Day 57 | 9 March 2015 | Camp at Bhagamandala | The Walk of Hope 2015-16

  • Interaction with students from K.V.G First Grade College & ITI, Bhagamandala
    9-March-2015-Walk-of-Hope-2015-16-in-Karnataka-1
  • Formal welcome of Walk of Hope 2015-16 to Karnataka, at Bhagamandala
    9-March-2015-Walk-of-Hope-2015-16-in-Karnataka-2
  • Formal welcome of Walk of Hope 2015-16 to Karnataka, at Bhagamandala
    9-March-2015-Walk-of-Hope-2015-16-in-Karnataka-3
The relief the walkers felt yesterday extended to the present day—the relief of a day not filled chock-a-block with events. They slowly marinated in the quiet serenity of an unhurried day. A much needed change, indeed!

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The morning mist hugged the Math right until 10 am in the morning and the sun was but a distant, shiny dot in the misty haze. Much to the delight of the small group of yatris, there was an opportunity to have an informal Satsang with Sri M after breakfast. There were about 50 people in the gathering and they sat in the courtyard of the Math with Sri M in their midst. Sri M initiated the session saying that he would answer their questions, if any. In the context of the Walk, he added that there have been many opinions on how things should or should not be done, but there have been no complaints so far, which is laudable. He added that this was indeed an achievement and proved that ‘We Can Walk Together’. Quoting from the Vedas, Sri M initiated the Question and Answer session – ‘Samvaad’ Sangachhadhwam, samvadadhwam, samvomanasijaanataam 'May we walk together, let us study together, with our minds put together, may we understand.' The session was truly priceless and answered many doubts the yatris had in a very informal setting, with Sri M answering questions in his usual self-deprecating, easygoing style. The one hour of dialogue passed too quickly – filled as it was with his ‘jokes’ and loaded answers. Q. I interact daily with people where there are strong likes and dislikes. This is affecting me. What am I to do? A. If we really look at ourselves, then we will find that we have the qualities which we do not like in others in some form. Kabir's Bura Jo Dekhan Main Chala, Bura Naa Milya Koye Jo Mann Khoja Apnaa, To Mujhse Bura Naa Koye (I searched for the crooked, met not a single one, When I searched myself, "I" found the crooked one in me) When we see the quality reflected in another person, before we lay our finger on someone, ask our selves, have I also behaved like this before? Nine out of ten times, I may have done it. Just re-check if there is something in my action that is triggering this (like/ dislike). Maybe some activity in my mind may be triggering this. Identify that and try to remove it so that there is no chance for that person to affect me.If this is so, be thankful, for this is a way that something is being pointed out in us. People will say many good things to get something from us but very few people criticise us or point out faults in this way. Consider that person as a Godsend. It need not be someone from the outside - it maybe our child, parent, wife or husband.  We have not seen any God. All we can actually see are humans. Sometimes, they may show themselves in their good aspect. Other times, they maybe in their wild aspect. When they are in their wild aspect, think that it is their Kali Avatar. And what do we do in front of Kali? We don't attack, instead bow down.There is a certain point in our life where we have touched a point of calmness. In the ocean, the waves crash at the shores but in the depths, nothing happens. All of these do not really matter for one who has touched that state of calmness. Q. Many times I feel that I am not thankful…to my parents and even to you. A. Do not be thankful to me. I am you. Certainly, be thankful to your parents. Being thankful is not a feeling. Do things that make them happy, that is being thankful. My whole spiritual life has been a wonderful journey but there has been one black mark, my parents suffered a lot. To the best extent possible, I tell others, take care of your parents. It is a good thing to have some regret, don't let it die, let it be there. As far as ‘I’ am concerned, there is nothing to be thankful about. Q. Many sages and saints sit in their caves and ashrams. You have come out and have undertaken this padayatra and given us a platform to participate. Is it comparable to what you had with Babaji? A. First, let me tell you that not all Swamis and Sages sit in their caves. There are some who sit and some who walk. There was Sai Baba of Shirdi who never left the borders of Shirdi. On the other hand, you see Swami Vivekananda and Shankaracharya who were always walking. These are all different modes. I may decide, after the Walk, not to go out. The mode is not important.It is the same and also different, with me and Babaji. There were only two people walking - him and me. We had no agenda, there was no route, which was mapped out, and we had no plans. This was a walk without an agenda. We did not ask where to stay, where to walk. He was a man who hardly ate anything, but he made sure that when I was hungry, I got something. Sometimes when there was no food, I did not eat. So it was a very personal journey. Sometimes you want to unfold; sometimes you want to go back in. There is no reason for it.Being a ‘Parivrajaka’ is supposed to be an important element in one's spiritual life. Since I knew that you people don't usually become parivrajakas, I decided to bring you all out and be made parivrajakas for some time. If you have chosen to come, it is your choice. Babaji used to tell me, you want to go back, go back, with no regrets and no hard feelings. You are also free to go back anytime. Q. I have been doing sadhana for a long time and there are some very sensitive issues for me. Sometimes I feel like being very quiet, I just want to be quiet. A. I don't know if it has anything to do with your Sadhana. Sometimes being quiet is good and sometimes talking is good. After a few more questions, the session ended. Around a hundred school children from K.V. G First Grade College and ITI, Bhagamandala, were waiting to meet him. Sri M spoke to them about Walk of Hope, its mission and objectives. He said, “We started on January 12th, 2015 on the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda from Kanyakumari towards Srinagar. We have covered Tamil Nadu, Kerala and entered Karnataka through Bhagamandala. We have completed almost 1000 kms on foot. We have to finish another 6000 kms or so by April, 2016. We will probably reach Srinagar.” “The idea is that we may have different faiths, different religions, different ideologies. But, remember that we are all human beings, human beings who breathe the same air, who eat the same food and when we die, we will go to the same earth. So, whatever be your faith, whatever is your ideology, you are a human being. Be kind to each other; love each other, live together as one. This is why this is called Manav Ekta Mission. Please remember this when you grow up.”  “When you grow up, do not let anybody bring violence into your minds. There are mothers and children in your house, in the same way, there are mothers and children in other’s houses. They will feel the pain you feel. Manav Ekta is the idea with which we are walking. We are walking 20 - 25 kms everyday in the hot sun and it is a difficult thing. It is better here, much cooler, though in Kerala it was very hot. Wherever we are going, we are planting a sapling and calling it 'Mythiri'— also 'my tree', the tree of friendship.“ He concluded by suggesting that they should form small groups and undertake social activities, starting from keeping their own homes clean, keeping their schools and neighbor-hoods clean and planting trees whereever possible. He thanked them and the teachers for joining him here. After this, two movies on Walk of Hope were screened for the students after which they dispersed. Later in the day after lunch and afternoon coffee, the Padayatris reassembled at the Math for the evening Satsang at 4.00 p.m. Soon after, the dignitaries arrived along with Sri M and they, together, cut a ceremonial ribbon marking the formal Walk of Hope's entry into Karnataka. All of them proceeded towards the venue for today’s event, an open ground in front of the Bhagamandala Temple. The event started by an invocation followed by a brief introduction to Walk of Hope. The dignitaries present included Sri Sri Narayana Achar, Chief priest of Talacauvery Bhagamandala Kshetra, Sri Bodhswarupananda, President, Sri Ramakrishna Shardashram of Poonampet, Sri Sri Wasim Ahmed, President, Ahmadi Association and Sri Manu Muthappa, President of Talacauvery Bhagamandala Temple committee.The Guests of Honour addressed the gathering of about 150 people. Many from the media were also present. Sri M addressed the gathering briefly. He spoke about Swami Vivekananda and said that Swami Vivekananda was his greatest inspiration.He added, “in Ramakrishna Mission, everyone is called a Maharaj and not a Swami because there is only one Swami, that is Swamiji.” Sri M then narrated the story of how Swamiji’s co-monks expressed their displeasure to him about his establishing ‘serving the poor’ as one of the main activities of the Mission. They felt he was moving away from the precincts of Sri Ramakrishna’s teachings. Swamiji was annoyed and, while preparing to leave the Math as a result, spoke about Sri Ramakrishna’s pilgrimage along with Mathur Babu (Rani Rasmoni’s son-in-law) to Deogarh, Varanasi, Allahabad and Vrindavan. At that time, the town of Deogarh was undergoing a severe famine and the people were dying from hunger and thirst. Sri Ramakrishna, seeing the plight of the villagers was deeply anguished and refused to move from the place unless Mathur Babu organized a supply of rations for their survival. A reluctant Mathur Babu had to accede to his request. Sri Ramakrishna ate only after the villagers were fed. The fellow monks immediately realized their mistake and asked Swamiji to continue to head the Order. He then spoke about how Swamiji had tears flowing down his cheeks when he was informed of a dear friend’s demise. An onlooker wanted to know how a sanyasi could cry and Swamijir replied saying that being a sanyasi did not mean being cold-hearted or unfeeling. “Once I was meditating on the banks of the River Ganga, my Guru MaheswarnathBabaji told me ‘Thirteen hours of meditation everyday, for thirteen years would not be of any use if you do not hear the hungry cry of a neighbour’s child. All your efforts would be useless.’” Sri M continued, “We started padayatra at Kanyakumari, which is a ‘sangamam’—a confluence of three seas. We have come to another sangama today – the Trivenisangama. The hope is that we reach Kashmir. I keep telling my sahayatris that this is an inner yatra as well as an external yatra. Unless we start the inner journey along with our physical yatra where we examine our minds, understand our blemishes and work on them, the external journey is of not much use.” “We should remember that in every house there is a mother, there is a child, and when any of them die, they suffer as much as you suffer. This much has to be understood, this is the only agenda of Walk of Hope. Discuss matters as Samvaada (dialogue), not as Vidvisha (conflict). Togetherness must come from this country because it has been our tradition to welcome foreign people to this country even when they were persecuted in other parts of the world. Once the seeds are sown in the heart of the young, a new India will emerge and it will be an example to the world.” He thanked everyone present at the event, everyone who was walking despite his or her problems and everyone who supported the Walk of Hope.
He quoted from Vivekananda – Each soul is potentially divine. The goal is to manifest this divinity by controlling nature, external and internal. Do this either by work, or worship, or psychic control, or philosophy - by one, or more, or all of these - and be free. This is the whole of religion. Doctrines, or dogmas, or rituals, or books, or temples, or forms, are but secondary details.
He concluded his address by asking people to pray for Walk of Hope. The evening program was complete with the National Anthem being sung at the end. With the evening light fading and a cold wind blowing, the padayatris walked back to the Math. They had dinner at 7.30 pm and dispersed for the night.The reinvigorated walkers look forward to getting back on the road, and continuing their Walk of Hope after two days of rest.

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