Garlanding the statue of Devi Ahalyabai Holkar - Rajwada palace
Warm welcome from the Sikh bretheren
Inside the magnificent Gurudwara Imli Saheb - Indore
Inside the Gogadev Mandi - Indore
Si M gets another turban of honor - Indore
With the Dawoodi brethren of Indore
Enroute to St Annes White Church - the oldest church in Central India
Inside the 1858-built White Church Indore
Satsang at the the beautiful Ravindra Natya Gruha Indore
Garlanding the Vivekanand statue at Gangawal Bus stand Indore
WOH Day 265 - City walk in Indore
Satsang at Mukeripura Mosque Indore
Inside the Digambar Jain Mandir Narsing Bazar
Inside the Jankinath Mandir Indore
Sri M addresses the community outside the Jankinath Mandir Indore
Walk of Hope is in Indore city and today was a city walk. Indore is the largest city of the state of Madhya Pradesh and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and entertainment and has been described as the commercial capital of the state.
They started from the Vivekananda Square near Gangawal Bus Stand. Sri M garlanded Swami Vivekvananda’s statue and with that started off the padyaatra. From the outer areas, they walked towards the inner areas of the city and soon they were in the old, dense and beautiful part of Indore. With narrow alleys, old shops, older homes, musty air, jangled mess of wires and its old-world charm, the short walk was delightful.
It might have been a short walk but it took a lot of time to cover the distance. Sri M stopped at many places of worship along the way, including Mukeripura Mosque, Digambar Jain Mandir, Jankinath Mandir, Imli Sahib Gurudwara, Gogadev Mandi and St. Anne’s Church. They also stopped at the Rajwada, the royal palace of the Holkars where Sri M garlanded the statue of Devi Ahalya Bai Holkar. At one or two places, Sri M very briefly spoke on Walk of Hope, its mission and its message; he also mentioned the incredible welcome the citizens of Indore had accorded the padayatra. There were at least two dozen receptions along the way and many people joined the procession. People from all major communities were also present. There must have been at least a thousand participants in the walk today.
The walkers reached their halting pointand went off to their resting place. After lunch and some sleep, they again gathered at the Ravindra Natya Gruha, a center for performing arts, for the evening Satsang. The Satsang, attended by about six hundred people went thus:
“Akhaṇḍa-maṇḍalākāram vyāptam yena carācaram
Tatpadam darśitam yena tasmai śrī gurave namah
(Which) pervades the entire unbroken form of the circle (of creation), moving and unmoving.
To that beautiful and benevolent Guru through whom that state was revealed (to me), salutations.
Gurur Brahma Gurur Vishnu Gurur Devo Maheshwara
Gurur Sakshat Parabrahma Tasmai Shree Guruvey Namaha
The Guru is Brahma (The creator), Lord Vishnu(The preserver, and Lord Shiva (the destroyer)
To that very Guru I bow, for He is the Supreme Being, right before my eyes.
Loka samasta sukinoh bhavantu - May the entire universe be happy”
“My Namaskaar to all and my thank you for the very warm welcome you have accorded us at Indore, Madhya Pradesh. Before I begin, I request you to excuse any mistakes that I make in speaking Hindi because I am from Kerala where Malayalam is spoken; but during my wanderings across Bharat I have learnt Hindi too. When in doubt, I may use a few Sanskrit words now and then, as I have learnt it.”
“Not much remains for me to speak about the Maanav Ekta (unity of humanity) padyaatra (journey on foot) which we have undertaken as you have already been told about it and you have also seen a film on it. You would, by now, have understood as to where it began and where it will finish; and also know what its aim is. So I will consider this talk a small Satsang and tell you only about how the idea of a walk came to my mind.”
“Many years ago - when I was 20 - my Guru,who belonged to the NaathSampradaya (tradition), kept his hand on my head and gave me deeksha (initiation) after which my mind changed but what I experienced I cannot describe in words. One day, when I was sitting blissfully on the banks of the Ganga at Uttarkashi along with Baba ji,he said to me that he wanted to explain something to me. I asked him what was it that he wanted me to understand as I always did whatever he told me to.”
“He said the greatest saadhana (spiritual practice) was Maanav Seva(service to humanity) for which the mind should be purified such that there should not remain even a trace of ‘I’-nessor arrogance. When you do Seva (service) with a pure mind, it transforms into a saadhana; and with such a saadhana, spiritual fulfilment can be achieved. Not only that, the person or persons who receive such service also begin to experience the Self, little by little.”
“I asked Baba ji, ‘Why are you telling me this now?’ He replied, ‘You may have thought that if you sat meditating 10 to 20 years inside a cave, all will be well. It is not so. It is not that meditating in a cave is not good practice, it’s just that one cannot know if one’s mind has calmed as there is no one else in the cave. Who will you get angry with? The cave? Who can cause you distress, the cave cannot; it’s made of stone. But when you get out of the cave and travel in a bus and someone steps on your toes, only then will you realise what state your mind is in.’ He added, ‘If when you come out of the cave and do not hear the cry of a hungry child in a distant hut, all your 30 years of spiritual practice will come to naught” This is what he said.”
