Day 340 | 17 December 2015 | From Sadguru Kabir Prakatya Dham to Kabir Chaura Math | The Walk of Hope 2015-16

  • Sri M in prayer at the shrine of the Sadguru Kabir Praktya Dham, Lahartara
  • School children welcome Sri M at Lehartara
  • WOH Day 340 - Sadguru Kabir Prakatya Dham to Kabir Chaura Math, Varanasi
  • 4.The-luxury-of-having-fresh,-home-made-Rotis-for-breakfast,-a-treat-like-none-other,-Vidyapeeth-Road,-Varanasi,-UP
  • Welcome inside the premises of Bharat Matha Mandir, Varanasi
  • The huge 3 D map of Bharat - Bharat matha Mandir, Varanasi
  • 7.A-human-powered-vehicle,-a-popular-one-in-Varanasi!,--UP
  • 8.Giant-strides-taken-in-Varanasi,-but-miles-to-go-before-we-sleep!,-Sigri-Thana,-Varanasi,-UP
  • Welcome at the Unique Academy School, Varanasi
  • At the Unique Academy at Varanasi
  • Sri M inside the Kabir Chaura Math Moolgadi, Varanasi
  • Sri M with Sant Vivek Das Acharya Saheb, Kabir Chaura Math Moolgadi
  • Padayatris treated to mellifluous Kabir bhajans -Kabir Chaura Varanasi
The Walk started from Lahartara – the birthplace of famous 15th century mystic & poet, Kabirdas. A memorial has been built for him in Lahartara. The Walk ended at Kabir Choura Math where the Acharya addressed the Yatris.

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There was a beautiful rendering of Kabir Bhajans as well. This was the place where Kabir lived his entire life except the last three years. The Math is at the vanguard of spreading the message of the saint all over the world. The Acharya saw a definite parallel in the saint's teachings and the path followed by Sri M. There was a gathering in the evening and, though it was meant to be an informal Satsang with the padyaatris, there were local people as well and so it turned out to be a public Satsang. “Akhaṇḍa-maṇḍalākāram vyāptam yena carācaram Tatpadam darśitam yena tasmai śrī gurave namah (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. ajñāna-timirāndhasya jñānāñjana-śalākayā 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 free from suffering” “This was supposed to be a private meeting with the padyaatris . It is neither a private nor a meeting now. So what do we do? If you expected a scholarly exposition of Upanishads,nothing is happening. So what do we do? What shall we do? You have to tell me what to do.” (A member from the audience says ‘Story’). “Story? What story? Or are we simply sitting here and looking at each other. How is it possible? No? Somebody says yes! I would be happy because nowadays, I have to say at least four times in Hindi- hum Kanyakumari se… 2016 May mein Srinagar pahunchege…Janvari…(we started from Kanyakumari and will reach Srinagar in May 2016… January)”(Amidst laughter from the gathering). “Tell us about Varanasi? I haven’t seen enough of Varanasi. I’ve been coming to Varanasi over the years, generally alone. Spending a few days, going back. I’ve spent time in Benaras with Babaji also. I’ve come and spent some time in Benaras with people whom I’ve been associated with in the past lives. They are still alive. And, I’ve spent some time with my Guru, Maheshwarnath Babaji here. So there are many memories of Varanasi. And Varanasi is special if you actually come without too many people. Just come quietly, stay in a place, explore. Not with a circus. It becomes different. Dimensions change. So that is the Varanasi – which starts with getting up in the morning, going to the ghats, (banks of the river) in a boat, watching the sun rise. Watching the sun rise, and then slowly making your way from Assi ghat to Manikarnika, with the glorious sight of minimum two hundred dead bodies being burnt.” “Which reminds us that we too will one day, end there. If not in Varanasi, somewhere else. Ultimately,life looks so meaningless. You’re born and you die and you go. I don’t know whether you go or you don’t, but you die. So if you expected a beautiful evening, I’ve already painted a terrible picture.” “Now that is the beauty of Varanasi. Here you see joy and greatness in the most terrible things. Most terrible things! Shiva is the reigning monarch of Varanasi. So he is called Vishwanath. Vishwanath meaning, ‘Lord of the universe’. If you translate into Arabic, ‘rabbil 'alamin’ - 'Lord of the universe’. And there in a small Linga, in the Kashi Vishwanath temple, we all go and do Abhisheka (anointment). Try to touch if you are allowed, you come back.” “Now, to Vishwanath, if you know it, we may go and bow down your heads and ask for various things, but after all Vishwanath, is a destroyer. Of the trinity that creates, preserves and destroys, Shiva comes in the end. So, Maheshwara is the destroyer. Vishwanath is the destroyer. So Kashi always reminds you, that there is joy in destruction. That day I was talking to a Naxalite. I said - you should go to Varanasi, you know why? He said, ‘why should I go to Varanasi?’ I said - here you will find somebody who also in some ways agrees with you - that happiness is to destroy. It’s not that you need to destroy. But the fact is, finally everything is destroyed. Anything that is put up by nature is bound to be destroyed and disappear. And, this is Varanasi for you.” “You go to the ghats, you go to the burning ghats, you go to the temple. You’ll say, ‘Oh Varanasi is so dirty. There’s so much filth’. But then people keep coming back again and again. They say it’s terrible. ‘Oh it’s so dirty’. Then why are you coming? ‘No, next month I think I’ll come back’.” “What is it that pulls people to a place like this where the reigning monarch, the Lord of Kashi – Vishwanth, is the Lord of complete destruction. Because, there is no way for anything new to come unless the old is destroyed. Unfortunately, what we are most afraid of is destruction and old age. What do you think is the most booming industry in the world? How to keep yourself young… Botox! Why? Because we are afraid of old age and death. But we forget that it is inevitable. No one can escape from it. People will always tell me, why don’t you talk about kayakalpa (rejuvenation)? The moment I do kayakalpa, then everybody will come only for that. Even kayakalpa cannot hold you for more than a few years. Beyond that nobody can live. So this is the reality of Varanasi, the truth about Varanasi. Here you see things disappearing, decaying, getting destroyed and there is a joy in it.” “The joy is in the rising sun. And the night when the sun has set, you see the lights in the ghat from here. Electric lights have come just now on the ghats. Before that, if you turn, on one side, you see only the lights of Harishchandra ghat in the night - midnight. If you look that side, then you see only the Manikarnika ghat. And what is the light? The fire that burns in the cremation grounds.” “Now, in Sanskrit, Shivam also means ‘auspicious’. It also is a synonym for ‘Ananda’ - happiness.So in Varanasi, the contrast is that utter destruction is the same as auspiciousness and greatness. Why? Because it is inevitable to go. Now that is physically. When it applies to the mind – to get any new insight, or to move forward in the spiritual field, first all that you’ve learnt, all the images that we have made, including the image of the teacher or master who may help you, have to be destroyed. When everything is destroyed, when you are hanging on a precipice with no support whatsoever, then comes the support of Shiva. As long as you are hanging onto these little supports, the ultimate support cannot be found.” “Unfortunately, that’s what people want. What do you ask of a Guru? I want to pass my exams. I want to… my daughter is not getting married. I want to have a male child - the most stupidest thing to say. I want to improve my career. What do we ask the teacher usually? What do we ask? This is what we ask! Can somebody go to a teacher and say, ‘Break the images that I have, so that I can see what is new’? It’s terrible to break the images that we have. And Shiva is an eternal symbol of death. Can you imagine a God who loves to live in the cremation grounds! In the form of Kapaaleshwar, who walks around with a skull in his hand, seeking bhiksha (alms)! What is the ashes that you rub on your forehead? It’s from the cremation grounds. Did anybody go to Ujjain and see the Bhasmabhishekha at the Mahakaaleshwar? What is it? It is the linga being bathed in the morning with the ashes from the cremation grounds. Perfect symbol. This might look terrifying to people who are accustomed to think of God only as goodness and lollipops and malls. Here is a God, who is a reality. Reality of life is violence, destruction, bloodshed. Everything is there. Can’t run away from it. You can hide from it but you cannot run away. The moment you face it, then you are moving forward. Shiva is a perfect symbol. I think Saritaji must be regretting why she asked me to talk about Varanasi.” “Varanasi for the yogi is the Ajna Chakra (the sixth centre on the forehead, just above eye level) because we believe that there are three naadis (nerves) in the human system - The Sushumna, the Ida and the Pingala. Ajna is the place where the Ida and the Pingala cross each other. Here” (pointing between the eyebrows) “So we call the Pingala, the Varuna and the Ida, the Assi. If you look at the state of Varuna and Assi (rivers) today, I don’t think they will either flow or cross, unfortunately. But when you look at ourselves, the Varuna and the Assi, which are in us, they cross here“ (pointing again to the center of the forehead between the two eyebrows). “So for us, this is Varuna-assi; Varanasi. So if you cross the Ajna, you go to Kashi Vishwanath, who sits up here” (pointing to the crown of the head). “So for us, it is all internal. But this city – which is thousands of years old…I think, older than Rome – has always reflected the spiritual genesis of this country.” “And one thing about Varanasi - If you don’t like…Fine. Go to a big city, if you are very busy. It’s the one thing about Varanasi - everybody is laid back.If somebody asks you, ‘Will you come at six ‘o clock?’, you have to ask him, ‘Varanasi time or Indian Standard Time?’ Six o’clock can be today or tomorrow,it doesn’t matter. ‘Arrey che baje aaj nahin to kal jaayenge’ (if not today, we will go tomorrow at six o’clock). Because this ‘laid-backness’ is a symptom of accepting things as they are. I am not saying you should be laid back. But I’m just discussing an attitude that comes out of living in a city where everything is as it is and the river is moving. This is one reason why we should all try our best to keep the river flowing. If we don’t do it soon, the flow of the river may stop in ten years.” “So this is Varanasi. You go to Kashi Vishwanath, go to Annapoorneshwari, you go and see the devatas (Gods), you see the river. For me Varanasi has always been – Yes, you come, go and see Kashi Vishwanath, come back and then generally I do nothing. Sit somewhere in the ghats and look at the river as the boat moves. Watch the sunrise. If you’re hungry, go and eat something. Nowadays. there are even pizzerias, as if you don’t get it in Delhi or Bombay. You have to go there to eat. Kachori khao, mazaa karo. Breakfast mein jalebi milta hai “(Eat Kachori and have fun. You can also get Jalebis for breakfast). “And if you are made of sterner stuff, try some bhang sometime. Its freely available. The best bhang is the one which is inside us, which makes us break all boundaries and remain in an ecstatic state, right in the midst of destruction.” “If you hope to reach spiritual fulfilment after fulfilling all your material needs, you’re living in a dream world. It will never come true. (To) people who come to me and say, now children are married, everything is over. I’m ready for spiritual practice. I tell them all your fuel is gone, now what do we do? Empty tank. Not even energy to look into spiritual matters. Let me put my life in order first. Ok. Put it in order. By the time you finish putting in order, it is time to go to Manikarnika. Very spiritual there. How do we find out? So that is the symbol of Varanasi.” “So my advice to you is that, if you are in Varanasi, definitely go to the temples. Come and see the sunrise at least once. Sit on the ghats and look at the river. Watch the boats going and see how life moves. If you are lucky, one day while watching the river flowing and the boat going and the sun rising, suddenly you’ll realize that you are not different from that Kashi Vishwanath who is sitting there. You’re the same. We have made an artificial barrier because we like to put things according to our designs. We don’t allow it to move.” “I’ll explain this, give you an example. There was someone who was trying to do something with his life, trying to put things in order, establish a career and so on. Failed. Couldn’t do it. He was very upset. ‘I wanted to do this, I couldn’t do this. I wanted to set up life or set up shop, or whatever’. It didn’t work. Very upset. So? So he went off to an island and he lived there because he was fed up with life. ‘I tried so many times, I couldn’t make my life. Nothing worked out. Everything broke down. So I went to the island. Here,at least, I don’t have to see stupid human beings. I’m very happy. I’m fed up of this world. Here I’m fine’. But, every night before going to sleep, he used to sit up and cry because the plans that he had made didn’t work. One day, a traveller came on a boat and gave him a newspaper. It was a few days old, of course. There he discovered that the city where he used to live was totally devastated by an earthquake. There were pictures of people suffering, crying, children dying, and fires. He suddenly realized, ‘Thank God, I didn’t live in that city and make my life’. “So, happiness comes in strange ways. It may not always come as you want it to come, as you want to structure it. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t try to do something. You should! But when you see how life flows, you should allow it to move and not get stuck. Because, in the end, you will find that the flow takes you to the source. Somebody was saying that I was working in the US and I've lost my job and I needed that. I said, ‘OK. Suppose you had not lost your job, would you be travelling’? No! ‘If you had not lost your job, would you have found somebody who can help you?’ No! ‘So you found somebody. Thats a big thing. So what is the blessing? That you lost your job!’ “But it is hard to take. Easy to say but it’s very hard to take. And if you want to learn to take it, Varanasi is a nice place to come and spend some time. You think if you live here one or two months at a stretch, you’ll learn to go with the flow. See, an ordinary boatman out there doesn’t make much money. But have you seen him complaining? The other day we went in a boat. The people who arranged the boat, said that you have to pay some two hundred bucks. Once we got into the boat, we decided that we’ll go all the stretch from this end to that end. When we came back we found that we had travelled so much. So we asked the poor boatman, ‘we’ve taken you for very long here and there. They said two hundred bucks, but it must be costing much more’. So I put my hand in my pocket and there were only two hundred rupees. So I told him. He put his hands up. He doesn’t know who I am. If one of you did that, you would say Oh Babaji, Guru and all that. Nothing! He thought of me as somebody wearing jeans and a t-shirt. He said , ‘aap jo bhi diye, main khushi se le loonga’ (I shall be happy with whatever you give me). He said my morning boating, I’m very happy. It doesn’t happen so easily. The guy has merged with the atmosphere, the river, with the boat, with the movement. So I gave him the money and said - I will give you afterwards if I see you. Never saw him.” “Now, these are facts of life and these are matters of a spiritual journey. Spiritual journey is not something which you whisper in the dark room like a secret. It is not a mystery which will happen if you do ten poojas (prayers) in one day. No astrologer can show you the truth. But I would say that if you trust an astrologer, you are destroying your life. So that is Varanasi for you.” “I see lot of people from Dubai sitting here. What is going on?” (Laughs) “Perfect. Business is very down. So this is the place to come… when business is very down, when the heart sinks. Not sings…sinks. When you have, and you can’t do a thing… come to Varanasi. Welcome, it is open. Come here and spend some time. Enjoy yourself. Go back. Think of Bholenath sitting happily there. Even in mythology you’ll see, in old stories, Puranas, Shiv Purana–when Gods are having a big fight and so on, they go to Kailash, and there sits Shiva with his eyes closed. They spend quite sometime trying to wake him up. He wakes up and says, ‘What has happened?’ That is characteristic of a place which is the headquarters of Shiva. For us too, the headquarters is here.” “There is no one who has not walked through Benaras. Adi Shankara had to establish himself in Benaras, even though he came all the way from Kerala. And when he talked about the teachings of Vedanta, he said that the truth cannot be found without discrimination and Vairagya - detachment. No amount of rituals are going to help. There is no way except thinking, discrimination and moving beyond the ordinary. The priests here thought that this man has come to destroy their religion. Before him, Buddha said the same. So they thought that Shankaracharya was a Budhhist in disguise. So they labeled him a Prachand Baudhika - a Buddhist in disguise, who has come to destroy the Vedas, when actually he was trying to express the essence of the Vedas. And Shankara also went this way. Before that, Buddha, even though he is supposed to have got his illumination in Gaya, decided that he will walk through Varanasi to establish and speak about the truths which he had discovered. So he walked through the Varuna, across the bridge and crossed into Sarnath. Then in Sarnath, it is at the Deer Park that he turned the first wheel of Dharma. It is (what) nobody will like to hear. His first words were terrible. He said, ‘Desire is the root of all sorrow’, like a roaring lion. And when Budhha went to Sarnath, he knew that its an important place to go, because,there is still an ancient temple of Shiva there – not too far from the Deer Park, where Budhha preached his first sermon. Shiva is called Saranganath. You see in many Shiva images, you see a small deer jumping across his shoulder or from the hand. A small deer - Saranga. So he is the Saranganath. So the city was already known as the city of Saranganath. Buddha – Gautama Siddhartha – was going there and sitting under the Peepal tree in the Deer Park, in an ancient place where Shiva always sat under the Peepal tree in Padmasana and gave his teachings. So that is Sarnath. So wherever you turn here, you will see the essence of what is called Shiva. Shivam - which means what? Auspiciousness. Rudra - which means what? Destruction. Rudra has another meaning. Which means one who cries. Ru - the root of ‘rona’. One who cries because he sees so much pain in this world. It also means Rudra, destroyer – the destroyer of pain. So this is,unfortunately, the reality of Varanasi. Fortunately, the truth.” “Did all of you come to Kabir Chaura? It was nice. Very nice. Kabirdas also spent all his years living in Varanasi, except the last three years of his life. He went off to Maghar. So, if you are here for another day or if you are here during the night. Its a safe place; go and sit on the ghats and look at the river and enjoy Varanasi. I wouldn’t recommend Bhang. You don’t need bhang in Varanasi. You sit here and you close your eyes, or you open your eyes. Very soon, you see time standing still. That’s what happens when you take bhang also, time stands still. If you lift your hand, you will feel that it takes an eternity to take it up.” “Thats all I want to say. Thank you.” “Now, since we have as usual talked and talked and talked –yak yak yak – can we stop for sometime and sit quietly. (To a satsangi) Aap kahin cycle ricksha mein ja rahe the kal akele”.(you were going alone somewhere in a cycle rickshaw yesterday)! “Close your eyes, sit quietly and feel Vishwanath in your heart or in your Ajna Chakra. Sit quietly. Allow the breeze to blow.” (Jestingly) “Protect your ears.” “Shall we start? Ok. So, first, we will chant Om three times. This is especially important for padyaatris. Long time we haven’t sat together. Feel bad that way. Walking from Kanyakumari and not getting to sit quietly together...”

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