WOH Day 294 - the padayatris cross over to Narsinghpur district from Raisen
SH 44 has an ideal combination of lush crop fields and arboreal greenery - Raisen
Uday Pratap Singh MP welcomes Sri M - Boras
A partly-submerged Shivling in the Narmada - Boras
Crossing the bridge over Narmada, onwards to Narsinghpur district
A very heart welcome for the padayatris to Narsinghpur district
Lunchtime in the fields as the padayatra pass by - Jhikoli
Absolute, unbridled joy writ on both faces - Saikhera
Students of the Global Public Academy form a Human Chain in honor of the Walk of Hope 2015-16
Sri M at the Sri Dadaji Dhuni Mandir - Saikhera
Along the streets of Saikhera
Traditional welcome at Saikhera - Narsinghpur
Satsang at Kamla Palace - Saikhera
Walk of Hope covered 16 kilometres today from Udaipura to Sainkheda. It passed through the villages of Boras, Jhikoli andSainkheda before reaching the destination. As the walk proceeds by the Narmada river, lush green lands with hamlets welcome them.
The river, considered very holy, has a number of places of worship, ashrams, etc in the vicinity. Although the lands between villages and towns are empty, there are quite a number of automobiles plying on the two-lane road. This is due to the perennial flow of people doing the Narmada Parikrama -circumambulation along the banks of the river -considered to be a pilgrimage. Many people do it on an annual basis.
The day saw participation from many quarters. Leaders from local communities and political parties joined us. Uday Pratap Singh, the MP, was there at a reception and welcomed Sri M. Later, he joined the walk for some time. It was a memorable sight today to witness hundreds of children from the Global Public Academy of Sainkheda form a chain honouring Sri M’s Walk of Hope. The walkers visited the Sri Dadaji Dhuni Mandir on their way to Sainkheda. As they approached the town, more and more people thronged and their numbers swelled. The walk culminated with a traditional welcome at Sainkheda.
In the evening,there was a Satsang at Kamla Palace in Sainkheda attended by about 300 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”
“I welcome all of you and thank you for welcoming us with such warmth, especially the honourable MP and other important people. Our MP walked with us the whole day. I felt very good about this because, many a time, we assume that parliamentarians live in the Parliament but he’s actually walking for Maanav Ekta (One Humanity). Before I start, I would like to mention that I am from South India and, if there are any errors in my Hindi, please do forgive me though it’s been fine till now.”
“I will not talk much about the padyaatra (Journey on foot) because you have read the literature and you have also seen the film. I would like to go into the root cause for this padyaatra... why am I walking like this – an itinerant from village to village, from hamlet to hamlet? I would like to talk about this and through this, introduce myself. With this, you will understand why I am wandering around like this, like a parivraajak (A wanderer). One night in each place. It’s all for the best and I am doing it.”
“About the yaatra, we left on 12th January from Kanyakumari, a confluence of three oceans. 12th January is the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. When he first went there, nobody knew him. It’s only after he returned from America that people started recognizing him. Of course, he was known in some areas but he was not known much in public. At that time, there was nothing there but now we have the Vivekananda statue and the Centre there. There was a big rock close to the shore, so how would we go there if we have to go that rock? We go by boat. But, Swamiji being Swamiji, he bundled his clothes on to his head and swam across. He sat on the rock and meditated for two hours. He then understood what needed to be done in the future. He left for the United States of America after this. Before that, he travelled across the whole of Bhaarat. We are just walking from Kanyakumari to Kashmir but he went from West Bengal to Kanyakumari and also walked back.”
“We have now completed 5 states and we entered Madhya Pradesh from Gujarat through Jhabua. One thing I would like to tell you, when we entered Kerala from Tamil Nadu, we had a very warm reception. I thought it was because it was my home state - the state I was born in and that’s the reason for the grand welcome. Then, we went from here to Karnataka and it was even better. We came to Maharashtra, it was also good. In Gujarat, when we reached the border - I forget the name of the place - it was beyond Vapi, it was still around 6.30 in the morning. I was having my tea when somebody said - there’s a call from the PM’s office. They are not able to reach your number. Please take it now. I said that I will call their office. The person said they have been trying to call for a while now and it’s the PM’s voice at the other end. When the connection came through, the PM said - Welcome to Gujarat.”
