadmi, can do kriyaor not. There is no restriction, everyone can do it. 15 minutes or half an hour of kriya can be done every day and for it you may be a devotee or may belong to any religion. You can be a jnyani (knowledgeable person) or you can be a yogi. Whatever be the approach of your particular religion, or your faith, it makes no difference in kriya but you have to practice it every day and follow the yam, niyam. It is not as if you say that you will drink every day, smoke every day and eat whatever you please and still hope to reach there, this will not work. Therefore, strict compliance with the yam, niyam is necessary. After following yam and niyam, you contact a Guru who teaches kriya, who will discuss about kriya with you. Then, it will be decided when you should be initiated into kriya, there is no secret to it. In my understanding, every person can do it but yam, niyam will have to be followed. Some people who come to melie 24 hours, I am not talking of you, and say that they are in search of the Truth. I ask them how they can search for the Truth if they are lying all the time. First follow the yam, niyam and begin by speaking the truth. I am willing to exempt lawyers from this condition as it is their profession, what can they do? I am talking of others. Your question was whether everyone can do kriya; yes they can but they must follow yam, niyam. Also, we cannot describe the actual technique of kriya in such a forum as the effort is wasted. It can be decided after discussing it in private. Thank you. (The audience claps) Q5. Sir, my name is Dhan Singh Huria. Sir, you were born in a Muslim family, why did you accept Hindu Diksha (initiation). A. So, what of it? I was born in a Muslim family and learnt all about Islam. Then, I met Babaji and, right from childhood, I studied Vedanta. I also sat with Christians and studied Christianity. Then I learnt about the Bauddha Dharma at the Buddha Vihar. I also have a very good friend who is a Jain and is the Matha Adhipati (Holder of a Monastery) of a Jain Sthala (Jain abode). I learnt a lot about the Jain religion from him. From all this, I understood what has been stated in the Rig Veda three thousand years ago, Ekam sat vipra bahudha vadanti’. The Truth is one but Sages describe it by different names to suit the needs of diverse places - for people of dissimilar nature. Just as we see things from our own perspective, the Truth, which is one, is also perceived differently. Thus, those belonging to a particular religion, study the Truth in their own way. When this aspect was understood by me, I began to see all as one. Q6. (The questioner continues) One more question; this yatra (journey) could also have been named ‘Sandesh Yatra’ (Message journey) but why was it named ‘Asha Yatra’ (Walk of Hope)? A. Because though our message is of Manav Ekta (Unity of humanity) and sadbhavana (goodwill), I was not sure whether we would be able to succeed in conveying it. Hence, as it is only our hope that we will succeed, we named it thus. We will get to know of its success or otherwise only after we complete our journey. Till now, it appears to be successful. (Audience claps). Q7. Mahatma Gandhi had said, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians are brothers but why has this concept been thrown into the well? A. It is not so; they are united in many places. In many places, the effort to unite is going on. But, at times, the opposite effort is also made. That is why young people such as you should contemplate on what the Mahatma said and then, adopt and practice his teachings. That does not mean that people should be forced to change their religion. Everyone’s religion, their faith is their personal matter and they should keep it to themselves. But that different faith should not result in violence. If you run out of sugar at home, isn’t it a common practice to go to your neighbour and ask for a little even if he is a Hindu or Christian? How then do we start fights and indulge in violence? We should ponder over it. So, if we change our thinking, then Gandhiji’s message can be followed. India is such a big country, everyone can learn to live together. Q8. (Questioner continues) If you believe so, by when do you think this can come about? A. That I cannot say but we are doing whatever we can towards this end. Since you have asked by when it will come about, I say that it is in the hands of the young such as you. If you think about it, then it will happen soon. (The audience claps). Q9. Sir, my name is Manohar. How did you gain knowledge by merely being with your Guru? A9. This is too serious a question (laughs). Manohar has asked how I gained knowledge, it is a good question. I did not learn by reading books and scriptures. That is not how one gainsspiritual or other knowledge. One has to sit with his Guru and discuss matters and when their minds are in harmony, knowledge is transferred from the Guru to the disciple or student – just as a piece of iron takes on the properties of a magnet when kept near it for a while. One must find a true Guru for this, as nowadays the problem