Day 474| 29 April 2016 | From Floating Post Office, Dal Lake to Hotel Centaur | The Walk of Hope 2015-16

  • WOH day 474 - Nehru Park to Hotel Centaur
  • Sri M addresses the media - Dal Lake
  • Nearing the end of a long walk - Srinagar
  • The lake and the mountain stand witness - Srinagar
  • To de-weed the Dal Lake is the task - Srinagar
  • In safe hands !
  • 7.A-pine-lined-boulevard,-Srinagar,-J&K
  • A gorgeous welcome - Four Seasons Banquet hall - Hotel Centaur
  • For the last time during WOH 2015-16 Srinagar
  • Soulful Baul Music - Hotel Centaur
  • Sufiana Music that tugged the heartstrings - Hotel Centaur
Finally, the Walk of hope reached its last day - the 474th day, in Srinagar. Yesterday, on the rest day before the final day, some of the padayatris who had reached Srinagar earlier had a great time looking up places of interest. High on their list was the Sankaracharya Tapasya Sthal and Shiv Mandir up in the hills. The mountain and Mandir is truly ancient and has been considered sacred by multiple religions. One was left wondering what kind of a padayatra Sri Sankara would have had, 1200 years ago, when none of the facilities enjoyed nowadays was available.

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The Pari Mahal (fairies' abode) was another hit with the yatris especially since Sri M used to mention it during Satsangs. This basic and functionally designed edifice was the spot where Dara Shikoh, the Mughal heir apparent got the Upanishads translated to Persian with the help of Sanskrit and Persian scholars. This led to philosophers of the West realising what treasures remain hidden in these parts of the world. The view from the Mahal is magnificent, definitely inspiring for someone undertaking such a creative and spiritual work. The Hazratbal shrine where one of the relics of the Prophet is kept was another 'must-see'. The view from the mosque is also breathtaking. The controversial Roza Bal shrine which some contest to be the grave of Jesus Christ was also visited by some. The beautiful Shalimar Garden, Nishat Bagh and the Chashmeshahi, all works of art in horticulture, presented a pretty picture. Some had the good fortune of visiting the Samadhi of Sri Lakshman Joo, the last great scholar on Kashmiri Shaivism. The iconic Dal lake, synonymous with Srinagar was shouting distance from the place of stay arranged for the Padayatris, giving them the freedom to watch the lake from their windows or from the lakeside or from shikaras etc. The sight of the lake with the houseboats moored around, the snow clad mountains and pine forests is not likely to disappear from their minds. Many Satsangis apart from the regular Walkers, who were present during the flag off in Kanyakumari, had arrived to be part of the closing function as well. The last day's walk was along Dal, a distance of 3 kilometers from the floating post office at Nehru Park to the Centaur Hotel. The celebrations were subdued, taking into consideration the situation prevalent in Srinagar. However, the welcome dance performed by students of St Paul's school was folksy, lyrical and thoroughly enjoyable. It set the right mood for the evening to unfold. Sri A R Nazki, Regional Director, ICCR welcomed everyone. He jokingly remarked that the Walk of Hope started their walk from near the God's own country and has now ended up at Srinagar, the 'paradise on earth’. He also quoted the great Kashmiri poet Kalhana, who opined that Kashmir cannot be won by the sword but could easily by great ideas. He congratulated Sri M for coming to Kashmir with the great idea of a oneness and hoped that the walk of hope would settle many things for Kashmiris. Sri M spoke next. “First of all, let me thank the people of Kashmir. I would also like to specially mention Ms. Jyoti Singh for having organized this and what Nazki who began today’s event by speaking wonderful words which I am sure will be part of our lives forever. This is a Walk of Hope for peace and harmony. Sir, you rightly said that we started from God's own country. Well, this whole world is God's own world also. And now we have reached Kashmir, which is like paradise. Somebody said, ‘If there is a paradise on earth it is Here, it is Here.’" “We have walked 7,500 Km. I don't belong to any political party, I have no affiliations. In Madhya Pradesh, I was asked by some journalists, if after this walk I will join politics like Arvind Kejriwal. I said, I have no such intentions, because had I wanted to join politics, I would have joined long ago. But I also think there are some problems that can only be solved by non political people like you and I. Because sometimes, politics manages to mess up things. But we human beings can change, we can do many things. With this idea in mind, Manav Ekta, you can call it Khowmi Ekta, that we are all One. After all, every human being here or in any part of the world are all born from the womb of a mother, there's nobody who falls from heaven. And when we die, we go back to the same earth, whether it's a kabristan or a smashaan. Now in this little drama between life and death, can't we live in peace and harmony?