Day 450 | 5 April 2016 | From Chinmaya Mission to BBK DAV College | The Walk of Hope 2015-16

  • At the St.Mary's Catholic Church Amritsar
  • Inside the St Mary's Catholic Church Amritsar
  • WOH Day 450 - Chinmaya Mission to BBK DAV College - Amritsar
  • Sri Rajesh Sharma SDM Amritsar joins the walk - Ranjit Avenue Amritsar
  • 5.A-feast-for-fruitarians-at-the-Mall!,-Amritsar,-Punjab
  • Dr Pushpinder Walia - Principal welcomes Sri M at BBK DAV College Amritsar
  • The cultural program at BBK DAV College Amritsar
  • The award-winning 72-instrument ensemble in full flow - BBK DAV College Amritsar
  • Sri M addresses the gathering BBK DAV Auditorium - Amritsar
  • A pyrotechnic kalbeliya performance - BBK DAV College Auditorium
  • A riot of colors - Kalbeliya dancers finish it with a bang - BBK DAV College Auditorium Amritsar
  • The change of guard ceremony at Attari Wagah border - Amritsar
Most people who had come to join the walk at Amritsar had left – leaving behind a rather small number of regular walkers and a few visitors. This meant more time with Sri M. So, almost all those who had burning questions got a few priceless moments with Sri M during the short breaks. The walk was less hectic as it was ion the outskirts of the city and more peaceful with lesser traffic.

