Day 44 | 24 Feb 2015 | Kozhikode to Thiruvangoor | The Walk of Hope 2015-16

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  • Walk-of-Hope-2015-16-February-24-2015-13
The padayatra had a very early start, as the yatris were staying dispersed in various areas of Kozhikode City. All of them had to be transported with their luggage to the congregation point and the vehicles made multiple trips for this purpose. After a cup of coffee, they started from the International Rotary Club sharp at 6.00 am.

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Half an hour into the Walk, the yatris were walking on a road parallel to the ocean. It was a very dreamy sight, the ocean was placid and blue, the sun warm and distant, a cool drift providing solace amidst the humidity. The scene melted away the stress of the frenetic activity in the early hours and the yatris were energized again. Sri M and the walkers were greeted by a group of 10 people with a few of them later joining the Walk.  Soon after, it was invigorating to be cheered on by a small group of men who had read the Walk of Hope pamphlets handed over to them by the group. Walking on, the group reached their breakfast point by 8.30 am.  This was a temporary shelter erected on the sandy beach with the waters just 200 meters away.  This was a truly unique experience as the local fishing community organized breakfast. The hospitality and the happiness with which they served breakfast to Sri M and the walkers were truly touching.  Sri M spent time in interaction with them and they had a photo opportunity together.  Sri M thanked them wholeheartedly for their wonderful hospitality. Soon after, they were welcomed at the Raja Yoga Meditation Centre by a group of about 15 people.  After a cup of tea from a roadside shop, they were back on the highway again which was fairly empty with not too many vehicles. About 60 children and their teachers from the Vivekananda Vidya Mandiram of Vengalam greeted the padayatris soon after. They welcomed Sri M by showering flowers while he and the procession approached the school.   He planted a commemorative sapling near the school. He interacted with the children, then recited the Shanti Mantra and made them repeat it after him.
Om Saha Nau-Avatu, Saha Nau Bhunaktu, Saha Viiryam Karavaavahai, Tejasvi Nau-Adhiitam-Astu Maa Vidvissaavahai Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih
Om, May God protect us both (the Teacher and the Student), May God nourish us both, May we work together with energy and vigour, May our study be enlightening and not give rise to hostility, Om, Peace, Peace, Peace
He elaborated that the children were the future of India and this is indeed the right time to ensure they are nurtured by such teachings. They reached Hamsakulangara Siva Temple by 10.45 am.  This was a unique event as the reception was organized by the Hindu and Muslim communities together. The Hamsakulangara Siva Temple and Badar Juma Masjid of Vengalam are right next to each other sharing one common wall. Historically, both communities have lived together in peace and harmony which continues to this day. In attendance was the District Collector, Sri N Prasanth, and local community leaders from both faiths. The Imam of the mosque, in his address, referred to Swami Vivekananda’s address at the Chicago Convention and the importance of living in peace and harmony. The President of the Temple Committee spoke about how both the communities have lived forever in amity and peace. This has been possible only due to the unity between the neighbours – the temple and the mosque.Sri M, in his address, thanked the District Collector for his support and expressed his happiness with the reception he had received in the last two districts, Malappuram and Kozhikode, and considered them as the best so far. He spoke about the oneness of all faiths and concluded his address with two prayers, one from the Taittiriya Upanishad and the other from the Holy Quran:
From the Taittiriya Upanishad Om Sham No Mitra Sham Varunah Sham No Bhavatvaryamaa, Sham Na Indro Brihaspatih Sham No Vishnururukramah, Namo Brahmane Namaste Vaayo Tvameva Pratyaksham, Brahmaasi Tvaameva Pratyaksham Brahma Vadishyaami, Rtam Vadishyaami Satyam Vadishyaami, Tanmaamavatu Tadvaktaaramavatu Avatu Maam Avatu Vaktaaram, Om Shantih Shantih Shantih"
Translation May the Sun God (Mitra), the God of the ocean (Varuna) and the God of the manes (Aryama) be auspicious to us, May Indra (King of the Deities) and Brihaspati (Preceptor of the Deities) be auspicious to us. May Vishnu (Preserver of the universe) be auspicious to us. Salutations to Brahman, salutation to Vayu (the Wind God). You indeed are the perceptible truth. I understand you to be the perceptible truth. I understand you to be the laws of ritam and satyam. Let the laws protect me, let them protect the teacher. Protect me, protect the teacher. Om Shantih Shantih Shantih.
