Day 298 | 5 November 2015 | City walk in Narsinghpur | The Walk of Hope 2015-16

  • The school band of Chavara Vidyapeeth dishes out a rousing sonic welcome -Khairi Naka
  • WOH Day 298 -Entering Narsinghpur with a great walk within the town
  • Sri M addressing the staff and students Chavara Vidyapeeth - Khairi Naka
  • A warm interaction with the students of Siyal International School - Narsinghpur
  • Traditional welcome at the ISKCON Sri Sri Jagannath Mandir - Narsinghpur
  • Sri M at the reception organised by the NGO 'To Save the Girl Chirld, To Teach the Girl Child' - Narsinghpur
  • Reception at the century -old Methodist Church
  • Sri M acknowledges the welcome of Gayatri Parivar - Gandhi Chouraha
  • 9.MP-more-than-anywhere-else,-exposed-maximum-number-of-school-children-to-Sir-&-our-Padayatra,-Narsinghpur,-MP)
  • A monument echoing Manav Ekta - Narsinghpur
  • Reception at Musran Institute of Management Technology - Narsinghpur
  • Sri M at the Kandeli Sri Ram Mandir
  • Satsang at the MKD Higher Secondary School - Narsinghpur
Walk of Hope is in the city of Narsinghpurand there was a city walk of about 11 Km today. They walked from one end of the town to the other covering the distance in about 6 hours or so. Narsinghpur is a dusty old city with warm and affectionate people. It has many sacred sites, including caves associated with Adi Shankracharya. It is said that he spent time here in study. The area is situated close to Vindhyachals and the Narmada river system and is, consequently, very fertile and rich. However, there seems to be an air of inertia hanging over it and cleanliness seems to be a sore point here like most old towns.

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The town has quite a lot of history associated with it and has many places of yore that still survive, albeit most of them in ruins. The padyaatris passed across the old part of the town and saw many such structures claimed by wilderness, such as the Lal Mahal. Even the newer parts of the town look old – dust perpetually hangs in the air, the concrete roads are littered, people mill about and life goes on. The padyaatra today saw participation from many quarters. More than700 school children were part of the walk today. Most of them came from Chavara Vidyapeeth and Siyal International School. Sri M addressed a gathering of about 600 at Chavara Vidyapeeth. Later, during the day, they visited many places of worship including ISKCON Sri Sri Jagannath Mandir, Methodist Church, Dargah of Abdulrab Jilani Baba and Kandeli Sri Ram Mandir. The Methodist Church was established a hundred years ago and is one of its kind in this area. Groups of people from many communities, prominently from Gayatri Parivar and the local Muslim community, joined Sri M and the padyaatra and walked for a while. They also visited the Musran Institute of Management Technology where Sri M briefly interacted with students. After a long day the walk concluded at the Kandeli Sri Ram Mandir. The walkers were put up at MKD Public School. Willingly or unwillingly, the children have vacated two floors of the hostel to make space for the walkers. The‘K2K’ padyaatris, or the core team as Sri M addresses them, have been walking from Kanyakumari with the intent of walking up to Kashmir. They have now spent almost 300 days on the road—each of them had had their own private struggles and victories on their external and internal journeys, driven by a motivating force beyond their understanding. They gathered again in the evening at the MKD public school for the evening Satsang where Sri M addressed a gathering of about 400 people. “Om Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah Sarve Santu Nir-Aamayaah Sarve Bhadraanni Pashyantu Maa Kashcid-Duhkha-Bhaag-Bhavet 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 and I also thank you for according us such a loving and warm welcome here at Narsinghpur.” “I will now talk a little about the padyaatra (journey on foot). And then, delve on why and how the padyaatra started. After this, I will ask some of the padyaatris (travellers on foot) to come over and share their experiences with you.” “Before I start, I would like to tell you that I am from the South and if there are any errors in my Hindi, please do forgive me. It’s been going fine till now. I noticed that the children here were speaking English but I feel it’s better for me to speak Hindi. (Applause from audience). What is your opinion? Okay, so it is Hindi.” “So, this padyaatra began from Kanyakumari on 12th January. And, why Kanyakumari? Because, Kanyakumari has a confluence of three seas; you know the three -Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. All the three seas meet here. The second reason is that the great saint and sage, Swami Vivekanand ji, started his work therea hundred years ago. Nobody knew him at this time in Bhaarat(India). He wandered here and there; leaving Bengal he came to the South, went to Maharashtra, Orissa and to many other place. He journeyed to all provinces in Bhaarat on foot, on a padyaatra. He then reached Kanyakumari, which is the last zone in Bhaarat. Ahead of this land, there