It was heartening to see many senior citizens join the padayaatra - Panni
Reception at Panni - Rewa
WOH Day 326 - Naudhiya to Mauganj along NH 135 - Rewa
School children line the streets of Mauganj to greet us - Rewa
Vying with each other to apply tilak to Sri M - Mauganj
Inside Hafiji ka Darga - Mauganj
Being led along the the streets of Mauganj - Rewa
Sri M addressing the students of Shahid Kedarnath Chaturvedi University at the end of the day's walk
Satsang at the Govt School Mauganj
The sound of thunder and lightning early in the morning had left most of the Padyaatris (travellers on foot) wondering whether they had to fish out their umbrellas and raincoats. The last time, they had seen rain was in Gujarat. Thankfully, the skies cleared and they had a sunny and rain swept day today.
As the Padyaatris sat sipping their first cup of tea with marigold garlands in hand – offered by the villagers – at the start point, Ms Tara Kini and Ms Shanti, members of Sunaad, regaled them with a lovely Bhajan. As Varanasi beckons, the number of Padyaatris have swollen and they are now walking full strength and a nearly collapsing luggage van.
Preparations for the UP highlight – Varanasi – has been in full swing as a few post-graduate students from BHU (Banaras Hindu University) have joined the walk for a couple of days to interact with Sri M and the yaatris, and get a better understanding of the objective of the Walk.
Many sweet cups of tea later, the Padyaatris reached breakfast point at Dubgav and proceeded further, with intermittent receptions along the way, to Mauganj. Exuberant youth from local colleges welcomed them enroute. Sri M visited Hafiji ka Darga and Ram Mandir before winding up the walk at Sri Shahid Kedarnath Snathkothar University. Addressing students there, Sri explained the basic tenets of the Walk in simple words, communicating the message of human oneness and harmony. The yaatra (journey) for the day, ended at this point, just in time for lunch.
The evening Satsang at Government High School, Mauganj started off with Lokgeeth (folk songs) by folk singers and a charming Kathak number by a tiny tot. In the audience were Sri Sukhendra Singh, MLA and Ms Chandraprabha Gupta, President, Mauganj Municipality. Sri M started his Satsang with the prayer:
“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 would like to thank you for the wonderful welcome, especially the two children who danced for us, I give them my blessings. I did not think such a young girl could do Kathak.”
“I come from South India, so if there are any mistakes in my adress, please forgive me.”
“I would not like to say much about the Yaatra, as it has already appeared in the print media. You must have the flyers as well. All I would like to say is that we started this Yaatra on January 12th from Kanyakumari. We are now in December, and it’s been over 10 months since we started walking and we have reached your village now. We have covered over 4,800 kms. I am not alone, I have many people with me, our core group has about 70 people. Wherever we go, more people join us. We have to walk another 3000 kms. This walk is for Maanav Ekta (Oneness of humanity) and United India. That’s all I would like to say about the Yaatra and I would also like to add that when we entered each state and were welcomed so well, we felt that the Yaatra would be a success. When we reached Jhabua, and were received exceptionally well, I was convinced that the Yaatra would definitely be a success. This just goes to show that people here have an understanding of Indian culture or Sanskriti which is that we are all human beings and that we are Indians. Whatever be our religion or faith, we are all Indians - this is something all of us understand. Our Yaatra is just to remind people of this, lest one forgets it.”
“Now, let me go into the main reason for the I. Many years ago, at the age of 19, I ran away from home because I felt like a bird in a cage. And I had to fly away from home. I didn’t know where I was going, what I was doing. But I hoped to meet my guru in the Himalayas, who I had met at the age of eight. My Guru, Maheshwarnath Babaji, he has now taken Samadhi and is not around anymore. He belonged to the Nath Panth (Nath tradition). Since the time he placed his hand on my head for 10 minutes, in Trivandrum, Kerala where I was born, his image was permanently sealed on my mind, and I was in search of him. Every time I saw a saint, I would wonder if that’s him. You can read my autobiography for more details. But the next time I met him was in Vyas Gufa in Badrinath.”
“For three and half years, I travelled with Maheshwarnath Babaji, all over the Himalayas. This is why I know quite a few places in the Himalayas that are not frequented by tourists. In those three and a half years, whatever knowledge Maheshwarnath Babaji gave me has neither increased nor decreased, it’s the same. I am sitting in front of you, people call me a Yogi, all this is thanks to his grace and blessings, nothing else. I learnt the Gita with him, the Upanishads, the Brahmasutra, Vedanta, Sidhasidhantha Padhati, Patanjali Yogasutras. I learnt quite a bit with him. But, the transformation that my mind went through happened only with his blessings.”
“One day in Uttar Kashi, sitting by the banks of Ganga, Baba ji said to me, ‘if you meditate for 13 hours a day for 13 years in a cave, and cannot hear a baby’s cry in distress when you get out of the cave, then all your 13 years of Tapasya is a waste’. He didn’t say waste, he said, ‘shoonya’. This stayed with me for many years. So when I learnt the Gita, the Upanishad, Ramcharitmanas, I understood one thing very well - if anyone has a spiritual experience, the first thing that follows is that he becomes compassionate. He wants to help others, he wants to share with others the peace and joy he has experienced. This is the biggest thing. If there’s no love and compassion, then Sadhana has no value. This is what Babaji said and this is what I believe through my experience.”
“Kabir Das said, ‘Ja dhad prem na sanchari, so dad jaan smashaan jaise khaal lohaar ki, saans leth bin praan’ - meaning that the blacksmith’s bellow too has air passing through it and it breathes but it has no life. In the same way, a person who has no love in his heart is like a machine – it has no life, it’s like a cemetery.”
