Sri M addressing the gathering before starting off - Neemkheda
The Badey Hanuman Mandir - Neemkheda
WOH Day 303 - The Walk from Jhansighat to Shapura was long and winding.
Stunningly colorful village houses - Jhansighat
Children welcoming the padayaatris the traditional way -Bilpadhar
'Here we are !' - Sri M points out the route to the dignitaries - Bilpadhar
Reception at Jhoji - Jabalpur
Sri M at the Behru Ma Mandir- Jabalpur
Sri M at the Sri Hanuman Mandir - Jabalpur
Civiv reception at Shahpur - Sri Rakesh Singh MP Jabalpur, Smt Pratibha Singh MLA Bargi looks on - Jabalpur
At the Jain Bade Bab Mandir - Jabalpur
A riot of colors as it is Diwali time - Shahpur
Through the streets of Shahpur
Sri M speaks to the gathering before ending the Walk - Shahpur
Sri M offering Arati to Narmada at Saraswati Ghat - Jabalpur
At the Saraswati Ghat with Sri M - Jabalpur
Walk of Hope reached the city of Jabalpur leaving behind Jhansi Ghat, near Pati village, covering 12 Km in the process. The average distance the walkers cover in a day has reduced compared to the previous states and the change has come about because there is extensive participation in the walking from the local population. There are receptions, often quite large, every few kilometres and almost all places of worship that they come across greet Sri M and the padyaatris and ensure that they enjoy their hospitality. It is truly heart-warming to see people from all quarters unequivocally supporting and joining the padyaatra. Social organisations and political groups are also participating. The walk is slowly taking on the hue of a people’s movement.
Sri M and the walkers visited many temples, prominent ones being Bade Hanuman Mandir of Neemkheda, Behru Ma Mandir, Sri Hanuman Mandir and Jain Bade Baba Temple of Jabalpur. They had left a few kilometres before Jabalpur and were there at around 10.00 am.
From then on, there were many large receptions where hundreds of people welcomed the yaatra, joined in and walked. Sri Rakesh Singh,MP, Jabalpur and Smt Pratibha Singh, MLA, Bargi were also part of the welcome party. They did not walk in the city as it is scheduled over the next couple of days. Jabalpur is all decked up for Diwali. The streets are lined with vendors selling firecrackers, rangoli colors, sweets and countless other festival articles. The walk concluded at Shahpur.
Later, in the evening, Sri M and the padyaatris gathered at the Saraswati Ghat where he offered aarti (waving of lamps) to flowing waters of Narmada. This was followed by a ritualistic and elaborate aarti by the priests. It was cold, there was wispy mist in theair, the ghat was unlit, the city lights and noises were a distant reality, the chants floated above and there was an uncommon quiet in their hearts - this was the effect of the aarti. The priests have a very specific way of waving the lit lamps. It has been believed since antiquity that aarti was to enlighten the form of a deity – thus the slow, meditative movements. Even the lamps are quite elaborate - they have seven symbolic stations with many flames, the top-most station has just one.
Sri M then addressed the gathering:
“Akhaṇḍa-maṇḍalākāram vyāptam yena carācaram
Tatpadam darśitam yena tasmai śrī guravenamah
(Which) pervades the entire unbroken form of the circle (of creation), moving and unmoving.
To that beautiful and benevolent Guru through whom that state was revealed (to me), salutations.
cakṣur unmīlitaṁ yena, tasmai śrī-gurave namaḥ
My Salutations to that reverential teacher, who opened my eyes,
by applying the divine collyrium of self-knowledge in my eyes,
which had got blinded by the cataract of ignorance
Gurur Brahma Gurur Vishnu Gurur Devo Maheshwara
Gurur Sakshat Parabrahma Tasmai Shree Guruvey Namaha
The Guru is Brahma (The creator), Lord Vishnu(The preserver, and Lord Shiva (the destroyer)
To that very Guru I bow, for He is the Supreme Being, right before my eyes.
