Students of Daffodils Narghat line up Trimohani streets
Reception at Daffodils - Narghat
Quwalis by the students of Daffodils - Narghat
Interaction with school children at Imambada
A fakir echoes the Walk's sentiment 'Sab ka maalik ek' - Imambada
Reception at Ramakrishna Sevashram Hospital - Lohia Talab
The famous Ojhala Bridge -Mirzapur
Sri M inside the Kantint Sharif Darga - Ojhala
Satsang at Daffodils Public School - Lohia Talab
Speaking the the national electronic media at Emmanuel church
Wielding the fly whisk inside the Gurudwara Gurusingh Sabha - Ratnaganj
WOH Day 333 - Walking along the labrynth that is Mirzapur
Inside the 172-year old Emmanuel Church - Mirzapur
Transported to another age - Wessleygunj
Today's walk was made special by the visit to three important places of worship in the city of Mirzapur. It started at the Gurudwara Gurusingh Sabha where they recited Shabad Kirtan, prayed for the yaatra (journey) and felicitated Sri M. Thanking all present Sri M spoke of how we all come from one source as stated in the Guru Granth Sahib, ‘Awal Allah Noor Upaya, Kudratke sab bandhe’. But it is just that we forget it. The reason for this walk is to remind people of this core message. He requested people to join the walk. If not, he asked them to keep the padyaatris and the yaatra in their prayers. And to hope with them that people of India can live together as brothers and sisters. After taking the ‘kadaprasad’ and breakfast at the Gurudwara, the walk proceeded through old parts of Mirzapur town. Mirzapur was once the largest district in India before the split of Sonebhadra.
Sri M addressed the congregation at the 172-year old Emmanuel Church after the priestess had led us in prayer and had elaborated on the Christian ideal of Universal brotherhood. He said that right through the padyaatra (journey on foot) which started almost 11 months back, the yaatris (travelers) had been visiting places of worship wherever possible. Having studied in Carmelite and Jesuit institutions, he fondly remembered his experiences as a student.
He spoke touchingly about the wandering ascetic of Jerusalem who would have been called an 'aniketa' (homeless) in the Hindu tradition. He quoted from the Sermon on the Mount which he said had captured his imagination greatly.
'Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.'
'Blessed are the peace makers for they will be called children of God.'
Sri M said that Jesus also asked his followers to ‘Bless them that curse you’. 'Every suffering is for a good cause', things which only such an evolved soul like Jesus could say.
Back on the road after eating a box full of goodies offered at the church, Sri M and the walkers stopped to meet many locals who joined the walk for short distances. The youngest and the most energetic walkers however were the students of Daffodils School who were dressed in white and enjoying their first day's walk. They also went into every place of worship, experienced the similarities and differences.
After stopping briefly at the Sankat Mochan Sri Hanuman temple and attending a short reception at the Narghat branch of Daffodils School, the walk went to the Ramakrishna Sevashram Hospital. After hearing of the many seva projects that the hospital has undertaken, Sri M addressed the audience saying that anything that's started in Ramakrishna's and Swami Vivekananda's name is bound to be a success like the Walk of Hope that started on Vivekananda's birthday.
The next and the final stop for the day was Kantint Sharif Darga, dedicated to Hazrat Sayyad Shah Khwaja Ismail Chishti Rahmatullah (nephew of Khwaja Moinudeen Chisti of Ajmer) where there were prayers and offerings. This Dargah attracts people in large numbers, belonging to all communities. By the sides of the roads the yaatris traversed today were Ghanta Ghar and Ojhala, both outstanding specimens of yesteryears' architecture. Ghanta Ghar or clock tower built in 1891 is a magnificent work in stone. Ojhala is a 300 year old bridge between the cities of Vindhyachal and Mirzapur.
At the evening Satsang at Daffodils school Sri M addressed the audience in both Hindi and English.
“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.”
“Many years ago it is said in the Rig Veda ‘Ekam Sat Vipra bahuda vadanti’ - meaning, 'The truth is one and Vipra or the ones who are knowledgeable call it by many different names. ‘Brahmavid Brahmaiva Bhavati’ the one who knows Brahma (The Supreme Being) is Brahmana or Vipra.”
