Day 352 | 29 December 2015 | City Walk in Allahabad | The Walk of Hope 2015-16

  • 1.Little-Shiva-in-a-doleful-mood!,-Sangam,-Allahabad,-UP
  • 2.A-
  • WOH Day 352 - City walk from Sangam with Yamuna flowing quietly in the background
  • Sri M performing Arati at the Bada Hanuman Mandir Sangam
  • Mahant Narendra Giriji Maharaj applies a tilak to Sri M's forehead - Bada Hanuman Mandir Sangam
  • 11.A-cycle-rickshaw-wallah-catching-his-forty-winks!,-Allahabad,-UP
  • Reception at Alopibagh
  • Reception at Bharadwaj Park
  • Offering flowers at the Mahatma Gandhi statue at Bharadwaj Park
  • At Ananda Bhavan where 3 giants of Indian polity of the 20th century lived - Allahabad
  • Offering sweets to children at the Children National Institute Swaraj Bhavan, Allahabad
  • Attarcting all sections of society - Allahabad
  • 21.After-a--break,-another-torrent-of-marigolds,-Allahabad,-UP
  • Welcome from the law keepers - Allahabad
  • The police band strikes up a lovely rhythm as the Walk is led into central Allahabad
  • Sri M speaks to media at Manmohan Park, Allahabad
  • Homage to the martyr at Chandrasekhar Azad Shaheed Sthal - Allahabad
The sandy banks of the Yamuna river was the starting point of the day’s walk – with the 'sangam' and the New Yamuna bridge in view. Those new to Allahabad got busy enquiring about the 'sangam', the possibility of a dip, a boat ride etc. Some went on a photo-shooting spree, catching the seagulls soaring into the morning sky! Girls and Boys of the NSS and NCC, studying at the University of Allahabad, joined the walkers and continued walking with the yatra (journey) right up to the end –carrying banners and shouting slogans with gusto, keeping the walkers on their toes in the city traffic.

