Day 4 - Cauvery Diaries: Of Motorcycles and a Mystic
Day 3 Highlights CauveryDiaries
The Motorcade makes its way from Hunsur towards Mysuru (the birthplace of a certain Mystic whom you may be familiar with!). Sometimes Sadhguru stops just to spend time at the banks of Cauvery and drink the water, while on other occasions they slow down to acknowledge cheering bystanders who show their support by waving Cauvery Calling banners. Wherever they go, the atmosphere is electric!
Cauvery Calling Paints Mysuru Blue!
Our blue-clad bikers roared through the streets of the gentle city, causing quite a few heads to turn and raising awareness for CauveryCalling.
Cauvery Calling Paints Mysuru Blue!— Rally For Rivers - Cauvery Calling (@rallyforrivers) September 6, 2019
Our blue-clad bikers roared through the streets of the gentle city, causing quite a few heads to turn and raising awareness for #CauveryCalling#CauveryDiaries - Day 4
Live Blog at: https://t.co/25EYyLBIY8 pic.twitter.com/phja5O3QSD
A Mix at Mandya - Event Snippets
The Mandya event witnessed an eclectic mix of speakers - actors, scientists, royalty and a Mystic!
Dr. M. A. Shankar started off the event, and in continuation of his previous days’ speech in Mysuru, recounted the virtues of agroforestry and how it is the perfect solution to all the environmental problems and the economic problems of the farmers.
Rockline Venkatesh, actor and producer, spoke about how water is very important water to every one of us. He spoke about how as children the rivers were filled with water. But now when we take children out to see the river, all they can see is sand, and in their minds they believe that is how rivers should be. He questioned if this was the legacy that we wanted to leave our children.
Actress Hariprriya, happily claimed that no other campaign has the reach that Cauvery Calling has gathered. She said that it was our social responsibility to plant trees and save nature. She believes that Sadhguru is not only planting trees, but also planting harmony between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
D.R. M.V. Venkatesh explained how trees act like an aquifer and soil acts like a sponge when it rains. He brought out a government action plan for which planning is underway to plant trees in the 1 km range around the tributaries of Cauvery and provide support for 3 years.
Maharaja Yaduveer Waddiyar, referred to the historical importance of Cauvery as all the dynasties from the Hoysala Empire to Vijayanagar Empire took birth on the banks of Cauvery. He promised that the Mysuru Palace is in full support of Sadhguru’s efforts to revitalize Cauvery.
Sumalatha Ambareesh, placed her faith in the people of Mandya and requested them to be on top in the effort to bring back Cauvery. Stating that Cauvery is not just a river but our mother, she asked if children couldn’t save their mother, then who can? She went on to speak about how Cauvery Calling is not just for the farmers; it is about water and water is for all of us.
Madde Gowda, the 92-year-old freedom fighter, spoke about how important trees were to us and urged everyone to support Sadhguru in whatever he is doing to make this happen.
At last, when Sadhguru took the mike, he reminisced about the time he spent with Cauvery. He said, “When I was with Cauvery, I always felt that I was a small creature while Cauvery was such a monumental life form. But right now, we have reduced her to the state where she has to call us for help.”
What the Farmers of Mandya Think of Agroforestry
Volunteers who were out in the field for the Farmers’ Outreach Campaign, imparting knowledge about agroforestry to farmers, have been coming out with life-altering experiences.
Vinay from Mysuru had just started out with plans of volunteering for 5 days till he realized after 5 days that he didn’t want to leave. So he extended his trip for 3 more days. The trucks that were traveling to the villages had an in-built LED screen on which the volunteers played an informative video about agroforestry to a gathering of farmers. Initially all was going swell, but then suddenly they landed up with technical problems and the video wouldn’t play. So the volunteers started making house visits.
Vinay shares, “I see now Mandya farmers are more educated about farming than we thought. They were suggesting many solutions to us too. I saw that the people didn’t want to hear all our explanations about agroforestry but just wanted to know about what species of saplings we would give them and how much they cost. Then we came across others who were very interested in agroforestry and with whom we had a very good conversation, but they didn't have a farm!
In another incident in Mandya district, Parthasarathy H.M. from Adamgere grama, voluntarily approached the volunteers to let them know that he was an agroforestry farmer and very interested in growing saplings. He swore by agroforestry as a solution to his financial troubles. He owns 8-10 acres of land on which he has planted trees like Melia dubia, teak, silver oak and neem apart from the coconut trees. He saw Cauvery Calling advertisements and came to ask the volunteers for saplings.
6:15pm - After the Mandya event, Sadhguru is mobbed! He revs it up again for his next destination. Stay tuned for some snippets from the talk. Or check out the webstream.
