Day 433 | 19 March 2016 | Chandigarh City Walk | The Walk of Hope 2015-16

  • WOH Day 433 - along the Sukhna Lake Chandigarh
  • His Excellency Sri Kaptan Singh Solanki - the Governor of Punjab Haryana joins the Walk - Sukhna Lake
  • The persistent drizzle didnot deter the Governor from joining the Walk - Sukhna Lake
  • Colorful accompaniment in the form of Bhangra dancers - Chandigarh
  • Along the wooded roads of Chandigarh to the sound of Bhangada beats
  • 6.We-had-horsemen-for-company-too!,-Chandigarh,-Haryana
  • 7.An-early-bird!,-Chandigarh,-Haryana
  • Inside the Gurudwara Patshahi Dusween - Chandigarh
  • 9.For-many-first-timers,-Chandigarh-is-proving-to-be-a-revelation!,-floral-and-beautiful!
  • Welcome by a young friend - Chandigarh
  • Welcome at the Punjab University
  • 12.Sri-M-bids-adieu-to-our-equine-friends,-Panjab-University,-Chandigarh,-Haryana
  • Addressing the staff and students of Dept of Physics Punjab University
  • Boisterous Bhangda - Punjab University
  • Satsang at the Devsamaj College for Women - Chandigarh
  • Sufi Music at Moti Ram Arya School Auditorium - Chandigarh
  • Governor Sri Kaptan Singh Solanki and Sri at the Moti Ram Arya School Auditorium
  • Sri M during his address at the Moti Ram Arya School Auditorium Chandigarh
  • HE the Governor addresses the gathering - Moti Ram Arya Auditorium - Chandigarh
Today's walk started at the Garden of Silence, a meditative space towards one end of Sukhna lake. Sukhna is one of the showpieces of Chandigarh, where people come in large numbers regularly to walk, jog and to relax. This is is also the result of the vision of Chandigarh’s creator, who dammed the Sukhna stream flowing from the Shivalik hills – to create this beauty of a lake, all of 3 sq km.

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The walk along the lake, in the company of hundreds of school and college students, was memorable. The gentle breeze and fine drizzle added to the charm. Colourfully dressed Bhangra dancers brought dash and vigour to the occasion. There was eager anticipation as Governor of Punjab and Haryana Sri Kaptan Singh Solanki was expected to join the Walk. As the Walk came close to the far end of the lake, the Governor arrived in a Police golf cart, accompanied by two tall, nimble footed Black Cat commandos who effortlessly jogged along the side of the cart. It was quite a sight. The walk today showcased the planned roads, parks, residential buildings, shopping arcades etc., to the first-timers among the padayatris. Everyone would have marvelled at the skill and vision of the master architect, Le Corbusier, who designed the city in the 1950s. The richest city in India, Chandigarh, functions as the capital of both Punjab and Haryana and in itself is a union territory. It is also a part of a Tricity comprising Mohali and Panchkula as well. It boasts one of the biggest forest covers for a city in India and is also one of the cleanest. Of the many visits that Sri M made, he visited Dev Samaj College for Women. Addressing them, he eleborated on the mantra: “Om Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah Sarve Santu Nir-Aamayaah Sarve Bhadraanni Pashyantu Maa Kashcid-Duhkha-Bhaag-Bhavet” He said, "Can you imagine that something so lofty originated from this country? This walk is to reiterate that we are all one and we should all live together in peace and harmony.” “We have to live together and set an example to the world that there is a land where people live together in peace and harmony. Peace is of the essence. Every religion wants peace. Even the non religious want peace because peace is primary to our existence. When a Muslim meets another, he always says, 'salaam'. The word 'salaam' means peace. ‘May the peace of God be on you’. In the Hindu culture, when there is a Satsang, we say 'Om, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti'. When you go to a temple and get prasad – it's nice, sweet with sugar and banana. But the real meaning of 'prasad', if you refer a Sanskrit dictionary, is Shanti, peace. Prasadam means peacefulness, tranquility. Because everybody seeks peace, we are saying, that we should maintain this peace. We can have different ideologies, religions, different thought processes but let's not forget that basically we are human beings. This is true not only for Indians but also those who live abroad.” “Everybody is a human being. I can assure you that no one here, including me, has fallen from heaven. We've all come from the womb of a mother. That itself is a proof that we are human beings. If I was born in a Muslim family, and as an infant was left in the doorway of a Hindu family, and brought up there, I