“We have now done around 4200 Km. By ‘We’, I do not mean myself. I do not address myself as ‘We’ – I address myself as ‘I’. By ‘We’, I mean the padyaatris who are walking from the beginning – about 60 to 70 of them, and those who meet us on the way daily. There is no day where there are less than 200 people walking with us on a daily basis. This number is more or less constant. We still have to walk another 3200 Km. Our aim is to go to Uttar Pradesh through Rewa, from there to Agra and then to Delhi. We have a program in Delhi – for about 10 or 15 days - and then from there, we go to Haryana, to Punjab and, finally, to Jammu in Kashmir. The attempt is to reach Srinagar in April or May 2015. This is our aim. This is Maanav Ekta’s Yaatra (Journey for One Humanity).”
“How did this happen? Why did I begin something like this? What was in my mind? What happened to bring about this change in my thoughts? This is from a very long time ago. Now, I am... how do they say 66 in Hindi? I was born in Thiruvananthapuram. Thiruvananthapuram is the capital of Kerala. It is called so because there is a very big temple dedicated to Padmanabhaswamy. He is in the pose of Anantha Sayanam (the Lord in repose in the ocean of eternity), with his eyes closed, he is sleeping. It is called Anantha Sayanam meaning – his sleep has no end – not like us, we keep waking up and falling asleep. So, he is Anantha Padmanabhaswamy, thus the name Thiru Ananthapuram. Thiru – in Malayalam translates to Sri, Sri Ananthapuram.”
“I was born in a Muslim family. And like all other children, I also used to play. And, behind our house, there was a very big garden, must be around this big (pointing to the grounds around him), may not be this big, maybe smaller than this. In the garden, there was a jack fruit tree. I was around 8 years old then. We had many children coming to play in the evenings as we had a lot of space behind our house.”
“One evening, after all the children went away, when I was preparing to go back to my house, I was just thinking about what to do. I looked up and felt there was somebody standing under the jack fruit tree, which was as far as the lamp post (pointing to a lamp post a little distance away). He looked like a new person as I had never seen a man who appeared like this. He only had a cloth covering his lower part, with the upper part of the body left uncovered. And he had matted hair this high (pointing to height of about half a foot above his head). I had never seen a person with matted hair before, he was fair and tall. He had a garland of some beads around his neck – I did not know at that time that it was Rudraaksh. He also had big earrings. In Nath sampradaay (Tradition), they are called Kaan phata. I stared at him for a while wondering if I should approach him or not. And then, he beckoned me towards him. When a strange looking man beckons a 8 year old, the first instinct usually is to run away, wondering who is this?”
“I don’t know why, but I went to him. I felt as if some force was pulling me, so I went to him. First, he looked into my eyes. I have not forgotten those eyes till now. Looking at me, he just asked one question – do you remember anything? He asked me in Hindi. You must be wondering how a Malayali boy from Kerala could understand Hindi. My ancestors were from the North and had settled down there 400 years ago. We spoke Urdu at home. He asked me if I remembered anything and I said No, I do not recollect anything. He just looked at me for a short time and then placed his hand on my head. With his hand over my head, he said: when the time comes, everything will be fine. That’s what he said. I did not understand anything, I had no idea when that ‘time’ was and what would be fine. And then he said, go back. I turned back and headed home. As I reached the back door, I turned back and saw that there was nobody. There was a small gate at the back. I thought he had gone through that gate. I thought he must have been a ‘Bikshu’ (a mendicant) or a ‘Bairaagi’ (a wandering recluse). I had no way of knowing.”
“After this, I used to wake up suddenly in the middle of the night and I would feel a flame rising in my stomach, at the navel and from there, it going up like a sparkler - like the ones you have during Deepavali - over my whole body, This was how it felt. And, along with that, came Aanand – joy, ecstatic joy that cannot be described. This started happening every night. After two or three nights, my parents started wondering why I was sitting up every night. They asked me, what happened? I said ‘nothing’. So, I used to lie down and meditate on this.Thus, I went to school and then to college. Things went on.”