“So the ones who have gained knowledge and wisdom, why do they call it by many names? Because the truth cannot be caught by our senses and by our thoughts, at least not completely. But the little that is understood, is given a name and they call it by that name. So one cannot say that you are right and the other is wrong. Everyone is right in their own way. It is just that everyone is seeing it in their own way because our vision is limited. Unfortunately, we do not have an unlimited vision. Whatever experience that we have comes from our five senses.”
“There’s no one here who has more than five senses. You have two eyes, a nose, ears, taste, and touch. With these senses we function in the world. When we want to construct a rational framework, we say, ‘I think like this’, where do you get the inputs for this? In internet parlance, where does the data for it come from? From the five senses. So no matter how high we think, we are still working with just our five senses.”
“What the Rishis are saying is that the experience we gain from the five senses are quite limited, and it can even be wrong sometimes. How is that? We see that the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening. Ask any high school student and he will tell you that the sun neither rises nor sets. They would have studied about Heliocentric systems. But to us, when we see with our eyes, our most important sense of perception, what do we see? We see the sun rise and set. But in the ultimate analysis it is all wrong. It just goes to show that our reasoning through which we construct our rational framework, is based on the senses. If such a small data connected to vision can be wrong then what about the others?”
“When a bell rings and it stops, we think it has stopped. Ask a sound physicist and he will tell you that no sound stops, it just becomes softer, smaller. If it goes beyond our hearing capacity, we cannot hear it anymore. We hear the humming sound like the M in OM, which is called the ‘Ardha Maatra’. Similarly, when the bell rings we hear it for some time after that we think it has stopped. It’s because our ears can only hear that much, they cannot hear beyond that. You get something called a ‘dog whistle’ in America, blow it and we hear nothing. But the dog can hear it. It’s at a frequency that our ears cannot hear. So, if you look a little deeper you’ll see that one cannot rely on the senses. Like when we are sitting in a car and it rains, when we see through the droplets on the windscreen the light pole looks broken or skewed. We rationalize that saying it's because we are seeing it through the droplet that it looked skewed. That’s what we say. But imagine if we were born with a similar lens, then what? A house fly has compound eyes, many small eyes, how do you think we appear to it? Its vision isn’t like ours.”
“Alexander Pope had written that ‘the difference is as great between the optic seeing as the object seen’. Now if there’s a cloth, it appears solid to us, the hand cannot pass through. Now imagine small bacteria, they can pass through it easily, as if it were a fort. But it is not the same for us. For us a sweet appears small but to an ant it looks as big as a mountain that it needs to climb over. Now who is right and who is wrong? Both are right and wrong. So the rational framework we construct through our senses could be right or some times it could be completely wrong. Whatever we decide based on this, how true can it be? That’s why truth cannot be understood through our senses.”
“And that’s why the seers have said that in every man’s body the soul resides. Besides the five senses there are other senses of perception as well which are called Gnyan Indriyas. When we paint Lord Shiva… by the way Shivam means Brahman, the all pervading Ishwara is called Brahman. However, when we interpret him as Shankara with a snake, you’ll see that his eyes and closed and there’s a third eye that’s open. What does that mean? It means that a sense beyond the five senses is at work. When that, which is called the ‘agna chakra’ starts to work. When that ‘Gnyan indriya’ starts to work, then man becomes a Yogi. Then his vision goes beyond the ordinary vision of the five senses. He becomes a multidimensional human being. Because his access and data has increased and he now has more instruments of perception.”
“Everybody has these extra instruments of perception but they are inactive. The process of making them work is called sadhana (spiritual practice). As we live life, we notice that some sense beyond the five senses starts to become active. ‘Trust’, is something invisible, if we say that we will trust only if one can see, then what’s the use of trust? It is invisible. Trust just means that we understand that there’s something beyond our senses. When we understand this, is when we begin our journey.”
“Kabir Das ji said, ‘Moko kahaan dhoonde re bandhe, Mein to tere paas hoon, Na mandir mein, na masjid mein na Kaaba mein, Mein to hoon Vishwaas mein’. If one begins to trust that there’s a sense beyond these five senses, that’s where he begins. Faith is a hypothesis. Do you know of the Pythagoras Theorem in Trigonometry? There is a hypothesis there, that the square of the height and the square of the base when multiplied, gives the square of the hypotenuse. How do we find this? First you need a hypothesis before you can prove it. So the hypothesis is the trust and when it is proven, one gets Moksha. However, to get these, you start with a hypothesis. This hypothesis is given in the Vedas, the Upanishad, Yoga shastras, etc.”
