Source: Kolkata mirror
A man dressed in a beatific smile, with a hand constantly reaching out to bless the ones streaming in can most prospectively be a saint’s. One such saint, Swami Sri Madhusudan, has been walking Kolkata’s streets, doing exactly this, under the Art of Living (AOL) Padayatra program Anugrahotsav (the divine present).
Swamiji is in the city to spread Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s message of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. Said Swamiji about this spiritual-walking movement, “We are reaching out to more and more people as it is the need of the hour. They are waiting for us. We’ll give not only practical wisdom but also walk on the road.”
Swamiji’s yatra has covered many parts of Kolkata including Manicktala, Beliaghata, Salt Lake, Rajabazar, Thakupukur, Kalighat, Howrah, etc. On these walks, mostly covering half to 1 km, he is accompanied by AOL volunteers. Members are seen carrying placards with messages of peace, singing devotional songs, inviting and encouraging people to take Swamiji’s blessings, distributing smiley badges, fruits, biscuits and pictures of Swamiji himself.
Ravi Ranka, volunteer, AOL says that in India people have faith in blessings of saints. “You can do good by many a means – by feeding others, helping at mental, financial, spiritual level. This movement is a spiritual one – the character of individuals changes by being blessed.”
According to Seema Hirwani, another volunteer, this is an awareness program, which holds masses psychologically and thus facilitates linking between themselves and the larger society and spiritual self. “We are going to slum areas mostly as it is in these areas that the level of spiritual awareness is less and Swamiji’s blessing will give them an outlet which is restricted to the people of the upper strata usually.”
India, known for it’s faith in the divine, has always had miracles during such journeys. One such miracle took place during this program. “We went to Nadia and this woman who had been confined to a wheelchair got up and started walking after Swamiji’s blessing!” recounted another volunteer.
Ajoy Saha, teacher at AOL, said that AOL envisions one world family with a smile on every face. Swamiji will be in Kolkata till November 6, whereon he will visit other northeast states and return to other parts of West Bengal including Durgapur, Purulia, Murshidabad, Aila affected area Basanti, Siliguri, Darjeeling, Gangtok, among others.
Defining spirituality as ‘something very open, the essence of religion’, Swamiji’s message to people is, “People needs to broaden their vision, delve deep into their roots, see things in an open perspective, be centered and calm and responding to the needs of the moment without panicking, getting stressed or violent.”
Having toured many parts of India, did Swamiji find anything different in Kolkata? “I felt the people in Kolkata are more deeply devotional than in other parts of the country.”