“When I was 18 or 19, people at home started thinking about my marriage. I was 19 years old. I felt that I was in a cage and I had to break free. Even now, when I leave on the padyaatra every morning, I feel I am walking out of a cage. I am telling you the truth. I felt it was a golden cage. But whether a cage is a golden one or one of iron, it’s still the same. A cage is a cage. I was wondering how to break free from this cage. I felt that there’s no point in talking about this to anybody. I should just leave. Actually, this padyaatra which is going on now, began at that time. I went by train, then I went by bus. There was no cell phone or Internet at that time. How do we find out where Rishikesh or Badrinath was? I only had one thought – I had to go to Badrinath. I went to Haridwar, Devprayag and then reached Rishikesh - going to many other places and staying in many Ashrams.”
“About one and a half months after I went to Rishikesh, I reached Badrinath. At Badrinath, I was looking hither and thither for a place to stay. Where do I stay? Where will I eat? Because, at home, they used to call me ten times to eat and I would refuse to eat. Here, I actually experienced what hunger was. You may be aware that the priest - who worships Badrinarayan – is from Kerala. He is called Rawalji. They are Namboodiri Brahmins. From the days of Adi Shankaracharya, this tradition is in practice. So, I thought, he will know Malayalam, the language of Kerala. Let me speak to him. I went there, greeted him and spoke to him – Maharaj, I have come from Kerala. He said: Fine, why are you here? You look like an educated person, someone who has been to college. Do you speak English.? I said, Yes, I do. ‘Then what are you doing here?’ I said: I am searching for a Guru. He responded, there are no such Gurus here, go back home and stay in comfort. There are a lot of Ganja smoking Sadhus here.”(There was a small disturbance in the sound system with some repositioning) “This is good, the mike is in my hand, it’s in my control now.
Then the Rawalji said - stay here for 2 or 3 days if you want and it will be good if you can leave after that, don’t waste your time here. I have not seen any such Gurus over here. I said, you may not have seen any such Gurus over here. But I would like to stay here for 4 or 5 days and look around, if you have no objection. He said that there was a Kutiya (shelter like a hut) on the other side of Alaknanda and I could stay there. I thought I would stay for a while and look around..(Referring to the mike system) What is this noise... Boom, Boom.. the sound of Bholenath. This is fine now. So, I stayed in the kutiya and there was food at Rawalji’s place –Prasaad (food shared among devotees after offering to the Lord) from the temple after naivedyam (Food offered to the deity as part of worship). The good thing was that since he was from Kerala, at least one meal for Badrinarayan was a dish from Kerala. So, I ate this Prasaad with great relish.”
“One day, I thought, how long will I live here, it’s been 6 or 7 days already. There were Sadhus but I did not feel like approaching any of them. My situation was not very good. I thought, I will go slightly ahead of Badrinath, towards China, towards Tibet. There’s a small village there called Mana. This is the last village and, 30 Km from there, China’s territory starts. I had heard that near Vasudhaara, there are many Yogis and Mahaatmaas (Great beings) residing in the caves. Somebody had told me this. So, that evening, I left, went ahead and searched many places. But I did not find anybody like that. There were caves near Vasudhaara in the hills, but there was nobody in them. Night was falling and I left from there. I was very distressed and filled with sorrow. I had left everything, my home and everything and had come here. But there was nothing here too. I felt that maybe this body was not spiritually mature yet. This was also possible. So what was to be done? I thought, the Alaknanda river was flowing with great force, why don’t I leap in and commit suicide. The job would be completed in 5 or 10 minutes. Why don’t I jump in saying Om Namah Shivaaya? However, I thought I should go into Vyas Guha nearby. When I came up, there was nobody there. It was empty. I thought I should go in there, meditate for a while and come back. I went to Vyas Guha. I saw a fire burning, a Dhuni there. I felt great joy with the thought that I would be approaching a Dhuniwala Baba in there. Because we also light the Dhuni (Sacred fire) as a tradition, I too belong to the Nath Sampradaay.”