“It must be read and learnt from a good Guru who has understood it. Our understanding might not be that thorough, which is why you need a guru. The one who spoon feeds you isn’t a Guru, the one who stimulates your thinking and helps you find your own way to reach the truth, he’s a Guru. Why am I saying all this? Because this Yaatra is also running on trust. We walk with an energy that comes from somewhere deep in our heart. That’s our trust. The reason I am saying this is because you’re students and I want you to have faith, deep in your minds that you’ll never fail. That we will do good to others and make the world a better place, we won’t see the bad. Have this kind of faith and understand that something like this is possible. Some times when you think about this, it might seem impossible, but there are some things that are beyond thought. Now I’ll tell you a short story. It’s for you, the older ones might think of this as just another story. But children always enjoy it.”
“When I gift my autobiography to school libraries, I tell them - when you get bored of reading Harry Potter, read this, because it has many things that are hard to believe. People can read Harry Potter but not this. It might be a story but there’s a lot more that can be understood from it. For instance the Bhaagavat has many stories, even if you read them just as stories, the truth that’s in Vedanta and Brahmasutras, is there in the Bhaagavat. Brahmasutras cannot be understood by ordinary people. Scriptures that begin with ‘Asato Brahma Jigyasa’ no one will read because they are difficult. But the Bhaagavat has short stories which have the essence of the Upanishads and the Brahmasutras. I’m going to narrate one such story. If you have complete faith in this you might also experience this.”
“Once upon a time, there was a mother, who had a small baby boy. She was very keen that she should educate the child. And she was so poor that she earned her living, working in households. She just had one son. She wanted him to go to the pathashala (school). In those times there used to be Gurukuls. She asked the Guru, the Upadhyay (teacher) at the Gurukul to take her child. She had no money, to pay the fees. The Guru took him in, saying that her son looked quite intelligent. But there was one problem. From the house where they lived, to go to the gurukul, it was very far off. And there were lots of big, thick forests. She couldn’t leave her work to go drop him to school because she has to work to earn her food. The first day the boy went with the mother through the big forest, he was very frightened. The boy said, ‘Mom, I can’t go into this forest. It looks very dangerous. I can hear wild animals making noises, so I’m very frightened of going, what can I do?’ “
“Now, she cannot take him because she has to work. So just to convince him and make him happy, and not have fear, she told him a story. She said, ‘Actually in the deep forest, there’s a little boy who lives there. And he’s dark in colour, he sometimes plays the flute, he some times keeps a peacock feather in his head’. This was a story to convince her child to walk through the jungle alone. So she said, ‘When you get scared and hear wild animals, close your eyes and shout loudly - Here friend, come and see me, I’m very frightened.’ The little boy asked her, ‘What’s the name of the boy?’ So she said, ‘you call him Krishna’. So he said ‘OK’.”
“The boy got pepped up. The boy believed his mother. Those days they used to believe mothers. So he went every day to the forest, and every day, whenever he felt there was a wild animal making noise and so on, he used to close his eyes and say, ‘Ay Krishna, come here and help me, I’m feeling frightened’. And actually, a small little dark coloured boy used to appear. In fact Krishna, the word in Sanskrit means dark. Since we don’t like anything dark we’ve made it blue. So suddenly from the forest a little boy came with a peacock feather on his hair. They played marbles for some time and had fun. When they reached the end of the forest, the dark boy left him and said, ‘now you go, I’m going back’. This was going on for many days.
“The boy used to come home and tell the mother, ‘This is what happened today, I played with Krishna. We played marbles’. Mother used to laugh thinking, he believes all the stories I have told him. He was a simple minded boy who didn’t have the reasoning to say that it is not true.”
“One day, on his Guru’s birthday, all students went taking different gifts to the Guru. This boy came home and said to his mother, ‘It’s my Guru’s birthday, I also have to take a gift’. She said, ‘We have nothing here’. Finally she said, ‘We have one cow’. In those days and even today, the cow is a very valuable addition to the household. It gave cow dung to be spread on the ground, to be used as fuel, is used for ploughing, we drink its milk, make butter, 101 things. So a cow was a very important part of the household.”