“This statement of his took firm root in my mind and when I went to the Ramakrishna Mission…I have received initiation from the Ramakrishna Mission also, Swami Tapasyananda is my Guru; he was then the vice President of the Mission. I have had an association with the Ramakrishna Mission too. While I was there, I began to read the works of Swami Vivekananda and only then understood the full import of what Baba ji told me earlier.”
“I want to tell you a story. It is not a mere story, it actually happened. When Swami ji returned from his tour of Europe, he began the work to establish the Belur and other Mutts. One day, Swami Vivekananda overheard a discussion between his brother disciples who were great yogis and disciples of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa such as Rakhaal Maharaj (Swami Brahmananda),Swami Shivananda and others. They alleged that social service and seva that Swami ji was talking about were all new. Thakur, as their Guru Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was known, did not say any such thing during his lifetime. They alleged that Swami ji had learnt all this after visiting Christian Monasteries in the West,.Thakur had asked them to practice saadhana to attain their ultimate spiritual goal.”
“Swami ji replied that if they knew more than him about what Thakur had said, then he had no interest in the Belur Mutt or the aashram and thereupon, he went to his room and returned wearing a kaupin, as he did during his wanderings across India. With a kamandlu (water pot) and staff, he called out ‘Har, Har Mahadev’ and declared that he was leaving them to look after the affairs of the Mission as it was not set up for his benefit.”
“His brother disciples then went up to him and said that they were only discussing the matter and did not mean to offend him, adding that the place would seem a void without him to guide them. Swami ji then told them of Thakur Paramahamsa Ramakrishna’s visit to Deogarh, accompanied by Rani Rasmani’s son-in-law, Mathur Baabu, long before Narendra Datt, Rakhal and the others became the disciples of the Paramahamsa”.
“They had gone to Deogarh to visit the Baidyanath temple there. After paying their obeisance at the temple, while returning, they saw the people of the Deogarh village suffering and dying from the famine that had struck the region. The village folk had nothing to eat; there was no water and there had been no rains during the preceding ten years. The people were dying from diseases which were spreading.”
“Seeing their suffering, Sri Ramakrishna descended from his palanquin and went and sat among the villagers of Deoghar and told Mathur Babu that he would stay with the villagers and die with them. He said, ’If you want to take me back to Kolkata, then return to Kolkata immediately and make arrangements for their welfare. I will leave here only when I am convinced that the arrangements made are adequate, because these poor people are my God.’ This is what he said.”
“Swami ji asked his brother disciples if they remembered the incident or if they had even heard of it. They replied that what he said was right and they would follow all that he said. On hearing this Swami ji agreed to return.”
“Seva (service) of humanity is important because a spark of the omnipresent Lord resides in the heart of all humans. This is my experience and not an idea picked I have up from a book. That is why, every human, whatever be his religion or name, Amar or Antony, is a temple that walks about; why? It is so because that omnipresent God resides in every heart. But we wonder how that could be possible as nothing can be seen of this God.”
“Before we think of something, we know before hand what we are going to think because that is where thought arises; the root of all thought is That. For this reason, every human…why every human, every living being, is a temple of God; a temple that walks about. Just as we worship God in a temple, the God in this walking temple is worshipped by service. If we do that service, then we can attain to Moksha.”
“It is stated in the Gita ‘Atmano Mokshartha Jagat hitaya Cha’ (For one's own salvation and for the good of the world); Swami ji used to say this very often. If you search for both, your own salvation and the good of the world then you will reach where there is nothing but bliss; not by yourself alone, but taking all along. This notion has taken deep roots in my mind.”
“Once someone in the West asked Swami ji as to what he thought was the essence of the Bhagavat Gita and Vedanta. He replied, ‘Every soul is potentially divine. To manifest this divinity either through work or through worship, or through study or through seva (service); this is the essence of Vedanta.’. He then added, ‘Everything else is subsidiary.’”
“In the culture of our country, service of the poor is not a new idea; it has been articulated many thousands of years ago. The 12th chapter of the Bhagwat Gita is about Bhakti Yoga. It is generally felt that Bhakti means bhajan and kirtan; that too is alright, I am not saying it should not be done. But greater than all this is seva.”
“When Arjun asked Lord Krishna what he considered to be the qualities of the greatest of devotees of his; the greatest of yogis; the Lord enumerated three attributes,‘sanniyam yendriya-gramam.’ ‘He who can control his indriyas (senses), I consider him to be the greatest of yogis.’ All our emotions are contained in the term ‘senses’, anger, attachment, everything.”
“After composing the Ramcharitmanas, Tulsi Das said, ‘Kaam, krodh, madh, lobh ki jo lo un mann me sthan tou lou pandit murkho, Tulsi ek saman’. (A learned man who gives in to greed, anger, lust and attachment is no different from a fool). So, the senses have to be kept in check; if greed, anger and attachment, are controlled even a little, something will surely come to pass. I know it is difficult in this Kali Yuga to have absolute control; but we don’t even try.”