Lore & Legends - Mandya
Starting from Mysuru to the edges of the Eastern Ghats, Mandya district is part of a large plateau. The town of Mandya has been called different names in the past, based on the various stories of its origin.
For instance, it was once known as “Vedaranya” as a rishi (sage) in this place was engaged in teaching wild beasts how to pronounce the sacred sound “Veda”. Later, it said that Vishnu appeared before another rishi here, and so it was bestowed the name “Vishnupura.”
So then how did the name “Mandya” come about? As is usual in Indian oral traditions, there are multiple stories to explain this. One says that one of the kings built a fort and temple here and called it Mandevemu, which later was distorted to Mandya. Another legend says it is named after the great sage Mandavya who lived and meditated in the area.
Chilling Out After the Satsang
Participants try to weave their emotions in words after sitting in the divine presence of Sadhguru at the satsang on Chamundi hill.
Raju Datla felt closer to his own source, “Sadhguru is my source,” he shared. "I saw Devi in him today."
"I was stoned out. I had no thoughts. I wasn't even looking at him half the time," says Wei Liang from Singapore.
Rahul Sharma shared his feelings with cheer in his voice: "Mind-blowing! I was on a high, I see him whenever he is in the US, and mostly we don't miss a chance to go and have his darshan.”
A Sweet Gesture for Cauvery
23-year old Abhishek’s ice cream shop customers must be sorely disappointed, if they head out today in the evening for a sweet scoop of ice cream. He shut shop early today as Sadhguru is at Mandya and he is not going to miss the chance of meeting the Mystic. He was inquiring with people who were wearing Cauvery Calling T-shirts about Sadhguru’s arrival time with high excitement.
An avid follower of Sadhguru for the past one year, he says what he likes most about Sadhguru is that he speaks with clarity. He confessed that more than half of the town’s youth are big fans of Sadhguru. Abhishek was also quite impressed when he came to know that Sadhguru had launched Cauvery Calling, the most needed ecological movement at the moment.
Earlier, when Sadhguru zoomed in to the venue, he got a standing, high-energy welcome. Janapada Mallayya’s had people stay on their feet and jive to the melody and beats. Soon Sadhguru, who had taken a seat, also had to stand and clap!
4:45pm - The 1300 capacity hall is packed tightly and still more people are waiting outside to participate in the event!
4:40pm - Janapada Mallayya, a popular folk artist, has the crowd whistling and cheering to his lively tunes.
4:35pm - Sounds of Isha rocks the hall! People joyously stand up and wave the blue! Watch the live stream.
4:15pm - Sadhguru enters Mandya. The two police bikers, who flanked Sadhguru on either side, traveled with him continuously from Mysuru to Mandya. They displayed excellent vigilance.
3:55pm - 600 students of 1st and 2nd PUC from JS College, Mandya, led a vociferous procession for several kilometers through the town before reaching the event venue. Their hair-raising slogans could be heard: "What are we struggling for? The struggle is for water!"
Farmer Suicides in Mandya
As shared by Sadhguru earlier, the farmer suicide count in India is higher than the fatalities of its four wars combined.
Mandya district has the third highest number of suicides in Karnataka according to the State Crime Records Bureau from 2015-2019, 285 farmers committed suicide. From 2015-19, 24% of Karnataka’s suicides took place in this region though it accounts for only 16% of the state’s population.
The intensity of suicides is extremely high at 62 suicides per lakh hectares of net sown area and 49 farmer suicides per lakh hectare of gross sown area.
Mandya - The Sugar City
Today, Sadhguru’s bike stops in Mandya, also known as “sugar city.” India is the 2nd largest producer of water-intensive sugarcane in the world. It takes 1500-3000 liters of water to produce just one kilo of sugarcane! That’s like taking at least a 12½ hour shower!
To find out more about the visible and invisible ways you (and the planet) use water, read this article to find out more about your water footprint.
3:25pm - Participants are already heading to Mandya, and riders are waiting to rev up at the entrance of the JSS College - the benevolent host for the Cauvery Calling crew.
Here is Sadhguru's bike at the entrance...too eagerly waiting for her Mystic rider.
Sadhguru’s event in Mandya today will begin shortly. Tune in here at 4:00pm.
Watch the Day 2 Highlights of Cauvery Calling!
The bikers ride on through the monsoon downpour, from Nagarhole to an event at Hunsur, and then to Krishna Raja Sagara, at the end of Day 2.
Today, Cauvery Calling will reach Mandya.
In preparation for this big day, this bunch of young enthusiasts reached out to thousands of people in a hundred villages around Mandya.
They visited around 15 schools and conducted drawing competitions and other awareness activities about the state of River Cauvery. Overall they did around 50 events in schools and villages. Their door-to-door visit plan was a whopping success where they managed to distribute around 35,000 brochures. Kumar (shown below) was the mastermind behind this brilliant attempt.
