WOH Day 280 - Sri M addresses the community at the Prabhat Chowraha Bhopal
Warm welcome at Orthodox Syrian Church - Bhopal
Reception near Manasa Devi Dham - Ashoka Garden - Bhopal
Reception at the Parihar Chowraha - Bhopal
The entire city seem to be partaking in the city walk with the padayatris -Bhopal
Sri Viswam Saran, MLA of Narela with Sri M during the city walk - Bhopal
Reception near Sri Hari Nivas - Bhopal
Reception at Chandbad - Bhopal
Reception in front of Masjid Sikandari Sahib - Station Road -Bhopal
'Elegant in their traditional attire' - Mali Market - Bhopal
An engrossing conversation with the Muslim bretheren - Mali Market
Inside the Gurudwara Guru Nanak Sahib - Bhopal
Satsang at Samanvaya Bhavan - Bhopal
Camping at Bhopal today, Walk of Hope walked 12 kilometres in the city from Prabhat Chowraha to Gurudwara Gurunanak Sahib. The day was unlike any other so far in that it saw participation from more than 6,000 people through the day. The padyaatris were not prepared for something like this. It is hoped that this was just a precursor and there will be many more on similar lines in the future. At the peak,there were around 2000 people walking through the city streets. The trail must have extended a kilometre and a half, perhaps even more.
The greater majority of the walkers today were school children as many schools of the city participated in the walk. As they went along, they found them lining both sides of the streets, welcoming them, showering them with flowers, joining their ranks and walking with them till the end. For the first two hours, there was not one road in the vicinity, on which these children were not there. They chanted patriotic slogans without a break.
Four or five troupes of musicians as well as two announcement vehicles - one in the lead and one escorting them - joined them. The festival of Navratri is going on these days and the city was slumbering and quiet in the morning, the roads were empty and there were few vehicles. Walk of Hope took the residents by surprise with the booming drumsand the sea of marching people, the slogans and cymbals announcing their arrival and exit. The atmosphere was highly charged and remained energetic through the day.
There were numerous receptions along the way. After Kerala, where the walkers first saw people come out of their homes, wait for Sri M and the padyaatra to arrive and receive him in their own way - some with flowers, some with aarti, some with a gift of a shawl and some with a simple embrace – they experienced pretty much the same here. They passed through residential areas and many families and small groups were waiting to greet Sri M and his fellow walkers. Truly, the day was a coming together of a multitude of people and it was indeed moving to witness and be a part of it.
It took the Yaatris 6 hours to cover the distance. Along the way, they stopped at the Orthodox Syrian Church, Manasa Devi Dham, Sri Hari Nivas, Masjid Sikandari Sahib and Gurudwara Gurunanak Sahib. At each place of worship, Sri M and the rest of them stopped briefly and offered prayers. Sri M interacted with religious heads and many of them joined in and walked with them for some time. Prominent citizens of the city, workers from social organisations, members from various political parties and groups also joined them.
From Gurudwara Gurunanak Sahib, the walkers went to the resting place and gathered again at the Samanvaya Bhavan - in the heart of the city near New Market area - for the evening Satsang. There was a bhajan session by disciples of the famed Padmashri Gundecha brothers. Sri M addressed a gathering of about 700 people:
“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 Namaskaars to all of you. I will not speak too much about the padyaatra because you have seen the film now, and Brijesh ji just spoke about it. So, I don’t feel anything more is required to be said. I will speak about the inspiration of this padyaatra - how this happened. I am now 66 years old. I am talking about the age of this body. The mind has not aged at all; I feel that it is as young as yours’ right there (points towards a group of children). With this topic, I feel it will become a Satsang.”
“When I was in the Himalayas with my Babaji, in Uttarkashi precisely - this was after he placed his hand on my head (at the age of 9) and my life changed as a result - we were sitting there one day. Our Satsangs used to take place there, right next to the Ganges. It would be just the two of us – all of this was not there, there was no audience, no other people, no microphone, no banner, there was no introduction – there was just him and me and we used to have dialogues.”