would have been Amar instead of Akbar, and if it was a Christian household, Anthony. So these are things that come in later. Basically, we are human beings. You can also look at it, we have the same emotions: we are angry, we are jealous, we are attracted, we are repulsed. It's common, there's nobody who can say, 'I won't be angry because I belong to a particular religion'. So, these are common factors, but remember that – one, we are human beings and two, we are Indians. We belong to this country. Don't forget that, both are important. But in remembering that we are Indians, don't forget that we are human beings. It works both ways.” “Every living creature on this earth is important. In the Gita - which I consider as one of the best dialogues of ancient times - Arjuna asks Krishna: ‘Who do you think is the best of Human Beings, who do you think is the greatest of Yogis?” It's in the 12th Chapter, Bhakti Yoga; Krishna answers, the greatest is one who is 'Sarva bhoota hite rataha'. If you translate it, it means: the one who has the welfare of all living beings in his heart, I consider him to be the greatest of persons. This is our culture. Why would we let this break? Why would we allow this to be destroyed? Can't we keep it together? I am especially very happy to come to schools and colleges and address the young because the future of this country is in your hands. Our generation might have committed mistakes, I don't know. But you wouldn't do that. So, we like to sow the seeds of harmony, peace and well-being and human unity in your hearts. So that when you grow up, I'm sure you'll do many great things in this country or maybe even outside the country. But you will not forget that we are human beings, and when violence takes place, the same pain that I feel when my near and dear ones are attacked or injured or killed is the same thing that the neighbour feels. They are no different. So, please keep this in your heart. Don't ever let anything touch it. If people try to persuade you to do things, say: 'Yeah, I'll do this. I'll do that but I will not cause injury to other beings. I consider all human beings as one.' Keep this in your heart always.” “I know that if you plant a tree, it's not going to become a tree tomorrow. Any seed takes time to sprout, to grow into a big tree. Now, the responsibility of nurturing these seeds of harmony and unity are in the hands of the teachers and the parents. If you can nurture this, I'm sure India - which is a great country - will become greater and the message of humanity will spread worldwide and people will respect us more than they respect us now and we will respect the world more than we respect it now because we'll see that we're all One, because we're human beings.” “This is the aim of this walk. Why walk? Because it's only by walking that you can reach the nooks and crannies of this country. I don't know if you know this but even today 60% of the country lives in villages. I also drive a car, but for this mission it was better to walk. Anyway it's good for health, I hope you know that, to walk or sprint or something. In today's climate, if you drive a posh car to a village, the villagers usually think that you've come to acquire their land. But when you're walking they think 'oh! He's one of us'. Then they open up, they talk. We have a dialogue; then the seeds are sown, they trust you. The Indian villager is still very trustworthy. We talk to them, make them understand, and the response we get has been throughout, 'What you've been doing is a wonderful thing'. So I say, 'Don't just say it's a wonderful thing, you also do this wonderful thing'. I know that you can't walk with us till Srinagar - I've been saying this since the time we started, but if you understand the concept, and if we have managed to sow the seeds in your heart, if we put our minds together - even mentally give us the support, also talk about it to others, at home and to your neighbour, then I would think that our walk has succeeded even before we reach Srinagar. It's so important for us. I think you got it.” “I don't think I can go away without introducing myself. (Someone raises his hand to ask a question) I don't know what you're going to ask, but people ask me, what kind of a name is Sri M?” Q: What are the circumstances that made you decide to walk? A: “The circumstance is not one, but many. Over the years, having been exposed to many religions, and studied many religions, even I am like Kabir Das. I've studied many religions and the political system that operates. For many years, I've been feeling that it's about time we walk and talk about unity and not let it get destroyed. I think the best