Loka samasta sukinoh bhavantu - May the entire universe be happy
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.
Har, har Narmade - Glory to the river Narmada”
“First my ‘namaskaar’ (salutations) to all and my ‘dhanyawaad’ (thank you) for welcoming us here; specially for welcoming us here for the Narmada ‘aarti’ (waving of lamps) with which I consider our ‘yaatra’ (journey) as having been successfully accomplished”. (Applause from the audience)
“I experienced great happiness in witnessing and participating in the Narmada ‘aarti’ and it is this happiness that I want to share with you… I am not very fluent in Hindi as I am from the South; do excuse me if I make any mistakes while speaking in Hindi. It is improving gradually as we progress in our journey.”
“There is no need for me to speak much about the ‘yaatra’ as you have already seen the film about it and have been given a copy of the flyer and would also have read about it in the newspapers. Our walk is our message but I will say this much that we started from Kanyakumari on the 12th January because Kanyakumari is the confluence of three seas. As our journey is to achieve unity among people for ‘Maanav Ekta’ (oneness of humanity), we thought it best to start it at a ‘sangam’ (confluence).”
“The other reason was that Kanyakumari is associated with Swami Vivekananda. When he was wandering throughout India as a ‘parivraajak’ (wandering ascetic) and no one knew much about him (before he visited America), he reached Kanyakumari after having completed his journey at a very young age. I am very advanced in age yet he did it at a very young age. There he noticed a big rock some distance into the sea.”
“Whenever I have to visit the Vivekananda Rock, I have to board a boat but Swami ji swam across the sea to reach the rock. He sat on the rock and meditated for two hours after which he understood his mission for the future. All the Ramakrishna Missions, that we see established all over the world, is the work of Swami ji. In a span of a mere forty years, one man accomplished that which 100 men cannot achieve in a thousand years! That is the extent of the work he did.”
“So we thought that we should begin our ‘yaatra’ from such a place because Swami ji has spoken a lot about ‘Maanav Ekta’. I too have links with the Ramakrishna Mission and that is why I know it very well. So from Tamil Nadu we went through to Kerala, from Kerala to Karnataka, from Karnataka to Maharashtra, from Maharashtra to Gujarat and from Gujarat, we entered Madhya Pradesh at Jhabua.”
“Judging by the reception that we received at all places in Madhya Pradesh, it appears that the ‘padyaatra’ is achieving its purpose as the response has been good. If such is the response in ‘Madhya Bhaarat’ (Central India), we feel that the ‘yaatra’ will succeed in achieving its purpose. ‘Madhya Bhaarat’ is the heart of ‘Bhaarat’, its centre; so this is about the ‘yaatra’.”
“We have completed more than 4800 km on foot, and no vehicles are used. Of course, we do utilise vehicles to commute to and from our resting places but the next day our ‘yaatra’ begins at the very same place where we ended it the previous day. In this manner, we have completed 4800 km. You have seen the video, we walk whether the sun shines or it rains. We continue to walk, we don’t stop.”
“It is said that there will be snow fall in Srinagar. No matter, we will still walk; we don’t have any problem with that. We still have to walk 3200 km more, from here to Uttar Pradesh; from Uttar Pradesh to Delhi and from Delhi to Punjab through Haryana and further from Jammu to Srinagar. This is our route. If you look at our notice, you will find all the details of the route in it.”
“We aim to reach Srinagar in the first week of May 2016. We are carrying the tricolour with us from Kanyakumari and will carry it with us to Srinagar. We will unfurl it at the ‘chowk’ (plaza) and have a Satsang (spiritual discourse) there, this is our aim; the rest is in the hands of God.”
“I will say only this much about the ‘yaatra’ as you have already seen the film. But I will say a few words about how the ‘yaatra’ began, what its root cause was, where it began and how we are walking. You could call it a Satsang because no good work or great task can be accomplished without the grace of God.”