“I went in and saw the Dhuni burning. How is the Dhuni burning? There should be somebody inside. When I went up, there was nobody there. So, I slowly entered the cave and looked in. Babaji stood up. I immediately knew that this was the Babaji who I had seen when I was 8 years old because his face and his form had formed a very deep impression on my mind. As he stood up, the first words Babaji said to me was – Ghum phir ke vaapas aa gaye? (Wandering all around, you have finally come back). Then he proclaimed – Alak Niranjan. This is a greeting from the Nath tradition. I had no idea what was the greeting in return. But I instinctively said ‘Aadesh’ (As decreed) in response. Then he said, come in and I told him – now, I will never leave you and go away. I will always live at your feet. I will not go away anywhere. He said - We will see.”
“And then, I stayed with him for 3.5 years. I followed him everywhere, he leading and me behind him. Once, Babaji asked me what I think of myself. I said, Babaji, I think of myself as your dog. I sit in front of you and keep looking at you. He said, that’s fine, but don’t wag your tail too much. I said Aadesh.”
“This way, my life went on. One or two things which Babaji said to me had great impact on me. He initiated me into the Nath tradition. My parents had named me Mumtaz Ali and when Babaji initiated me, he gave me the name Madhukarnath. In the Nath tradition, Nath has to be a part of the name. 6 months later, I asked him, Babaji, how did you think of this name Madhukarnath? Babaji said - this was your name three births ago. He used to call me Madhu. I have not heard anybody calling out Madhu so sweetly. Because to me, he was my mother, my father, my friend, Guru, everything.”
“There were many lessons from him - I read the Gita, the Upanishads, everything, all through him. Through his Mukh Aravind. Once, he said to me, if you sit in a cave and meditate daily for 25 years for 12 hours a day, and once you come out of the cave and if you do not regard the cry of a hungry child from a nearby hut with compassion, then your entire meditation is a sheer waste. It’s a big zero. This made a very strong impression on my mind. The second thing he said was – you sit in a cave and meditate for 10 years and then you say, I don’t have any rage in me, I don’t get angry with anybody, I love everyone, how can it be tested. Who’s there in the cave for you to get angry with? Is anybody there with you? Who do you get angry with over there? You leave the cave, enter a bus and somebody with a boot steps on your foot, then you will know whether you have anger or not. This is why you need to go out into the world and do something.”
“After 3.5 years, one day, he told me ‘you should now go back’. In this birth, Sanyaas is not an option for you. You go back and start living as a family man. When I tell you, you can start your Satsangs. Till then, you need to keep quiet.”
“After I returned, I kept quiet. I attended Satsangs but did not have any Satsangs. One day, I got the green signal from Babaji. Then Satsang was formed, people started coming and with time, it became a big circus. Now I am stuck here. Sometimes, I feel I should run away from all this. So this is my story.”
“Once when we were in Uttarkashi, as we sat on the banks of the river, Babaji said to me – one day, you will have to go on a padyaatra from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. I said – Why, Babaji? I am happy here - the waters of the Ganga, the snow in the mountains, fresh beautiful air, what more do I need? Why do I have to walk from Kanyakumari to Kashmir? He said, you will have to walk. He then said – you will not be walking alone, you will have many people with you. At this, I put my foot down and said – no, Babaji. This is not possible. You may see me now that I am walking with so many people, I am doing all this, but I am a person who loves to be alone. I don’t like meeting people at all. But this is Babaji’s order. So I said Aadesh and accepted it. This is the reason I am on this journey.”
