WOH Day 453 Batala Toll to Gems Cambridge International School - Batala
Welcome at Batala Cross - Gurdaspur
Reception at Gems cambridge International School Batala
Satsang at gems Cambridge International School
Sri M planting a sapling at Gems Cambridge International School
'In Sri M's fold' - Gems Cambridge International School Batala
Today the Walk of Hope left Amritsar district and entered Gurdaspur. The walk was along the GT Road which is in superb motorable condition. The marshalls and the police personnel attached to WOH worked hard to keep the speeding motorists from coming dangerously close to the yatris. After less than three hours of steady marching and a couple of 'pit stops', the walk reached Batala cross where they were warmly received by students of Gems Cambridge International School.
The function at Gems Cambridge International also had the stamp of efficiency attached to it. This is something the yatris have gotten used to especially regarding functions in Punjab. A lot of credit should go to the organizers and staff of schools where most such events were held.
Today's function was also different because some of the padayatris were also asked to address the gathering. Thus Sri Deshmukh, an engineer turned historian from US, Sri Ajai Kumar Singh IPS, Dr Jayakumar, HoD, Department of Cardiology, Kottayam Medical College, shared their views and experiences with the students. Then it was Sri M's turn to address the gathering.
"First of all, Namaskaras to everyone, Sat sri akal, Salaam and Good Morning.”
“I thank the Chairman, senior staff members and all the staff members here. And, all of you little children, and those who are a little grown up and our padayatris, my dear padayatris, those who have come all the way from Kanyakumari asking no questions whatsoever. Ajai Kumar Singh introduced himself, Dr, Jayakumar introduced himself, he was introduced by CV - CV is probably the lone comrade walking with us. Sometimes he wears red. Shaji Rao Deshmukh did not introduce himself, I think he was too excited. He is an engineer by profession but a historian by choice and he lives in New Jersey where his wife is a paediatrician.”
“ Now, I want to start with a small description of the padayatra. We started on 12th January, 2015. So we have spent more than 15 months, walking. We started from Kanyakumari where three great oceans meet. Anybody knows the three oceans?”
A boy of about 12 responds - Indian Ocean, Arctic Ocean and Antarctic Ocean (The gathering breaks into a quiet chuckle)
Sri M responded, “Well one of them is correct. Indian Ocean is correct. Thank you.”
Another boy, perhaps 13, this time - Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal. (Everyone claps)
Sri M continues, "Yes, that is correct. So, we started from the place where there is a confluence of three great oceans. It is a sangama. We come together, we live together. This country, India, is unique. It has 23 languages, how many dialects, many religions and countless traditions, many kinds of people - and yet we are one nation. Am I right or wrong? Everyone is proud to say that I am an Indian.”
“The idea of this walk is to not let this unity collapse. Sometimes we see that there are attempts to break the unity of this nation, to make us less human, sometimes by destroying lives and property. The idea is that we will live in peace and harmony no matter what our religion is, no matter what our tradition is, no matter where we come from, no matter what language we speak - we live together as one human being in this country, in this great Bharat. “We will do this because this nation is the spiritual teacher of the world. It is the guiding light. We can get technology from outside. The one thing we can take is technical knowledge. One thing which we can give to the world is spiritual knowledge.”
“We come and talk to children and students in schools and colleges because your minds have not yet become hardened, because I am sure, you understand. The future of the nation is in your hands. We might have committed mistakes but you will not. So, we go to schools, meet children and we talk to them and we say that we are all human beings. And, two, that we are Indians and we have to play an important part in the future. You have a leading part to play in this nation. It is only through a walk that we can meet people and share this message. In English there is an expression, ‘down to Earth’, we are walking with our feet on the Earth. This unity that we see, we can call it God or Khuda, or whatever you want to call it, it is One.”
“I won’t speak much, I will tell you a short story. I know that if I speak much you will get distracted. Even I get distracted. I am very much like you. Even though I am 67 years old, my mind is not much older than yours, it is more or less like yours. We will have walked 7500 Km, we have already walked 6000 Km till now. We have only been able to do this because we still have young minds and young hearts. So, I want to tell you a story.”
“Three men were once travelling. One was an Englishman, another was an Italian, the third was an Indian. In the middle of the walk they became thirsty and they began looking for water. The Englishman said, ‘I want water’. The Italian said, ‘I want aqua’ - aqua is the Italian word for water. The Indian man said, he was very thirsty and he wanted to drink ‘paani’. The Englishman said, what nonsense, I want to drink ‘water’. So, they began fighting. Each one said, what I am asking for is the right thing and what you are asking for is the wrong thing.”
“One who knew all languages arrived. Such a one, who knows all languages is a saint, a sant, a guru. He said, what are you guys fighting about? He said here it is, and he gave them water. The Englishman said, ‘Ah! this is water. The Italian said, ‘Ah! this is aqua.’ The India said, ‘Ah! this is paani’. So they quenched their thirst.”
“The fact is that Rig Veda declared 3000 years ago, ‘Ekam sat, viprah bahuda vadanti’ - there is but one truth but wise men call it by different names. Whatever languages you speak, whatever names you take, it is One - call it whatever you would like to, Allah, Wahe Guru, Bhagawan - whatever you want to say. It is with this that we have started this walk.”
“We are happy to say that our visits to schools and colleges have been very productive. We hope that the seeds of oneness have been planted in your hearts and even though you cannot walk with us to Srinagar, you will talk about this with your friends, your parents, with your neighbours - that we are One and we should keep the country united. It is only then that our walk will be a success. Otherwise we will walk till Srinagar and go back and nothing will happen. The walk will be a success if you think of these things and the seed is sown in your hearts.”
“This is all I wanted to tell you. I will end with a Sanskrit shloka,
Om Saha Nau-Avatu |
Saha Nau Bhunaktu |
Saha Viiryam Karavaavahai |
Tejasvi Nau-Adhiitam-Astu Maa Vidvissaavahai |
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||”
“This means, may both of us be protected - you and I,
May both of us be nourished - you and I,
May the energy in both of us increase - you and I
And may we not fight with each other.
Om Peace, Peace Peace”.
“Om Shanti, Shanti Shanti.”