by Ahammed Hashir
Every journey purifies their heart, like the water polishes the rocks and cleanses the waste.
Life itself is a journey and every journey gives you a lifelong learning experience. But when you do start the journey, you have to forget all the things you knew or had experienced up until that moment. Because from that very moment you have to listen and see the wonders around you without any prejudice. Every journey makes you more kind and more compassionate. It makes you realize just how small you are on this big planet. You have to open up your eyes and sharpen your hearing. Only when your curiosity is strong and your senses are wide awake, you experience and feel the beauty of the journey.
This expedition on foot in the land of Bharat gave us plenty of memorable experiences. From having to meet different people each and every day, experiencing something different with each of them, this journey also taught us many life lessons. It taught us to be passionate about everything we do and everyone we know. To love everyone with an open heart, to love unconditionally. To be the messengers of peace and kindness and to accept the world and its people with nothing but love.
We began this journey with the purpose of spreading the message of peace and love, the concept of ‘Vasudhaiva kutumbakam’ and Mohanji’s omnipresent message ‘One World, One Family’, standing with refugees next to the slogan ‘No more displacements, no more war, no more hunger’.
Let us share with you a few of the various experiences we had. While we were in Madhya Pradesh, we came across a little Ashram along a less known road (not even shown on maps) where we decided to have a rest after a long walk. Upon entering the Ashram, a Guruji noticed us and invited to visit it daily from that day on. He called us ‘Ram ji’ and told us that it was common in their culture to respect the guest as God (Atithi Devo Bhava) and respect everyone as ‘Ram’. He fed us and took us to meet the village people. We participated the village festivities and had a chance to share our message. He also took us to a nearby Ganapathy Temple where he offered prayers for our safety and joy. Similarly, in Dewas we stayed in a Mahalaxmi temple, where they gave us overnight shelter and blessed us in the morning with the words: “May the blessings of Mata Ji be with you”.
On this long journey we stayed in a lot of ashrams and gurdwaras. And every Gurdwara we stayed in welcomed us with warmth and gave us food and shelter. At one moment of this journey, when we were resting near Shivpuri outside of a Gurdwara, the main priest approached us, wanting to know more about us and our journey. After listening to our story, he welcomed us to their Gurudwara and invited us to be their guests that night. They fed us and even packed us some food for the next day. Another time, while we were travelling to Shirdi, we saw a group of nomads near the highway. We thought to ourselves “why don’t we stay with them for the night?” So, we approached their leader Ram Lal, who fluently spoke 14 Indian languages, and asked for permission. They wholeheartedly welcomed us, cooked for us and shared their experiences about travelling throughout the country.
During the entire journey we met many people who invited us to their homes and hosted us. We also had the opportunity to take part in a lot of Sewa activities on this journey. While we were in Shirdi, we participated in Anandan conducted by Ammucare volunteers. In Delhi we shared our experiences with Mohanji ka Aangan children and planted hundred trees together with them. Then, in Punjab we visited The Golden Temple and also participated in Sewa by giving water to strangers, washing plates and sharing food. We also participated in Jammu by doing Annadan at a Shiva temple where we stayed for a day. These rich experiences taught us the lesson of spreading kindness around and the value of feeding the hungry. Even though this wasn`t new to us since we had read about it previously, the feeling we got after seeing the light in people’s eyes was something we couldn`t experience reading a book or watching a video. That feeling showed us how small we were, and at the same time, how blessed we were.
The only problem we faced during the journey was getting robbed of our cellphone in Punjab. While we were taking a photo of the sunset, two people came on a bike, took away our cell phone and disappeared on their bike. All the data and photos were stored on that particular phone, so we were unable to share most of them, but we believed something good might come out of this as well.
All that we experienced on our journey is going to help us on our other journey of becoming better humans, to be the light bearers of peace, love and humanity. After all, it has been an experience of a lifetime. Every eye we met had a story to tell. And like Globetrotter Santhosh George Kulangara said: “If you want to travel to only one country in your lifetime, then you should visit your motherland, especially if you’re an Indian. You can see the world within”. There is no other country other than India that has such a rich culture, different people, multiple languages, variety of food and diversity of any kind in abundance. This is a country you cannot experience completely within one lifetime, but rather a country you must travel to at least once in your lifetime!
We are thankful to all those who supported us: Mohanji foundation, Ammucare charitable trust, ACT 4 Hunger, and OCI club. While many people flooded us with their negativity, these foundations stood by us and supported us financially and mentally till the very end of the journey. We all are also grateful to our Guru and inspiration Brahmashri Mohanji and Shri.Kamal Muhammed from OCI Club, Shri Aditya Nagpal from Mohanji Foundation and Shri.Devadas from Ammucare Charitable Trust who were kind enough and coordinated the whole journey
Our sincere gratitude to Media, Press club of Ernakulam & Kannur, leading Newspapers from Kerala, Malayala Manorama, Mathrubhumi, News 18, Channel Prime 21, Club FM Kannur, Red FM Thrissur, Navhind Times Goa, and all the other online media that supported us all along.
Also to Bike and Bullet lady rider club, Shri Robin Thirumala, Smt.Libas Sadiq, Shri. Denny Vattakunnel, Smt. Kartika, Ms.Maryam Kamal, Shri Rameshan master, Smt. Surya, Shri. Damodaran Master, Shri. Saleem Image,Shri. Saife Valapra, Shri. Musthu Thambus, Smt. T.K. Sujata, Smt. Reeja Teacher, Shri. Vivek Menon, S Advocate Shri Madusoodanan, Smt. Chitra, Shri. Shyam Ireland, Smt. Girija, Sri. Mohammed Kutty Al Salama, Gisselle Mehta and family from Mangalore, Shri. KD Raw ji from Goa, Goa Tourism Department, Shri. Gyaneshwar and Ammucare volunteers from Shirdi, Kirti Khandelwal, Shri. Vishwa Mitra Yogesh Mathuria, Adeel.
We also received blessings from Balettan, Shri.Sunil from Gujarat, Harmeet Kaur and Ammucare volunteers from Delhi, Briji Thilak and family from Agra, Mamu from Jammu, Shri. Shamoon Bangalore, Shri. Zawahir Sidiq and a lot of people who inspired us to go on this journey and gave us food and shelter on our way. We have stayed in Ashrams, gurdwaras, churches, mosques, petrol pumps, dhabas and streets. We are eternally thankful to those who extended their unconditional love to us and taught us a beautiful lesson by doing so.