“Vedanta, Upanishads, everything I learnt from Babaji. But more than all these, I learnt one thing. In the 12th Chapter of The Bhagavad Gita - called the Bhakti Yog -Arjun asks Krishna:‘Many people say that the worship of the Lord should be in Niraakaar (formless) because he is the Parabrahm (The Supreme Being), who does not have any attributes. But many other people say, no it should be in Aakaar’ (in form) like Bhagwan Krishna, Ramji, etc.. Amongst this, who is the best Yogi, the best devotee, one who is closest to you. Please let me know. Who else will tell me?’ Krishna explains very well. It is in the 12th Chapter. Please read it. He mentions three things. He said, you can worship the Lord as the formless being. But this is not very easy. It is fine for great Yogis. For the rest, those who go by name and form... for example, how will I address you? I recognize you by your name. If I take your name, the form appears in my mind. We are very attached to name and form in our lives. Separating that and to go by the formless is very difficult. Only great Rishis or Yogis can do it.
So, he said, you can worship me either way, but the important thing is one - who I think is closest to me or the closest devotee - should have certain attributes. What are those attributes? He spoke about three qualities. Please read about it at home. What are those three qualities?”
“I am saying something very important. Please read the Gita. Nowadays, nobody reads the Gita. They worship it. You should read it. I am not saying everybody does this. But the Gita should be read. Krishna continues – ‘I consider him with the following attributes as the best Yogi or my closest devotee– first of all, Samniyam-yendriya-graamam: meaning one who has all his sense organs in his control.’ If sense organs are in our control, then desire, anger and pride are all controlled. Tulsidas wrote the Ram Charit Maanas – What has he said in that? ‘Kaam krodh madlobh ki jou lou man mein sthaan. Tau lou Pandit moorkhou Tulsi ek saman.’ (Repeats this). So, the senses have to be in our control. It’s not that we can do this 100% but even if one is trying to move towards this or attempting this, then he has already become a Yogi. He has started on the journey.”
“’Second, Sarvathra Sama Buddhayaha: meaning, be it in sorrow or happiness, blame or praise, if a person remains calm or tranquil in any situation, then I consider that person the best Yogi or the devotee closest to me.’Tulya-ninda-stutir mauni (In blame and praise, the Mauni remains serene) says the Gita. Just see how it is in our lives. If someone sings our praises, we think we are very great. If someone insults us, then we go into a depression, we need to take pills. Now, look at this, in case I have a firm faith in myself and I am all right, do I have anything to do with blame or praise? In reality, criticism is better than praise. Then, we realize that there may be a mistake. If one keeps praising, then the mistakes never comes out in the open. We will not even realize it. And the Aatma (indweller) which is within is neither affected by praise or criticism. That remains still. ‘One who lives by this principle, I consider him the greatest Yogi or my most loved devotee.”’
“Thirdly, he said, ‘Sarva Bhootha-hite' Rathaha – meaning, one who has the welfare of all beings at heart, one who always has others’ best interests at work, I consider the greatest Yogi or the best of devotees.’”
“Now, please understand that a part of the all pervading Supreme Being is in the heart of every human in the form of the Jeevaatma (the individual soul). This means that the all pervading divine being is in every human being in the form of a Jeev (living being). If this is so, every man is a moving and walking temple. How will the worship be in this temple? Not through Aarti but through Seva (Service to mankind). This is why, Swami Vivekananda said ‘Atmano mokshaartham jagat hitaaya cha’. Search for the path to liberation and work for the welfare of the world. Living like this is man’s most important duty today. So, if every human being has a fragment of the divine in him, who is different? Who can be separate? It can be either Amar, Akbar or Anthony, but it is the same inside. We are walking with this insight. So, wherever we go, I tell people you should know yourself as a human being first. Everyone is born from a mother’s womb. I am not saying this. This is Bhaarat’s ancient sanskriti (cultural ethos). I am only reiterating it - that we are all humans and so, we are One.”
“Secondly, we are Bhaarat Vaasis (Indians). We live in Bhaarat. We eat food grown in Bhaarat and drink from the rivers here. We are Bhaarat Vaasis. You can be anything, the beliefs can be anything. Religions and beliefs can be different. But the faith that we are human beings and Bhaarat Vaasis should not change. If we live with this thought, I feel that Bhaarat will become very strong. It is vital that India becomes strong because the message of peace and harmony should go from here to the world. It will not come from outside. We have to make it strong as one united Bhaarat, our efforts have to be towards this on a constant basis. This Yaatra will leave tomorrow, it will move on. But I would like to implant this faith in your minds. I would like to sow these seeds in your hearts that we should never forget that we are human beings and should live in harmony and secondly, we are Bhaarat Vaasis. We should deem ourselves as Bhaarat Vaasis and not by any other identity.”
