Rotis, watery subji and a bottle of water- the Indian ruralscape - Dhar
Ready for School- Dhar
Along the streets of Thirla - Dhar
Soyabean ready for sorting - Dhar
WOH Day 261- Deviating from NH 59 to the village roads - Dhar
Sri Ramesh Dahival, people's representative of Dhar greets Sri M - Dhar
A bunch of lotus blooms for Sri M - Dhar
Sri M performing aarti inside the Bhojsala Saraswati Mandir - Dhar
Satsang at themany pillared hall of the Bhojsala Mandir- Dhar
Inside the dargah of Hazrath Maulaka Kutub Kamaluddin Chisti - Dhar
Civic reception at Khoda Chowkdi - Dhar
Reception at the Masihi Mandir Church
Walk of Hope journeyed 17 kilometres today from Bhodwada to Bhaktamber—passing through the villages of Thirla and Amkheda—before reaching their destination. Bhaktamber is on the outskirts of the town Dhar and that is where the yatra stopped today. Taking a deviation from highway #59, they walked on a narrow and disused village road leading them to Dhar. The villages here concentrate on agriculture and their main produce is soya bean—used particularly for oil production. This region is one of the largest soya bean producer in India. The padayatra continues to walk past panoramic natural beauty yet it also has scenes of poverty and little development. Homes with mud brick walls and thatched roofs look very charming and picturesque but a life lived in such a land might have many limitations.
The reception has been overwhelming. People here are hospitable and warm. Droves of people gather in small groups outside their homes as the walkers pass through. Sri M is garlanded ever so often and showered with petals. Those who assist in taking the garlands and keeping them in the support vehicle have the most difficult task these days—ferrying them from the front to the rear every few minutes. The people then shower the yatris with flowers,while children present have the most fun. Many of them join in and walk with them for some time. As they reached the more populated areas of town, there were at least 400 to 500 padayatris.
Dhar is an old historical town with a very rich heritage. These areas are picturesquely situated among lakes and trees surrounded by barren hills, and possesses, besides its old ramparts, many interesting buildings, some of them containing records of cultural, historical and national importance. The padayatris stopped a few kilometers short of the town center. It was hot, dusty and noisy as they entered the outer reaches. As they walked towards the more populated central areas, more and more people joined in. Walking through the narrow, run-down roads, with people showering flowers was an exhilirating experience. Drummers joined, attracting everybody’s attention.
Prominent people of Dhar also joined Sri M and walked for some time, and among them was Member of Parliament, Smt. Neena Verma of Dhar. They visited the Bhojanshala Saraswati Mandir where Sri M briefly addressed a gathering of about 80 people - mostly women - and spoke about Walk of Hope, its aim and objectives, its central message and invited them to be a part of it. Sharing a wall with the temple complex is the dargah of Hazrath Maulakha Kutub Kalamuddin Christi. Sri M and the padayatris visited the dargah and offered prayers. This temple-dargah complex sees Hindus and Muslims congregate at the same place and each community goes about in their own ways of prayer. This coming together of these two communities and the prevailing peace is a symbol of unity and harmony in this town.
Continuing, in Dhar, they visited and offered prayers at the ancient Kalika Mandir. Representatives of the Christian and the Muslim community welcomed Sri M just a few moments after this visit. Soon after, there was a civic reception. The walkers then visited the Masihi Mandir Church where the clergy welcomed Sri M and the padayatra. They finally stopped at the Government HSS School of Excellence where Sri M addressed a gathering of about 150 students. Finally, the walkers went off to our resting place and called it a day.
Sri M's address to about 200 people at the Government HSS School of Excellence was as follows,
“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.”
“My Namaskaar to you all and Dhanyavaad (thank you) for the wonderful welcome you gave us. I will not talk much as we have come walking for 20 Kms. It’s the time to stretch our legs. Since we have arrived at your school, I will say a few words and close the session. We can have a long discussion during tomorrow’s programme.”
“I just want to tell you that we started our yaatra (journey) on 12th January from Kanyakumari. Why did we start from Kanyakumari? Because it’s a confluence of three oceans. Do you know which oceans? Can anybody name them? I will tell you. You have the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal. So, this is a very important symbol of Maanav Ekta (One Humanity).”