“I used to think and feel that he was speaking and he himself was listening. One day, while we were there, he said that you will walk from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. I said, Babaji, why? I am happily spending my days here with you – the water of Ganges is sweet, the air of Himalayas is pure – why would I want to go anywhere else? It was like this - Babaji never used to stay at one place for more than three or four days. After four or five days, we used to leave the place. He used to say Dera, danda uthao. Like that I stayed with my guru for three and a half years. I was very close to him.”
“I understood what a Guru is like because of the way he lived with me. A guru does not climb a Palki and sit there - he walks with us. Yes, this is there - we have to walk behind the guru. I walked behind Babaji like a dog walks behind his master. Not like these modern dogs: they go in front and the master has to run behind the dog. I wasn’t like that. If you go to a park, you will see many such dogs.”
“When I was with him, he used to teach me. If you look at Bhramasutra, it is something that not everyone can read. How can anyone read what starts with ‘Athato Bhrama jignasa’ (Now is the time to inquire about The Absolute Truth). One cannot understand such things easily. But, he never used to leave me. He used to sit for hours and teach me. After some time, he would ask me, kuch samajh mein aaya? (have you understood anything?). I would reply- Babaji, kuch samajh mein nahi aaya- No Babaji, I did not understand anything. He then used to place his hand on my head for a few moments and ask me, do you understand now? And I did.”
“In this way, I felt he put inside me in three years what you learn in ten years. I don’t know what technique he used but it was so. Yes, now I am finding out what the technique was. Whatever knowledge or devotion I have attained, whatever improvements have been there, it has been because of Babaji’s grace. His grace continues even now.”
“When people ask me how are you able to walk like this at 66 years of age, I tell them that within each and every of us, there is a spark of the Supreme Being. We do not understand it, neither do we experience it because we seek it outside. If there is a spark of the all pervading Supreme Being in this body, then the carrier of this spark also is all powerful. The yogi is one who understands this and because of this understanding, he gets some Shakti (Primordial energy). I would not say that he gets all the Shakti but he does get something.”
“I will tell you something - not about the yaatra, this is a Satsang - with this, you will be able to see the Shakti that resides within you. If you see it face-to-face, then the work that I am doing, you will be able to do it a hundred times over. Whenever you set out to do something, do not accept defeat. Do not think that it will not happen. How will this happen? If one experiences the Supreme Being that resides within,one can do anything. Nothing is impossible! This is both my belief and my experience.”
“I will now tell you a story. Many times, through stories we attain knowledge. People say what does one get from The Bhagwat, it is nothing more than short stories. In these stories, there is the essence of Vedanta.”
“I think that I am the only one who conducts The Bhagwat Saptah in English. If you speak English, then more people come, college students and foreigners also come. I do the Bhagwat Saptah in English because Babaji told me to speak in English. Like so, I will tell you a story. It is not from Bhagwat but you can consider it as a part of that.”
“Imagine you are on a road and you see an old man walking there. The old man is very poor, his white clothes are soiled and torn, he is carrying all his meagre belongings, his hair is unkempt, he is rickety and is walking with a stagger, he seems to have very little life left in him. When one sees him, you feel that he will drop dead at the very next step. Now, suddenly, a car comes from behind him and it screeches to a halt with a lot of noise - blowing its horn - right next to the old man. I tell you that the man reacted with such a leap that he almost reached the other side of the road. One might be surprised how this is possible. To save his life, he has broken all records of long jump.”
“Now the question is, where did he get this energy from? Did he get it from outside? Did he get it from the car? There is no outer way. Yes, the doctors will say that there was a spike of adrenaline in his blood and that made him act. Yes, that is so. There must be a switch for that adrenaline to spike up. Where is that switch? Yogis say that the source of energy, the switch, is within all of us. The old man got that energy because his thought process ceased for a few moments. If we have to do something in an instant and we start thinking - how will I jump, I am going to die, the car is too near and too fast, this is the end - then we lose our capacity to act.”