“To do all this, Babaji said that one thing was required. We should eliminate egoism. I would like to tell you a story that I never get tired of repeating. During our walk in Karnataka, we met a very great Swamiji of the Taralabalu Math. He told me this story. It happened that we wanted to do a Satsang only amongst the padyaatris. Swamiji said he would also like to sit with us. I tried to tell him that this was only an internal Satsang but he said he wanted to be a part of it and sat down. After the Satsang, I asked him if he wanted to add anything. He said - Yes. If you do not have any objections, I would like to say a few words. He told us a story, a very beautiful one.”
“There was a very big sculptor. He used to make very beautiful sculptures. Once he was called to a temple where the priest had some work for him. The priest was an astrologer too. He saw his ‘kundali’ (horoscope) and said you are going to die within two months. Death is coming to you and you will die in the next two months. There is no escape. The sculptor replied – how can you say there’s no escape? You are an astrologer and a learned man, how do I escape from this calamity? He said there’s one way. What is that? You have a very big workshop where you create your sculptures, go and make 5 or 6 statues replicating your image, just like you. You are a very good sculptor, nobody will know the difference between the original and the artificial. After you make these 5 or 6 statues, you too stand in the midst of them. Just do this.”
“The sculptor accepted this and in the time given, he made all arrangements and prepared 5 or 6 statues which looked like him and stood in their midst. The Yamdhoots (The messengers of Yama, the God of Death) came on buffaloes which are their vehicles. They are a little slow in their understanding. They came because they had to take him but how were they to do it? There are 5 or 6 of them looking exactly alike. They were not able to decipher which is the original and which are the duplicates. They looked for a long time and after the allotted time passed, they left for their abode. They can only take someone within the time meant for his death.”
“They then went to Yamraj (The God of Death) and he asked them if they had brought the sculptor. They said: No, he made a few statues and stood amongst them. We could not find out the original and since the allotted time had passed, we returned. Yama said,‘OK. Anyway, do one thing. Three months from now, the time of his death will come again. You go then.’ The Yamadhoots replied, ‘yes, but he will do the same thing again.’ Yamraj said, ‘Yes, he will repeat this but I will teach you a way. You don’t have to do anything, just go stand there and say – Oh, what a beautiful sculpture. It will work’.”
“So, after three months, the priest told him it was time again. The sculptor said I will be saved again and he stood amongst the sculptures. The Yamdhoots came and again, they could not make out the original. So, they decided to do what Yamraj had told them. ‘Oh, what a beautiful sculpture, the nose is so beautiful, we cannot make out which is the original which one is duplicate. We really don’t know how they make these. Look, the hair looks so natural.’ The sculptor was quiet and listened for some time. After 5 minutes, he could not bear it any more. He stepped out and he said – I made them all! Then, the Yamdhoots could identify him without any trouble. (Audience applauds). They immediately said – Come on, your time is up. If we do not have this ahankaar (egoism), man can be saved even from death.” (Louder applause from audience).
“Sometimes, it happens. Mistakes do happen, these should be excused and we should move on. So, this is our objective – not to purify the ego which is extremely difficult but Maanava Ekta. This is our aim. This is the reason we are on this padyaatra.”
“I would like to thank you and make a request to you – I do know that you cannot walk with us up to Srinagar. Someone did ask me that he wanted to walk, but, be with us in your minds and hearts. How will you do this? Wherever you reside, in your area, in your house, in your family, keep Maanav Ekta (One Humanity) alive. Do not let any such incident happen that people start fighting amongst themselves and there is violence. So, keep Maanav Ekta intact in your locality, Maanav Ekta, Shanti (Peace) and Sadbhaavana (harmony, goodwill) and with this, I will take it that our journey is successful. This is all. I will conclude here.”
“Om Shaanti, Shaanti, Shaanti.”