One the mistiest of mornings to date, the transportation that ferried the walkers from the place of rest to the start point had to inch its way to Dubra Pahari! The lush fields that usually extend as far as the eye can see, were veiled and visibility was near zero. The yaatris (travelers) had to mind their steps and ensure they didn’t get left too far behind.
At the village of Karanpur a small patch of boulders to the side of the road served as an ideal spot for a TV interview of Sri M. Reporters from the news channel News 24 had come down to spend a day walking and shooting the Walk of Hope. Here’s a short excerpt with the highlights of the interview:
Q: How does Yoga help in realising the truth?
A: According to the Yogasutras of Patanjali, ‘yogas chitta vritti nirodha’, meaning ‘silencing modifications of the mind is Yoga’. The idea is to calm the mind so that it doesn't get led by 'indriyas' (sense organs) which are unlikely to lead us to the truth.
Q: Many youngsters are with you in this walk. How will they benefit?
A: I would like to draw them away from sedentary internet-centred lives and give them a slice of real life. The padyaatra (journey on foot) enables them to do this as they have their feet firmly on the ground.
The walk resumed at its usual pace with various padyaatris (travelers on foot) catching a moment of fame being interviewed by the News Channel. Even Raju Bhaiyya, the caterer who accompanies the yaatris, cooking meals and countless canisters of tea was interviewed at the breakfast stop.
A short deviation from the main road led the Walk into a quaint little village Bhorsar with a primary school for tiny tots. Speaking at Bhorsar Primary School, Sri M pointed the route of the padyaatra to the children, on a map. He mentioned that after covering more than 5000 Km, out of a possible 8000 km, barring a few minor aches and pains, most of the yaatris were remarkably fit. He said, half in jest that his mind was as old as theirs’ though his physical age was 67 years. He stressed the need to treat all humans as one, despite differences in religion, region, caste, color and creed. He said that the yaatra is covering small villages, towns, big cities etc.
Repeating the key message that he’s been saying at every school, he said, "You are the future of the country, we are old. I want to sow the seeds of peace & harmony. You will need to nurture them, strengthen India, make it solid and uphold our centuries-old dictum 'Loka samastha sukhino bhavanthu'. Ensure that you spread this message in your house, neighborhood, village and wherever you go. Only if you do this will our walk be successful. Thank you very much."
Seeing their innocent faces and interacting with the little girls who run their households sometimes singlehandedly, at a tender age was a humbling experience for the yaatris.
The day seemed to be all about children as boys of Lakhamapur ND Convent joined the walk for a short while, bringing along their youthful energy and incessant chatter.
The walk then stopped at Badhuva where Sri M addressed the public and mentioned that the yaatra commenced on 12thJanuary 2012 from Kanyakumari symbolically as it was a confluence, a union of three oceans. He said that the group had 80 people, the core group who have been walking right from Kanyakumari. He said that the yaatris belonged to all religions, castes and creeds but were strung together by a common thread, i.e., a deep desire for Maanav Ekta (Oneness of humanity).
The walk stopped at Daffodils School, Mirzapur where the students, teachers and staff put up a stellar show of music and tableau. The students came out of their classrooms into the corridors that overlooked the school ground. There were buildings on all four sides and classrooms up to the third floor. As their little hands waved at Sri M, from all sides, it felt like homecoming, a heartfelt welcome, perhaps the first of many to come.
At 1630 hours, the yaatris left for the ancient Sri Vindhyachal Vasini temple on the banks of the holy river Ganga, along with Sri M. After darshan, they attended the Ganga Arati. Sri M briefly addressed the gathering after the Arati.
“Like we conduct ritualistic worship in the temple, in the Tantra Shastra, there is a definite method to propitiate and awaken this Power within us. I belong to the Nath school and my Guru Maheshwarnath Baba ji taught me the Siddha Siddhaanta Paddhati about invoking Shakti (primordial energy) as per the Nath tradition. He also gave me the Sri Vidya deeksha.”
“In Sri Vidya, there are two mantras, one with 15 letters and the other with 16 letters, to be chanted to invoke Shakti. It cannot be spoken aloud as they have to be learnt from a Guru. Before them there is the Bala Tripurasundari mantra which runs like this, (he chants the mantra) I can only say this much and no further.”
“After proper worship and sadhana, this mantra is chanted and the deity is invited to sit in your spiritual heart center. Then, in your Manipura Chakra (The fire centre) from where it is made to move up through the ida and pingala nadis which in turn twist and meet at the Ajna Chakra (between the eye brows). We call this center Varuna and Asi or Varanasi. Up above there is only Sahasraara, the seat of Siva. Here, Shakti is made to meet Shiva and the resultant celebratory experience is described by Adi Shankara in his ‘Soundarya Lahari’. The shloka ‘Bhavani tvam daase..." which I chanted is from Soundarya Lahari. This is all I will say today.”
“Thus, by good karma, worship, pooja, arati, sadhana...this happens. It is foolish to say that in modern times, we have understood everything there is. Many, many secrets and mysteries lie untouched still. In places like this where Adishakti is worshipped, these potent energies tend to spring forth. I will end by reciting a Shloka from the Soundarya Lahari by which Sri Shankara propitiates Rajarajeswari Adishakti (he chants the mantra). It is such a wonderful time and I don't want the peace surrounding us to disappear by talking too much.”
With that ended yet another power-packed day made special by the misty morning, school children, the temple of Maa Vindhyachal Vasini and Maa Ganga.