WOH day 292 -Sawchch Bharat Abhiyan - cleaning up Bareli Market area - Raisen
Cleaning clogged drains - Bareli market area
Restoring the beauty of the adjoining park of Bareli market
Satsang at Bareli marketplace - Raisen
Walk of Hope is in Bareli town today. There was a cleaning drive close to the town square. In the evening, there was a Satsang. Bareli is an agricultural and trading town situated at crossroads of many smaller agricultural villages and sees a lot of traffic pass through. Many vehicles and people stop by and, unfortunately, it is not a particularly clean town. The district administration joined forces with Walk of Hope for the cleaning mission. It was definitely felt that people should be more responsible in keeping the surroundings clean and it was not only the authorities who were answerable for the plight of things. It is a sad sight to see people litter with reckless abandon.
The 80 odd padayatris took it upon themselves to clean up the town square and the narrow by-lanes leading to and away from the square. The police force also joined hands with them and there were about 150 in all cleaning the streets. The onlookers were amused but it was hoped that they would be more aware and be more thoughtful of the choices they make in the things they used in their daily lives. A few locals also joined in. When they left after an hour and a half, the place was visibly clear and the locals cheered them. The people involved in cleaning hoped that the localites did get a message and they took away something meaningful from the cleaning drive.
In the evening, the padyaatris gathered again at the same town square for a Satsang. The Satsang was attended by about 200 people. Once again, the event was organised in close collaboration by people of local Hindu and Muslim communities. Community leaders, party leaders and local religious heads also joined the Satsang.
The Satsang went thus:
“My ‘namaskaar’ and ‘salaam’ to all those on the dais and my ‘namaskaar’ and ‘salaam’ also to those who are sitting in front. I began the ‘satsang’ yesterday in Sanskrit because it is customary to begin ‘satsang’ in Sanskrit. But, as today’s ‘satsang’ has been organised by the ‘Muslim Ekta Manch’ (Muslim Unity Forum), I will begin with ‘Bismillahi-r-Rahmani-r-Rahim’.”
“And, just as I had translated the Sanskrit words yesterday, I will translate these also into Hindi or Urdu. It means…. “I begin in the name of ‘Khuda’ (God) who is ‘Rahman’(most Graceful) and is ‘Rahim’ (most compassionate)”. What we say in Sanskrit and what we say in Arabic or Hindi has the same essence. The languages may be different but what is said is the same, such is my experience.”
“I, accompanied by many people, started this ‘padyaatra’ (journey on foot) from Kanyakumari on 12th January and, after having walked 4000 km, reached Bareli today. We have another 3500 to 3600 km to cover before we reach Srinagar in April or May 2016.”
“Let me first introduce myself to you. Whenever I am in North India, I request my audiences to excuse any mistakes that I may make in speaking Hindi or Urdu, because I am from the South. It is fine up to now but do forgive me for any errors I may make as we go along. For example, yesterday when relating a story I wanted to say‘….someone had started from Mecca to Medina.., and I mistakenly said, someone ran from Mecca to Medina, I beg your forgiveness for the blunder’.”
“Everyone addresses me as Sri M. You may be wondering what this ‘Sri M’ is; who can have such a name? I was born in a Muslim family of Trivandrum, which is the capital of Kerala, and my parents christened me ‘Mumtaz Ali Khan’. About 400 hundred years ago, my forefathers had moved from the North to Kerala.”
“When Maheshwarnaath Baba ji initiated me, he gave me the name of Madhukarnaath. This is ‘M’ and the other is also ‘M’. But the foremost reason is that the first letter of the word ‘Manushya’,‘Maanav’ (human) begins with ‘M’. So whenever someone asks my name I say it is ‘M’, it is M; because we are all ‘Manushya’. If we say ‘Manushya’ in Arabic, we are ‘Insaan’.”
“One does not have to teach about being human to people in India as our culture is such that we all are aware what it means. I just learnt that through the medium of the ‘Muslim Ekta Manch’ Muharram was observed and Durga Puja was celebrated jointly. This is a very unique occurrence and if such distinctive events take place more and more In India, we will all be able to live together harmoniously, with goodwill.”
“My aim is only to remind people whom we meet everywhere that ‘even though our religions may be different, we are all ‘Manushya’ (human). That is why we are all one. This we explain to people whom we meet.”
“In Gujarat, before we went to Godhra, we were warned that some untoward incidents had taken place there but we decided that we will visit it nevertheless and see for ourselves. When we went there, all communities came together to welcome us so warmly that it was comparable to the welcome we have been accorded here yesterday. Our stay there was as between brothers; I shared meals with them, talked to them and hugged them.”