“ “I personally believe that all God has done by sending down messengers from time to time, avatars from time to time, was to benefit humanity, if that doesn't serve a purpose, then we should think carefully and ask where are we going wrong? Can we live as human beings, as good human beings? And I think generally, everybody is a good human being. You see the worst, and then you look inside and you see a diamond inside every heart. I have seen it, I have lived for 67 years of my life.” “When I started my journey with all our friends, somebody asked me – ‘67 years! Are you sure you are going to walk?’ We have done 7,500 Km, in 16 months. You know why? Because I said 'Inshallah', God be with us, we will do it! And we have done it. Throughout whoever we meet we have been talking about this. We have gone to villages where there are 500 people, we have sat under peepal trees in the evening and talked to them. We have said, ‘look, it doesn't matter what religion you belong to, what community you belong to, it doesn't matter what language we speak. That's what is unique in this country. We have 23 odd languages and hundreds of dialects but does that mean we're not human beings? We are all human beings who breathe, eat, sleep and die. Let's keep this in mind.” “I personally, due to my spiritual experience, believe in 'Mohabbat', which doesn't have an equivalent word in English. ‘Love’ - yes, but everybody uses the word loosely. It is much more than that. If there is that love and affection in us, if we are ready to close our eyes to other people's defects and faults and look at the good side... I am reminded of the story from the Hadiz, where Prophet Mohammad, May his soul rest in peace. When he sat near the Kabbah, when he was talking to some of his 'asahabs', suddenly a dead body was being carried along the path. He stood up and prayed. After the body had come, somebody asked him 'Why did you stand up? It was a Jew's body that went.' He turned around and said, 'do you think a Jew is not a human being?' We have to take many valuable lessons from all the great teachers. What happens is, we tend to forget the essence and look at the nonessentials. To lead a good life is to be a good human being. To be a good human being, your neighbour is also a good human being. We cannot discard anybody, we have to carry everybody with us.” “We are ending this walk in Srinagar but please understand that the walk doesn't end here, it’s just that the physical walk has ended. But for all of us, the 60 or 70 core group members who walked with us and other hundreds of people who have joined us and gone, I would say the walk has not ended. The beginnings of a spiritual journey have been made. There were two journeys in this. One was out and one was in. - this journey of trying to find oneself. There's a beautiful text called Manṭiq-uṭ-Ṭayr by Farid ud-Din Attar, the Conference of the Birds, where a Hoopoe bird, who becomes the Murshid, the teacher, takes the rest of the birds on a search for the truth. There are various adventures like we had various adventures. I'm not the Hoopoe! Nor am I a great Murshid. I am just giving an example. They had various experiences, various problems, various ordeals, some good,, some bad. Finally, they go up the hill. And there, there are many curtains, which are removed one by one by the Hoopoe. And finally, there is a big mirror there and the Hoopoe says, 'look at yourself, that's your truth'. There's an ancient saying in Arabic, 'Mann Arafa Nafsahu Faqad Arafa Rabbahu'. One who knows his 'Nafs', knows Rab, knows the Lord.” “So while this walk was an external walk for peace, to bring people together, irrespective of their religion, caste, community and so on. we also in our inner walk were looking at our own images, our own 'Nafs', how we feel. And when we see negatives we must fight against it within us. This is my idea of a conquest, where I conquer and try to make my mind pure. This process we have initiated. I am planting the seeds of harmony and goodwill, especially in the hearts of the young. Because the future of this entire world is in the hands of the young. Because their population will soon increase and overtake ours. If the seeds of love, peace, harmony and mohabbat are sown in their hearts, the world is safe. We don't have to worry about it. This was the process initiated. This will continue in its own way I hope.” “I am standing in Kashmir, which has a special significance. We cannot equate it with the other states we have passed through. For years it has had various problems. My suggestion to everyone is let us start healing the wounds first. Everybody has their own pride, their own compulsions and their own difficulties. I think we should start by healing rather than by escalating and putting salt