“It is the truth and is also my experience that a fragment of the all-pervasive ‘Ishwar’ (God) who can achieve anything, exists in the hearts of all ‘manushya’ (man). This fact is not my belief, it is my experience; it begins with faith and ends in experience.”
“I reiterate that a fragment of the all-pervasive ‘Ishwar’, who causes the whole universe to function and who is the reason for its existence dwells in every human’s, every living entity’s heart as the ‘jeev-aatma’ (individual soul). In the heart of humans, he is ensconced as the ‘Antaryaami’ (In-dweller).”
“If this is so then what is the worry? What cannot be achieved? One must have faith in this truth. I am saying it from experience which should be preceded by the conviction that within us is a fragment of the all-pervading ‘Ishwar’, hence, we can surely undertake good work. Every human has a little of the energy of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar. With this faith, we have embarked on this ‘yaatra’.”
“Some may doubt the power of faith. They say we have faith but it doesn’t work for us. It does happen sometimes and, for this reason, let me tell you a story about faith from the Puranas – this being a Satsang and not just a speech.”
“It is said that there was a mother who had a single child, a boy. So the mother thought that she should send him to a ‘gurukul’ (a traditional Indian school) to be educated. The story is not of today, it is of a time long gone past. There were no schools then, there were only ‘gurukuls’. So the mother thought that her son must attend such a ‘gurukul’ to acquire knowledge.”
“But there was no ‘gurukul’ nearby and she was very poor, a widow and was alone. She did house-hold work in the neighbouring homes to earn her livelihood. The mother was determined to send her son to the ‘gurukul’ but she did not have money to pay any ‘dakshina’ (donation to a Guru).”
“Nevertheless, one day she took her son to a Guru at a ‘gurukul’ and requested the Guru to admit her son into the ‘gurukul’ adding that she had no money to pay the ‘dakshina’ as she was very poor. The Guru agreed to take her son in and asked her not to worry about payment. The lady then explained that she would not be able to accompany her son to the ‘gurukul’ everyday as she had to work long hours to earn a living and her son would have to commute to and fro all alone.”
“There was another difficulty in her son attending the ‘gurukul’ and that was the fact that the ‘gurukul’ was located across a dense forest from where they lived and her son was afraid of transiting through it alone. So his mother told him a little story just to drive away his fear of the jungle.”
“Yes, it is a story but see how it illustrates faith; exemplifies what faith is. The mother told her son that when he was passing through the forest, he should not be afraid of anything. But if he was frightened by the grunts and growls of wild animals, he should close his eyes and call out to a little dark-skinned boy who lived in the jungle. This little boy, sometimes, wore a peacock feather in his hair and, sometimes, he carried a flute in his hands.”
“The son asked the little boy’s name and the mother replied that some called him Kanhaiya and others Krishna. “Whenever you feel any fear, close your eyes and call out to Him and He will surely appear before you to help you overcome your fear and He will remain with you till you are out of the jungle”. She told her son this story to only assure him so that he would not be frightened, that was the only reason.”
“Assured by his mother, the son went off to the ‘gurukul’ but whenever he was passing through the forest he was afraid thinking of what might happen while he was transiting through it. On hearing the roar of an animal, he shut his eyes as his mother had advised him and called out to Kanhaiya who appeared as his mother had said, played with the boy for a while and then escorted him out of the forest. This was a daily occurrence.”
“He told his mother that Kanhaiya played with him in the jungle and he was no longer afraid of the wild animals. The mother thought to herself that her son had believed her story about Kanhaiya and was perhaps making up the story of meeting and playing with Him every day and left it at that. She too did not believe that such was really the case. It is a matter of a pure mind and faith.”
“Once, on the occasion of the Guru’s birthday, all the students were required to carry gifts for the Guru. But the boy who was very poor wondered what he could take along to offer to the Guru. The mother assured him that she would give him some milk from the cow they owned. In those days, even the poorest of the poor owned a cow!”