“Once Babaji said this to me something, which has stayed with me forever, even today. Later, I read the Gita, which has 18 chapters. There’s one chapter that I read first, the 12th Chapter which is Bhakti Yoga. Bhakti is linked to love. What did Meera Bai do – she did no Kriya Yoga or Tapasya, she just loved the Lord. Love, bhakti or devotion is the same thing. It just needs to be directed towards God and that’s it. In the 12th Chapter, Arjuna questions Lord Krishna, asking him, ‘Many people say that your closest devotee is the one who prays to the formless Brahma. Some others say that the one who prays to you in form is closest to you. Now, please clarify this for me, tell me, who is the closest to you?’ So Krishna Bhagvan replies, ‘See, devotion can be either to the formless God or one with form. But, only a few pray to the formless Ishvara, maybe the seers. But for ordinary people, it is easier to pray to God with form’. This is so because we live with forms. We identify people through name and form. So Bhagvan said, ‘it does not matter if you pray to me in form or without, but I consider that person the closest to me who has these qualities, whether it is a prayer to the divine in form or formless, he needs to have these qualities’. He speaks of three qualities: firstly, the one who tries to control his senses or has his senses under control. In the Gita, it’s called ‘Sanniyam yendriya Graamam’. Now look, anger, which is the main cause of violence is caused by people who cannot keep the senses under control because anger starts through the senses.”
“Tulsidas wrote the Raamcharitmanas. He also said, ‘Kaam krodh mad lobh ki, jo lo man mein khan, tho lo pandith murkho, tulsi ek samaan’.”
“The second quality Bhagvan Krishna states is, ‘Sarvatra samabudhaya. Whatever be the situation, happiness or sadness, praise or blame, heat or cold, the one who can keep his mind calm is the one I consider closest to me’. What happens is that when we are sad, we think of God but not when we are happy. I’m not saying we forget pain and sadness. In this world, if there’s happiness, there has to be sorrow too. But the ones who are sad, we need to try and make them happy. Swami Vivekananda, said that the one who is unhappy and who has nothing is Narayana in form. Serve him. What’s the use of doing Aarti to someone who has no food? Serve him, try to feed him.”
“People need to understand two things, first ‘aatmano mokshartha’, second ‘jagat hitayacha’. Swami Vivekananda said this. The one who thinks of both these things, the welfare of mankind and the liberation of the soul.”
“The third attribute that Sri Krishna stated to Arjuna is, ‘Sarva Bhoota hite ratah’, the one who thinks of the welfare of all human beings. If we can live following all these three things, we can live happily in this world. Seva is a form of devotion. Through seva, our mind gets cleansed. If the mind isn’t clean and pure, how can God enter?”
“It’s also my experience that a spark of the Sarva Vyaapi Ishvar or the all-pervading divine is there in every human being. What does this mean? Whatever his name, religion, faith, he is a human being after all. This means that we are all temples of God. And devotion to this temple is through service only. So, service is important. And if a spark of the divine is in all hearts, then we’re all one. This is the symbol of Maanav Ekta. To explain this to people, we are walking. I know we, asBhaarat-waasis, understand this because our Sanskriti or culture is such.”
“Three thousand years ago in the Rig Veda, it is said that ‘Ekam sat vipra bahuda vadanti’ – there is only one truth and the wise call it by different names. This is not something new that I am saying. Just that we forget it sometimes. Our intention is that we do not want people to forget this. When people forget it, a big fire engulfs us which cannot be put out easily. We do not want this to happen. Because we are all Bhaarat-waasis, a unified India – that cannot be broken by anyone, whatever our religion, our faith – is our goal.”
“Look at the Hindu religion –it has so many different faiths. There are Vaishnavites, Shaivites, there are people who worship Ganapati, Bhadrakali worshippers, Sri Krishna worshippers, so many people, so many faiths. You can’t say each of these faiths is different, we are all one. In India, we have welcomed everyone who has come from outside. In Madhya Pradesh, we have seen ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ (The guest is equivalent to God) everywhere. But, we must consider even those living here as Atithis and treat them like God. Then, India will become strong. India needs to become strong because I believe that the message of peace, harmony and oneness needs to go from India all over the world, not the other way around.”
“We need to make Bhaarat strong, it’s our duty. And we need to proudly say that we are Indians. If we live like this, then the message of peace, harmony and oneness will spread all over the world. And there will come a time when people from all over the world will come to Bhaarat to gain wisdom and devotion. Because Bhaarat is the world’s Spiritual Guru. This is my dream. I feel that my dream will come true.”
“This is why we are doing this small yaatra. It is only when each of you joins this yaatra, it will become a movement. This does not mean you need to walk with us. When you spread this message In your district, in your neighbourhood, and live together in harmony, our yaatra will be a success. Not just by reaching Kashmir. It is when we stay united, and we live together and see all as one, this Yaatra will be a success. It is the ego that stops us from saying this. We like to believe that ‘I did this, I did that’.”
“Kanyakumari is called the Zero Point, since it is only ocean after it, our land mass ends there. When we started this yaatra, I told the padyaatris, think that we are zero, ‘shoonya’. We have nothing, whatever we do is through God’s grace. If all of us truly believe this, then Maanav Ekta, peace and harmony will prevail in this world. We will all live together as Bhaarat-waasis. Bhaarat will be strong and we will move ahead together.”
“This is our message. Spread this message at your home, in your locality, and our Yaatra will be a success. Thank you!”