WOH Day 291 - Breezing through the 19 km walk from Bari to Belari
A 'show-stopper' from the constabulary for the padayatra's general protection - Raisen
Paddy co-existing with wheat fields - Raisen
Walk of Hope reached the town of Bareli today—covering about 16 kilometres from the village of Bari. Bareli is primarily an industrial and agricultural town with many industries; predominantly, it produces wheat, rice and automobile parts used in farming vehicles. Bareli is a lush green town with a pleasant climate known for its Sharbati variety of Wheat and Soyabean.
The first half of the day was quiet. Upon reaching Bareli, there were many people waiting to greet them, there was a reception and many school children also joined in. They reached the Markaz Mandi Masjid and halted for the day. There was a public address at the square in front of the Masjid. The reception, like all events in Bareli, were organised jointly by Hindus and Muslims.
Sri M addressed a gathering of about 300 at the halting point at Bareli.
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
Om Shaanti Shaanti Shaanti”
“I thank the honoured guests on the dais and those seated in front of me. I don’t know each of your names, I thank all of you for having welcomed us here.” (Applause from audience) “My Namaskaars to all of you and Salaam alaykum to my Muslim brethren who are present here and, if there are any Sikh brothers here, Wahe Guru to them, my greetings and I welcome you (audience applauds again) “because you have come to see us and we have come to your place on the route of the padyaatra” (Journey on foot).
“One thing I would like to tell you: Sri Narendra Patel just said that I am from Kerala, the land of Shankaracharya. You would have understood that I am from the South, so if there are any mistakes in my Hindi, please do forgive me though it’s been fine till now.”
“This Yaatra (Journey), as you have already heard, started from Kanyakumari on 12th January. As Patel ji said rightly, we started on the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. We started on this journey from Kanyakumari on this day. Kanyakumari is a point where there is a confluence of three seas. In this confluence of these three seas, there is a big rock which now houses the Vivekananda Kendra. When Swami Vivekananda reached this place, there was only a big rock. Nobody knew him at that time. He went to the USA and returned, and only then, people came to know him. He came there and there was nothing but this rock a distance away from the shore. He swam across to the rock. Nowadays, we go by boat but he swam across. And, he sat on the rock and meditated for two hours. After this, he had clarity on what needed to be done. So, we thought it would be a good place to begin our padyaatra. We discussed with Bhaiyyaji Joshi and he too felt this was a good point to start our yaatra and we started there. We went there and there’s a beautiful statue of Swamiji there, we garlanded it and only then initiated our journey.”
“From there, we went to Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat and now we are in Madhya Pradesh. We entered Madhya Pradesh through Jhabua. Now, we are in Madhya Bhaarat. It makes me very happy because like the heart is the centre of the body, Madhya Pradesh is the centre of Bhaarat. And with the kind of receptions and response we have received here, I have a strong feeling that our Yaatra will reach our end point in Kashmir successfully. This is what I feel. (Audience applauds). So, we have completed around 4200 km till now.; 4200 Km!” (Referring to a song heard in the background) ‘Looks like there is some song going on here. It’s nice but can we wait for another 2 minutes? Is it from here? Ok, it’s fine.. So, we have done 4200 Kms on our padyaatra. We have another 3200 Km ahead of us and we intend to reach Srinagar in April 2016. This is our objective. From here, we go to Uttar Pradesh. The maximum length of our journey is in Madhya Pradesh because your state is very large. From Uttar Pradesh, we go to Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and from Pathankot, we will go to Jammu and from there, Srinagar. This is the route of our padyaatra.”
“You have already read the literature, you know a lot of things about the Yaatra and there’s a Satsang in the evening. So, I will not say everything now. But I just want to say that there should be a root cause for undertaking thisYaatra. Otherwise, why will we walk in the hot sun, in the rain? There should be a root cause and that is to share what I have experienced in my heart. This is, in case you have read, the Bhagavad Gita’s 12th Chapter which is called Bhakti Yog, wherein Arjun asks Krishna: According to you, who is the greatest Yogi, the best devotee and the one closest to you, who is that and what is his or her qualities? Krishna explains – Arjun, it is this way. It does not matter if a person believes in worship of form or as the formless, different people have different ways. Like Patel Sahib said - ‘Ekam Sat, Viprah bahudaa vadanti’ – This is from the Rig Veda. The Truth is One but the Wise call it by many names. The approach may be anything – through Aakaar (form) or Niraakaar (formless) but he should have certain characteristics. If he has these, then I would call him the greatest Yogi, the best devotee and a good human being. What are these?”
