Day 441 | 27 March 2016 | From Mother Theresa Home to Cambridge International School | The Walk of Hope 2015-16

  • A touching welcome at Mother Teresa Home Jalandhar
  • WOH Day 441 - Mother Teresa home to Cambridge International School - Jalandhar
  • With the Big Street Boys Reception at Shivani Sharma Park Jalandhar
  • Signing on the dotted zone - Signature Zone of the Big Street Boys - Shivani Park
  • Facing the Press - Shivani Sharma Park - Jalandhar
  • 6.In-a-fitness-zone-on-Sundays!,-Jalandhar,-Punjab
  • A floral welcome at Jewel market - Jalandhar
  • Sri M through the looking glass - Cambridge International School Jalandhar
  • An intimate satsang at a school inaugurated by him - Cambridge International School - Jalandhar
  • Evening satsang at Cambridge Public School - Choti Bardari
Being Easter, there couldn’t have been a better place to start the Walk than the Mother Teresa Home! Here, the Missionaries of Charity - founded by the beatified nun - look after children with severe disabilities, abandoned children, etc. Mother Teresa created an empire of love in India - especially in Bengal - with tireless work for the benefit of the poorest of the poor. She was a true exemplar of Swami Vivekananda's ideal of 'Daridra Narayana Seva'; only she called it 'wholehearted, free service of the poorest of the poor'. It’s with mixed feelings that the yatris spent time at the home – awe at the great work being done by a handful of nuns and also, the realisation as to how privileged they all are.

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The yatra had a stop in front of Shivani Sharma Park where a fitness session was in progress. The trend of blocking roads on Sundays and using the same for multiple sporting activities is catching up rapidly in Indian cities. The Walk ended at Cambridge International School, the foundation of which was laid by Sri M, years back. The Question and Answer session featured interesting nuggets of wisdom from him. Q: What is a Teacher's role in inculcating Manav Ekta among students? A: A teacher's job would be to sow and nourish the seeds of Manav Ekta in the hearts of children. For this, you need to come to the level of the students, encourage discussion or Samvad. This way, you can elicit gems of ideas from children. You will have to be friendly with them and absolutely truthful as no hypocrisy will work with them. Jesus said 'Physicians, heal thyself before you heal others'. There is an interesting story of a mother who took her son to a fakir to cure him of the habit of eating mud. The Fakir said, 'Fine', but asked her to come again after four days. He gave the boy some medicines which cured him. When the mother asked the Fakir why he asked them to come after four days, he said he needed four days to get rid of the habit of eating mud before he could treat the boy! Q: Sir, product or process – which do you think is more important? A: I am not telling marks are not important. But, all round education should engender in children the capacity to think originally while fostering practical skills at the same time. Gathering information is not education. Also, don't look upon answering first as a great quality as many may be letting the question sink in before venturing to answer. Sri M recounted an anecdote, half in jest. As a professor was leaving his school, he advised the professor taking over thus: Take care of the front benchers for they are studious and are going to become the future engineers, doctors, scientists etc; take very good care of the middle benchers, for they are mediocre and would end up as businessmen, industrialists who would employ the doctors, engineers, etc; take care of the backbenchers as they are not good at studies and would end up as politicians who would finally rule the country! Q: Sir, what does tolerance mean? A: I don't like the word tolerance much. It means I am OK, you are not so, but I tolerate you though you are inferior to me. I would like to accept the other person with the understanding that, by some strange design, I am where I am and he is where he is, irrespective who is superior or inferior. Q: Why is it that certain areas have better vibrations than others, for eg. Kailash? A: Some places have the advantage that great souls have lived there, meditated there etc. So, it is quite natural that some people might feel good or positive in such places. But, it is very individual. Rishikesh and nearby places fall under Tehri Garhwal district. These areas are full of ashrams, sanyasins, chantings, mantras etc, but the average Garhwali is not affected at all – he has non-veg, drinks and is not overly spiritual. So, it depends. After the interactive session, Sri M thanked all those present and continued to talk about the logistics of the walk after chanting the invocatory shloka – “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. "The idea, the whole thrust of this journey is for Manav Ekta. When I say Manav Ekta, it's not that India doesn't know about Manav Ekta. Two thousand years ago, the Rig Veda proclaimed:'Ekam Sat Viprah Bahuda Vadanti' meaning‘There is one Truth, the wise may call it by different names’.” “I think we're also going to Ber