“So she gave him a small bowl, poured the milk into it and said, ‘You take this. But I have only one bowl. So you give the milk and bring back the bowl’. So the boy said, ‘OK’. So he went as usual through the forest and he heard some wild animals. So he shouted for his friend to come.
His friend came and they were playing around. The friend said, ‘What is this you are carrying?’ The boy said, ‘this is for my teacher. It’s his birthday’. He asked him what it was and he said ‘it’s milk’. He asked him if he could see it. So the boy took it in his hand, touched it to his lips and gave it back to him. So when he went to his teacher, other students were standing with very expensive gifts.”
“When this boy went with a small bowl of milk, everybody laughed saying, ‘What is this you have got? Milk in a bowl, what sort of a present is this?’ Everyone started laughing. The boy went anyway and when he reached the Guru he said, ‘I’ve brought milk from home. Please take this milk in another container and give me back the container because my mother has only one’. Then everybody laughed again. So the Guru said, ‘Poor thing, get another pail, a bucket and pour the milk into it’. The story is that they poured and they gave the vessel back and there was still milk in it. They poured it out again and yet it remained.”
“So all the vessels in the Guru’s household were full of milk. The Guru got worried. He asked him, ‘What is this? Are you doing some magic, do you know any magic? Indrajaal?’ The boy said ‘No I don’t know any Indrajaal’. The Guru asked, ‘How did it happen?’ The boy said, ‘I think the play mate of mine, did some trick to this’. The Guru asked, ‘Which play mate?’ The boy said, “You come with me and I will show you’. He took the teacher and some disciples and went into the deep forest. He wanted to show the Guru the boy he was paying with.”
“After reaching the forest he shouted out aloud, ‘Krishna, come fast. My guru is here. They are calling me a liar, so please come and show me your face. They don’t believe me. They think I’m doing magic’. Nobody appeared. Then they heard a voice coming from above. We call it ‘Akashvaani’, not the radio; sound from the skies, or aakasha. And the voice said, ‘The time for them to see me has not come. Because they think they know too much. Their egos are so bloated they don’t see me. You are so simple, you believe so you can see me’. So this is what happened and they could not see him.”
“Why could they not see him? Because they were too proud of their knowledge, and they were dependent entirely on the data which is only supplied by the five senses, the ‘pancha indriyas’. They couldn’t look beyond, they didn’t have faith, they did not have belief. As we grow up all these are shattered. Some people even after everything is shattered, recover in some way.”
“This happens then you’re moving in a different path altogether and this is the energy that we have, that we are walking such a long distance from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. We are eating normal food, most of us are vegetarians. I don’t know when we are halting, where we are halting, I don’t know. But mostly we are vegetarians and we eat simple food. So what is the secret? I don’t think anyone eats vitamins and multivitamins, most of it is fake anyway.”
“We are walking because of the faith that there is something beyond which wants us to do something good for this earth. Therefore we are walking. So my message to you all is, don’t forget that the all pervading supreme reality resides in every heart as your true essence and consciousness, black or white, big or small, man or woman, everyone’s heart.”
“Please remember that every human being, animals also, are walking temples or walking Gurudwaras, whatever you want to call it. Therefore, when you worship in the temple, you do arati, but when you worship the God who is inside us, the only way to worship is through Seva, service. That’s why Swami Vivekananda said, ‘Aatmano mokshartha, Jagat hitaya cha’ - Seek liberation and do good to the world. If these two go hand in hand, then we can progress, even our minds will expand. But just the expansion of the mind isn’t enough. Imagine you have nuclear energy and at the press of a button the entire universe will burn and the person sitting there has no compassion, no love, who is cruel, what will happen then? You need both these things. Technology as well as kindness is needed, goodness is important. If these things didn’t already exist in the world, we would be dead by now.”
“Our attempt is to ensure that peace, harmony and unity are maintained so we can progress. The reason I am sowing these seeds in your heart is that. When you plant a seed, do you see the tree the next day, do you? It takes time. But if you take care of it, if not today, some time in the future it will grow into a big tree, it will flower, have good fruits, and when the wind blows, its fragrance will spread all across the world from India and all of us will live under its shade in peace. This is my message. Thank you!”
Commodore Ravindranath the oldest walker of the group then extended a vote of thanks to the Directors, teachers and students of the school for hosting the yaatris and taking care of them like members of their family.