“For sometime, the old man’s thinking ceased and then what happened? That spark of the Supreme Being started dealing with life directly – without the man’s intervention and thinking process. The Supreme Being provided all the energy that was required. In other language, it can be said - God saved him. We can say that because the God that dwells within got a chance to be active and work through him. That would not have been possible had he been thinking how it could be done, what should be done, and so on.”
“In Raja Yoga, in Patanjali Yoga sutras, the definition of Yoga is ‘Yoga Chitti vritti nirodha (Yoga is when the modifications of the mind cease and it becomes quiet.). I am not saying that thought is not needed, it has its place. But know that the Supreme Being is beyond thought. Why? Because our thinking is based on the five senses. When modifications of the mind subside and it becomes quiet, then - in the quietened mind - the Supreme Being starts working. This is the first step of Sadhana. If we are able to do this, then there is nothing a yogi cannot do.”
“It is a different matter that the yogi does not need to do anything because everywhere he sees only That. But if any work is given to them, then they can tap into That infinite source of energy. I am saying this to you because the same source is within all of you too. The Infinite usually cannot work through you because you say that you are so and so – I have these qualifications, I am old and sick, I cannot do this, so on and so forth. If you can stop thinking for some time, then such power will come from within that you can do anything.”
“Some of that is happening here, not fully but a little bit. You ask the padyaatris who are walking with me. Those who are half my age come to me and say - put your hand on my head so that I can get some energy to walk. They are laughing now. And, I am walking.”
“When the mind becomes quiet then the primal power can be absorbed. Second, Brahmacharya is needed. It is not that you do not have to marry or remain a bachelor. It means that the senses have to be brought under control. The mind does not have to run here and there after the senses. In The Bhagvad Gita, Chapter 12 - which is Bhakti Yoga - it is the only chapter that does not start with Bhagawaan uvaacha (Bhagawaan said). It starts with Arjuna uvaacha (Arjuna said). People think why did Ved Vyas wait till chapter 12 to write about Bhakti Yoga. Why could he have not written it at the beginning and be done with it? It is so because Arjuna did not have the capacity to understand it in the beginning.”
“I am going to link what I was saying to you earlier with this. The first chapter in The Gita is Arjuna Vishaada Yoga- Vishaada means Sankat, confusion, despair, crisis. This is for all of us. From crisis and, with God’s grace, starts the inner journey. If there is no crisis, why would anyone think of God at all? When something happens we start looking, we start wondering about life, we think if there is more to life than this. This only happens when there is pain, confusion, despair and some crisis. Arjuna is in such a situation. He is in a state of crisis and wonders what to do. Then, starts The Bhagavad Gita.”
“Unless we reach a place of despair and crisis, this journey cannot begin. After The Gita starts, what happens in the 10th chapter? Till then Lord Krishna and Arjun speak to each other like friends do. Just like you speak to your driver when no one is around- as friends - just so Arjuna was talking to Lord Krishna. He was Arjuna’s charioteer. Lord Krishna starts saying that ‘Among Vedas I am Sama Veda, Among the Munis I am Kapila’. Arjuna begins to wonder why is he speaking this way?From here, Arjuna starts thinking that there is something more to Lord Krishna than what meets the eye. There is something that he is unable to understand.”
“What then happens in chapter 11? He has the Vishwa-Roopa Darshana (Vision of His Universal Form) and it is a massive shock to him. After that, he is unable to say anything. He just says ‘Tvam Aadi Devah purushah puraanas’ (You are the original Lord, the eternal personality) and is unable to say anything at all nor does he understand what is happening. When he is unable to understand anything, then starts the understanding. For us, most often, it is the opposite - we think we understand everything. In chapter 11, he says he does not understand for the first time - that is when his understanding starts. He has no ego left, his ego has come down.”
“That is why this chapter, chapter 12, Bhakti Yoga, comes now. Only now can bhakti be understood. In that - I will not do the complete chapter here, I will do it somewhere else, I have reserved it for a special place - Arjuna asks Lord Krishna who is the greatest devotee and nearest to him. Lord Krishna says three things. He says that it does not matter if a devotee or a yogi prays to Me with form or without form, there are great yogis who consider me as Niraakaara (Formless), there are great yogis who consider me with aakaara (With Form) but there are very few who can worship Me in My formless aspect.That is because we are all attached to name and form. When one hears a name, then the form appears in our mind. When one sees a form, then one thinks of its name. That is how our lives run. Name and form are there with us always. It is not easy to worship the Lord in His formless aspect.”