The first verse from the Sura Al-Fatahi, The Quran Bismillaah ar-Rahman ar-Raheem Al hamdu lillaahi rabbil ‘alameen Ar-Rahman ar-Raheem Maaliki yaumid Deen Iyyaaka na’abudu wa iyyaaka nasta’een Ihdinas siraatal mustaqeem Siraatal ladheena an ‘amta’ alaihim Ghairil maghduubi’ alaihim waladaaleen Aameen
Translation In the name of God, the infinitely Compassionate and Merciful Praise be to God, Lord of all the worlds The Compassionate, the Merciful. Ruler on the Day of Reckoning You alone do we worship, and You alone do we ask for help Guide us on the straight path, the path of those who have received your grace; not the path of those who have brought down wrath, nor of those who wander astray. Amen
This meeting is indeed the watershed event of Walk of Hope so far—the main objective of the Padayatra,communal harmony and peace, expressed thus in a truly spectacular way. At 12 noon, the padayatra reached the halting point of the day –Sree Narasimha Swamy temple, Thiruvangoor.  Men were allocated space in a large hall and women in a smaller hall alongside. Amenities were again basic and minimum. The padayatris covered 18.5 kms today in 6.5 hours.The temple is situated on the Kozhikode-Mangalore highway and is dedicated to Lord Narasimha, the‘ugra’ (angry) form of Lord Vishnu. The temple had a large pond and many people enjoyed a dip in thecool waters after lunch. The evening program began in the Temple auditorium at 6.15 pm. The audience of 300 people included many local people. Sri M’s address commenced thus: “Right from the start of our padayatra and until the forty-fourth day today, we have covered seven hundred odd kilometers, and we have this Satsang everyday. I am getting a bit bored of this. Though you may not feel it, the people walking with me may find it repetitive. Anyway, today I will not speak of the Padayatra, as enough has been said and written about it already.” “We will dwell on spiritual matters as they are the basis of the Yatra. My experience that we are all one and my desire to share it is the basis of the Yatra. Once you understand why such a desire came andwhat happened in the background, the rest is easy to understand.” Narrating the story from Kabir Das of the Kasturi Mriga (the Musk deer), he said that we search forhappiness outside us all the time while it is always within us.  The musk deer emanates a beautifulfragrance during a certain season.  Not knowing that it emanates from it’s own body, the deer searches all over, pushing its snout into shrubs and getting its snout tangled in thorny brushes wherein it starts to bleed; even then it does not stop looking for that elusive smell. “There are two ways of living life; one, the normal, usual life where we follow our sense organs and, two,the uncommon life, where we turn inwards to find solutions to our problems. Once we understand that asmall portion of the ever-present ‘Parabrahma’ is within all of us, we start experiencing Sat-Chit-Ananda. Out of this, ‘Sat’ means ever present - the 'I'. I, or for that matter, any living being, is not Sat, as we will alldie. Of the city of Rome, probably the greatest city ever constructed, only a few ruins remain now. Thuswe are all ‘a-sat’, or impermanent. For such impermanent beings, it is foolish to expect ‘ananta ananda’- endless bliss.” Sri M then recounted the story Shri Guru Nanak Dev knew of a rich miser named Dhuni Chand, who only lived to hoard. Guru Nanak once gave the latter a needle. “A needle, my Lord!”, the rich man was puzzled. “What do I do with this?” “Oh, keep it safely and return it to me when you meet me in heaven,” said Guru Nanak very casually. “How, my Lord, how? Surely I am not going to carry this needle there.” “That is it, my son, that is it. Then, why accumulate wealth, instead of using it for the good of others?” “So, it is wise to turn your mind inward. Focus on your heart peacefully. Within you, you will observe a portion of ‘Para-brahma’, having all its characteristics. In the limited realm of sense organs, the satisfaction is short-lived and we get a fleeting glimpse of bliss. But it will leave you in a trice and that is stressful and saddening. In case you are able to turn inward, cleanse your mind and lead a life of kindness to all beings, then you experience indescribable happiness. You will experience God; you may see ‘That’, according to your visualizations.  Just because you cannot see your eye, though you can see it in the mirror, can you say that your eye does not exist?” He then chanted a verse from the Hari Nama Sankirthanam in Malayalam.  The Hari Nama Kirthanam (The Song of the Holy Name Hari) is a beautiful piece of devotional poetry by Thunchathu Ezhuthachan. Even today, this is sung by traditional ladies while doing their household chores and holds a veritable treasure house of knowledge in its simple words.  