Sahib where Guru Nanak Ji did his years of Tapasya and I think he lived with his sister there. And, one day, it is said he went for a bath in the river and never came out for three days. Everyone thought he had drowned. On the third day, when he came out of the river, the first thing he said was: 'There's no Hindu, there's no Mussalman, there are only human beings'. This isn't new for us, our culture is steeped in Manav Ekta that we are all one, that we are not different. However, sometimes, we feel fissiparous tendencies raise their ugly heads and this unity seems to break, maybe in isolated areas and isolated instances. But if we allow them to go on – we feel, I'm sure everyone feels that – this might break the unity of this country. This country has a lot to do in the future. The population of the young is going to be more than the population of the old very soon, already it is and, according to the census, it's growing.” “We thought that the best thing to do is go and meet the young. Schools and colleges are so important to us because you are the leaders of the future, the new generation. The destiny of this land is in your hands. So, if we can make you understand – of course, by young I mean anyone younger than me is young. I'm ancient, I'm 67 physically, of course, not my mind. We are sowing the seeds of ManavEkta, of the truth that we are human beings, born from the womb of the mother. There is nobody who falls from heaven and we die and go back to the same earth. During this short drama from life to death, cannot we live in peace and harmony together – especially in this nation with 23 languages, so many religions, creeds, despite which we still proudly consider ourselves as Indians. “You can't find this kind of unity anywhere in the world. It's our responsibility to preserve this great tradition, to preserve this unity in this country because there might be external forces trying to break it and if we break our own houses, how can we sort out these problems? We have to do this in schools, colleges, my house and then the neighbour's. Ultimately, the Vedas said:'Loka Samastha Sukhinoh Bhavantu'. But you've got to set your house in order first. This is just a humble attempt at trying to convince people that we will not let the unity break and we will keep this Bharat, unified and together." "Politics is necessary in a democracy but only if the politicians think in the right way. They can do much more than we can which is why I welcome people cutting across all political barriers to come and be with us. Believe me, till today, in all the states we've passed, all the chief ministers, all the parliamentarians, all the legislators, many of them have joined us. There are no parties here because I have no affiliations. Humanity is my affiliation. And, if this humanity enters the hearts of these people who have the power to do things, we can do wonders. But more than that, the children. We want to infuse these ideas of Manav Ekta, peace and harmony into the minds of all the young and it is the responsibility of the teachers and parents to nurture these seeds because seeds don't grow into trees in a day. It's our responsibility to nurture these seeds and allow them to grow into huge gigantic trees under whose shade we can all sit in peace. This is the aim of the walk. We've done this far and hopefully we'll go further up. I don't want to talk too much because I need to keep some for tomorrow and the day after.” “So there has to be a root from which all this started, that root is Maheshwarnath Babaji, my Guru. Once we were in Uttarkashi, by the Ganga. All teaching classes happened by the banks of Ganga, Yamuna or in the Himalayas. There was a cool breeze blowing, it was a beautiful evening and he said to me: ‘If you meditate here for 15 years in a cave for 15 hours a day and don't hear the cry of a hungry child in the neighborhood, all your 15 years of Sadhana is absolutely useless.” “Manav Seva is the way to divinity anyway. You can't say I will live a cruel life, cause harm and injury to others and meditate and still be a spiritual being. Not only physical, mental injuries are crueller sometimes. Unless and until one begins to accept others as one's own, until like Guru Nanak Sahib said everything becomes 'Tera', it is not possible to move forward. That is why Swami Vivekananda said, 'Atmano Mokshartha Jagat Hitayacha'. Moksha for the soul is okay, but it comes only when you do good to the world. So, these two things have to move side by side. When Babaji said this, it remained in my heart that if one can restore this feeling in human beings, they can live in peace and happiness and spread it to others around. This is the basic root from which this whole yatra has started. This happened when I was sitting with Babaji when I was 22 years old. I'm now 67. It took quite some time to really sprout and become what you see standing before you.” “The other reason for the walk was that he told me one day, 'Several years later, you'll have to walk from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. I said to him - 'I have no intention of walking from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. I only want to walk behind you in the Himalayas wherever you go. Who wants to go to Kanyakumari and walk to Kashmir?’