Reception at Broadwell Christian Hospital - Collectorganj
Reception at Gurudwara Sri Gurusingh Sabha - Fatehpur
Sri M inside Bhagwan Neminath Jinalay - Fatehpur
WOH Day 360 - Lodhiaganj Byepass to ITI Ground along the GT Road - Fatehpur
Sri M addresses the gathering at ITI grounds
The new year started on a bright note for the padayatris (travellers on foot) with a private Satsang with Sri M in the morning. It was followed by a cake cutting, along with other sweets. Since it was at Sangam Nagari, Prayag, the yatris (travellers) had thoughtfully arranged for 'three cakes', a sangam of cakes! A group photo session with Sri M, yatris and organizers took place before Sri M left for Lucknow. The yatris left for the Narayani Ashram on the banks of Ganga, their place of stay for the next two days.
During the break of four days,Sri M inaugurated a Yoga program in Kannur, Kerala in which more than 1000 men and women displayed Yoga in a huge stadium. The fact that this event was supported by the Communist Party of India-Marxist is noteworthy. This is a great step in the politics of Kerala as CPM, the premier rationalist party of the state, has come forward to accept Yoga as an integral part of Indian life.
On the 3rd, the yatris travelled to Fatehpur and settled down for a three-night stay at Sarang Bhavan Guest House. On the 4th, they left at 11 am to Bavan Imli Shahid Smarak, Bindki. This is the site of one of the most horrendous chapters in India's fight for Independence. Bindki is relatively unknown outside UP. Here, in 1858, fifty two freedom fighters were hung upside down from a tamarind tree till death. They died a gruesome death and their bodies were brought down and cremated after 3 months by another courageous freedom fighter. The tamarind tree still stands but legend has it that it has not grown after the tragedy. The tree, memorials erectedhave been fairly well-maintained. The yatris paid homage to the martyrs and returned.
On the 5th morning, the yatris visited Aum Ghat on the banks of Ganga where chanting of the sacred syllable goes on 24/7. On their way back, they visited the Tambeshwar Shiv Mandir as well. In the evening, the yatris visited the organic farm run by Sri Tapaswi. Yatris got a close look at the Kumkum plant, the flowers, the fruit and had long kumkum 'tikas' on their forehead at the end of it. They also got to learn about various methods of organic farming and marketing techniques. The yatris enjoyed a high tea with Sri Tapaswi, his staff and the villagers of that area.
The evening also had a campfire during which many of the yatris let their hair down to sing and dance. The local co-ordinator for this stretch, no mean magician himself along with his wife, amazed all with his magic.
The yatris regrouped after a short break at Lodhiganj and were happy to welcome Sri M after his Kerala trip.
The walk commenced to the chants of 'Raghupathi Raghav Rajaram' by boys from a local dance group and little boys dressed up in attires of different religions. The yatris visited the Shiv Virajman Mandir, Syed Pir Baba Dargah, Gurudwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Broadwell Christian Hospital, Bhagwan Sri Neminath Jinalay, representating almost all the major religions of India. The enthusiasm of the people was palpable as they shouted slogans, walked along and overwhelmed all the walkers with endless cups of tea, sweets and other eats. Finally, the padayatra ended at the spacious ITI grounds where, apart from ITI students, hundreds of students from other schools had assembled.
There was a short yet beautiful dance program by ITI students. after which Sri M addressed the huge audience.
He thanked the administrators, officers and the dean of ITI, people who walked on the day and apologised for any mistakes he might make while speaking Hindi.
Explaining the reason why he calls himself Sri M he said,"I was born into a Muslim family and my parents named me Mumtaz Ali. At the age of 19, I went to the Himalayas in search of God and spirituality. I met my Guru Maheshwarnath Babaji who belongs to Nath Sampradaya (Nath traditional sect). When he gave me 'deeksha', (initiation) he gave me the name Madhukarnath. He would call me Madhu. I haven't heard a sweeter utterance of the word Madhu since. I lived with him in the Himalayas for three and a half years and whatever I have today is because of him. The first letter in Mumtaz is M, the first letter in Madhukarnath is also M. And, most importantly, I think of myself as Manav, a human being. That's why everyone calls me M."
He went on to narrate the story of the three blind men to explain that God cannot be defined by our senses. Speaking further he said, "We are all born from a mother's womb. No one falls ftom the sky. When we die we go back into the earth, such a short time between birth and death. Kabir Das said, 'Paani tera bud buda, Us manas ki jaat…. Dekhat hi chup jaayega, Jyun taara parbhat…' In such a short time why the drama? Why can't we live together? Where's the need for violence? We must live together as brothers and sisters. I think it's possible. That's how I've spent all my life."
Sri M said that he's already 67 and probably won't walk for too long but the seeds of Manav Ekta should be carried on by the youth. He asked the youth present to spread this message of oneness in their neighbourhood so that India can become strong. He compared India to a garden with varied flowers and when the pleasant breeze of peace and harmony wafts through these flowers,their aroma will spread all across the world. He pleaded with them not to forget that they are firstly human beings and Indians and then Amar, Akbar or Anthony.
Sri M ended his talk by summarizing the objective of the yatra and said, "This is a yatra to unite, not to break".