is nothing else, only water everywhere.” “There’s a very big rock in the ocean, close to the shore. Now, a Vivekananda Centre has been established and Swamiji’s statue has been installed. At that time, there was nothing, just a very big rock. So, when we go there, we look out for a boat to take us across to the rock. Swamiji being Swamiji, rolled his clothes up on his head, tied his upper cloth up and swam across to the rock. He was a Pehalwaan (wrestler) who used to frequent the gym. He went to the rock and sat there for about 1 to 1½ hours in meditation; deep meditation with his eyes closed. When his eyes opened, he had complete clarity about a plan on what he had to do.” “This is the reason we thought that this would be a good place for us to make our beginning – start our padyaatra too from here - from a place where somebody had begun the work on Maanav Ekta (Oneness in Humanity) about a hundred years ago. So, we began our journey from this location, after garlanding the statue of Swami Vivekananda.” (Audience applauds) “Now, Kanyakumari is in Tamil Nadu. From Tamil Nadu, we came to Kerala. And, in every state, we have received a very good response. Looking at the grand reception we had in Kerala, I thought it was because it was my home state. But no. It was better when we reached Karnataka. After this, we reached Maharashtra, from there Gujarat. You must have seen the film, and from Gujarat, we entered Madhya Pradesh through Jhabua. Now we have arrived in central India; like the heart is the centre of the body, Madhya Pradesh is the ‘heart’ of India. We have reached this point. We have completed around 4800 Km on foot, walking. This is a padyaatra and not a rathyaatra (vehicular journey). We are walking with our feet firmly on the ground. We still have to walk another 3200 Km. Our objective is to reach Srinagar in April or May 2016. The tri-colour flag with which we are walking from Kanyakumari will go with us to Srinagar.” “Now, I will talk about the origins of this Yaatra (Journey). How did this idea come about? What is the inspiration and source for this? The main basis of this is Maanav Ekta. We all want Maanav Ekta. This is Bhaarat’s ancient sanskriti (cultural ethos) and it’s not something new. I have not come here with anything new.” “Two or three thousand years ago, it is stated in the Rig Veda, ‘Ekam sat, viprah bahuda vadanti’ (there is only one truth but the wise call it by different names). This is our ancient philosophy. It’s not that we need to learn anything new. But what happens is that we forget it now and then. You know what happens when it is forgotten. I don’t need to explain. A small spark is lit and it becomes a huge conflagration! And India’s progress comes to a grinding halt. Why? Because, the flames of violence start spreading. Once it spreads, it becomes very difficult to put these out. So, before it reaches this point, before it gets instigated, our objective is to help people realize that they should live rooted in this tradition that Mankind is One. And, if they stay embedded in this culture of Maanav Ekta, then peace, goodwill and harmony will reign in Bhaarat and she will attain greater glory. It is already great and bringing more glory to her is our responsibility. We, as Bhaarat waasis, we should not rupture this.” “From thousands of years, we have welcomed people coming here with open arms, be it from whatever religion. Isn’t it so? How many people have come! And, they have now become Bhaarat waasis. Nobody says ‘I am not a Bhaarat waasi’. Is there anybody like that? If anybody says this, then its better he goes out and lives somewhere else. Nobody will ever say this. We are Bhaarat waasis. So, this is the objective, this is my message. And I am walking only for this - sometimes in the hot sun, sometimes in the rain and it looks like there will be snow in Srinagar. But we will not stop our walk, we will continue to walk! God’s grace is with us.” “Now, I would like to continue with a story from the Jain tradition. A story which espouses the theme of Ekam sat, viprah bahuda vadanti. This is thousands of years old but the amazing thing about the story I will narrate is that it is originally from the Jain scriptures. About 800 years ago, there was in Turkey, a Sufi by name Jalaluddin Rumi and he made use of the same story in his language, Farsi. Later, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa - you know he was Swami Vivekananda’s Guru and a great saint. I don’t have any words to define him. Once, somebody asked Swami Vivekananda in England, will you tell us something about your Guru? He was quiet for 5 or 10 minutes, he was contemplating on how to describe what He was. After a while, he opened his eyes and said, I can only say this: ‘A particle of dust from his blessed feet could have created a thousand Vivekanandas.’ This is all he could say. The story I am going to tell you now was also Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa’s favourite and he used to narrate this to everybody.” “Three blind men set forth to see an elephant. Somebody had told them that there was an elephant in town and the three decided to find out for themselves what an elephant was. One felt the elephant’s leg, none of them had eyesight – he felt that the elephant was like a pillar. Please remember that he only felt its leg: He thought, it is like a pillar; it is thick and, sometimes, it moves.” “The second one held its tail. He said that the elephant is like a brush, it’s like a broom, it keeps moving and sometimes stops. If one were to take one’s face nearby, one is sure to get a whack! This was his reading of an elephant.” “The third one held its trunk and said, the elephant is like a rubber hose. It keeps going to and fro and keeps making a ‘hssss’, ‘hssss’ sound.” “This was it! There ensued such a fight amongst the three, about what the elephant actually was. One said it was a pillar, one said it was a hose and a very big fight resulted. They were ready to come to blows when a man passed by – a man who was not blind and was watching them from afar, someone who could see. He stopped by and said, why are you fighting, what is it about? They explained to him about their views on the elephant and he said, ‘Okay, please stop. You people are blind, I can see and I know. What each one of you is saying is right but an elephant is much more than what all of you have described.” “So, whatever has been stated in the Vedas, has been illustrated by this story - That Parabrahm or the Paramaatma (Supreme Being) cannot be grasped by our limited minds. We only define it to the extent we understand but it goes beyond our description and is much larger. Till now, nobody has been able to describe That. The Vedas state ‘Yadvaacha anabhyuditam’ - this cannot be described by speech. ‘Yadvaacha anabhyuditam’ – there are no words that can express this. So, the Truth is such that we cannot ensconce it through our small, limited definitions. It is immense, something very deep. Fights arise only because whatever I perceive as the Truth, I claim that is the only Truth. This is why there are fights.” “The Rishis and Munis say that the Truth is One but is called by various names and there are various paths to approach it. Look at The Bhagavad Gita, how many chapters does it have? There are 18 chapters. Each chapter is called a Yog. It begins with Arjuna Vishada Yog and each chapter is a different approach to reach it – 18 chapters. So there are various paths to attain That but the Truth is only one. This has been my experience. I am not saying this after having read it somewhere. This is my experience.” “I was born in a Muslim family in Kerala, in the year 1949. When I was around 8 years old, my Guru Sri Maheshwarnath Baba ji, who was from the Nath panth (Nath path), blessed me by placing his hand on my head. From then on, my mind was absorbed in the search of Vedanta and the Truth. When I was 19 years, I felt I was locked up in a cage and I had to break free. No doubt it was a golden cage, a very beautiful one! But a cage, whether it is a golden one or made of plastic, is a cage. It’s all the same. So, I felt like a caged bird. So, when I was 19, without informing anyone – if there are any 19 year olds here, please do not imitate me - I ran away from home and straightaway headed for the Himalayas”. “It took a month or two in those days. We could only go by train. I did not have much money, I had left with only my pocket money. But I had a very amusing experience. I reached Haridwar and from Haridwar, there’s a train, one in the morning and one in the evening going to Rishikesh. As soon as I reached Haridwar – I had 12 Rupees and 50 paise with me at that time. I thought if I have this money with me, what is the trust I had in God? If I did not have this at all, what will happen? Is God there or not? With these thoughts, I gave away this money in alms to a Naga Sadhu there. Now my pockets were empty. Then, the problem arose, how will I now go on the train? There was no money to buy the ticket. But I thought I am on my way for something good. I entered the train and saw that the train was full with almost 80% of them, Sadhus. I did not have a ticket nor did I have money. I went and sat next to a Naga Baba who looked like a wrestler. I saw the Ticket Collector, the TTE approaching. What will happen now? Will he catch me? I spoke to the Naga Baba – the TTE is coming. He replied, Har Har Mahadeo, why are you afraid? This is a train for the Sadhus, our train. Who will have a ticket here? I thought – Oh, there are trains like this too! (He laughed and the audience breaks into applause). So I sat quietly next to the Baba. The TTE came, greeted him, ‘Ram, Ram, Baba ji,’. And the Baba greeted him in return ‘Ram Ram, aashirwaad’ and he just walked on!!” “This is how I reached Rishikesh. I stayed there in two or three ashrams, moved ahead and visited many other ashrams. But I was not satisfied. I felt I had to go higher and felt that a Guru was searching for me. Because Baba ji kept his hand on my head and left in 10 minutes. He did not stay back. I am talking about the time when I was 9 years old. I felt that there should be someone, a Guru. I had to find him somewhere, only then things would work out. Because, to attain realization, a Guru is very much required. It’s