is there are more Gurus than disciples. An aspirant went to a Guru and asked him as to what he had to do to be accepted as his disciple. So the Guru said that he would have to wake up at four in the morning, clean the ashram premises, bring water from the Ganga, cut wood and keep the Dhuni (sacred fire) lit and so on and on. So, the aspirant, thinking this to be a very difficult proposition, asked what he would have to do to become a Guru. The Guru replied that he had only to sit somewhere and raise his hands in blessings. So the contender said why don’t you make me a Guru then? Why become a disciple at all? So, this matter of receiving knowledge involves a lot of effort. I too worked hard and made a lot of effort but will like to say one thing to you: Had my Guru, Babaji, not blessed me by placing his hand on my head, I would not have gained any knowledge whatsoever. So, the first thing to do is to respect whoever is your Guru. Your teacher at school too is a Guru. Only then will the transfer of knowledge happen on its own. This is what I think. You will have to work at it, of course. Q10. Sir my name is Ankush Kaathi and I belong to the Jain religion. I read a book by the great Saint, Osho in which he has challenged Mahavir Swami’s concept of ‘ahimsa’ (non-violence). He said that when we take allopathic medicines, we cause the annihilation of many bacteria flourishing in our gastrointestinal tract, also depriving them of the nourishment they receive in the human system. So the use of allopathic preparations is also violence, do you agree? A. When we talk of ahimsa (non-violence), let’s keep aside the matter of bacteria for a while. Let us first talk about humans. I know people who feed ants with sugar every day but are thinking all the time of how to finish off their business partner; what kind of non-violence is this? (Audience claps in appreciation). Non-violence begins in the heart. It has to begin there. When one’s mind is calm and the question of violence against anyone does not arise in it, only then can there be true non-violence. Till then, there can be no non-violence. So begin by practicing non-violence in your daily interactions with people and, a time will come wherein you will reach a stage where you will not be able to harm anything or anyone. But this cannot be done by everyone, only Tirthankars (those who have conquered the cycle of birth and death) can do it. So what Osho said was for the common man and not for Tirthankars. If they felt that, by having medicine they would cause the death of germs, they would have shunned all medicine. But we cannot do it. If we have fever, we have to take medicine. But, if a doctor has erred in prescribing a medicine he should not be shot with a gun; that is not non-violence. First, non-violence must be practiced among humans, to the extent possible. I do not kill even a mosquito but if dengue spreads, then what to do? So one should practice non-violence to the extent possible because we are very limited in our abilities and we cannot really follow non-violence to the extreme. So do as much as is possible. Q11. (The questioner continues) I have another question. Jhabua is a tribal area so what efforts should be made to inculcate goodwill, unity and cleanliness among them? A 11. It appears to me that many tribal people are present in this gathering, and also among the students. So I want to tell them that there is no difference between them and us. Some think that they have been to a college and learnt English. It doesn’t make a difference. One’s character should be good. If their character is good, then there is no difference between them and us. (The audience applauds). If their development has not taken place, then it is our responsibility to see that they progress. At one time, all of us were a part of tribes and there is no one who was not a part of a tribe. If you look back into history, you will find that we could only have been a part of a tribe. As civilisation developed, people forgot their roots and deny having been part of a tribe. The tribals here have lagged behind and are still in a bygone era. But I will say one thing – some aspects of their culture are something great. Their art, their dance and their music are things that we ought to learn from them. What can we teach them? (The audience applauds). Today, when we entered Jhabua at the border, a group of tribals was also there - boys and girls who performed to welcome us - and their performance was astounding. After training in an academy also, one cannot perform as well as they did. In Madanapalle, Andhra Pradesh, I run a tribal school and I know that their dance and music is part of their inner essence and when they practice it from there, it manifests beautifully. So my message to them is that they should think themselves equal to us, there is no difference. (Another round of applause). “Thank you.”

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  1. Well Dressed Beggar says:

    Jai Gurudeva.. Jai Kriya Babaji… Jai Maheshwaranath… Jai Madukaranath

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