The Journal Of Hope Archive
First of all, my Namaskar, Salaam Aleikum, Sat Sri Akaal and Good Evening to all. Honorable Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, Prof P. J. Kurien, Sri Ravi Shankar Prashad ji, Honorable Minister, Sri M Venkaiyya Naidu, Honorable Minister, Sri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Honorable Minister of State, Sri Suresh Prabhu, Honorable Minister, Sri Manoj Singha, Honorable Minister, Sri Bandaru Dattatreya, Honorable Minister and Sri Pon Radhakrishnan, Honorable Minister of State, Sri Dharam Vijay, MP Rajya Sabha, all other Honorable Members of Parliament, Sri Oscar Fernandes is also here, he comes from my wife’s native place in Hubli, and all honorable Members of Parliament, some of the padyatris (walkers) who have come, Ladies and Gentlemen and members of the media who are here. I will start my talk with a Sanskrit shloka (verse) that is 3000 years old. As I am from the South, please excuse me for my Hindi, if I happen to go wrong somewhere. "Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah Sarve Santu Nir aamyaah, Sarve Bhadranni Pashyantu Maa Kashcid-Dukhha-Bhaag-Bhavet Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu" Just because it is in Sanskrit, please do not assume that it belongs to any particular caste or creed or religion. This is a Universal saying. These days, if we say something in Sanskrit, it is assumed to belong to a particular set of people and if you say something in Arabic, then it is assumed that it belongs to some other set. But it isn’t so. If I can give the meaning of this in short, it means, “May everything on this earth be happy. Let no one have dukha (suffering). May this happiness extend to the whole world …"Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu”. I have nearly half an hour, thirty minutes... This walk was started in Kanyakumari on the 12th of January, 2015. Why Kanyakumari? Because, Kanyakumari is at the confluence of three seas. And we thought, since this Walk is one of coalescence and about bringing people together… although we are already united and are one, we tend to fall apart sometimes. So we felt that a sangam (confluence) would be a good choice to start our Walk. A second reason for us to choose Kanyakumari was that 12th January is the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekanand, and I think the spiritual work that he did, a hundred years ago for Manav Ekta (human solidarity), a thousand people cannot do that work in a hundred years. And when Swami Vivekananda roamed around as a parivrajak (a wandering renunciate), he travelled throughout India. And having wandered around the country, he reached Kanyakumari, where there was nothing but a cliff, in the middle of the sea. He swam across the sea and meditated on that cliff for three days, after which he understood the work he was supposed to do thereafter. So we thought that this place and date would be an appropriate start to this Walk. We have walked around 5800 km so far. I am not alone. With me are 60 to 70 people, whom we call the core group, and who are walking with me from Kanyakumari. These people belong to different states, different sects, different religions - and we are all walking together. And after walking this much, I am happy to tell you, that India’s Manav Ekta is still intact. The question that arises then is - "Then why are you walking? If everything is set, why are you doing this?" When we started from Kanyakumari, we had a very good response. When we reached Kerala, we had a bigger response. I thought, might be because it is my home state. But, when we went to the next state, it became more. More people started coming. And as we proceeded, we completed one year in Kanpur on the 12th of January this year. It was an overwhelming response. Now we have come to Delhi. I think some effect definitely has taken place, without which, I wouldn’t even have had the privilege of getting invited to the Parliament annex, to talk to the MPs. We still have almost another 2000 km to walk. We intend to reach Srinagar on May 1st. As I said, people ask, “If there is Manav Ekta, then what are you doing for it?” Yes there is unity amongst us, but sometimes it starts fraying. And once the break down increases, it can get out of hand. There is no other nation in the whole world like ours, which has 22 or 23 languages, so many religions, so many sects, so many ideologies - from left to right and centre. In spite of all this, an average citizen will call himself a Hindustani, a Bharatvasi, an Indian. No one will say otherwise. But sometimes, one sees that this unity starts to rupture, and when that happens, the fire that rages with it, is not extinguished even with water. We felt that, these communal riots or ideological or political problems are a facade to conceal someone else’s vested interest. We have been to small villages, in interiors, where in a majority community of a thousand people, there are three Muslim families or two Christian families and they all live without any problem. There are places like these which we have visited and when we talked to them, they said that sometimes, such incidents (of disunity) do occur. When asked why? They ask us, to look carefully and the issue would reveal itself to be, the self interest of somebody else. We thought that this unity needs to be maintained and not broken. It is the custom in India to live together as one. It is in our Samskar (tradition) and it is not something new. As is written in Rig Veda, "san gacchadhvam" Let’s