fine if it can be done without one, but they will reach after many drawbacks and pitfalls. If a Guru is there, he will take them on the right path. Searching all over, I did not find anyone, anywhere. I finally reached Badrinath. I had heard that there are many Yogis in Badrinath, but searching all over, I did not find anybody. Of course, there were many ganja-smoking sadhus. But I did not want to go them.” “The priest in Badrinarayan is from Kerala. They are Namboothiri Brahmins and they are called Rawal jis. I went to the Rawal ji - I needed a place to stay, I had no food, nothing. I was wandering around, a parivraajak, I had no money and to top it all, I could not even find a Guru. So, I went there, greeted him and spoke to him in Malayalam. ‘Okay’, he said, ‘you don’t have to be afraid, my boy. I will give you a kutiya on the other side of Alaknanda, you can stay there and you can come here for your meals. But tell me, why are you wandering around here?’ I replied that I was on the look-out for a Guru; in search of the Truth. I am telling you the truth but he said ‘You are wasting your time. There is nobody like that here’. These are the words he used. ‘There is nobody like that here. You are wasting your time, you look like an educated young man, go back and find some work. Stay here for 4 or 5 days and return.’ I was depressed when I heard this. I had left everything, crossed many rivers, had burnt all my bridges behind me and I could not just turn back. If I did not find anything here too, what would happen? Just think about my state.” “Just ahead of Badrinath, on the borders of Tibet, there’s a place called Mana There’s nothing beyond this. After this place, the Tibetan border starts. One evening, I went to Mana. And just before Mana, Vyas Guha is located. I went to Vyas Guha, sat there for a short while. There was nobody there. I moved ahead. I had heard that there were many yogis and I thought I there would be something at Vasundhara Falls. There were some small caves but they were all empty. So, my depression worsened.” “I came to Alaknanda and stood there. I thought I may not be able to attain Moksh with this body. Maybe if I came back with another body, I may be able to get it. It is possible that this body was not ready for it yet? I just stood there and looked down on the Alaknanda - the waters were rushing down with a roar. The job would be done in 2 or 3 minutes. Jump down, commit suicide, come back with a new body and everything would be fine. I was contemplating this. I had been to Vyas Guha on my way out but there was nobody there. But I thought: let me return, meditate in the cave for some time, come back and do just that. With this thought, I went to Vyas Guha and I saw that a Dhuni was burning. If a dhuni is burning, then somebody ought to be inside. Slowly, I went in. Baba ji stood up. He was a jataadhari (adorned with matted hair), he had rudraksh around his neck and a kamandalu in his hand. There was no other paraphernalia. I had seen that, even in Gomukh , he never wore a cloth to cover his upper body. Just a ‘dhoti’ like small piece of cloth around his waist. Nothing else.” “Baba ji stood up and I realized it was the same person who had placed his hand on my head when I was 9 years old. And the first words he said to me – ‘Ghum phirke tum vaapas aa gaya’ - you have finally returned after all your wanderings! And I told him – Baba ji, now I will not go anywhere, leaving you. I will live with you. He laughed and said ‘Okay, we will see, now you stay with me’. “This way, I spent three and half years with him. After this, he said, ‘Go back now. Sanyaas is not your cup of tea. Go now, lead a family life, do some work. When the time comes, I will give you some work. You will have to do that’. I said – what work, Baba ji. He replied that I have to do Satsangs with people. I said I cannot do this. He just said, do as I tell you. And a time will come when you will walk from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, a padyaatra. I said I would do nothing like this. I will not walk from Kanyakumari to Kashmir but will follow you everywhere in the Himalayas. I do not want anything else. Baba ji replied – I had once asked you what you thought of yourself. What did you say to me? I said – ‘I am your dog’. You know the saying, like a dog from the ‘Dhobi Ghat’, neither of home nor of the Ghat. And he said, Okay. And, what was my response to that? I said: Babaji, you said – ‘A dog is fine but don’t wag your tail too much.’ Baba ji then said - Don’t talk too much, just do what I ask you to do. To this, I replied: ‘Aadesh’ (as you wish). In our Nath tradition, we say ‘Aadesh’ to everything, even when we meet people.” “This could become a reality only now. It was working on my mind all these years, how can I do this padyaatra? Three years ago, I felt that I will be 66 years old. if I don’t do it now, when will it be? So, I told somebody to come with me on the yaatra and he was more than willing. Slowly, people gathered. Don’t ask me how it all fructified. I only know that it is Babaji’s Aadesh, His command. And I walked.” “Once, when I sat with Baba ji in Uttarkashi, he told me: If you sit in a cave for 20 years and meditate, for 10 hours a day and when you come out of the cave, if your ears do not hear a hungry child’s cry from a poor man’s kutiya, then your 20 years of tapasya is a sheer waste. He did not say ‘waste’, he said it’s a zero. This means that love, affection and compassion are the true characteristics that are required in a human being. If a Maanav (human being) does not have these, then his mind and body are like a smashaan (crematorium).” “Sant Kabir Das says ‘Joghat prem na sanchare, so ghat jaanu masaan. Jaise khaal lohaar ki,saans let binu praan,’ meaning that even a blacksmith’s bellows breathe but there is no life in it. There is no love. So, this love, goodwill, compassion and Maanav Ekta should be present in a man. Then, we will be good and the place we live in will also be worthy. And, if we are living in Bhaarat, then Bhaarat will also become a good place.” “Bhaarat is a great land, there’s no need to make it worthy. But we should not forget that Bhaarat is a great country. Why is it great - because Bhaarat Waasis (residents of India) attach great importance to Maanav Ekta. They live harmoniously together. We all think of ourselves as One.” “I came here, visited a lot of places in Narsinghpur, went to many Muslim Dargahs, many mosques, went to temples, I could not go into the Gurudwara as we ran short of time but when I talk to people, all of them tell me that they all live together cordially. There’s nothing to cause discord. We live together in peace. This Shaanti (peace and harmony) has to be nurtured. This is our objective and our message. This is what I am walking for.” “With me, there is a core group of about 60 or 70 people walking on a permanent basis. And other people come together in various places. And, there’s no time when we have less than 200 or 300 people. We walk an average of 18 to 20 Km every day. Why am I walking? To tell people that the Truth is one and we can understand it in various ways. And, it is my experience that a part of that All-pervading Supreme Being is in all our hearts.” “And, if this essence of the Supreme resides in our hearts, then we are all walking and moving temples. Why will one temple harm another? We are all divine temples. The names may be different due to change in locality. But we are all divine sanctuaries. The same Ishwar resides in every heart as the indweller. So we worship the deity in the temple by doing the aarthi, and ringing bells. How do we worship this divine being called man? We can worship him through seva (selfless service). This is the reason Swami Vivekananda said – ‘Atmano mokshartham jagat hitaya cha’ , Salvation for the individual self and well being of all in the world. Why? Because it brings about others’ welfare and our minds are also purified. If our minds are not purified, then we will never be able to attain Moksha. Pranayaam (breathing techniques) will not aid us in this. With pranayaam, the naadis become purified. The mind becomes pure through Seva. This is the most important thing – Maanav Seva (Selfless service to mankind).” “Swami Vivekanand said – serve the neediest, the ones who are in abject poverty, think of him as ‘daridra Narayana’ (Lord in the form of the poor and needy) and serve him. So, this is the aim we are walking with.” “So, wherever we go, whether it is to small villages or big cities, I get people together and tell them only one thing – please listen, we are all human beings first. Second, we are Bhaarat Waasis. We live in Bhaarat, we eat food grown in Bhaarat, we drink the waters from this land and breathe this air. This is Our Land. We are Indians. If we only live together with this understanding, then Bhaarat will become strong. And, we need a strong India because the message of peace, harmony and Maanav Ekta will go to the rest of the world from here. We don’t need to bring in anything from outside. It will go from here.” “There was a time when people from all over the world came here to attain knowledge and wisdom. Takshashila, Nalanda, there were so many universities. Everybody used to gather here. Now, what do we do to educate ourselves? We go to Harvard. There’s no need for this. I am telling you: if we live together, with our minds together, and we move forward collectively - as is stated in The Rig Veda, ‘Saṃgacchadhwaṃ saṃvadadhwaṃ, saṃvomanaaṃsi jaanataam’ - if we live this way, then a time will come, when people will come to Bhaarat again to gain knowledge and learn about peace and harmony. This is my belief. I believe that Bhaarat will become the world’s Guru. (Amidst applause from audience). This is my dream and I believe that if all of you are with me, then it will definitely happen. This is my objective. I do not want to say anything more than this.” “Now, I will call a few padyaatris to come over and share their experiences with you. I will call two or three of them. It is better if they can speak Hindi, if not, they may share in English too.” “Before I end, my Namaskaars and my Dhanyavaad to all of you.” “Om Shaanti, Shaanti, Shaantih.” “Hari Om, Tat Sat.”

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