Day 337 | 14 December 2015 | From Adalpura to Amara Jyothi Chouraha, Varanasi | The Walk of Hope 2015-16

  • 'Truly agrarian, like most families along Chunar Road- Mirzapur
    1.Truly-agrarian,-like-most-families-along-Chunar-Road,-Mirzapur,-UP
  • Reception as the Walk crosses over to Varanasi district
    2.Reception-on-crossing-over-to-Varanasi-district,-Karsada,-UP
  • WOH 337 along Chunar Road from Adalpura to Varanasi
    3.WOH-337,-along-Chunar-Road-from-Adalpura-to-Varanasi,-UP
  • 4.Saying-it-in-words-and-pictures,-
  • 5.Will-hitch-a-ride-till-I-get-my-tricycle!!,-Chunar-Road,-Varanasi,-UP
  • One of the many receptions on Chunar Road - Karsada
    6.One-of-the-many-receptions-on-Chunar-Road,-Karsada,-Varanasi,-UP
  • Palpable excitement amongst the Yatris as Varanasi draws nearer - Chunar Road
    7.There-was-palpable-excitement-amongst-the-Yatris-as-Varanasi-drew-nearer,-Chunar-Road,-Varanasi,-UP
  • A warm welcome from students of Sunbeam Sun City School - Varanasi
    8.A-warm-welcome-from-students-of-Sunbeam-Sun-City-School,-Varanasi,-UP
  • Sri M addressing the students of Sunbeam Sun City School Varanasi
    9.Addressing-the-students-of-Sunbeam-Sun-City-School,-Varanasi,-UP
  • 10.Desi-sweets-with-a-reptilian-look!!,-Bachavu,-Varanasi,-UP
  • Reception at Akhri Byepass Varanasi
    11.Reception-at-Akhri-bye-pass,-Varanasi,-UP
  • Walking to the tune of shehnai vadan - Akhri Byepass
    12.Walking-to-the-tune-of-
  • A hearty welcome as the padayatra rolled into the holy city of Varanasi - Amara Jyothi Chauraha
    13.A-hearty-welcome-as-the-Padayatra-rolled-into-the-holy-city-of-Varanasi,-Amara-Jyothi-Chauraha,-Varanasi,-UP
The Walk saw many old faces and new who had travelled long distances just to be there as it entered Varanasi. There was palpable excitement among all as they were being part of the Walk in and around the holy city of Varanasi.

