Day 406 | 21 February 2016 |Day of Rest | The Walk of Hope 2015-16

  • Spiritual luminaries about to go onstage - Siri Fort Auditorium
  • Union Cabinet Minister Smt Maneka Gandhi at Siri Fort Auditorium
  • Sri Manish Sisodia addresses the gathering - Siri Fort - Delhi
  • Sri Sivamurthy Sivacharya Maulana Wahiduddin Khan honor Sri M - Siri Fort
  • Sri Sivamurthy Sivacharya Seer of the Taralababu Mutt during his address
  • Tai Situpa Rinpoche addresses the gathering Siri Fort
  • Maulana Wahiduddin Khan during his captivating speech - Siri Fort
  • Jain Acharya Dr Lokesh Muni during his enlightening and entertaining speech - Siri Fort
  • Union Minister of Communications & Information Technology Sri ravishankar Prasad shares his experiences with Sri M - Siri Fort
  • Smt Najma Heptullah Minister of Minority Affairs speaks at Siri Fort
  • Dr PJ Kurien Deputy Chairman Rajya Sabha durong his address - Siri Fort
  • Sri M during his Satsang at Siri Fort
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  • Krishna Rasleel by Vasanthi Sridhar and party - Siri Fort
  • An electrifying experience - "We are the World" by the Catholic Diocese of Delhi, Siri Fort
  • Sri M with the youth choir " We are the World" - Siri Fort
The main activity of the day was a grand meet in the evening at Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi, with many dignitaries – both religious and political – attending. Volunteers and organizers from Delhi, who had been working for months for the event, spent the entire day at the venue to ensure smooth functioning. From 3.00 pm onwards, people started filling the auditorium, with many families of the padayatris also joining in.

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Former Ambassador Ashok Sajjanhar, who was present at Kanyakumari on 12th Jan '15 for the flag off and who had also participated in the walk for a couple of days in Delhi, opened the function at Siri Fort by introducing the walk and said, "At the flag off, I could sense anxiety and concern – not in Sri M – but among some of the organisers as to how the yatra will proceed. When I participated in the Yatra yesterday, there was no trace of such emotion. In fact the enthusiasm and energy in the padayatris was even greater than when the walk started. This has been possible because of the guidance of Sri M, besides the people of this country who have warmly welcomed this walk." He also added, "We visited a Church, a Temple, a Mosque and a Gurudwara and the common message that emanated was that 'We want peace, we are proud Indians and we want happiness for all our brethren of this country'. And, in this endeavour, we support Sri M". The next speaker was Union Cabinet Minister for Women & Child Development, Smt. Maneka Gandhi, who said, "I can't imagine anywhere else where people would respond to a person walking and come forward instinctively understanding that this is for the good. I'm happy that M has finally made it to Delhi. I'm sure wherever he's left a footprint, that place has been the better for it.” The Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, Manish Sisodia spoke next. He said, "I thank and welcome Sri M and all the Sahayathris, on behalf of the Delhi Govt. Today (I could underline the word today), more than ever before, we need peace and harmony. I don't mean to undermine any research happening in any field, but I do feel that the need for peace is even more urgent than the need to find cure for an incurable disease. I got the opportunity to participate in the walk yesterday and realized that peace doesn't need any huge initiative. A simple outlook and the ability to put across one's message in a simple way is all that's needed. Education plays a huge role in creating peace. Our 20 years of education doesn't seem to be helping us identify this peace as we're looking for it outside because education isn't being used for human development but for technological advancement.” The panel of religious leaders shared their thoughts next. His Holiness Dr. Shivamurthy Shivacharya, 12th Chamgon Kenting Tai Situpa Rimpoche, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, Mr. Manjit Singh, Acharya Lokesh Muni, Mr. A K Merchant and Sri M were the speakers. His Holiness Dr Shivamurthy Shivacharya who hosted Sri M and the padayatris at his Ashram in Sirigere, Karnataka quoted the great poet and saint Basveshwara and said, "'What's the use of a religion that has no compassion? Compassion is the root of all'. Before leaving Sirigere, he happened to meet me personally and, to my great surprise, he volunteered to do some offering. He told me that his Guru Babaji had advised him 'Whenever you meet a Saint or a Sadhu, never forget to make a contribution', 'Dakshina dena mat bhoolna'. But I was not willing to accept it. Sri M said, 'Swamiji, if you don't accept my dakshina, I'll be dishonoring the words of my guru'. I had no other choice but to accept it. I did so on one condition. I didn't know what the condition would be, but I put a condition. Afterwards, I reflected as to what I should do. To my rescue came the words of Basavanna. 