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The walk ended at one of the Dayanand Anglo Vedic Institutions,inspired by Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati, the founder of Arya Samaj and a pioneer who tried to lift India out of the morass it had fallen into by leading it back to the Vedas. Started by Lala Hansraj with 200 students in Lahore, the group has more than 800 schools now. The function started with the DAV Song and lighting of the ceremonial lamp. The two cultural programs by the girls of the college brought the audience to their feet. The first was an award-winning 72-instrument ensemble of the college which had the crowd in raptures. The second was a traditional Rajasthani Kalbeliya dance which the students performed with gay abandon, mixing balancing feats, extreme gymnastic feats, and uninhibited dancing. Throughout the speeches, parallels were drawn between the walks undertaken by Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati and the Walk of hope, the first, to goad the country back to the lofty ideals of the Vedas and the second towards Sadbhavana and Manav Ekta. Sri M then addressed the packed auditorium of bright young girls. “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. After thanking all the dignitaries, staff and principal of the school, Sri M first introduced the objectives and the logistics of the walk. He then retold the story of the blind men who try to describe an elephant and chanted a shloka from the Keno Upanishad, “Yadvaacha anabhyuditam yena vaag abhyudyate, Tad Yeva Brahma tvam viddhi na idam yadidam upaasate.” “It's a sweeping statement. It means that which words cannot explain and which is actually the source of the words, That is the only Supreme Reality or Truth, nothing that you worship here. It is a sweeping statement. However, the blind men were told that what each of them says is true, though in the ultimate sense there's much more to the elephant than what each of them says. The idea is it is because of our limited understanding and knowledge that all differences, violence, and discord are created in this world. That's only if you can accept the fact that perhaps the teachers who came to us from ancient times, starting from the Vedas, were capable of seeing the whole and, therefore, they said Everything is One.” “The Vedas declared, 'Ekam Sat Viprah Bahuda Vadanti' - There is only one truth and the wise men call it by different names. It's based on this and the 'adesh' - order of my guru – that we are doing this walk. This is a great country as you know. It cannot have a comparison with any other country in the world. Why? Because we have over 23 languages in this country, and over 150 dialects and so many religions! No community or religion was unwelcome in this country including the smallest community, the Parsis, who came from Iran and were accepted here. Today, you see how they've adapted themselves to this culture. One of the biggest industrialists in this country is a Parsi. So this country from ancient times has believed in Manav Ekta. It has opened its arms and welcomed anyone who came and said, stay here. This is your country. This is the greatness of this country. Nowhere else will you find such a country. You may find a country with one language or two languages, easy to say we're One. But here, in spite of the diversity, you ask any average citizen and he'll very proudly say ‘Yes, I am an Indian’.” “Manav Ekta isn't something new. The problem is, every now and then, there is a break in this unity. Different forces try to break this nation apart. Some are from inside and some are from outside and we should guard this carefully. The reason is this country is the spiritual leader of this world, the spiritual guide of this entire world. It cannot be allowed to disintegrate, therefore, we pray that this great philosophy of Manav Ekta is not allowed to break to pieces. We will not let this happen. Once it happens, there's a raging fire which is difficult to put off. The Prime Minister is saying that we have to develop economically. Yes, great, but how do we develop unless there's peace and well-being in this country. How do we do it? Therefore, we should see that this doesn't break to pieces and it sticks together and Manav Ekta is not forgotten. This is our responsibility. This is also the reason why we go to school and colleges. Sometimes, I feel that our generation might have made mistakes but you should not. Therefore, we meet students. Students are going to be future leaders of this country.” “I was just watching the performance here, this is a girls school. Women's empowerment is also one of our mottos. If we have this kind of young people coming up, we won't have to worry about women's empowerment. When I go back to the South, I would like to tell our girls there that they have much to learn. They were so free and so full of energy and creativity. It maybe partly because of the training you get in college. Apart from that, there's an innate strength. Could be the good food in Punjab! I don't know but it's there.” “We go to colleges and schools because we want to sow the seeds of harmony – that we are one great nation and we will not let it break into pieces. We will keep India united, together in one piece. The responsibility for this lies in our hands. According to the census, the youngsters are still more than the old in numbers. In a few years, it will increase. The old will get marginalized. You are the people who will guard India against getting broken into pieces. So we are planting these seeds in your hearts. We know that it is not going to grow into a tree tomorrow. No seed grows into a tree the next day. It takes time. The responsibility of nurturing these seeds are with teachers, with the Gurus, with the Acharyas, and with your parents. If these are nurtured, I am sure the future of this country, especially, let me say this, don't think that I am flattering you, especially if the girls take things into their hands, you can do it. Because the first influence a child gets is from the mother. If you can teach the child what motherhood is all about, how you can look after this nation and keep it together, then in future I'm sure there will be no need for a Walk of Hope. The hopes will be fulfilled.” “It would be wonderful if all of you would walk with us. I know you can't do that, you have various things to do, you have to study, build your career. But do you agree that what we are doing is important? Can you lend your minds to us and support us with your minds? If you can support us with your minds, I think this walk would have attained success even before reaching Srinagar. Go home, tell your neighbours, tell everybody, that we should not allow this nation to break to pieces, we will stick together. We have an inoculation which will prevent the disease of splitting this nation. This inoculation is the Walk of Hope. Please keep these seeds fresh in your heart. Having said that, let me also introduce myself”. Saying so, Sri M gave a short explanation of why he's called Sri M – as above all else, he considers himself a Manushya – a Man. A question & answer session followed the talk. Q: I am Aishwarya. My question is - Your walk is aimed at peace for India, its citizens, between religions, castes etc. But in all this, how does one get internal peace? A: Thank you, Aishwarya. This is one of the best questions anybody has asked me. I would like to tell you that if there's no peace inside us, then there's no way we can give peace to someone else. We can reform, talk to people and, of course, it will bring about some change. But to share the real feeling of peace with others, our own mind needs to be peaceful. Consider that my mind has already become peaceful. If you ask how, firstly know that nothing good comes out of violence and hatred. Many have tried. For instance, if you hurl accusations at me, then I shout back at you. This cycle keeps continuing. However, if I say let's discuss the issue, sit down, maybe something might happen. So, for this internal peace to come about, outward factors also play a key role. There are two things to look into here. When there's an exchange of thoughts or an argument, treat it like a discussion. Not that I say only my opinion is right and yours is wrong. Then, there's a conflict. If I say your opinion could also be right, let's discuss it, then we can work together in peace. I believe that there's an all-pervading Supreme Being, whatever name you choose to call him, Brahma, Ishwar, Khuda. One spark of this Supreme Being resides in our heart. So, we're walking temples of God. The basic quality of this Supreme Being is peace. When there's a Satsang, what do we say? Om Shanti Shanti Shanti. So the basic aim of any Satsang is peace. When we go to temples, do havans, we get a prasad. If you look up the meaning of Prasad in the dictionary, it doesn't mean the ‘amrit’ that you get, it means peace, prasadam. So, we should act in such a way that doesn't lead to any conflicts with people. This leads to peace. Secondly, close your eyes and imagine that there's a spark of the Supreme Being – one that we call the soul or jivatma – in your heart, whose very nature is peace and joy. When you understand this, the mind immediately becomes peaceful. Like it is said in the Gita, a muni is one who doesn't get excited with words of praise or get depressed with ridicule. The reason we are not peaceful in our day-to-day life is because if someone praises us, we are on cloud nine and if someone ridicules us, we get depressed. We must live with the understanding that no matter what anyone says, if my conscience is clear, I am doing alright. Then naturally, at its own pace, the mind finds peace. If the mind becomes peaceful, then when you interact with people – even if you aren't talking about peace, but discussing something over tea and your mind is at peace – in a few minutes the other person will say, what's this, my mind seems to have become peaceful. Like if someone yawns in this room, in a few minutes you see everyone yawning. The same way if there's peace in your mind, slowly, everyone else's mind becomes peaceful. Go back home and think about this carefully. I never answer questions directly, I only give food for thought. If you think about this, you'll find a deeper understanding of this question. Thank you! Q: My name is Harsimran. Please tell us what we need to do to keep the seeds of peace and harmony nurtured because, in the society we live in, we only talk about clothes, we don't think about other things. What should we do? A: All I can say is, starting from now, think about these things. Talking about clothes is okay. If I see some good dress, even I see it and appreciate it. But, along with that, we should also think about Manav Ekta, which is this country's ancient tradition. We cannot let it break. Think about these things too. As you keep thinking about it, you will realise that it's the most important thing. All your concentration will be focussed on it. Also, whenever you have discussions, talk about this too. You introduce it. Not that you shouldn't discuss fashion – you are all young, you will obviously discuss frames but know that the person sitting behind the frame, their lives are most important. Bring this in and it can only happen through practise. 'Nirantena abhyasena', I'm not the one saying this, the Patanjali Yoga Sutras say it. Through practise, you gain perfection. Keep this also in mind. Thank you!

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