“Lord Krishna says that what matters is that the yogi has three qualities and because of these three qualities He considers that yogi to be the greatest among yogis and dearest to him. The quality is ‘Samniyam-yendriya-graamam’ the one who has the capacity to control his senses. Normally what happens - we run after our senses. Everything is associated to our senses - Kama, Krodha, Lobha, madha - lust, anger, desire, likes, dislikes and so on. Tulsidas wrote Ram Charit Manas but he also said this ‘Kaam krodh madlobh ki jou lou man mein khan. Tau lou Pandit moorkhou Tulsi ek samaan’. The one who has the capacity to control anger and lust is the greatest devotee and dearest to Me, says Lord Krishna.”
“The second one is ‘Sarvatra sama buddhaya’ - the one who is stable in any situation. If you look at how our lives go - if someone praises us, we are very happy, if someone criticises us, we become depressed. If someone criticises you, so what? Babaji used to say to me that if someone calls you an idiot, go look in the mirror, you might be an idiot. Elsewhere, it is said ‘Tuliya Ninda stutir mauni’ - to a Yogi both are the same. What happens then? There is no distraction, there is no agitation in the mind.”
“Sometimes, criticism is better than praise. With criticism, we may know what our problems are. If one is praised on and on, one may actually think he is great. If people say to me that you are God for a hundred days, on the hundred and first day I may think I am God. It is like that too, sometimes. Criticism is needed sometimes. With criticism, one changes. If both can be balanced, then one can remain calm. When one is happy, one must know that sadness is not far away. When one is sad, then one should know that happiness is not far away. Both go together and are not separate for long.”
“A Yogi is one who, when happiness comes, welcomes it, offers tea and ‘lets go’ when its time has come to leave. A Yogi is one who, when sadness comes, welcomes it, invites it to tea and lets it go when it is time for it to pass. If one is able to do this - if one is able to become friends with what is unpleasant, with pain, with depression, with sadness, with unhappiness - then there remains no poison in it. There is that old song – ‘Dukh toh apna saathi hai’.. - let pain remain as our companion. Such a one is called Stitha Prajnya (Equipoised). In such a mind, power, compassion, peace - all these can be found. Such a mind can be used for other’s welfare.”
“The third quality Lord Krishna says is ‘Sarva Bhuta hiteh ratah’ - the one who thinks of the welfare of all living beings. In the heart of every living being, resides a spark of the Supreme Being. When one sees others in such a way, he will think of nothing but welfare of living beings. He will naturally do good deeds. I believe that this padyaatra is one such good deed. It is not a big thing, it just is. It is because we cannot harm others, we can only think of the welfare of others. Even if you catch hold of me and beat me, even then I will think of your welfare. Why? Because I am looking at what is inside, I am not looking at these other things.”
“If anyone has these three qualities, that yogi or that devotee is the greatest among devotees and closest to Me, so says Lord Krishna. This thought is such a force within me that I do not know how I am walking, where I am walking. We have done 4000 kilometres and I do not know how this has come about. Yes, the body has its limitations. Sometimes, my legs ache but the pain goes away in a day or two. I have not stopped this yaatra at any time, I have walked no matter what.”
“My message to you is that keep these things in your heart, think about them. It is not required that you come with us. You can do good things from where you are living. If you live in such a way, then good will happen to you, good will happen to others. India will become strong and this message of peace and harmony can go out from India. It is my dream that people from all over the world will come to India for peace, harmony and to attain knowledge and wisdom. We are walking with this aim. I pray to you that you be with us in your hearts, in your minds and support us so that we are able to reach Srinagar.”
“Thank you. Namaskaar and Salaam.”
“Om Shaanti, Shaanti, Shaanti.”