Day 376 | 22 January 2016 | Walk in Saifai | The Walk of Hope 2015-16

  • WOH Day 376 - Saifai village walk braving the cold and poor visibility
  • Reception near International Stadium - Saifai
  • Sri M addressing students of Sports College Saifai
  • Entering SS International School - Saifai
  • 5.Saying-it-all-with-roses!,-SS-International-School,-Saifai,-Etawah,-UP
  • Satsang at SS International School - Saifai
  • Sri M on a "Autograph Spree" by popular demand
  • Entering Chandigram Stadium - Saifai
  • Addressing sports students on the hockey turf - Chandigram Stadium
  • Reception at Tahsil Road - Saifai
  • Reception by students on Tahsil Road
  • Inside the Siva shrine of the Sri Rajarajeshwari Mandir - Saifai
  • 13.Lending-a-hand-to-a-differently-abled-gentleman,-Saifai,-Etawah,-UP
  • 14.After-Darshan-at-the-Sri-Rajarajeswari-Mandir,-Saifai,-Etawah,-UP
  • Short satsang at Amitabh Bachchan Inter-College
  • Satsang at the Saifai Medical College
With the Walk starting later than usual, the padayatris had enough time to wash clothes and take a hot shower as the temperature dropped further by a few degrees. In spite of starting late, there was a heavy mist cover that disappeared only once the sun came out completely.

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In cities and towns, the walk has been focusing on visiting schools, colleges and meeting more people. The first stop of the day was International Athletic Stadium, Saifai. Sri M addressed the students of Saifai Sports College and, after explaining details of the yatra, he said, "This yatra is for Manav Ekta. We want to keep this country together because India is a country where, right from Kerala, in every state they speak different languages. In spite of it, we consider ourselves 'one'. But, sometimes, there's a rift in this unity. Our yatra is to ensure that this unity never breaks. That's why we focus on meeting students and telling them that if India needs to become stronger in the future, we must live together. We are sowing the seeds of unity in your hearts so that one day it grows into a big tree. I normally add that we all can live peacefully under its shade but since we are in a sports college I'll say that ‘you can do your athletics under its shade.’ He then introduced some of the regular walkers like Commodore Ravindran, Ajai Kumar Singh etc. Sri M added, "I'm 67, does it look like I'm low on energy? Never stop your exercise. Since the age of 10, I have spent at least half an hour doing some exercise every day. This could be the secret of my energy or perhaps it is the will to do something. Never accept defeat, keep moving forward. If you can keep your health intact and never accept defeat, then you can achieve a lot." The Walk then proceeded to SS Memorial Higher Secondary School where students had lined up the walkway in welcome. Sri M spoke to the students and told them about the objectives of the yatra and why he thought it's important to speak to the youth as they were the future of this country. Sharing his own story, he said, "While other Khans went to Bollywood, I went to the Himalayas. I think what I got there was the best. I have a family even. I'm not a Sanyasi. But The Gita says a Sanyasi is one who works for others. If you look at it that way, then maybe I'm a Sanyasi." Soon after, they visited the Chandgiram Sports Stadium, famous for 'Kushti' or wrestling. A beautiful football field served as the place of the address. Sri M said, "Like in Kushti, the aim is to win. The same way we are fighting for a cause that we want to win. In India, we live in harmony despite the differences but, sometimes, this unity breaks and a big fire breaks loose. The objective of our walk is to never let this happen. When there's a disease, you treat it with medicines. The patient either recovers or dies. Our objective is to ensure that the disease never comes, that we maintain Manav Ekta and never let it break." Saifai is a very clean and well planned town that also happens to be the constituency of the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mr Akhilesh Yadav. Its Hospitals, Schools, Colleges and Sports Stadia looked well maintained and plush. The next stop was a beautiful Rajarajeshwari Temple where Sri M and the padayatris waited for a few local dignitaries to join the walk. While waiting, two women police constables expressed their disbelief at someone of Sri M's age undertaking a yatra of this scale and were all praise for the selfless effort to establish Manav Ekta. Walking past former Chief Minister Mualyam Singh's house, the walk reached Amitabh Bachchan Inter College. Sri M thanked the students who had gathered there in spite of it being a holiday and said, "Our objective is to keep India together. Like in the movie Amitabh Bachchan acted in - 'Amar, Akbar, Anthony', whatever be your name, we must live together as one. No religion asks us to break this unity." He then went on to explain why he calls himself Sri M. The walk ended at the beautiful PGI Auditorium, Saifai where Sri M spoke to the audience and said, "Since there are students here, I'll tell you a story. This story is about three blind men who went to find out what an elephant is. One of them touched the leg of the elephant and came out with the understanding that an elephant is like a huge pillar, which has mosaic pieces stuck at the bottom and is very thick and hard. He also understood that you can hold it with both your arms. But if you stand close for a long time, you might be trampled to death. That was his understanding of an elephant. The other blind man touched the trunk of an elephant and said an elephant is like a big rubber hose which moves constantly, it sometimes makes 'phus phus' sounds and can lift you up. The third blind man explored the tail of an elephant and he said an elephant is like a broom with hard bristles which moves constantly. If you're close enough you might get hit on the cheek. These are blind men who cannot see anything. When such blind men start to lead us, we too go into darkness. People believe that the usage 'blind leading the blind' comes from Shakespeare. But thousands of years ago, the Mundaka Upanishad said 'Andhai naiva niyamaana yath andhaaha'. This was what happened to the three blind men and violence broke loose as a result. One was sitting on top of the other, trying to strangle the other fellow's neck saying your definition is wrong and my definition is correct. While the battle was on, somebody who was not blind and could see arrived. Not like some of us who are blind in spite of our eyes being open. If our eyes were really open, we could see others suffer. We wouldn't be blind. Anyway, the one who could see asked them what the problem was. They told him they were trying to arrive at the definition of an elephant. He told them they were all correct and yet they were all wrong as the elephant was much bigger than their definition. Just like the elephant, I believe that truth cannot be defined. We go wrong when we try to limit it to one definition. Three thousand years ago, the Rig Veda said, 'Ekam Sat Viprah Bahuda Vadanti' - truth is one and the wise call it by many names. We see it by our own limited vision because our senses are limited." Continuing further, Sri M said, "I like to meet the youth everywhere I go because your mind is open, you can see the elephant from all directions. So if you understand our message of oneness, our walk is successful. We are walking despite the heat, rain and cold just for one cause, to spread the message of Manav Ekta'.

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