“I will mention only the third and last quality and the rest I will talk about in the Satsang. The last one is ‘Sarva bhuta hiteh ratah’ – What does this mean? The one who has the welfare of all beings at heart, I consider that one the best devotee and the greatest of Yogis. In the Jain tradition, at the very beginning, it is said ‘Ahimso Paramo Dharamaha’ – the greatest Dharma is non-violence. And when Muslims read the Quran or when they greet each other, they say ‘Salaam Alaykum’. What does Salaam mean? May the Supreme Being’s Salaamat or may God’s peace be unto you. What do we say in Sanskrit? Om Shaanti, Shaanti, Shaanti. The object is the same but it is called by different names. So, when one thinks of the welfare of every living being, that one is the greatest Yogi and the best of human beings.”
“My experience has been that - it is not knowledge acquired through books; yes, these are written in the Upanishads, in the Gita, - but it has been my experience. My Guru, Sri Maheshwarnath Babaji, was from the Nath Sampradaaya (tradition) and when he placed his hands on my head and initiated me, I had this experience and I understood that in every Jeev (living being) - mankind is also included in this - in every living being’s heart, there is a spark of the all pervading Supreme being. The Sufis say that there is Khuda Ka Noor – the light of the divine. The Vedas call this a part of the Supreme being which we call the Jeevaatma. If there is the essence of the Supreme in the heart of every being, then you should understand that every Jeev, every man is a moving and walking temple. This has been my experience.” (Audience applauds).
“If this body is a living temple, then how do we worship the Lord here? In a temple, we do it through Aarti (waving of lamps), through pooja (rituals of worship), etc. So, how will we worship the divine in this living temple of Manushya (Man)? It is only through Seva (Service to mankind). So, service to mankind is service to God. And Maanav Ekta (Oneness of Humanity) is only because all this is only One and not diverse. So, it is because of this - like it is said in the Vedas -‘Saṃ gacchadhwaṃ saṃ vadadhwaṃ, saṃvo manaaṃsi jaanataam’. We are walking - we have our minds and thoughts together - and we are trying to realize this Wisdom together. This is our Yaatra.”
“More than this, I would not like to say anything more. The rest will be in the evening Satsang. All of you please come, we will sit together and have a chat. I thank all of you again. Please say Bhaarat Mata Ki Jai with me thrice.”
After lunch and rest, the padyaatris gathered at 5.30 pm in the auditorium of Hotel Rajshri, Bareli for the evening Satsang.
“My namaskaars to all of you. I will not say much about the yaatra (Journey) because our padyaatra (Journey on foot) itself is the Satsang. Just watching the padyaatra, people understand what’s happening. You have also seen the film. So, there’s no need to say anything more. If there are any mistakes in my Hindi, please do forgive me. I am from the South.”
“I will only say that the Yaatra started on 12th January from Kanyakumari. We have now covered about 4000 Km and have reached Madhya Bhaarat (The centre of India). After walking another 3800 Km, we will reach Srinagar in April or May, 2016. This is our aim and the padyaatra is for Maanav Ekta (One Humanity). Everyday, we walk about 18 to 20 Km. And we have around 60 to 70 people, called the core group, walking with us from Kanyakumari. And wherever we go, people from the area join us. So, we have about 200 to 300 people walking with us at any given time. Till now, looking at the response, I feel that we have succeeded in our objective of Maanav Ekta. Having said this, I would like do a Satsang touching upon the main reason for the Yaatra and how it all began. Let’s leave this Yaatra and start on the Adhyaatmik Yaatra (Spiritual journey).”
“I keep telling the padyaatris that, yes, we are on this padyaatra, but along with this, we should also start on our inner yaatra. Reaching Srinagar, it’s not as if we will be entirely successful. Some things will change and, as you said, Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (The world is one family) - some results will follow externally but more than this, even if a single person reaches Srinagar on his or inner journey, then it is the greatest thing. In our Nath sampradaay (Tradition), the Sahasraar Chakra (The Crown Chakra) is called Srinagar, (city of the Radiant or Supreme Beauty). And Kanyakumari is the Moolaadhaara (The root chakra). And the journey we are on is called the Meru Dand (The route of the central channel). And, we are proceeding from here to there.”
“And now, what is this thing called faith? And where do we get the energy for such mammoth tasks? What is the root for all this? I would like to tell you all this through a small story. Don’t just dismiss this as a story. People say ‘the Bhaagavat is full of small stories, what is the use of reading this? We will read the Vedas, the Upanishads’. Ordinary people will not understand anything from the Upanishads or Brahma Sutras. Of course, the Bhagavad Gita is better; some understanding would definitely be there because The Bhagavad Gita is the summary of the Upanishads.”