As if that wasn’t enough, they organized a bike rally with nearly 80 bikes and conducted a mini awareness ride. Everything is possible when it comes to Cauvery Calling!
The satsang got over a few hours ago.
11:45am - Sadhguru had a media interview and an interaction with cricketer Veda Krishnamurthy too.
Sadhguru enquired about her game and was impressed to know of her achievements. She then went on to ask him some tips to improve her game and rein in her wandering thoughts. Sadhguru advised her to "take one ball at a time" and shared a few other tips with her. Veda was also keen to know how sportspersons can all come together to put their weight behind Cauvery Calling.
12:45pm – Sadhguru spoke at the Hasiru Mysuru (Green Mysuru) event, where four generous organizations of Mysuru pledged to plant 1 lakh trees in the city.
He applauded the donors, “It's wonderful that 1 lakh new trees will come up in Mysuru. Wherever it is planted, you must see if it is doing well or not. It doesn't matter whose plant it is, because right now we are in Cauvery Kugu (Cauvery’s Call). Trees are not just individual lives, but they are also of the society.”
Sadhguru also brought out the point that India’s capital is its people. He said, “We can be a miracle if we use these people as a positive force. And they are largely youth, so you should be able to inspire them to act.”
Planting Trees - A Gift For Our Children
Childhood used to mean playing outside - an adventurous run in lush green forests or hanging on tree branches and picking fruits. For today’s children, this looks like a distant possibility, unless we come together to plant trees and protect our rivers.
For these kids (below) from Tamil Nadu, and many others like them, Cauvery Calling has come as a ray of hope. Their father and uncle want to give them a chance to enjoy the blessings of nature, and so they promised to plant over one lakh trees as a gift for their bright future.
Meet Our Motorcyclists - Shashi Kumar
As we continue to wait for more news from the ground team, let’s meet another one of our bikers.
This urban farmer, who has completed his post graduation in Agriculture, was crowned winner of Kannada Big Boss Season 6. Zipping around in his BMW GS Adventure bike, Shashi Kumar, claims that riding bikes in the Western Ghats during monsoon is his most favorite thing to do. He is thrilled to be riding with Sadhguru during the monsoon this year, especially for a cause like Cauvery Calling. He was delighted to share a picture of him with the rain clouds.
In Search of Sadhguru’s Spot
Sadhguru’s spot, as we like to call it, in the Chamundi hills, has always held a special place in our hearts. Our participants got to soak in the Mystic’s presence today at Chamundi. Here is a glimpse of the spot overlooking the valley.
Swami Vidhyavasanta recalls his experience from 11 years ago, as a part of a group from the ashram who came in search of the spot where Sadhguru was enlightened. In 2008, they set out on their journey, the first of its kind in search of that spot that is dear to Isha.
They reached Chamundi carrying only a single route map in their mind: "The spot is somewhere behind the Nandi temple." This piece of information was provided by Shiva anna, who used to shoot videos of Sadhguru in the early days. He had earlier visited the spot with Sadhguru and his daughter Radhe when they visited Mysuru. They had spent time in the spot.
So this time, when Swami and a team of ashramites reached Chamundi, they took the road to Nandi temple. They found a steep valley behind the temple. Trekking down, they realized to their dismay, that they couldn't locate the spot. But Swami was determined not to leave the hills without locating the spot. Wandering with people in an unknown terrain, not sure of their exact destination, in rough weather with an aching body and tired lungs is not an easy task.
However, when Grace takes over, things fall in place. They entered the road that was adjacent to the spot. Swami had earlier seen an image of Sadhguru sitting in this sacred spot. And he also carried the image of the rock in his mind.
Swami shares, “When we were walking by the trail that was leading towards the Nandi temple, we spotted these arranged granite stones and climbed on them to locate the spot.
When he first set his eyes upon the rock from this place, he immediately realized that this is what they were looking for. Swami vividly remembers that sacred blessing that was bestowed. And these few people would later become a guiding light for many more meditators to visit this place.
An old picture of Swami at Sadhguru’s spot:
The satsang is still underway on Chamundi Hill, and we hope to get the updates in a bit. In the meantime, let’s look at some nice clicks from the Mysuru Palace grounds, the starting point of a 10 km rally that shook the city awake!
The birds in the palace were found flapping their wings and flying along, in support of our riders who were gathered at the North Gate of Mysuru Palace for a ride with Sadhguru. Now we know, Mysuru coos for Cauvery Calling too.
Speaking of birds, we’ve got the birds eye view image of the bikers gearing up for the ride.
This is what friends are for!
