Sri M at the Barli Development Institute for Rural Women - Indore
BSIRW Indore- Empowering tribal women
Walk of Hope camped at Indore and the yaatris enjoyed a break from the routine. The day was not devoid of activity though. There were two events in the morning. They visited the Baha’i Centre at around 11.00 am and the Barli Development Institute for Rural Women at half past noon. At the Baha’i Center, there was a welcome ceremony by the clerics followed by a beautiful inter-faith prayer. This was followed by an address by Sri M. There were about 150 people present for this address.
Sri M’s address at Baha’i Center:
“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.”
“Namaskaar to all. I have been speaking Hindi for a very long time. I feel it’s better if I speak English. The Sanskrit shloka that I just now chanted is not normally understood these days. It means ‘May all the living creatures in this world be happy’. May they have no pain. May they remain happy forever. May this happiness be for all mankind throughout the world, not limited to any place.”
“I will not talk much about the Walk of Hope as you might have gathered information about it from the literature except that we started from Kanyakumari on the 12th of January. It is the meeting place of three great oceans. It is symbolic of humanity. We have walked 3800 Km till we reached Madhya Pradesh all the way from Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Gujarat.”
“I again thank everyone for welcoming us so well in Madhya Pradesh and the response from people has been growing for Maanav Ekta, the unity of mankind. So many people are aware. Somewhere along the line, we have to discuss it and merely talk about it.”
“I will tell you a story. You must have heard of the great St. Francis. Once, when St. Francis started walking with a group of disciples; he loved to walk, every day he used to walk. He would stop at one place. One day his disciple said: you haven’t said anything to us, you have been walking. He said, at the end of the walk I shall talk. The walk ended for the day and still St. Francis did not talk. So, the disciple reminded him of the promise to talk. Then St. Francis said, ‘My walk is my talk’. So, this is the walk. We want to bring people together irrespective of caste, creed or religion. In fact, there are people in India who have no concept of or belief in God. They are Communists. I come from Kerala. Communists don’t have a God, except Karl Marx. Now, that does not mean that they cannot lead a good life.”
“The message that human kind needs to believe is that there’s nobody who has fallen from heaven. We are all born from the wombs of our mother. And we all end up in this earth. We all seek for something or the other. We seek, we seek, we seek and then we die. When we go to a Christian graveyard, it’s marked RIP- usually it is read as Rest in Peace. It’s rise if possible! So we are all somewhere in between. Just remember this fact."
“When we hurt others, we should remember that what starts as a small spark becomes a violent, raging fire. The pain felt in our house when our mothers and children are crying, that same pain is felt by other people feel in their house. This is the aim of the walk. Wherever we walk, we touch 2 or 3 villages.”
“Even today, fortunately or unfortunately, 70 % of the population from this country live in villages. So the only way to speak to people in villages, to speak to them on oneness and humanity is by going to the village. When you go into the village in a car, or a motorbike, they are very suspicious because, for years, they have been taken for a ride. They walk. Many villagers may not even be used to a bicycle. To talk about unity, humanity, oneness to the lowest rung of society, we are doing this walk, to make people understand.”
“I am not going to stand for an election. I am walking because, in my heart, I believe people are one and must live in peace and harmony and, sometimes, forgiveness. This is basically to remind people, please do not forget this fact. Please don’t forget this even if somebody comes up to you and says you’re all different.”
“All human beings basically have the same emotions. You have fear of somebody or something. We all have fear. I love something. You love something. I am angry with something, you are angry with something. We are all angry. Anger is a common factor. My understanding is that it has to be one mind. It manifests itself in different hearts in different places. Therefore, this is the idea with which we are walking.”
“We have been walking through rain and sunshine through all kinds of climates. We go through so many difficulties. Earlier, we talked about walking on the streets, and we are actually walking on the streets. I feel young people should take it up. You should remember this. The seeds of humanity, kindness should be sown in all hearts. And, over time, it will become a big tree and in its shade, the entire world will sit. Fruits and flowers will bloom.”
“Why are we doing it here? Because we have to put our house in order first. This is where we want peace first before we go and talk about it elsewhere. So we have started in a small way. Let me also say that we have 4000 Km more to go before we reach Srinagar. By God’s grace, I hope, we reach Srinagar. We have come till here. We will reach there also. Before I wind up, let me tell you a story.”
“It’s actually told by a Jain monk. But it has been adopted and used by many traditions. One was Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and another was Jalaluddin Rumi. It’s about three blind men who are trying to describe what an elephant looks like. One blind man touches the foot and says the elephant feels like a pillar, very hard to touch. The other blind man touches the trunk. He says that it’s like a rubber hose. It moves, it’s like leather. Sometimes, makes huss, huss sound. The third guy touches the tail. He says it’s like a broom and it’s moving. All three got into a terrible fight in deciding what an elephant looks like. By that time, a person with normal eyesight walked in. The case was one blind man leading another blind man, like Shakespeare has said, ‘the blind leading the blind’.”
“The man, who can see, comes in and says, your interpretation is right. To the second blind man, he says, you interpretation is also right. But it’s much more than anything that your limited mind can think of. We can describe what we know. But it’s actually much beyond. But, unfortunately, I make my own religion a corner, sit in it and think that is God. But it’s just a mere representation of the limited mind. Can we just think as human beings and not differentiate based on colour, caste, creed or sex. That we will not allow anyone to break this and that we will all lead a peaceful life.”
“This is the Walk of Hope. This is the Aasha Yaatra. And, I’m hoping that, as these people are growing up, fruits and flowers of these will bloom and the fragrance will spreads everywhere.”
They later proceeded to the Barli Development Institute for Rural Women. The institute focuses on development of rural women through education and empowerment. It also studies better ways of living by incorporating modern technology. At the Institute, the padyaatris went to a large hall with around 100 or 120 women, all deep in study, and Sri M addressed them briefly.
Sri M’s address at Barli Development Institute for Rural Women went thus:
“Namaskar aur salaam”
“People call me M. Maanav (Human Being). So, why do they call me M? Because I think of myself as a human being. Casting religion and caste aside, I think of myself only as a human being. This is why my name has changed to M. The first letter of Maanav is M. And the Yaatra that we are on is the Walk of Hope by Manav Ekta Mission.”
“This Yaatra left from Kanyakumari on 12th January this year. We have 60 to 70, sometimes a 100, sometimes 200 or 300 people walking with us. And, 60 to 70 people walk with us permanently. This is a padyaatra. We do not drive in vehicles.”
“We start at 5.30 in the morning. Now, we have traversed through Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat. From Gujarat to Madhya Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh to Uttar Pradesh, from there to Haryana, Punjab, Jammu and then reach Srinagar finally. Our aim is to complete our journey in Srinagar in April 2016. It will be good if we can complete it with God’s Grace. Till now, it has been going on and we have had a good response.”
“Whatever be the name, Amar, Akbar or Anthony, please do not forget that we are human beings first. This is why we are all one and Maanavta (Humanity) is One. We are not different.”
“With this message, we are walking. Whether in the hot sun or in the rain, we will not stop.We keep walking. So, this is Manav Ekta Mission’s Yaatra.”
“Why have we come to your place today? Because I heard that our friend is running a good Institute. Prof. Sahay introduced us to Didi (sister) and she said, please come, the children in our institute are looking forward to your visit.”
“We will leave Indore and walk towards Ujjain. Please remember these words. Do not let anybody forget that we are human beings. Caste, religion or creed may be their own. This is personal. If we live together because we belong to humanity, then peace will be strengthened. If there is peace, goodwill will prevail. All of us together are Bhaarat Vaasis (Indians).”