way to do it is by walk. You see, from ancient times, all the people who wanted to do something good, have walked and talked. Starting from the ancient travellers and Adi Shankaracharya or Hsuan Tsang (a Chinese traveller), or 500 years ago, Guru Nanak Sahib, and after that Swami Vivekananda, in contemporary times, Mahatma Gandhi. When you walk, we're actually putting into practice the saying, 'down to earth', we're actually putting our feet down on the earth. We're looking at facts, I think walking is so important. This is what's inspired me. If you ask me why didn't you do it before, I would say - I've done a little, I've walked here and there but this marathon walk started only last year in January. Because I could no longer contain myself. It was like a volcano that was seething inside. Luckily for me, many good friends came along and said, 'We will also walk with you'. In the beginning, I thought like the Rabindranath Tagore song 'Ekla Chalo Re', let's walk alone. Everybody came together on their own, believe me, we have 60-70 people in our core group, who are responsible citizens of this country doing various things. They've left everything and come and they're walking with us.” “If I explain to you why people call me Sri M, it'll be a little more clear. M is the first letter of the word Manav, which in Hindi means a human being. In Sanskrit, it means Manushya. I'm also M because we are the 5th generation emigrants perhaps from across the border, who were invited to Kerala in the service of the Maharaja of Travancore. Our five generations have lived in Kerala, I'm proud to say that we're Indians. I'm also proud to say that I'm from Kerala which is a beautiful state. I speak Malayalam, sometimes I even think in Malayalam. We were emigrants, then we settled down there.” “When I was born, my parents according to their tradition, named me Mumtaz Ali Khan. When I went off to the Himalayas, at the age of 19 - I don't know if I should repeat this joke, so at the age of 19 when some Khans went off to Bollywood, this Khan decided to go to the Himalayas. I literally ran away from home. Please don't run away from home. I pray to you with folded hands.” “I spent many days in the Himalayas and found my teacher Maheshwarnath Babaji who was from the Nath Sampradaya, of Gorakhnath, Adinath. I have lived with him and understood the ethos and the inner workings of the Hindu system of philosophy and thought, and seen that it is reflected also in the other systems of religion, especially at the core, though externally it may be different. When Babaji initiated me into the Nath Sampradaya, he called me Madhukarnath. So you see, Mumtaz is M, Madhukarnath is M, and above all I'm a man - a Human Being, a Manushya, Manav - therefore I'm M so I love it when people call me M. There's no religion, there's no community, there's nothing.” “Therefore, there's not one M here. I hope you're all human beings. So we're all M's sitting here. So let all Ms work together to bring about peace and unity in this country. So this is my message to you all. You can have any name, any religion, any Sampradaya, you're human beings. So let's live together in this country in peace and harmony. And don't let violence take over.” “Thank you very much, salaam, sath sri akal.” The evening's Satsang at the Moti Ram Arya School Auditorium was graced by His Excellency, the Governor of Punjab & Haryana, Sri Kaptan Singh Solanki, the Mayor of Chandigarh Sri Arun Sood and Sri Kannan, Justice of the High Court. Sri M addressed the gathering and said: "Namaskar, Sat Sri Akal, Salaam. This yatra (journey) started on 12th January 2015 from Kanyakumari because it's the confluence of three oceans. On 12th January, because it's Swami Vivekananda's birth anniversary. We believe that the work he did a hundred years ago for unity, a hundred people couldn't have done in a hundred years. That's why we decided to start the yatra from here. This is a 500 day long journey of 7500 Km. I think we'll complete 8000 Km by the time we reach Kashmir. Our objective is to walk from Jammu to Srinagar by the end of April or the 1st of May. We will leave this place tomorrow - Punjab, Pathankot, Jammu, and then Srinagar. This is our route and we walk on foot.” “We have a core group of 60-70 people who've been walking with us from Kanyakumari. We have people from every state in India, including a few foreigners. I go abroad every year for Satsangs, so even they've joined the walk. I'd also like to add that I'm perhaps the only one to do the Bhagavat Saptah in English in US and Europe.” “The objective of this yatra is Manav Ekta. It's not that Manav Ekta is something new, that needs to be