walk together "sam vadadhvam" Let’s study together "sam vo manamsi janatam" Let’s join our minds to gather knowledge As Prof Kurien said, “Ekam sat vipra bahuda vadanti”, the meaning of which everyone knows. I once went to a University in America and the Professor over there began his lecture with the same shloka, “Ekam sat vipra bahuda vadanti." So we tell everyone we meet, that, this being a democracy, ideological differences and difference of opinion will exist. Otherwise this can’t be a democracy. But despite the differences, we are first of all, manav (human). We are first and foremost a manushya (human). Everybody is born from a mother’s womb. No one falls from the sky. And when the time comes, it is into this earth we all go, whether it is a kabristan (cemetery) or a mashan (crematorium). Why can’t we play this small drama between birth and death with peace and harmony. I thought that this was possible and this was the first thing we needed to convey. The second thing is - whatever our faith and ideology, we always need to remember that we are Indians first. This ancient land which has seen so many rishis (sages), has welcomed so many religions, whoever came was never refused. This land is ours and we are its citizens, is something we should always remember. These are the two things that we are trying to make people understand. And I am happy to say that people listen to this and understand it and say, that, they will not let any untoward incident happen again. So this is not curative but a preventive measure. When someone falls sick and goes to the hospital to get medicine from the doctor, he either dies or survives. But if inoculated beforehand for the disease, the person wouldn’t fall sick in the first place. That would be best. That is why, we talk to people about it and tell them not to let these incidences happen in the first place and to stay united. But if tendencies do crop up due to someone’s greed and vested interests, that would be the time to tell those who are responsible, that, 'We have heard you out, but we don’t support it, so please end it here. We will not let violence take place and we will not fall apart either.' It is my experience that a small spark of divinity resides in all hearts. In Sufism, it is called "Khuda ka Noor”. This Atman (spirit) or ansh (portion) is present in all. That would mean that each one of us is a moving temple or a mosque. The aradhana or worship of these moving temples is not through arti (ritual worship) but through seva (service). Swami Vivekanand used to say always, “atmano mokshartham jagat hitaya cha”. Search for Moksha (deliverance) for your Atman. That is an individual’s journey. But the welfare of the world is the duty of all. Since this is my experience, I cannot deny it. Be it Amar, Akbar or Anthony, whichever ideology one chooses, we are one and the same. In Kerala where I come from, there are also ideologies which do not believe in the existence of God. That is fine too, as long as they believe in humanity. They don’t hurt anybody and live happily together. I go to schools and colleges to educate the students about this. Our generation might have committed some mistakes. Those mistakes can be avoided in the future. We have met thousands of students and in their heart we have sown the seeds of Humanity. We have also taught them, that, we are the citizens of this country and we will hold steady against any outward or inward force without falling apart. This is what we have said all along the way. When we sow seeds, they do not sprout the next day. It takes time. To nurture these seeds is the responsibility of the parents and teachers and you (the politicians) too. The politicians should think a little bit more about this and try to keep the country together for we are all one. Because, what those in power can do, is much more, than what we, the general public can. I was happy to be invited and to come here, as it gave me an opportunity to talk with you about this. I have full faith that the seeds we sow today will grow up into trees, under whose shade we would be able to live peacefully and harmoniously. This is my wish and my prayer. Even if a country is economically secure, without peace it won’t mean anything. Peace, Harmony and Human oneness are of utmost importance. United we stand, divided we fall. We have reached here with this thought. It is a privilege to stand before you, this August assembly, and share my thoughts with you and I have to thank Sri Pon Radhakrishnan, State Minister. The moment we told him, that this yatra (journey) is to start from Kanyakumari, he asked us to start from Zero point, and allotted the land there. We have got help from various quarters. You have seen the film how we have interacted with Chief Ministers cutting across political barriers. You know that, while politics, is important, we are a democracy. There will be differences of opinion, but deep within heart of hearts, all of you know that we are human beings and we have to live together and make this nation - it is already a great nation... Can we come together, and ensure that it becomes much more glorious then it was or is? Let us not just think about past glories and forget the present. Let’s move forward for a bright future. This is my earnest request and prayer. I know all of you cannot walk with us, but, if you support us with your minds, our Walk will be accomplished much before we reach Srinagar in Kashmir. So once more, I thank you and pray that you are with us. Thank you. Namaskar.