. He said, 'The year you came and met me here in the Himalayas, I asked you what you think of yourself in relationship to me. And what was your reply?’ I said, 'Babaji, I said I'm your dog.' In 'His Master's Voice' there was a dog, you don't have it anymore. There was a dog sitting looking at the gramophone playing the voice of his master. In fact, we used to have a puzzle in school, 'Is that dog a male or a female?' Because it's his master's voice, it has to be a male. So I said, 'I'm your dog'. He said, 'Don't shake your tail too much and do as you're told'. I'm doing it now. Some years back, I would have thought about it and forced myself to do it. But now, just like Babaji predicted, my heart has melted off, the hardness has gone and I'm doing it voluntarily wondering why I had refused Babaji earlier.” “I am also happy that so many people have joined us. First, the whole group of padayatris who've walked from Kanyakumari up to here. Thank you! Sometimes, in between, they fight and want to go back but they come back again like homing pigeons. I keep telling them Manav Ekta has to be here first before we talk about it. And, I thank all the people who have helped us, wherever we went in so many ways. I think all of you who have been helping us are Babaji in different forms because, without his help, I don't think it's possible for us to do this. When we started, so many people doubted, how is this possible? Walking from Kanyakumari to Kashmir! Who's going to listen to Manav Ekta? I said, I have full faith in the human being. Whatever you might say, deep down everybody feels the same because we all have a small spark of the Supreme Reality in our hearts. We are walking temples of God. So, we just have to activate it and everybody is for it. (A conch is heard from a nearby temple) It's beautiful, blowing the conch, invoking God. Now the muezzin will start calling for prayer. See, sandhya is common for everybody. This is what we are trying to convey. I think I've given the message of what we're trying to do.” “One more thing before we wind up is to show that you and I are working on the same thing and we're actually one. There's no difference. You must be wondering who is Sri M? What sort of a stupid name is this Sri M. One has to have some sort of a name right? What is M? James Bond's boss? So, we are fifth generation immigrants from Peshawar who went to Kerala in service of the Maharajas of Travancore. So I'm very proud to say that, apart from being an Indian, I am a Malayali. I speak Malayalam, so also my parents and two generations before me. When I was born, my parents according to their tradition gave me the name Mumtaz Ali Khan. At the age of 8, I was blessed by the touch of a great Yogi whose name I learnt,later on,was Maheshwarnath Babaji, from the Nath Sampradaya. At the age of 19, when most people look for careers, I ran off to the Himalayas. Young people, please don't run away to the Himalayas and follow my example. My parents thought I had died actually because there was no contact for three years. I was the only son of the family who was supposed to take over the family business. There I met Maheshwarnath Babaji once more and I lived with him for three years wandering from place to place, listening to him, imbibing what was said. It was as if the floodgates of love and affection and knowledge had been opened and I was experiencing the most blissful period of my life. Before and after that, it has never been so. When he initiated me into the Nath Sampradaya, he named me Madhukarnath which is required in the Nath Sampradaya. So, you know the Nath Sampradaya comes from Adi Nath, Matsyendranath, Gorakhnath and Nav Naths. Now, the first letter of Mumtaz is M, the first letter of Madhukarnath is M. But above all - which is why I wanted to come to this point, I like it when people call me M. Because M is the first letter of Manav and the first letter of Manushya, which in Sanskrit means a human being. Out of respect, they add Sri sometimes but I usually only put M. This is the meaning of M, Manushya, Human being. So how many human beings are there here? Not one. I'm sure we're all human beings.” “This reminds me of a nursery class where the teacher asked the children to make a sentence about Human Beings. The child said we are all 'human beans'. I'm sure we are not 'human beans' we are 'beings'. Therefore, I'm M and you're M and we are all Ms because we are all Manushyas. If we can keep this much in mind, then I think Manav Ekta is unquestionable and that we can prevent this country from being broken into pieces. We can all live here together with our ideologies, religions and differences of opinion. But there is no need of violence. If we have a problem, it can be sorted out through dialogue. It is possible to open a dialogue and sort out problems. I want everyone of you to think it's possible. Then there is no need to resort to violence. When violence happens, Government property is destroyed. What does it mean? Government property is yours and my property”. “Thank you once again."

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