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Shortly, the walk passed by the massive Allahabad Fort built during Emperor Akbar's time and stopped at the Bada Hanuman Mandir. Sri M spent time in discussion with Mahant Narendra Giriji Maharaj President, All India Akhada Parishad and visited the shrine of the sleeping Hanuman. A highlights of the walk was the visit to Anand Bhavan. It is a house museum donated to the Government by the then Prime Minister of India, Smt Indira Gandhi. Initially, Swaraj Bhavan was called Anand Bhavan and it was where the Nehrus – Motilal and Jawaharlal – lived. The new Ananda Bhavan was built in 1927, when Sri Motilal Nehru gave away Anand Bhavan with a new name Swaraj Bhavan to the Indian National Congress as its local head quarters. The Swaraj Bhavan now houses among other things, the Children National Institute which is a Girls' home. The little ones sang a prayer so beautifully that it took everyone by surprise. Sri M distributed sweets to them and posed for snaps. He addressed them in simple words. He said that the padayatris (travellers on foot) and he had reached Allahabad walking 5000 km from Kanyakumari and that they had 3000 km more to go before they reached the goal i.e., Srinagar. He said the objective of the walk was to remind people that we are all one and that we are all Indians, despite differences in religion, caste, colour, creed etc. He was aware that they were sitting at a place that breathed history and tradition. He also knew that great work is being done at Children National Institute towards women empowerment, which is also one of the objectives of the Walk. He had no doubt that all the children assembled would be handling great jobs as they grow up. He requested the girls to help keep India together, strong and indestructible. After Anand Bhavan, the walk proceeded towards Alfred Park and the statue of Chandra Shekhar Azad, the end point of the day. At the evening Satsang at Prayag Sangeet Samiti, Mehta Hall, Sri M spoke about the Walk reaching Allahabad and said, “We’re in Allahabad; it’s the place of the Triveni Sangam, and we’re extremely happy to be here. I greet all the people of Allahabad and thank you for the welcome you’ve given us, especially the NSS. We’ve walked 5000 km so far and we’ve reached the Triveni Sangam in Allahabad. The place where the walk started, Kanyakumari, is the confluence of three oceans – Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea. And, now, we’ve reached the Sangam of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. After taking the blessings from the ‘darbar’ of ‘Bholenath’ at Varanasi – the sangama of Varuna and Asi – we’ve reached here. This is a very spiritual and holy land, the place of the Kumbh Mela. In 2012-13 when the Kumbh Mela happened here, we had set up our Akhada here. We used to call it the Nirvana Akhada. Anyone can come to this place, anyone can leave. It allows one the freedom to do that, that’s why we called it Nirvana.” Sri M spoke about the social objective of the Walk – to reach Lal Chowk in Srinagar in May 2016 with the tri-color in hand. He emphasised that the message of peace, harmony and oneness needs to go from India to the rest of the world. He went on to explain why he prefers to call himself Sri M and added, “I consider myself a human being, ‘manav’ and a citizen of India; we can be born anywhere, into any religion but we must consider ourselves as human beings first.” Talking about the spiritual reason for the walk, he shared his personal story of meeting his Master at the age of nine and how, years later, he met him again at Badrinath and explained,“This yatra that we’re doing now, is an external journey. This is just the result of the journey that happened inside back then. I lived with Babaji for 3 and a half years. Whatever I learnt then is still fresh in my mind. Whatever little I know is from those 3 and a half years. It has neither increased nor diminished.” He even shared his experience at the Ajmer where he spent seven months with a Sufi Peer and said, “I’d learnt a little about the Sufi teachings from there and even a little about their meditation techniques. When I was leaving, the Sufi Peer asked me never to leave Babaji as he was a very big Peer and I wouldn’t fully understand this yet, but 10 years later I would.” To explain the need to search for happiness within, he narrated Kabir Das’s verse on the Kasturi Mriga (Musk Deer), “Kasturi kundli base mrig dhunde van mahi aise ghat ghat ram hai dunia dekhe nahi.” Of how the deer, unable to understand where this fragrance is coming from, looks all over – even in thorny bushes – desperate to look for its source, not realizing that this fragrance is coming from under its own tail. Sri M then added: “It’s not that we shouldn’t live in this world, function in the world. Just that the 100% peace and happiness that we’re looking for can’t be found outside. If there’s money, there are no children, if there’s a bank balance, something else is missing and if you have everything, then finally you aren’t there. When you see this and start looking for happiness within, then Sadhana (practice) begins.” He went on to share the story of Guru Nanak Sahib and how he empties the entire granary because he gets stuck on the number 13. “He understood that nothing belongs to me, everything is ‘tera’ (Numeral 13, which also means yours in Hindi) yours. Such people are called saints. They understand ‘Maanav Ekta’ or oneness of humanity because they have experienced ‘Advaita’ or non-duality. In the Granth Sahib, there’s a beautiful shloka, “Avval Alah Noor Upayae, Kudarat Ke Sab Bandhe”. Sri M then enlisted the qualities of a yogi as given in the 12 chapter of The Bhagavad Gita by Krishna to Arjuna and explaining how it can be achieved: “When this peace becomes internal and one has experienced 'satchitananda', then there's nothing to give or take. What's there to take when everything is done, who to take from and who to give it to. Such a saint has no fear of death. If such an experience happens, then like Narsimh Mehta Ji has sung, 'Vaishnava Janato Kene Kahiye Ji Peed Paraye Maane Re', others sorrow becomes one's own, 'Para Dukhe Upkaar Kare, Man Abhimaan Na Aaye Re', and there's no ego there. Because the mind is such that it's there today and gone tomorrow. The foundation to live such a life is the experience of spiritual unity. I want you to know that to experience this spiritual unity, there's no need to live the life of a sanyaasi.” He ended by narrating Kunti’s prayer and said, “Don’t ask for this because when God starts giving you sorrow, you’ll start running in the opposite direction. I’ve started the walk with a similar boon, whatever happens, the work we have to do will be done. The rest is God’s grace, and I request each of you to keep us in your minds as we’re all one.”

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