“Another reason is that when Swami Vivekananda was still relatively unknown, he came to be well known only after his return from America. Then, people understood his greatness. He went all over India and he walked from place to place. There is no place in Bhaarat where he has not gone. While walking thus, he reached Kanyakumari. Now, when you go there, you will see his statue in the ocean, close to the shore. A centre has been established there. Earlier, there was nothing there. There was just a big rock. Even then, it used to be called Vivekananda Rock. At that time, Vivekananda had sat on that rock and meditated for 2 or 3 hours. He then had clarity on what needed to be done for India. This is the reason we thought it would be good place to start our padayaatra for Maanav Ekta.”
“While meditating, Swamiji clearly realized one thing - liberation for the soul could be achieved byworking for the good of the world, Atmano mosharth jagat hitaya cha. So, people assume that Yogis sit and meditate for 24 hours. This is not so. In Kaliyug, Karma Yog is the best. This is serving people through our activities. This is called welfare of the world. Only through this will the mind get purified and we can sit for meditation. If not, it cannot be done. We can go and sit in a cave. But the mind will be going hither and thither. This is my experience.”
“And second, I journeyed in the Himalayas for many years with Maheswarnath Babaji, as his disciple. This is not theoretical knowledge but my direct experience that in every human being’s heart resides a spark of the Divine - man or woman, fair or dark - in every human being’s heart. It’s there as an indweller in each one’s heart. So, everybody is a moving, walking temple. God’s worship is done through seva (service). Swamiji said Daridra Narayan ki seva – serving the Divine in the form of a troubled human being. Serve a fellow being who is in difficulty or is suffering. So, this is our aim.”
“I know that, in Bhaarat Varsh, the culture is such that everybody knows that we are One; that humanity is one. We are not different from one another. Names may be different, religions may be different but humanity is one. There is nobody who is not born from a mother’s womb. There is no one who drops from the skies. And we go back into this same earth. Why this struggle in between? Yes, 3000 years ago, the Rig Veda says Ekam sat, viprah bahuda vadanti. The Truth is One, the wise call it by different names. This is fine and is meant for different types of people in different situations and different communities. But I have faith that we can live united together.”
“We are walking with this message of Maanav Ekta. We walk 20 Km every day. I am now 66 years old. People ask me how I am walking. I am telling you it is only through this faith that is in my mind. Man can do anything through the transformation that service and spiritual realization can bring about.”
“I am sitting in a school, you are all children. Don’t ever think that if there is some trouble, you cannot resolve them. Please don’t ever think this way. It may be that we may find a way out and we can cross over, some way or the other. People know this but forget sometimes. This yaatra’s only objective is not to let people forget this.”
“All should live together - as Indians, as human beings. All should live together. This yaatra is for Maanav Ekta, sadbhavna (goodwill) and prem (love). If we live this way, Bhaarat will become strong. Nobody can shake it. When it becomes strong, the message of peace will spread across the whole world. People will come from all over the world and say – what a place! People live here in such unity. This is my message.”
“All of you, please remember this. Because when you grow up, you will do some very good work. So now, I am sowing the seeds of peace in your hearts. Please water it every day. Please nurture it. Years later, this will become a very big tree. People will sit under its shade in peace and harmony. And, there will be beautiful flowers and fruits on these trees. When there is a breeze, then its fragrance will extend to every place in the world.”
“And like the days of yore, people from different parts of the world will return to India to gain knowledge. This is my dream and we need to keep this dream alive. I am here today and will depart tomorrow. But don’t forget that I was here and told you that we are all one, that we are all Indians – don’t forget this. And like it’s written in Hindi,Uttisthata Jagrata Prapya Barannibodhata – Arise, Awake and do not rest till you attain your goal. Keep this in mind and grow up as good Indians. This is my heartfelt wish. I will not say anything more. Think about what I said after you reach home. Think about this in school and talk about this to everyone.”
“Namaskaar, Thank you. Now, please say this thrice along with me -
Bharat Maata ki Jai!!
Bharat Maata ki Jai!!
Bharat Maata ki Jai!!
The air was filled with the resounding echo of the slogan with the children joining in with gusto.