The verse when translated  - The eye that sees the Sun and all around us, the mind that is the eye of the eye. What it is the eye of mind? It’s the Self, the eye of the eye of the eye. Bliss, endless this knowledge brings, Oh my Guru, the Lord, the Master. “Both ‘aakara’ and ‘niraakara’, with or without form. It is easier to identify ‘Para-brahma’ with the form, as the world we live in is based on nama and rupa, name and form. We identify people by either nama or rupa. It is difficult to move into ‘niraakara’ as there is great focus on rupa in our daily lives.” “Just as you do not straightaway go and swim in the sea, but you first swim in a swimming pool with life jackets, then without life jacket before you graduate to swimming in the sea, you will have to gradually move from aakara to niraakaara.” Sri M then quoted from the Isha Upanishad -  ‘Isha Vasyam idam sarvam, yat kincha jagatyam jagat, tena tyaktena bhunjitha, ma gridhah kasya svid dhana’.  Translated, it means – ‘Whatever is here is pervaded by the Supreme. Surrendering to that Supreme, enjoy. Do not covet anyone’s riches’. He then moved to the first verse of the same Upanishad-‘ Om purnam adah purnam idam purnaat purnam udachyate, Purnasya purnamaadaaya purnam evaavashishyate’ and said, “in purnam adah is the Para-brahma which resides within everyone. Once you realise that 'isha vasyam idam sarvam', you cleanse your mind, live well according to the ashtanga yoga principles, and paramananda is the result. It is incomparable and you are changed forever.” “Here, purnam adah is the paramatman. Purnam idam is the portion of the paramatman, which resides in the heart of all. Once you attain this level, what remains? You have no desires left.” “You start wondering why others are not getting it or understanding it…you are sad about it and your remaining life is spent in helping others reach this level. This, in a nutshell, is the essence on which the padayatra is based.” “My experience is that all are One, though, differently-manifested and with different experiences and beliefs.” “This”, Sri M said “is my experience and not my erudition. We have no other agenda and we are not going to convert anybody. My only request to all is to ‘follow your beliefs, live well and do good to others’. Has any scripture said otherwise?” “Sarva Bhuta hiteh ratah – Have the welfare of all beings at heart. This is not easy but every effort should be there to follow this principle; alongside this, Sadhana (practice) is also required as the mind is very fickle always. Both for believers and non-believers, it is extremely difficult to keep your mind unwavering.” “As I sit here in front of you, the mind can go to the Himalayas and return and jump from one thought to another. It is called the stream of consciousness. Sadhana is the only way to control this, though practiced bhaktas don't need it.” He gave the example of Kunti’s prayer from the Bhagvatam as a case of tremendous devotion or bhakti. Kunti, in her prayer to Lord Krishna, when he is on the verge of departure from Hastinapur, asks for the world’s calamities to come to her as it’s only at such times that one remembers the Lord. Continuing, Sri M said that no Sadhana is required for such people. For ordinary people, cleansing of the mind and Sadhana is required to calm the mind. Sri M humorously added: “Some people come to me and tell me that their mind is always restless and they want a thoughtless state. I would advocate whacking yourself on the head as an easy solution.” “What we need to understand is that there is a calm state of mind and an agitated state of mind. A calm state of mind is achievable whereas a thoughtless state of mind is impossible. For this, you have to lead a life based on Ashtanga Yoga and experience the oneness with the divine. Though there are many sadhanas, my parampara (lineage) follows the Kriya-Yoga method. Many people come to me for Kriya Yoga.” He again said humourously, “I sometimes ask them to pay me two lakhs of rupees, and they run off!  It is good to learn Kriya Yoga. But more importantly, you have to be ready for it. Also, understand that there are people who have realised God without any Kriya Yoga, like Mira Bai and Ramana Maharishi.” Sri M concluded the Satsang saying: “The object of this sadhana is not to fly or to be able to walk over water.” He then led the chanting of OM thrice which was followed by a relatively long meditation session of about fifteen minutes. The padayatris were served dinner, after which they retired for the night.

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