“On the appointed day, she poured some milk into a little bowl and gave it to her son as a present for his Guru but added that he must bring the bowl back as that was the only one they possessed. As usual, when transiting through the jungle the boy grew frightened on hearing sounds of various animals and called out to his friend, Kanhaiya. That day Kanhaiya played a melodious tune on His flute. The boy enjoyed hearing it but remembering that he had to go to the ‘gurukul’ got up to move on.”
“On seeing the bowl of milk in the boy’s hand, Kanhaiya enquired as to what it was that he was carrying in his hands. The boy informed Kanhaiya that he was carrying milk to the ‘gurukul’ as a present for his Guru, whose birthday it was.Kanhaiya asked the boy to hand over the bowl to him and touched it to his lips and handed it back to the boy and asked him to leave for the ‘gurukul’.”
“On reaching the ‘gurukul’, he saw a long queue of students waiting to present their gifts to their Guru. Seeing that the boy was carrying only a little milk in a little bowl, the other students made fun of him. When his turn came, the Guru asked him what he had brought. The boy informed his Guru that he had brought a little milk for him and wanted the bowl to be returned to him as they owned only this one bowl.”
“The Guru called out to someone to pour out the milk into another vessel and return the bowl to the boy. It is said - think of it as a story - that however many vessels the milk was poured into, the boy’s little bowl would not empty. It was always full. Seeing this, the Guru asked the boy if he was an expert in casting magical spells or whether his mother was such an expert. The boy denied any knowledge of magic and said that he knew nothing of how this happened.”
“On the insistence of the Guru, the boy explained that he had a friend named Kanhaiya who lived in the jungle. This friend had touched the bowl to His lips and had returned it to him when he was transiting through the jungle for the ‘gurukul’, that was all that he knew about the matter. The Guru maintained that the boy knew some magic and was lying about the boy in the jungle.”
“The boy too stood his ground and said that he was not lying. The Guru then asked the boy to take him to the forest and show him his friend, Kanhaiya. So the boy asked the Guru and the other students to accompany him to the wood and meet his friend for themselves.”
“On reaching the jungle, the boy called out to Kanhaiya several times, saying that his companions did not believe that he had a friend who lived in the jungle and implored Him to show Himself to them at least once; Kanhaiya did not appear but a voice was heard which addressed the boy and declared that it was because of his unshakeable faith and deep love for Him that He (Kanhaiya) used to appear to him and used to play with him and help him overcome his fear of the jungle.”
“The voice further announced that the boy’s companions could not see Him because of their lack of faith, which was a result of all the knowledge that they had acquired. This had made them arrogant. Only the pure of mind can have true faith and those who have such faith are humble and have a pure heart as that of a child. It is only when one has such pure and deep faith that God is ready to appear before him.”
“So if one has such deep faith in one’s mind, anything can be achieved. People ask me how I am able to walk at the advanced age of 67; how I have managed to walk 4800 km. Some even ask if I travel by a vehicle once in a while. How did I manage to reach here all the way from Kanyakumari? What do I tell them?”
“I can only say what the boy had told his mother and his Guru. I firmly believe that there is a Kanhaiya who dwells in my heart and is making the walk happen. That is why I am telling you all, a little portion of that all-pervading ‘Ishwar’ exists in all our hearts and, if our hearts are pure, we have all the energy needed to achieve anything we want.”
“If someone does not have a pure heart, he cannot achieve great deeds because a safety valve has been devised to prevent it from happening. The energy will manifest only if one’s heart is pure; this is our ‘yaatra’. Wherever we go, we tell people that first we are ‘Maanav’ (humans) born of the womb of a mother. No one has fallen from above, is there anyone? And, we will return to this very earth.”
