Day 417 | 3 March | From Khalsa College to Jain Mandir | The Walk of Hope 2015-16

  • Reception at Chhatrasal Stadium - New Delhi
  • 2.The-baby-sleeps-in-blissful-ignorance!,-Chhatrasal-Stadium,-New-Delhi
  • Hearty welcome by our Sikh brethren - Chhatrasal Stadium
  • 4.The-bounty-at-Azadpur-Mandi!,-Azadpur,-New-Delhi
  • WOH Day 417 - slowly moving out of the capital city - Azadpur
  • Inside the Museum of Jain Art - Vijay Vallabh Smarak Jain Mandir - Alipur
  • The library attached to the Vijay Vallabh Smarak Jain Mandir
  • Sri M leaving the magnificent Vijay Vallabh Smarak Jain Mandir Alipur
  • A short Satsang at the Vijay Vallabh Smarak Jain Mandir premises
The penultimate day in Delhi took the yatris on a short walk near another part of the Delhi Ridge, named after Smt Kamla Nehru. It also passed the Mutiny Memorial. The British built it in 1863 in memory of those who defended the Empire against the mutineers. In 1972, in the 25th year of Independence, the Indian Government renamed it 'Ajitgarh' and added a plaque with the inscription that those mentioned as 'enemies' in the Memorial were the real soldiers who fought for the country's freedom.

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The Vijay Vallabh Smarak Jain Mandir presents an imposing spectacle. The temple is dedicated to the 12th Jain Tirthankar Vasupujya, in memory of Jain Acharya Vijay Vallabh Suri. The sprawling complex houses a Centre for Research in Indology and the Jain Bharati Sadhvi Mrigvati School. The exhibition of Jain art housed in the hall beneath the temple has sculptures dating as far back as the 8th century AD. At the Satsang held at the Lajwanti Masthram Jain conference hall, Sri M chanted the invocatory mantra: Om, Sarve bhavantu sukhinaḥ Sarve santu nirāmayāḥ Sarve bhadrāṇi paśyantu Mā kashchit duḥkha bhāgbhavet Oṁ Shāntiḥ, Shāntiḥ May all be prosperous and happy May all be free from illness May all see what is spiritually uplifting May no one suffer Om peace, peace, peace He thanked all those who had invited the Walk there and said, "From the beginning, we are following the same principles that were propounded by the great Jain Tirtankars. The basis of our life is 'Ahimsa Paramo Dharma'. The very idea of this walk is that we want to express and make people understand that peace is non-injury to other living beings through thought, words and deeds. One can refrain from injuring another but it is difficult not to injure through word and mind, it is very difficult. For us, it is very hard. It is with this idea that we've started this walk in a complex country with such diverse religions. There is no other country with so many languages, dialects, religions and creeds. So, in this complex diversity, the one thing we all know is that we are Indians. For me, the meaning of being an Indian is to recognize and accept other cultures that may not even be within the geographical boundaries of India, which is why the ancient teachers have said, 'Loka Samastha Sukhinoh Bhavantu'. It is a wide concept. So, people who have realised the vastness, understand that it is beyond the ordinary mind to touch. We worship the great teachers, the Arhants. Your prayer today, 'Namoh Arahantanam', 'Bow down to all the Arahants'. So Arahants may be any great being from anywhere in the world. You can't say that there are only Arahants in India. Nobody said 'Namoh Indian Arahantanam'.” “So, we are walking because we wish to share this with others, no matter which religion one belongs to. That is your choice, no matter which creed you belong to. It is your choice; no matter what language you speak. But please remember first that we're born as human beings. Nobody falls from heaven. Everybody is born from the womb of a mother except for those who attain Nirvana. Even then, their bodies are either confined to the place or buried as long as we have a human body. In this drama between life and death, can't we all live in peace? This is the only question we are asking. We don't want people to shift from this to that. I was born in Kerala. By the time you're out of college in Kerala, you're half a Marxist. I also went through that phase. Luckily, I didn't become a Marxist. So, I think I understood I could be wrong. You know the famous Vada in Jain literature, which is: 'Aneka Tatva Vadam'. I may think in a certain way, so, that may be my point of view. Another person may think in another way and it is his point of view. Both may be right, both may be wrong. This is my understanding.” “There is this ancient story about three blind men who went to see an elephant. It comes from ancient Jain philosophy. A famous Sufi, Jalaluddin Rumi, then adopted it. You see how wisdom travels, which say you can see truth from different angles but the absolute cannot be discovered by our limited senses. We have to transcend limitations. Three blind men went to see what an elephant looks like. One touched the trunk of an elephant, and decided the elephant is like a big pillar. The other one touched the tail and decided the elephant is like a brush or a broom. The last one touched the trunk of an elephant and decided that the elephant is like a rubber hose that keeps swinging all the time and makes a 'phus phus' noise. A great fight ensued. Each blind man saying that his is the right definition of an elephant. At this point, someone who was not blind came in. Sometimes I wonder, even though we have eyes whether we can really see! He asked, what the fight was about and they explained. He said you have felt only one part of an elephant. I can see the whole elephant. So you are right, you are also right, you are also right but in the absolute sense, you are all wrong.” “So knowing this, why can't we live together? This is a country that has always respected unity. Like the Director of the Library said, '3000 years ago, the Vedas have said 'Sangachatwam, Samvadatvam, Samvomanaamsi Jaanatam'. May we walk together, may we study together, and may our minds be put together. If this can be done, this country, which is already a great country, would become still more glorious. Stick to this idea that even the greatest argument can be solved through dialogue. That is all our message is, wherever we go, this is the message we take. You are in a democratic society; whatever the difference, know that it can be worked out through dialogue. Dialogue or Samvaad means that both people are on equal ground. This is what we're trying to do and we've walked over 5000 km now.” “We are in a great institution, in the temple of a great saint. What I want to tell you is that most of the time when we're walking, people on the road are Jains, nobody else. It is either Jain Digambars or Sadhvis. Strange thing is I have not seen them anywhere in the North. But mostly in the South – in Karnataka. In UP, we saw a Digambar. It was cold in the morning and he was walking – impossible to do, not easy. Jesus Christ said 'Bless them that curse you' – not easy to practise. But in whatever way we can, to the best extent possible, if we can stop injuring others, that's a great achievement.” On the penultimate night of their tenure as organizers, the Delhi team arranged 'Shukrana', a farewell party at the Resort Retreat. A young singer with a voice remarkably like that of the maestro Mohammed Rafi sang evergreen numbers of the legend. To the 60+ year olds, it was pure nostalgia. To the others who had some idea of music, it was a journey back to a time when melody and lyrics pregnant with meaning and emotion used to coalesce. Sri M impressed even the seasoned professional singer with his spontaneous, uninhibited rendering of two hits of Rafi Sahab. The Delhi team thanked Sri M for giving them an opportunity to serve the Walk and the padayatris. Next, it was the padayatris' turn to return compliments. Everyone then put on their dancing shoes and made merry. The dinner then followed.

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