“So, the concept of a united ‘Bhaarat’ is not a new one in Bhaarat’. It is a very ancient cultural tradition of ours, we only have to maintain this unity. If we do that, we will become strong, the nation will become strong and all its citizens will become resilient. And, we will have a great opportunity to progress to higher levels of living.”
“But what happens is, just as everything seems to be going fine, suddenly it all comes to a grinding halt, the wheels of growth abruptly come to a standstill because of violence. I ask you, why should we let such regressive events occur? Let us move forward together.”
“There can only be one God who has countless forms. It is not as if there are two or three of them. There is only one - whoever you meet is His form. So, knowing this, we need to live together.”
“This being the ‘Muslim Ekta Manch’, I want to discuss some things with you. Once, when Mohammad ‘Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam’ was discussing matters with his followers, a funeral procession passed by. On seeing it, he stood up and sat down only after the procession had gone past. Those who were with him asked as to why he had stood up for the funeral procession of a Jew. The Prophet responded by asking if a Jew was not a human."
“All are children of God. Whosoever’s funeral passes by, stand up to pay your respects because we are all one; there is no difference. God’s light dwells in every living being. In Sanskrit, we say it is God’s ‘ansh’ (fragment). We need to remember these aspects.”
“And the second point that we need to remember is love and goodwill, which are the essence of all religions. There is no variance.”
“Let me tell you another story; it is not really a story, it is something that has been told. Once, during Ramzaan…you all know what happens during Ramzaan. People dress up in new clothes, apply perfume and go to the Mosque. Once during Ramzaan, Mohammad ‘Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam’ was on his way to the Mosque for namaaz when he noticed a small orphan child by the roadside, wearing old and tattered clothes. So the Prophet stopped and enquired as to who he was. The child replied that he had no one to care for him and thus buy him new clothes. So the Prophet picked the child up in his arms and said ‘don’t ever say again that no one cares for you’. He then asked his followers to get new clothes for the child to wear. His followers reminded him that they would be late for the prayers if they went looking for clothes for the child. The Prophet told them that, in the eyes of God, no prayer was greater than to clothe, feed and look after the welfare of an orphan.”
“The greatest devotion to God is ‘seva’ (serving others). Just as we worship in a Mosque, serving another human will swell our hearts and God will be pleased with us. This is how we should live our lives.”
“Sometimes, in anger, we forget this and succumb to the fire of violence. Such a fire will not start here, I assure you. Here everyone workstogether, not separately. It is the first time that I have heard of Durga Puja and Muhharram being observed together. If such an environment comes into being everywhere, then our condition and that of ‘Bhaarat’ will certainly strengthen. This is my conviction (audience applauds).”
“If ‘Bhaarat’s’ situation improves, then who will bother about whether one is a Muslim, Hindu, Christian or a Sikh; we are all ‘Bhaarat Wasis’ (citizens of India). So if India’s condition improves, our condition too will improve, this is what I believe. This is why we have embarked on this ‘yaatra' (journey).”
“While talking to our Khan Sahib, I mentioned that he should have taken me along to the Mosque when he went there for prayers in the afternoon but he said that he missed it as he was engrossed in some work. So I asked him if we could go there in the evening and he said that even ‘Maghrib’ (time for namaaz after sunset) was also over. This is what happens whenever a person bows his head to the Lord;his mind is purified. You bow before the Lord five times a day; your mind has to be purified at least this much that you think of all as one. Think of them as God’s own people.”
“My prayer to you is only this much that you remember that we are all one. I too am like you, a ‘maanav’ (human) and a ‘Bhaarat Wasi ’(one who lives in India). Both these should be thought of together. Our religion is our own belief and can be kept close to our hearts.”
“So, this is our message and it is my prayer to you all to spread our message everywhere - in your homes, in your neighbourhood and to everyone you meet. Say to them that we will all live together as one.”
“‘Bhaarat’ is one; ‘Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Isai hum sab hain bhai, bhai’ (Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians are all one as brothers). Somebody said this when we arrived here. He said it loudly, ‘Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Isai hum sab hain bhai, bhai’; we are all one. This much is my message to you. I once again say ‘Salaam’, ‘Namaskaar’ and ‘Khuda Hafiz’ to you all. Please say along with me, ‘ham sab ek hain’ (we all are one and are united). (The audience joins Sri M in saying it out aloud, three times)."
“Jai Hind, Salaam.”
(The audience applauds).