“So, between the two, as Kabir Das has said, ‘Paanikera bud buda, us maanas ki jaat dekhat hi chhup jaayega, jyon tara parbhat’ (Human existence is as short as a bubble in water and will disappear as does a star at dawn). We are here today and gone tomorrow, between these two events why the quarrelling, rioting and violence? Why can’t we love each other?”
“We are all ‘Maanav’, that is why I call myself ‘M’. People have added ‘Sri’ to it though it is only a single ‘Sri’ but they have added it anyway. So I am a ‘Maanav’ and so are all of you, “Maanav’. Thus, we are all one and can live together. How can we not?”
“Remember only one thing that in all our hearts dwells a fragment of the all-pervading ‘Ishwar’. And if that is so, then we all are walking-moving temples. This in-dwelling Lord cannot be worshipped with an ‘aarati’ like Mother Narmada is worshipped. The walking-moving ‘Maanav’ temple can only be worshipped by ‘seva’ (selfless service).”
“That is why Swami Vivekananda said, ‘atmano mokshartham jagathitaya cha’ (for the salvation of our individual self and for the well-being of all on earth); search for the ‘moksha’ (liberation) of the soul and do good to the world. Lord Krishna told Arjun that “The greatest yogi, my dearest devotee, is one who is, sarva bhuta hite ratah”. It means, ‘he who is concerned for the good of every living being’. Such a person is the greatest of devotees and is also the greatest of yogis.”
“So, as we walk and stop at cities and small villages, we talk to people and explain to them that they should understand that we are all one, we are all ‘Maanav’ and not separate. Whether we are men or women, dark-skinned or fair, we are one and that we are ‘Bhaarat Waasi’(residents of India).”
“For thousands of years, anyone who came to ‘Bhaarat’ - irrespective of his sect or religion - was welcomed with extended arms, was embraced and now all are here and we are all one. We are ‘Bhaarat Waasi’; no one says he is not a ‘Bhaarat Waasi’ .How can he say it? Does he not have a passport declaring him to be so?”
“We are all ‘Bhaarat Waasi’ and, for this reason, we must live together and not quarrel among ourselves, not harm each other. We should live together with the understanding that if we live together,‘Bhaarat’ will emerge stronger. When ‘Bhaarat’ gains in strength, there will be even greater development. It is developing but we still need to do more.”
“And, the only way to move forward is to first understand that we are all ‘Maanav’; think of all as one and as ‘Bhaarat Waasi’, no one is different. If we think this way, we will be able to live together. The entire world is watching us to see where we are headed. We have to show them that we are all one and live together.”
“There was a time when ‘Bhaarat’ was considered the spiritual Guru to the rest of the world. Nowadays, we go to Harvard to learn. I have a dream that there will be a time in the future when people from all over the world will come to us once again for knowledge and to learn about ‘Maanav Ekta’ (Oneness of humanity), goodwill and peace, this is my belief (the audience applauds). It is to fulfil our faith that we are bearing all the hardship and walking. There is 3200 km more that we have to walk. Ask any of the ‘padyaatris’ (people on a journey on foot) who have accompanied me on this walk right from Kanyakumari, whether they entertain any doubts about the successful completion of this journey. All will agree that our mission will be accomplished.”
“Of course, there will be difficulties but it is our duty to face them squarely and we are walking with this conviction in our minds that we are all one. I know you cannot walk with us till Srinagar but do accompany us on the walk as much as you can. For the remaining part, be with us in your minds; merge your minds with ours and it is certain that this ‘yaatra’ (journey) will surely succeed.” (Audience applauds).
“Beyond this, I do not want to say anymore. If it was not a yaatra but Satsang, I would have told you about meditation but that will happen later as our main endeavour at the moment is this ‘padyaatra’ (journey on foot) and that is why I have talked about it.”
“Dhanyawaad’ (thank you), Bhaarat Maata ki jai ho (May Mother India be ever victorious)”
“Om, shaanti, shaanti, shaantih.”