“The second quality, Lord Krishna said was, ‘sarvatrasama-buddhayah’ (possess even-mindedness in every circumstance). I am walking and many have said that I am mad, walking all the way from Kanyakumari to Srinagar. When we went to Ralegan Siddhi and met Anna Hazare, I mentioned this to him and asked his opinion about it. He said that only mad men can achieve something.” (Audience applauds).
‘Sarvatra sama-buddhayah’ means, one should not be affected by either praise or condemnation. Our minds should always be equipoised. ‘Tulya-nindaa-stutir-mauni’ (Remains equipoised in praise or condemnation). Criticism and praise are the same for a yogi. To tell you the truth, criticism is better than praise. It is only through criticism that we learn of our deficiencies, praise does not expose our shortcomings.”
“If hundred people declare for hundred days that you are God then one morning when you get up you may really begin to feel that you may indeed be God” (laughter in the gathering). “It is not so. He who remains equipoised in praise and criticism is called a ‘sthita-prajnas’, one whose mind is settled in wisdom.”
“But how are we really? When someone praises us, we are very happy, but if we are criticised, we go into depression and need medication to come out of it, this is our habit; why? Because we have not yet reached that state where we have experienced and realised that the Parmatma who resides in our hearts is absolute bliss. We can’t find it anywhere outside; and it is only through criticism that we come to realise our deficiencies, praise does not help in this regard.”
“Kabir Das said, ‘Bura jo dekhan main chala, bura naa milya koye jo munn khoja apnaa, to mujhse bura naa koye (My search to find evil without failed to yield any results but when I looked within I found none more evil than ‘I’). This ‘mujh’ (me) does not mean ‘me’ per se. It means ‘mine’, ‘me’, ‘me’, ‘me’, ad infinitum.”
“Continuing, the Lord said, ‘Tulya-nindaa-stutir-mauni’; and ‘sitoshna-sukha-dukheshu.’ He who keeps his mind calm in summer or winter and in happiness or misery is considered the greatest of yogis by me, such a person, I consider to be the greatest of my devotees.”
“If you observe carefully over the past thousands of years, right up till now, all saints and great men have been ‘sthita-prajnas’. What was not said about Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa? There is an old LataMangeshkar song, ‘meethee, meethee baton se bachna zara’ (be wary of sweet talk). Sweet talk is good to hear and soon we begin to believe in our greatness, not realising the truth which remains hidden from us.”
“If our minds can be calm in both situations then indeed we are yogis.”
“The third which is the greatest of all;Lord Krishna said, he who thinks of the welfare of others is the highest among yogis, highest among devotees. ‘Yo mad-bhaktahsa me priyah’. Such a devotee is dear to me; a devotee who is thoughtful of the welfare of all living beings. ‘Sarva-bhuta-hite’ ratah’. Thinks of the welfare of each living being; it is not limited to just human beings alone but also includes every living being. He worries about the good of all living beings.”
“I understand that we cannot practice this advice a hundred percent; after all it is ‘Kali Yuga’ but we should keep it in mind and must not forget it; practicing it to the extent possible. We should try to live our lives such that not only do we remain calm but also the minds of others around us should become calm.”
“That is why with only the principle of ‘Atmano Mokshartha Jagat hitaya Cha’ in mind, we undertook this journey. When we started this walk there were doubts in people’s minds as to how it could succeed. The question was not of success but of our determination to do what had to be done.”
“We have reached Madhya Pradesh after walking through Kanyakumari, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat. From the response we have received till now, it appears to me that it is having some effect; may not be much but some effect can be perceived. I tell everyone that we are only planting seeds. We are here today and will be gone tomorrow; and I pray to you to nurture the seeds of ‘Maanav Ekta’ (Unity of humanity) that we are sowing in your hearts, which some day will grow into a very large tree, if not today.”
“And sitting under this huge tree, we Indians will enjoy its cooling shade” (the audience applauds). “And the fragrance of the fruits and flowers that this tree will bear will spread throughout the entire world whenever the wind blows” (another round of applause from the audience).
“Thirdly, there was a time in the past when people from all over the world came to us to learn, but now our condition is such that we hunt for knowledge at Harvard and here and there. I have a dream that India will move forward, it is moving forward, I have no doubt about it; and a time will come again in the near future when people from all over the world will once again come to benefit from the knowledge that we will have acquired” (the audience applauds).
“Thus, our message of peace and goodwill will spread to the entire globebecause it is said in the Vedas, ‘Lokaḥ samastaḥ sukhino bhavantu’ (May the entire Universe be happy). I end now with ‘Lokaḥ samastaḥ sukhino bhavantu’ because I too am awaiting the opportunity to hear Shri Prahladji Tipanya” (applause).
“Namaskaar to all and thank you.”
“Say ‘Bharat Maataki jai’ with me; after all whom is all this work that we are doing for? It’s for Bharat Warsh’ for ‘Bharat’ and for the human being.” (Calls out ‘Bharat Mata ki jai three times).
“Om shanti, shanti, shantih.”