on the wounds of those who have been wounded. There is no doubt that there have been wounds, no question. The process of healing should start here among the Kashmiris themselves. Nobody can impose things on us. How would I feel if somebody imposed things on me? I have to heal it myself. And I request that you start the process with love, affection and understanding. Like Jesus Christ told Peter as he was being taken to the cross. When Peter picked up a sword and Jesus said, 'Put down thy sword, he who raises his sword, perishes by it'. That can only multiply, I have one gun, you have two, I have three and you have four. It only increases. Can we do it through affection, love, understanding? And it should come through this soil as the seeds are already here. When the young people sitting here grow up, and take things into their hands, I hope that you address and clean the wounds of all those who have suffered and let us believe that the jannat which is here still exists. I hope that this walk is doing something for you. We thank you for welcoming us here.” “When we started out, at different places we were warned. There is a small district in Kerala, which is by many considered to be a Muslim district called Mallapuram in Northern Kerala. The Indian Union Muslim League is very strong here. So when I started out on my walk, when we entered this area, the government was so jittery, that every room I stayed in was checked by the bomb squad. Then after two days, one of the members of IUML came to welcome me. He said, 'Why are you doing this?' I said, 'I'm not doing this, they are'. He said, 'Please ask them to stop. Among us, we are One'. See how perceptions are sometimes put into people's minds. Can we change it? I think the future of the country lies in your hands, the young. As I said in the film, my walk is my talk. And this is borrowed from St. Francis of Assisi.” “Thanks so much for welcoming us here and the young ladies who gave us a the traditional welcome through their performance. Thank you very much. My thanks to all the dignitaries who are here. Also to the school that put this programme together. And all my dear friends, the padayatris who have walked with me 7,500 Km.” “Thank you very much, Salaam Valaikum.” What followed was a spiritual musical extravaganza. Vipul Rikhi and Shabnam Vimani enthralled the audience with their Kabir Bhajans and soulful Baul music. Then it was the turn of the Tibet Bakal family to showcase the best of the Sufiana tradition of Kashmiri music to the audience. Raj Zutshi, Bollywood actor whose family hailed from Kashmir spoke touchingly about his plight, of losing his roots in the state of his origin. He thanked Sri M for giving him an opportunity to come back home. He added that his only objective was to embrace his brethren. A great point of Manav Ekta prevalent in the valley was brought up by one of the speakers... The grandfather of the Tibet Bakal singers who performed today used to sing the Shiva stuti like none other. Also, the Hindu musicians of Kashmir used to render the Sufiana music with great panache, without ever feeling that it was not 'their music'. The evening had a quiet end with the walkers lingering, saying farewell to those who had become family over the last 15 months. The walk did not have a grand finale, with crowds bursting at the seams and celebrities thrown in by the dozen. But, as Sri M remarked, a small step towards a great goal has been taken, without fanfare and without political and monetary clout. As for the padayatris, their real walk begins now, as they step back into the real world with it’s teasing distractions and influences.

Day 474 | April 29, 2016 | The last day in the Walk of Hope at Srinagar


Got something to say ? Leave a Comment

  1. Thank you for providing the reports through out the walk.
    For all those who could not walk with Sir, your reports served to keep connected with him and padayatra.

  2. Anitha Syam says:

    Thank you for reporting every days details. I am always with the Pathayathries not physically.

  3. I was very much relieved when I reaad about the highly successful completion of the “Walk of Hope” organised by Sri M and his dedicated volunteers I truly great feat. What is greater is that there has been noi fanfare or drum beatingswhich are a common feature theses days. I bow my head to you Sir. I am rather ssaddened that there has been no coverage by the Media electronic or otherwise which would have made tbe general public more aware of the begining of a great movement you have got going.
    However this is only the begining as you have mentioned in your address at the School in Srinagar. I wish and pray that ouc ountry wil wake up from the ‘quicksand’ of euphoria which can lead us down the drain.
    I must apo;ose for my late response to the good news which I read only a little while ago.
    Once again my pranams to you Sir.

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