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The Walk stopped at Sunbeam Sun City school where Sri M addressed children of all age groups. “Om Saha Nau-Avatu | Saha Nau Bhunaktu | Saha Viiryam Karavaavahai | Tejasvi Nau-Adhiitam-Astu Maa Vidvissaavahai | Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih || Om, May God Protect us Both (the Teacher and the Student), May God Nourish us Both, May we Work Together with Energy and Vigour, May our Study be Enlightening and not give rise to Hostility, Om, Peace, Peace, Peace.” “So, first of all I thank you Sir, the trust and the staff and the management for welcoming us here. Now I will speak in English. Speaking in Hindi all the time, I’ve forgotten English.” “And, I also thank all of you for turning out in the morning so smartly dressed - with shining faces to welcome us - not only me but all the padyaatris (travellers on foot) who have been walking with me.” “We started with a shloka which you must have heard many times, chanted before various classes, before teachings take place. It’s an old Vedic chant. I wonder if you’ve thought what it means. "Om Saha Nau-Avatu | Saha Nau Bhunaktu | Saha Viiryam Karavaavahai | Tejasvi Nau-Adhiitam-Astu Maa Vidvissaavahai". “You know the first three lines of the shloka have the word ‘Saha’. Now this Saha, is the most important part of this Shloka. 'Saha Nau-Avatu’: May 'you and I', I am deliberately using 'You and I' instead of ' I and you'. May you and I be protected. Why protected? One can be protected only when there is peace. There’s always the fear of violence. Protection means to be protected from all forms of violence, protected from all forms of division, protected from all forms of activity that destroys unity among human kind”. 'Saha Nau Bhunaktu': May both of us be nourished. Nourishment is so important. If you don’t have your breakfast, you won’t be able to stand so comfortably and listen. If you don’t eat for five days, then you cannot think. Thinking begins to be affected. That’s why they say the best ‘daana’ is ‘anna daana’. If somebody is hungry, feed them. This is one of the most important, and basic thing that a human being needs. The other side is spiritual and mental nourishment. This is so very important. So the prayer is, may both of us, be nourished.” “Third, Saha Viiryam Karavaavahai’: May the 'Virya', the energy in us, the courage in us, the 'virya', which makes us do heroic deeds, may that vitality increase in us, you and me.” “'Tejasvi Nau-Adhiitam-Astu': You don’t have to repeat 'Saha' if you have said it three times. May the 'tejas' or the spiritual energy in us increase.” “And the last one, so very important. 'Maa Vidvissaavahai’: May we not fight with each other or quarrel. When they have debates in colleges, they hang that quote prominently, 'may we not fight with each other'. Because, a discussion is not an argument. An argument is when I’m saying something and you think it’s not right and you are trying to prove it. But a discussion, is when you say something, I say something and we try to find the truth together. So this going together, trying to find out the truth together, that is what is called 'Samvaad', which is a discussion. 'Sama' means equal. We are sitting together and trying to find a way out of the situation, whatever it is. So that sums up the aim of our walk.” “We started this walk on the birth anniversary of Vivekananda, on the 12th of January from Kanyakumari where three great oceans meet. We thought a place where three greats oceans meet would be an ideal place to start our movement wherein we want to bring people together. And this is not something new. This is an ancient Indian tradition. People have come to India from all over the world from time immemorial and they’ve all been welcomed, given a place to stay, looked after, because the basic Indian belief is ‘Athiti devo bhava’ meaning ‘A guest is God’. We are all now one, Indians. It’s nothing new. Like Jesus said in the Bible, 'old wine in new bottle'. This is a new bottle, not so new, it’s 67 years old. But the wine is very old. What is this wine? The wine of human oneness, peace and equality to all, goodness to all. This is the message, with which we are walking all the way to Kashmir.” “Swami Vivekananda - I believe he was also one of the earliest persons to talk about Manav Ekta (Oneness of humanity). He said, the best way to live was by what he defined as ‘Aatmano mokshartha jagath hitaya cha’. Freedom of the soul and goodness for the world. Let your search for your own self go on; on the other side, do good to all human beings, because it’s my experience that the all-pervading Supreme Being resides in every heart. Therefore, we all are moving temples of God. And the only way to worship the moving temples is not through aarati, but through service. Always think of this. I am very happy that we are in a school because I believe that when you grow up and become citizens of this country - you have bright faces - you will do many great things. You’ll take India to better horizons, no doubt. Before you do that, I want to plant the seeds of Maanav Ekta in your hearts. You are all born from the womb of a mother, nobody falls from heaven. All are equal. And we die and go down into this earth. Two things to remember are: we are all born equal and we are human beings.” “We are Bharat Vaasis, citizens of this country. Let’s not forget that, ever. If we can stick together with both these things, no one can shake us. We will go more and more towards progress. I believe the message of love, human oneness and equality has to go from India to the rest of the world. And I believe that India is the spiritual Guru of the world. This is the reason we need to live together and not let any force split us. In another language, you say ‘Akhand Bharat’. So I want you to stay together and take this message to your home, your neighbours, to all the people you meet that there was somebody called Sri M who came to our school and said we have to live together, make this nation strong and take the message of peace and harmony all over the world.” “If you remember this, I would think our walk has succeeded even before it reaches Kashmir. Because it’s so important. And when you plant a seed, the tree does not grow in two days, it takes time. Please nurture this seed of human oneness in your hearts. One day, a huge tree will come out of it. And in whose shade, we Indian citizens - even in our old age - can sit down. When the fruits and flowers of human oneness sprout and blossom on it, the wind will carry this beautiful perfume all over the world and people will say, ‘lets go to the source – India’ and you will welcome them saying, ‘Athithi Devo Bhava’. Thank you very much.” Sri M then went back to explain why he calls himself 'Sri M' as M stands for manushya and maanav (human being) prefixed with just one Sri for respect. This was followed by a sumptuous breakfast in the school, enjoyed under the warm winter sun before the walk proceeded to Varanasi. Sri M was welcomed with garlands to the accompaniment of Shehnai music into the sacred land of Kashi Vishwanath. Students of Merry City School gifted him roses on arrival. As the walk ended, the padyaatris were checked into a hotel, their place of stay for the next few days. And soon after checking in, the motley group disappeared into the streets, ghats and temples, in the land of Kashi Vishwanath.

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