With 18 kilometers to cover today, the Walk started at 6.45 am—a bit later than usual. After a leisurely cup of coffee amidst the rock formations close by, Sri M and the walkers commenced the walk from the Jain Temple, Ramanagara towards Bidadi, on the outskirts of Bangalore. The route progressed along State Highway #17 as in the previous days.
Soon after they left, a group of about 30 people greeted Sri M and the walkers had a short break. Walking on for more than an hour, they reached a Rama temple, which was the breakfast spot for the day. Here children from Spastics Society of India greeted Sri M and the walkers. Sri M spent time interacting with them.
Ramanagara to Bangalore, a short distance route, has its landscape turning more and more urbanized with earlier farmlands now converted for commercial uses. Leaving after breakfast, around 10.30 am, another group of about 20 people welcomed Sri M soon enough. This was time for a break and refreshment. Needless to say, the sun’s heat is unrelenting by this time. An hour or so later, they reached Eagleton Golf Resort in Bidadi. The yatris had passed through villages like Madapura, Mayaganahalli, Kallugopahalli and so on before reaching the resort.
Eagleton Golf Resort is spread across a 500-acre complex with lush green environment. Rated as one among the top 5 Golf courses in India, it has expansive clubhouses and a hotel with about three million square feet of developed space. The walkers have become true travelers after 75 days on the road; they are at home in sheds, and they are at home in the lap of luxury, though a little overwhelmed. All of them are assigned to lavish air-conditioned bungalows in the Eagleton premises.
As Walk of Hope reaches Bangalore, the momentum is increasing and this is palpable. There are more and more new people everyday - some of them stay with the padayatra, some of them walk for a day or two and leave. For those who have been walking long, the big cities with bright lights are eye-catching but it is the simple small towns and villages that are more appealing. To cite an instance, during Satsang, they sit at Sri M's feet in villages; in cities, they see him far away on a stage.
Reaching Eagleton, the procession was welcomed warmly. Sri M's padapuja (Washing of the Feet) was done as a token of appreciation, love and reverence towards him and the mission he has taken up. Following this, there was lunch and the walkers settled into their resting places after that.
The yatris gathered again at the Gulmohar Hall in Eagleton premises for a jam-packed evening. The evening started with a welcome program by IKON Nursing College students and Spastics Society of India, followed by mellifluous Carnatic bhajans. A concert with instrumental devotional music followed, all staged in the duration of an hour and a half. Sri M addressed the gathering after this.
Sri M started his address with Gurustotram – prayers to the Universal Guru
Akhand-Mandalakaram vyaptam yena characharam.
Tatpadam darshitam yena tasmai Shri Gurave Namah.
Agnana timir-andhasya Gnananjan Shalakaya.
Chakshur-oonmeelitam yena tasmai Shri Gurave Namah.
Gurur-Brahma Gurur-Vishnu Gurur-Devo
Maheshwarah. Guru-sakshat Para-Brahma tasmai Shri Gurave Namah.
My Salutations to that Guru who revealed to me
that Truth, which is unfragmented, infinite, timeless
divinity, and which pervades the entire universe –
movable or unmovable.
My Salutations to that reverential teacher, who
opened my eyes, by applying the divine collyrium of
self-knowledge in my eyes, which had got blinded
by the cataract of ignorance.
Guru himself is the creator, sustainer and the
destroyer. He is verily the very transcendental
divinity. My reverential salutations to that glorious teacher.
He continued, “Before we go into the subject of the Satsang, I want to thank a few people here for having brought us to such comfort after walking a thousand and four hundred kilometers. Here, it feels so luxurious compared to what we are used to during our padayatra and so when we see a bed here, we feel like sleeping on the floor. Actually, when I found out that we were going to Eagleton, I thought we were going to attend a program. I was trying to stay away from it actually, because in a long time, I have not played golf.”
“I also thank Mr. Krishnaswamy of the Spastics Society of India. In fact, our Treasurer is not here, so I give Rs. One Lakh to them from the Satsang Foundation. Since he is not here, I need not be afraid.” He remarked, “It is nothing, I know, but it is a gesture from us. It is a wonderful performance they put up here today. I would like to thank them for the wonderful music we heard. I would like to thank the people who hosted the yatris and all the others who contributed materially to bring about such events. Last, but not the least, thanks to Eagleton itself for hosting us.”
“The thing is that today they sang one of my favourite songs'.. maine ram ratan jo payo...'. In this era, in this Kali Yuga, not many people are interested in Ram Ratan, they are interested in other ratans. Let me tell you a story from Tamil Nadu. Once there was a famous saint and Yogi, called Ramalinga Swami. When he passed away, no one knew about it for several days. He lived in a room with only one door. So, when he did not come outside for many days, they went inside and found only a white cloth that he was wearing with one small chit written in Tamil. It said, 'I spread out my wares and there were no takers so I went away'. I hope the same thing does not happen here. I wish and hope that there are some takers for it, at least. The wares we have are not commercial wares, so there are very little takers for it.”