“It has been described very beautifully – ‘Sarvo Upaniṣado gāvo dogdhā gopāla-nandanaḥ, pārtho vatsaḥ sudhīrbhoktā dugdhaṁ gītamṛtaṁ mahat’. I know, nowadays, Sanskrit is hardly in use. Our sanskriti is from Sanskrit but Sanskrit is not living any more. They now call it a dead language. I am saying that for reviving our cultural heritage, we will have to reintroduce Sanskrit.“(The audience applauds). “This means that if all the Upanishads are cows, and the one who is milking the cows is Sri Krishna, Gopala Nandana, Partho Vatsaha – that is Parth, Arjun is the calf When the calf thrusts its head at the udders, then the milk starts flowing. Arjun keeps thrusting his head every now and then and that’s when the nectar flows. This ‘Amrit’, this nectar, is such that only Rishis and the wise ones enjoy it. Such a beautiful description. This milk is the Gita’s Amrit. This is how it has been described.”
“But why I am saying this is that the Bhaagavat, through small stories, brings out the essence of the Truth from the Gita, the Brahma Sutras and the Upanishads that ordinary people cannot understand easily. Understanding this becomes easy through stories. So, I will also tell you a story now.”
“Sometimes even when we read a novel, we get a lot of learning from it. When you read Kalidas too, a lot of knowledge is gained. It has only two poems. This story I am narrating is about a mother and her only son. The mother desired that her son study in a school. And, there were no Gurukuls or schools he could go to anywhere near her house. There was a Gurukul on the other side of the jungle, very far away. The mother decided that she would not give up that easily and whatever be the matter, he would study even if he had to go to the other side of the jungle. So, she took the child and went to the School. She spoke to the teacher saying she wanted her son to be enrolled in the school. It was necessary for him to gain knowledge. He agreed and asked if she had any dakshina (offering) and she said that she had no money. He said that’s OK, we will enrol him in the school. But how will you bring him through the dense jungle? The mother said that she would take care of it.“
“When they were returning, the little boy asked his mother: I want to go to the school, I like going there. I will learn a lot. But how will I cross this thick jungle? You are with me today so I am not afraid. If you are not there, I will dread going this way. So, the mother told him a story just to convince him that he should not be afraid. She said – My son, if you are afraid when you hear the cries of wild animals, just do one thing. There is a very good boy who lives in the Jungle. He is a small, dark coloured boy. Sometimes, he has a peacock feather in his head and wanders around. His name is Krishna. In case you get scared, close your eyes and cry out loud – Krishna, Krishna, where are you? Please save me. Call out to him thus. He will come. Why did she say this? Because she wanted to say some words of encouragement to ensure that he went to school.”
“So, the boy went to school on the first day. As he entered the jungle, he heard some wild animals. He was scared and thought – what do I do now? He remembered his mother’s words. He immediately closed his eyes and cried out loud – Hey Krishna, where are you? Please come. Soon, a small boy appeared. He was dark coloured; ‘Krishna’ means Black. And he played with him for some time. They played marbles for some time. After playing for some time, he said - I have a flute. I will play it for you. He played it and there was beautiful music. He then walked with him and escorted him to the edge of the forest and disappeared.
This continued for a very long time. One day, the mother asked him, are you not scared now? He replied –‘no, because you told me that there was a boy called Krishna. He comes everyday and we enjoy playing together. We have become very good friends now.’ The mother was happy that he had believed her and left it at that.”
“One day, it was the Guru’s birthday and all the students wanted to take a gift for their teacher. The little boy did not have anything with him. He asked his mother – what gift do I take for the teacher? She said there is a little milk at home, you can take that in the bowl we have. But please get the bowl back as we have only one at home. The boy took the milk and left for school. That day too, he was afraid when he approached the jungle and called out to his dark friend. Krishna saw the bowl in his hand and asked – what is in that? The boy said - I am taking milk for my Guruji. Krishna said - Really? May I have a taste of it? The boy said - No, No, this is for Guruji. How can you drink this? Krishna replied - Come on, I will just have a sip. He took the bowl, had a sip, returned it and said now you be on your way.”
“There was a long line waiting to hand over gifts to the teacher. The boy joined the line with the bowl in his hands. Everybody laughed when they saw what the boy had brought. He offered the milk to his teacher and said I need the bowl back please. The students around laughed louder. The Guru said, please return his bowl after pouring the milk into a vessel. The story goes that they emptied the bowl of milk into the vessel and it promptly filled up again. This went on repeatedly. The teacher asked him, what is this magic? The boy said – No, No, there’s no magic here. I have a dark coloured friend who lives in the jungle. He sometimes plays on the flute. He sipped the milk and returned it. The teacher said you are lying. This cannot happen. This seems to be some magic.”