'The golden pinnacle that stands on the temple', Basaveshwara says, 'I don't want to be that golden pinnacle because the crow soils it. I would like to become the paduka (footwear) of the devout'. In view of this vachana, I decided to offer shoes to Sri M and his whole team. The footwear that I presented might have got torn on their 6000 km long journey, but my relationship with Sri M has only grown stronger.” The 12th Chamgon Kenting Tai Situpa Rimpoche addressed the audience next. He said, "To all those who have been walking under Sri M's leadership, a big thank you on behalf of all the people of this world. This walk is for all of us. I am 'talking the walk' and Sri M Ji with all the Padayatris is 'walking the talk'. When Prince Siddhartha was born into a royal family, after his birth, he walked seven steps and he pointed to the sky, indicating that he was the guiding light to humanity of the whole universe, not just earth. So this way, the walk is very important to Buddhists. Having said that, I am a practitioner of Buddhism, I don't understand what this 'ism' is all about. I like to say Buddha Dharma. But I'm a believer of all the Dharmas. All the Dharmas cannot be different; it has to be same. All the humanity is on one journey. The journey is towards freedom and happiness. There's no one who doesn't want to be happy and who wants to suffer. We might have our own ideas but for this, it's the same. So that is the Dharma. And humanity went through so many ups and downs, but never got stuck striving to achieve that ultimate happiness, joy, harmony. Buddhists call it Buddhahood; Christians call it salvation; in Hindu dharma, it is moksha. So, this is there in each one of us as the innate potential. I have worked for peace but not by walking. I've done by flying, driving, and talking. I've also walked for peace 26 years ago. But I'm not satisfied with my achievements. Of course, I've met his Holiness the Pope, his Holiness the Dalai Lama and many others across the religious parameter and ideologies. But because it wasn't by walk, it didn't have the same feeling as I get from the padayatris of Sri M Ji. But one thing I believe very much and I see very clearly in Sri M Ji. I believe in peace, but in active peace. Passive peace can be achieved by meditating individually. But active peace can change the entire system that a human being functions in. That has to be upgraded and evolved. In the 21st century, our knowledge has evolved so much but when it comes to wisdom, we have a deficit. The deficit of the wisdom is what's causing all the suffering that humanity is going through. It's not somebody's evil intention. It is lack of wisdom. When you want to solve one problem, you create ten problems. This way, I sincerely wanted to give my highest respects and gratitude to all the padayatris and above all, Sri M Ji. He has touched more than a million human beings already. Its effect will be like throwing a flower into a pond, its ripples will reach to the edge of the pond. Similarly, this message goes from every individual to his family, his community, to infinite humanity and beyond. We believe that every person has his God or spirit around him or her, which goes with his or her karma. So it will not only go to the human beings but to the realm of the Gods and the spirits. Thank you Sri M Ji. You are clapping because you're clapping from your heart, I know." The next speaker, the noted Islamic scholar and peace activist Padma Bhushan Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, said, "I congratulate Sri M on this historic walk. This walk is a symbol of hope. In olden days, spiritual masters walked. I believe that Sri M is bringing back the golden history through this walk. I'd like to add that, perhaps, I'm also a member of this padayatra. Because in 1942, impressed by reading some of Swami Vivekananda's words, I travelled from UP by bus, train and, from one point, I did a padayatra and reached Kanyakumari." "There cannot be a dispute on the fact that what India needs most today is peace. This padayatra is a physical yatra on foot and it is also a spiritual yatra – the breeze of which isn't just reaching India but the whole world. There will come a day when India will be the lighthouse for peace and spirituality to the world. Potentially, India is still that. What Sri M is trying to do is bring out this potential of which I'm a small part. Where there is peace, there is development, progress and where there is peace, there is everything. I've written a book on peace. So, while in the formal sense, I might not be a part of this walk but I dedicate this book to the Walk of Hope and its objectives. As you can see, I've grown old. All I have are blessings. I pray that this spiritual walk reaches its goal and that I live to see the day when these old eyes see the India that Swami Vivekananda dreamt of. I've traveled to many countries but, until I return to India, I feel suffocated. That's why I say that India is potentially already a lighthouse of spirituality and peace. At least for me it is. I pray for those walking with Sri M. May God bless you, may God help you.” This was followed by speeches by Mr Manjit Singh, Acharya Lokesh Muni and Mr. A K Merchant who presented how their respective religions Sikh, Jain and Baha'I see the walk itself as an integral part of their faith with Guru Nanak taking four epic sojourns across the world and Jain Digambaras walking their entire life just to spread the message of peace. The next set of speakers included Union Minister, Communications and Information Technology, Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad; Dr. Najma Heptulla, former Deputy Chairman, Rajya Sabha and Minister of minority affairs; Prof. P J Kurien and Mr Mansoor Khan. Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "I read Sri M's autobiography – Apprenticed to a Himalayan Master – on a flight and decided to attend the book launch that I was invited to. Reading his autobiography, I also got an opportunity to understand him. Sri M was born into a Muslim family, learnt all about Islam and goes to the Himalayas and spends time there. You must read it. Three spiritual books from India have been impressive, the first is Swami Vivekananda's, the second Autobiography of a Yogi and third Sri M's autobiography. When the yatra started, I was in Kanyakumari.He’s walked 6000 kms and reached Delhi. He'll reach Kashmir soon. There's hope in his persona. This walk aims to spread fragrance in the world. I believe that future generations will get inspiration from his walk." Smt Najma Heptulla, Minister of Minority Affairs, addressed the audience next, "I was informed of this programme just yesterday and I accepted immediately. The society we live in today – we communicate through the Internet, mobile phones but we've gone miles away from each other and from humanity. I believe that this yatra will help integrate our society so people can speak to each other face to face. When there's darkness in the world, we need just one beacon of light. The entire world cannot extinguish that flame. And, today, we are living in a time of darkness and we need the candle of spirituality that you're trying to light. I hope that this one light lights many others and people's minds are awakened." Prof. P J Kurien spoke next, "Today, the message of this padayatra is very pertinent to our country. Whether Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jains, whatever our religion and language, we are all one – the children of Bharat Mata, members of one family. When India was fighting for freedom against the British, we got Gandhiji. Now, at this point of time, when we are fighting on the basis of religion, caste, creed and political parties, here is Sri M to give us the message of unity, as a reminder that we are one." Continuing further, he said, "The real message of this padayatra is that beyond all this caste, creed and religion, be a real human being. That's what Sri M is." The next speaker was Mr Mansoor Khan, a famous film director-turned-writer. He said, "What if you were given a medicine that was good for everything? What if you kept taking more and more of it? Your problems also would keep increasing instead of decreasing. That's when I made the connection between chasing of quantitative growth that's embedded in our culture, which we call modern industrial civilisation. That's what I told Sri M Ji and that's what we connected on. Maybe, that's why he thought I should speak here. That's what made sense to me, this chasing of quantitative growth, not qualitative. Not that you love your neighbours more. Not that you love your parents more. Not that you have more peace. But, the opposite. Many of our problems come from this runaway process called growth. You see in our body, one cell becomes 2, 4, 8... so on. What is it called? Cancer! And that doubling is a disease. It eats up the whole body and dies itself. When it happens in the body, we call it cancer. When we do it in our life, we call it growth. How funny? We've made quantitative growth our religion. I'm not surprised it's causing all these problems. If we stop pursuing perpetual growth, we might be able to address these multiple problems.” Sri M spoke next, starting the talk with the chant: “Om Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah Sarve Santu Nir-Aamayaah Sarve Bhadraanni Pashyantu Maa Kashcid-Duhkha-Bhaag-Bhavet Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih Om, May All become Happy, May All be Free from Illness. May All See what is Auspicious, May no one Suffer. Om Peace, Peace, Peace. He thanked all the dignitaries and started with his favourite story of the three blind men from Jalaluddin Rumi's book 'Fihi ma Fihi’. Sri M then listed the qualities of a yogi as told by Krishna to Arjuna. The last of which is 'Sarva Bhoota Hite Rataha', the 'One who has the welfare of all living beings in his heart'. He said: “There's nothing more than one can add to it. Therefore, peace is of the essence. And every human being needs peace and protection. In insecurity we cannot evolve." Sri M then showed how every religion wants peace by quoting examples of 'Om Shanti', 'Salaam Alaikum', and 'Shalom', 'May peace be with you' and said, "When I went to Babaji, he did not ask me which religion I came from. He looked at my sincerity. Look at this country. We have more than 23 languages, so many religions, and creeds. Yet, you ask an average citizen, he'll tell you he's a Hindustani. You can have peace when there's one language and one religion. Unfortunately, here and there, there are fissures. I think they are caused due to vested interests. This walk is not so much curative as it is preventive. You know, when the flame becomes a raging fire, it's difficult to put it off. Everything goes back to square one and the development of this country comes to a grinding halt. If only people could sit across the table instead of resorting to violence." "We have gone to so many religious places, nobody has said don't come here. This is the greatness of this country. We want to preserve it. So, wherever we go, we go especially to schools and colleges, because they are the future of this country. The seeds sown in the hearts of the young will decide the future. We have dialogue with them and tell them that we've come to sow the seeds of oneness, peace and harmony in your hearts. Seeds don't become trees in one day. It takes time. It's our responsibility to nurture these seeds and see that they keep them intact and look after them. Teachers and elders, and parents are responsible for it. It's important that women ensure this. That's why the mother's role is important. I know that many of you can't walk with us till Kashmir but, if you put your minds together and say we are with you, I'm sure even before we reach Kashmir, we'll feel that this walk has succeeded. Right now." Sri M concluded. What followed was a beautiful dance performance by Ms Vasanthi Sridhar, who was dancing after a gap of 8 years with a team of young dancers on songs dedicated to Lord Sri Krishna. Then, students of North East sang 'We are the world' as the evening ended with everyone swaying to the message of hope and peace in a dark auditorium lit only by the torches that everyone held high.

Speech by Sri M , Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi

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