“However, that is the situation of the world and you can't do anything about it. Now the thing is, I have not forgotten the question asked of me and I remember he ended it by asking if a Guru was needed. It is true that in contact with a spiritual person, one can also become spiritual. He also asked me to speak on myself. In this matter, I have to say one thing that is very important. There are cases like Ramana Maharshi who appeared to have no Guru; but if they do not have a guru, my understanding is that in some previous life, they did have some Guru and would have gone through some instructions.”
“Generally, it is not so, especially in Kali Yuga. My experience is that had not Maheswarnath Babaji picked me up and embraced me, I don't think I could have done anything at all. My father, very seriously, told me to become a building contractor. I would have become that. I would probably have married and had five to six children. But, it did not happen because Babaji picked me up and took me with him. He took me and I spent some years with him travelling with him in the Himalayas.”
“The travelling itself, apart from the instructions, does a great deal to your inner soul, to your mind, to your body. What we are doing is an imitation of that walk. You also asked me about the inner walk so I am mixing up everything for you - I can't think in linear terms but in fuzzy logic, you connect here and there. People say nowadays that if children don't study for more than an hour, they have attention deficiency disorder. They come to me, I tell them I had it from childhood, I have it even now. What we are looking for may not be what we are interested in. If we are interested in something, there is no attention deficiency disorder.”
“I am hoping - I am not Babaji - that you travel with me in a long continuous journey, it is not merely a journey from Kanyakumari to Kashmir – of course, it has a social aspect and that is very important. This comes from my inner experience, my understanding, my anubhava. My experience is that at the core of every being is a spark of the divine and, therefore, we are united together as human beings. People are different; otherwise, we would not know the difference between two people. Since they are different we are able to distinguish. According to our Brahmasutras, prakriti is that which diversifies. There is nothing strange about this diversity. But, in the midst of this diversity, there is a unity. As human beings, we are born on this earth, we die on this earth, we have the same number of eyes and nose and ears like anybody else, we speak, we eat. In every house, there are mothers, there are sisters, if violence takes place in one home, it is the same as if it were in your own home; there is no difference. So those who are walking with me, consider it as a Yagnya - not simply walking for a social cause; the social cause is the understanding that we, as human beings, are one - this is the reason for the walk.”
“For me, in my experience, it was a great dream that I received from my Master. In fact, I hesitate to call him Master—he was a friend to me, a father, a mother, I don't know what to say. All put together, rolled into one. There is a man here who said to me that every morning and every evening he wants to touch my feet. I said to him, let us see how long you can continue this. I was also like this. Every morning and night, I used to do Namaskar to Babaji. It was so pleasurable that I started doing it all the time - in the afternoon, every time I got up. “
“One day he told me, you do not have to do this. It is in your heart. Because everything he said, I took as truth, I did exactly as he said and I stopped. I am saying, this is the relation between the teacher and the taught - it is an intimate relation. It takes a lot of years, being with a spiritual teacher, to even begin to learn the meaning of it. So, luckily for me, I don't know why, after many births being battered up and down, I found Maheswarnath Babaji.“
“The job given to me is not for one person, it is for many people’s spiritual evolution. It can never happen that any one person will be with me alone, always. This is not possible and it is not necessary. Because, whatever I have taken, the sustenance I have taken, the amrita that has been drunk from the source, is to be shared with everyone. It can't just be given only to some people; this is not possible. And when we share it, we should share it with everyone, no matter whether that person is good or bad - it does not matter. Slowly, by taking a small sip, they change their minds. Believe me, it has happened and it is happening in some way or the other.”
“You said that I am simple. This simplicity is not an act. Life is simple actually, truth is simple - it is as simple as the sun that rises in the morning. You don't have to do anything, you just have to open your curtains and look. When you touch at least a beam of that; you can't touch the whole sun - you will burn to ashes; when you touch a ray of that, you can't remain complex, it is not possible. This is something natural, you don't have to practice it.”
“To those people who have known me for some days, I want to say something. I sometimes talk to people, I joke, they joke, they laugh, but I - at least now - even when it is a joke, give some attention to it, there might be something in it. That is how Babaji was and this is what has come into my head. It may be a simple thing. And, when you don't talk to people - first of all, now, my walk is my talk – and even when you talk, many times, there is nothing to talk about. Somebody comes to you, you do the minimum amount of talking and say that this is the essential thing to be done. You meet them after six months or one year, nothing has been done. What should I say? Should I keep on saying it?”