Sadhguru’s friend Somender Singh was there to see Sadhguru take Mysuru along for a 10 km ride around the city. He was a mechanic with whom Sadhguru used to tweak his bikes in his youth. ”We used to spend days trying to figure out ways to tweak our bikes to greater performance,” he reminisces his good old days days with Sadhguru. Though he was coughing and did not look well, he stood in the front to show support to his friend. He was also there at Talacauvery for the flag off. The things we do for friends!
10:15am - Sounds of Isha coaxes everyone into a meditative space with their music. It is here that nearly 37 years ago, the experience of enlightenment dawned upon the Master. Everyone is blessed to be here in Sadhguru’s presence.
9:20am - Sadhguru has arrived. With his bright blue Rally for Rivers T-shirt and biker attire, he takes his seat. It is the humble and subtle addition of the fragrant flower garland that alters him from Motorcyclist to Mystic.
Also assembled on Chamundi Hill is Veda Krishnamurthy, of the Indian Women’s Cricket team. She shares, “This is a very different experience. I have never been part of anything like this before. It is a huge privilege that I am here supporting this great cause. The place is buzzing with tremendous intensity and vibes of commitment."
9:00am - The convoy heads to Chamundi Hill, seeking the blessings of Chamundeshwari.
Here on Chamundi Hill, volunteers are setting up for a Satsang with Sadhguru. The participants are assembled in anticipation, as they chant ‘Brahmananda Swarupa’.
A volunteer waits for Sadhguru to arrive so she can offer him a flower mala:
The rally is on!
8:20am - And they’re off!
8:36am - Near the Government Ayurveda Medical College and Hospital, off Irwin Road (below).
And a couple minutes later near the Head Post Office of Mysuru off Ashoka Road: .
8:44am - Whoo! And we’re back at the Palace grounds. The riders are so charged up that they are unwilling to get off their bikes...thirsty for more.
8:05am - Can you spot Sadhguru? He is pressed in by the press! Here at Mysuru Palace grounds.
Meanwhile, a sea of fellow bikers watch on at the North Gate of the Mysuru Palace, ready to take off. And within minutes the ground thunders with a roar as Sadhguru revs up! He is flagged off by the Maharaja of Mysuru.
6:30am - Volunteers are helping the motorcyclists to fix radios and speakers on their motorcycles. For now, they will join Sadhguru for a 10 km round of Mysuru city starting and ending here at the Mysuru Palace grounds. The speakers will be playing the Nadi Stuti, making the reverberations of Cauvery Calling reach far and wide, to bring Mysuru out of its slumber! Listen to Nadi Stuti here.
6:00am - Participants had an early start today with Shambhavi Mahamudra. They are preparing for a satsang with Sadhguru at 8:00 am on Chamundi Hill. "I am overwhelmed just thinking about the possibility of sitting at the same spot where Sadhguru got enlightened," one elated participant shares.
Before we launch into today’s events, in case you missed the live stream yesterday in Mysuru, here are some snippets of the talk. For more coverage check out Day 3 - Cauvery Diaries - Of Motorcycles and a Mystic.
Dr. M. A. Shankar, retired Director of Research and Head of Dry Land Farming at Gandhi Krishi Vigyan Kendra (GKVK), is so committed to agroforestry that he spoke at yesterday’s event in Hunsur and again today in Mysuru. He says, “We need to save the rainwater in the ground, when it falls from the sky. The only way to save such copious amounts of water is through agroforestry.”
MLA Kollegal, Sri N Mahesh discussed increasing farmers’ income: “Compared to the income that farmers can derive out of farming sugarcane, ragi, millet and corn, their income can increase so much more if they shift to agroforestry. It is our duty to induce consciousness into the farmer regarding agroforestry...If a farmer is reduced to being a beggar, it means that the whole country is begging.”
Veerendra Hegde, Dharmadhikari of Dharmasthala Kshetra extolled agroforestry as a win-win for both the farmers and the environment; the farmers can save the rivers as well as make income by planting trees. He recognized Cauvery Calling as a very good initiative and pledged his full support to Sadhguru.
MP Pratap Simha spoke about how important it is to have trees in the catchment area. He says that preserving the trees already present in those areas is just as important as planting new trees. He reminds us to keep our future generations in mind as we act now.
Jagadguru Sri Shivarathri Deshikendra Mahaswamiji (Suttur Swami) made an appeal to the educated youth of the nation to spread awareness to the farmers about the perks of agroforestry, so that they can benefit economically while saving the rivers and other life forms. He urged everyone to wholeheartedly support Sadhguru in this effort.
Sadhguru spoke about how floods and drought are not two different problems, but the same problem that is caused by loss of tree cover. He also explained that taking care of the rivers is in our hands: “Rivers belong to this planet. If we do not manage them, they won't exist after some time.” He also shared some wonderful news: UNCCD, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, has awarded Isha Foundation with accreditation for preventing desertification in the world. A proud moment indeed!