The dictum "Athithi Devo Bhava" still reigns supreme - Sardarpur
A hearty welcome at Phulgaondi - Sardarpur
Civic reception at Phulgaondi - Sardarpur
Cleaning drive on the Mahi River bank - Sardarpur
WOH Day 259 - The padayatra suffused in an ethereal glow
Armed and unnerving - Rajgarh
Reception at Catholic Center- Rajgarh
Sri M planting a sapling at Smriti Van -Rajgarh
Crossing the bridge over River Mahi - Sardarpur
A watery cross-over from the Sri Bab Ramdev Mandir to the Nath Samadhi Sthal -Sardarpur
Walk of Hope continues its march towards Indore and today, the padayatra covered 17 kilometres from Dhulet to Sardarpur. It started off in relative dark and the moon was still up. The sun came up slowly lighting the sky with million hues of deep pink and red. The winter chill has started to permeate the mornings and soon it will be cold. They passed through many small villages, most of them still in slumber.
The participation in and awareness of Walk of Hope continues to be high. Many people from remote quarters know of Walk of Hope – they greet when the padayatra passes by and, almost always, join and walk for some time. They were received at the Catholic Center of Rajgarh, at Smriti Van. Here Sri M also planted a tree, and also at Sardarpur and at Phulagondi. A few kilometres before Sardarpur, at their breakfast point, there was a cleaning drive on the banks of river Mahi. The yatra also visited the Ram Dev Baba Mandir, situated at the banks of the river. Media crew from many local news channels interacted with Sri M during this short break.
Sri M had 2 short addresses, one each at the two major receptions - at Sardarpur and at Phulagondi.
His first address, to a group of about 100 people went thus:
“First of all, my namaskars to you. Those who are my elders, my prostrations to you. To my Muslim brothers, Salaam. And, I thank all of you who welcomed us here. Praladhji Tippaniya is here, Kothariji is here - who is involved with us from the beginning. And my dear padayatris. I thank you all for being here.
“This padayatra started on 12th of January 2015 - if there is an issue with my Hindi, please forgive me, I am from the southern part of India. We started from Kanyakumari because it is thesangama(confluence) of three oceans symbolising the coming together of people. And second, we started on the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. He needs no introduction. After wandering the length and breadth of India, he went to Kanyakumari. There, at the southernmost tip of India, there is a big rock. Now, there is a memorial there but in those days, there was nothing.”
“So, Swami Vivekananda swam across the ocean to that rock, meditated there and found out what he had to do for the people of India. He went to America from there and started his work. Now, we have walked in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat and have reached your state Madhya Pradesh. We still have to cover a lot of distance. I think we will spend a lot of time in Madhya Pradesh. Madhya Pradesh is the heart of India. We have covered 3750 kilometres till now. We are walking, we do not use vehicles - yes we take vehicles to go to our place of rest and we go back the next morning to the place we stopped and start walking again.”
“Everyday, we cover about 18 to 20 kilometres. There are 80 padayatris walking with me who have set out from Kanyakumari and are walking with me. Their aim is to reach Srinagar. From here, we will go to Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Pujnab and Jammu and Kashmir. I hope we will reach Srinagar.”
“The aim of this padayatra is to unite people. India is such a nation that it has welcomed all who came here with open arms. The Jews came, the Parsis came, the Muslims came, the Christians came, like that people from many religions have come here. Indian tradition is such that all human beings are one. I know that everyone knows this but, sometimes, this is forgotten. This yatra is so that people do not forget this.”
“Everyone is born out of a mothers’ womb and goes back into the same earth, living for a few days on this earth. Then why resort to violence in this short period of time? Can we not live in peace? We need love, compassion and goodwill between human beings. These seeds, when they grow into a great tree, will shelter thousands and thousands of people. This is our message. From the response we have got till now, I feel that this yatra will be a success and the rest is up to God’s grace, as our Muslims brothers say, Inshallah.”
“We will continue our yatra now. When we reach Srinagar, we will know if anything has happened or not. Wherever we go, we go to temples, churches, mosques, jain temples, gurudwara. We go to any and all places of worship and people join us. This is our yatra.”
“I know that you cannot walk with us but please join us in your minds. Whenever you pray,have a prayer for us, pray for us that we be successful. If you do that, I am sure that we will be successful. I do not want to say anything else because it is very hot now. We do not realize it when we walk but sitting here we are feeling the heat. So, we are going to walk now. That is all.”
“Namaskar, Salaam, Jai Hind.”
His second address, to a group of about 100 people at Phulgaondi, 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”
“First of all my namaskars to you and my thanks to you for you welcomed us here with such joy and warmth. You rained down so many flowers on us that I was wondering where they were coming from. This yatra started from Kanyakumari and we are going towards Kashmir. We have completed 3700 kilometres and we still have 4000 kilometres left to do. In April 2016, we will reach Srinagar, that is our aim.”
“This is a Manav Ekta yatra (Journey towards one humanity); we are trying to get people together. India is a nation that has welcomed people from all over with open arms for hundreds and hundreds of years. They have now become Indians and are the very fabric of this nation. The culture and tradition of India is such. We Indians think that a spark of the Supreme Being resides in the heart of all human beings. It might be your belief but it is my experience. To share this with people, we have set out on this padayatra. If India is strong, it will be a beacon of light to other nations. If that is so, then people from all over the world will come here to attain knowledge. There is no need to go out.”
“You all have associated with us. I know that you cannot walk with us. But please pray for us, pray for our success.”
“Thank you. Namaskar.”