“The boy said - No, you please come with me, I will take you to him. So, the boy took his teacher and went back into the jungle and called out – Krishna, please come soon. My teacher has come. He says I am lying. He should understand that this is the truth. So, please come here for a short while. Krishna did not appear. From within the jungle, a voice was heard – I come only for you. I will not appear before him as he has too much knowledge.”
“So, what happens when there is too much learning? The ego also grows along with it. And, devotion which is a very simple feeling dies when this happens. Because, the Truth cannot be grasped through our sense organs nor can it grasped with our small minds. It is something very deep.”
“In the Upanishads, it is said – Ishavaasyam idam sarvam. Everything around us is That. It is the All-pervading Supreme Being. There is no one place which is not pervaded by That. And, it resides in man’s heart as the Jeevaatma and the indweller. This is everything for a human being. This is why they say that if you want to worship, do it through seva (service to mankind). This is why Swami Vivekananda said - serving God in the form of a suffering human being is the best worship. He called those who do not have any possessions, who have only poverty, Daridra Narayan – the Supreme being in the form of a suffering human being. So, we are all a part of that Narayan – the Supreme Being. Thus, we have to see the Lord in every man’s heart. So, how can we be any different? When one looks through such eyes, that is called Sanatan Dharm.”
“Swami Vivekanand said there should be two things if you want to live meaningfully in this world – ‘Atmano mokshaya jagat hitaya cha’. Your search for liberation should be through service to mankind. This should go hand in hand. We are walking with this message with a conducive mind, firm faith and an attitude of service. I keep thinking on the various ways in which we can serve. I am 66 years old now. If I can do something, I should do it now. It was Maheshwarnath Babaji‘s order that I do this. This is why I am doing it. If not, I am a person who likes to live alone and who does not like meeting people. Living alone is the best possible thing. But what can be done. Babaji gave me this responsibility. I meet so many people, talk to them. People may be thinking that I must be enjoying it. No, living alone is the best possible thing because the happiness that we search for in this world is actually within us.”
“Now, we have many Muslim brethren seated here. I would like to tell them another story about faith. You may know that Nabiz Mohammad had to escape from Mecca at very short notice. The Quraysh tribes in Mecca wanted to kill him. They felt that he was starting a new religion. There was no new religion. He was only talking about Advaith. It is called Al Bin Ahath. That night, one of the Prophet’s men said we will fight. The Prophet responded saying that we will not fight. We will go away to Medina. So, he left in the dark along with one more person. As it was pitch dark, they had to stop for some rest. There was a cave in that place. They went in there and hid. After a short while, they heard some voices. The disciple whispered, there seems to be at least 25 people on horseback here. We are only two. There being no other place to hide they will definitely come into the cave and they will certainly finish us. What do we do now? The Prophet said – you have been with me for so many years and you are saying that we are only two! We are actually three. The disciple questioned - How can we be three? The reply was – The Supreme Being is with us.”
“Their attackers came, spent some time outside the cave discussing amongst themselves. And then, they heard the horses riding away. Why did they go away? What happened to change their minds? The Prophet answered – I told you we are three. That is Bhagavaan. Whether you call him Ram or Bhagavaan, only the names are different. ‘Ekam sat, viprah bahuda vadanti ‘ – The Truth is one. He is called by various names.”
“After a few minutes, when the two of them came out of the cave, within the short time they had entered the cave, a very big spider had woven a web covering the cave’s mouth. So, the pursuers thought if anybody had gone in, the web would not have been intact. They rode away with the thought that the cave was empty. This is why - if we have faith, complete faith in our hearts that nothing can prevent It - then we can do a lot of very good and profound things."
“When Swami Vivekanand started doing his work, he did not have anything. Just think how things have changed from then. So, when there is faith, then Lakshmi (Goddess of Wealth) will come on her own. When we started off on the padyaatra, what was there with us? People were asking - how do we manage? I said, God is there and Mahalakshmi is always with Him. Everything will happen. It has been fine till now. I am sure it will work well in the future too. I have that faith.”
“What I am saying is we just have to understand like how Lord Krishna tells Arjun that the best of human beings are those who are ‘Sarva bhuta hiteh ratah’. Those who have the welfare of all beings at heart, they are the best of men. What I am saying is not something new, this is Bharatiya Sanskruti (the cultural heritage of India). We, sometimes, forget this. The reason for this Yaatra is only to ensure that people do not forget this. You know what happens when it is forgotten. The fire of violence breaks out! Whoever it is - whether one is a Muslim or a Hindu or anything else - please remember! We are human beings first. Secondly, we reside in India, we eat from this earth and drink water from these lands. We also rest here. This is our Bhaarat and we are Bhaarat Vaasis (Indians). We have to say this with pride. If we do this, then India will become strong."
“I will conclude now. Thank you.”