taught. It is part of our ancient culture and tradition. It's said in Rig Veda 2000 years ago, 'Ekam Sat Viprah Bahuda Vadanti', 'The truth is One, the wise call it by many names'. There's no other country in the world with more than 22, 23 languages – so many religions, so many creeds, ideologies ranging from the left, right to centre. Yet, speak to an average citizen and he'll say with great pride, that he's an Indian. This is unique to India. You won't find this anywhere else but India. Other countries have one religion, one language. This is our culture, we live together in peace. Unfortunately, sometimes this unity breaks. And when it does break in the name of religion, ideology - like what happened in Haryana a few days ago - we are saddened by such incidents, to see such a great country succumb to these tendencies. So, inspired by Adi Shankaracharya, Gurunanak Sahib, Swami Vivekananda and more recently Mahatma Gandhi, we thought of doing a padayatra. They used the padayatra as a tool because it is easy to visit a village on foot. We've gone into villages where the population is just a 1000. We've sat under a Peepal tree in the evenings and had Satsangs telling them that we need to live together in peace in this great country. I am one of those who believe that India is a spiritual Guru to the world. It's from this country that the message of peace, harmony and unity need to go to the rest of the world. It isn't going to originate from any other country. With this in mind, we've been talking to people and making them understand. Since this is a democracy, difference of opinion is bound to exist. There are numerous ideologies and everyone will present their demands in a democracy but there's no need for violence. This is our message.” “Everywhere we go, we try to visit schools and colleges. We talk to students and tell them that the future of the country lies in their hands. India will be a country with more young than the old in the future. If they are convinced that we need to live together and make India strong, then the work will get done automatically. This is a preventive yatra, not a curative yatra. A doctor gives medicine in the case of an illness. Some people survive and some die. If one could invent an inoculation that would prevent the illness from coming, that's why we're doing this. This is my work but there are people walking with me who've left their jobs to walk with me. We would have walked 500 days when we reach Srinagar. We have all kinds of people, they speak different languages. Everywhere we go, we meet the decision makers and ask them to join hands with us and do something because we can't do anything alone. We can sow seeds of unity, peace and harmony. But the seeds don't sprout into a tree the next day. We believe that it needs to be nurtured. That's why if we all work together something can be done. That's the message we are walking with and that we'll take with us to Srinagar too. We want to keep India united. The Vedas say 'Loka Samastha Sukhinoh Bhavantu'. But if we don't set our house in order, how can we talk about it to others? We live in India, it's our house and we need to keep it together with Manav Ekta, peace and harmony.” “Before I finish, those who haven't read my book must be wondering who this Sri M is. There's no such name like Sri M. There could be an Amar, Anthony, Akbar, what's this M? M means Manav. Manushya in Sanskrit. When I was born, my parents gave me the name Mumtaz Ali Khan. The first letter there is also M. Maheshwarnath Babaji who's my Guru - I met him at the age of 19 when I ran away from home and went to the Himalayas - he gave me deeksha (initiation) in the Nath Sampradaya and gave me the name Madhukarnath. The first letter of that name is also M. That's why when people call me M, I'm happy because I'm a Manav whatever the religion, I'm a human being first. If I'm a Manav and I'm M, you're all Manav and there are many Ms. If we all join hands, Manav Ekta will be established and India will become a great country." His Excellency, the Governor of Punjab & Haryana, Sri Kaptan Singh Solanki spoke next and said, "If you look closely, it's not just India but the entire world that needs this initiative. Through this, the Walk of Hope will become the walk of determination." "I was wondering why you call yourself M. I wanted to ask you about it but you just said that it's because it stands for Manav, Mumtaz Ali and Madhukarnath but I'd also like to add that Swami Vivekananda had pleaded to all of us that each of us become a man with a capital M. I think the capital M that he was referring to was Madhukarnath."

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