“Change does not come easily. It comes with lots of effort. You say grace will save. But you have to keep the windows open for the grace to come. And how do you keep the windows open? That is the instruction that the teacher gives. You cannot do more than keep the windows open; when you keep the windows open, then the grace that is always there, will come in. You cannot decide when the breeze is going to blow, you cannot decide. But you can keep your windows open so that when it blows, the grace comes in.”
“Believe me, each instruction may be different. There are so many people who come to me and instructions for each one maybe different. I will give you an example. If someone has a certain quality that they need to cut to move forward, my instruction will be in accordance of it. To another person, this instruction may not be needed because that quality need not be trimmed. I would sometimes say, ‘do it’.
To the other person I may say ’stop it’. The only general direction I have is that you study one's mind and find out what are the flaws, because if you don't look, you do not find out. You find out their flaws and you deal with it. It may be different with different people.”
“So, I will end this answer by saying that you also have to follow the instruction of the teacher and not say that grace will come and do whatever you like, this is not possible. You have to put in some effort. If I tell you how to go out from Eagleton to Bangalore, you have to find the way. Instead, if you say that you are the greatest teacher, you have told me the way to get to Bangalore, deck garlands on my neck, will you go there? You yourself will have to go.”
“You don't have to seek grace, it is always there”.
“On samskaras: It is like this, there are good samskaras and there are bad samskaras. You don't have to transcend the good ones. You only have to transcend those, which act as an obstacle to our movement to truth. The thing is that most of our samskaras is based on happiness. Why do we do various things? Because we want pleasure, we want happiness out of it. This is what attracts us. Let me have a house, let me have a car - I have two, I am not talking about me, please - in general, this is what people want. I have a house, I have a car, I have a wife, I have an income, I have children. They get bored with it. Then, what is the next part? They say, let us look at the neighbour.”
“The problem is that when we have enough food and luxury, there is a desire for me to indulge. The first thing is to watch that, to be aware that this is happening. Why do people do tapasya? Because if, for instance, your sexual energies are running rampant, then how do we get free of it - these are some of the things that hold you down and don't allow you to rise. Nothing to do with love, it has to do with chemical hormones. What are we to do then? Suppose, we don't eat food for five days, you will see that all this has gone for some time. It is only that when you are fed well, desire comes up. All practices are meant to cut down these extraneous desires that consume you. We are not saying that you should not indulge. But, it is a distraction from your true self. This is something you have to watch all the time.”
“Renunciation is not the changing of the robes. Changing a robe, you can change it to any robe. People may wear different veshas (costumes), but it does not mean anything. The mind cannot remain unoccupied. It has to remain occupied with something that gives it happiness. If it does not, it will naturally find something that gives it happiness and pleasure in the outside world. Therefore, you have to learn how to find the inner pleasures and inner happiness. When that begins to dawn on you, when you begin to get that Ram Ratan, that Ambrosia, then automatically, you will not get attracted to these things. Otherwise, it is not possible.”
“Indriyas have to be controlled. The Indriyas cannot be controlled because the mind cannot remain without a target. So, bind your mind to something that is within and is enjoyable. One’s search for the truth is like the Kasturi Mriga. The musk deer emanates a beautiful fragrance during a certain season. Not knowing that it emanates from it’s own body, the deer searches all over, pushing its snout into shrubs and getting its snout tangled in thorny brushes wherein it starts to bleed; even then it does not stop looking for that elusive smell.”
“We also have the same thing here. If you begin to enjoy That, slowly, the enjoyment of the outside will begin to disappear. When we are in this world, we have certain things to do, I agree. But, you need not get totally caught up by it, and you can limit your expression and not go around distributing it everywhere. We are not a seed of grass or flower that is cast in the wind, going around and reproducing. Keep it to yourself. So, in the ancient times, people have said, meditate and find the joy within yourself. Or, when you get attracted towards the deity, you mind is occupied internally. Then, you are able to free yourself from things that pull you down. The earlier you start the practice by which you can enjoy the inner, the easier it would be for you to let go of the outer. When you have touched the source and felt the absoluteness of it, a time will come when you will be compelled to share it with others. It will not be like, I am doing this, I am doing that. It will be an overflowing of love and affection. It will not be business. This overflowing of love will only happen when you discover the inner being is the same as the inner being of all living people. Keep thinking about it, it will take time. Lastly, let me tell you, in the spiritual journey, there are no shortcuts, the way is hard and one must be determined to walk until the goal is reached.”
Following the Satsang, the gathering dispersed to the garden of a bungalow nearby. There, everyone lit glow lamps in balloons and released them into the night sky. For a few minutes, the inky black sky was lit up.
During dinner, the yatris enjoyed retro music by Saar Musa Sait and his troupe. Soon after this, they retired for the night.