Madhya Pradesh had its own share of surprises for the Rally – which will surely remain close to the hearts of the participants and volunteers for a long time.
On his way out of Gujarat, seeing hundreds of kids flying kites with the Rally For Rivers logo, Sadhguru stopped to meet them. He spontaneously asked a child to give him the kite strings to him and started to fly the kite with élan, despite not having flown a kite in 47 years. Well done Gujarat, for letting Sadhguru write Rally for Rivers in the sky!
At about 4 pm, the rally entered Madhya Pradesh – the 9th state in 19 days. Madhya Pradesh, fondly called the “heart of India” is the land of Kalidasa, Tansen, and Jhansi ki Rani. Visitors throng to Madhya Pradesh to have a glimpse of the glorious and powerful temples of Ujjain, ancient erotic sculptures of Khajuraho, the quaint hills of Pachmarhi, the wildlife at Bandhavgarh, the stupendous Sanchi Stupa, and the splendor of Mughal royalty in the ancient fort city of Mandu.
Madhya Pradesh had its own share of surprises for the Rally – which will surely remain close to the hearts of the participants and volunteers for a long time. Lines of people in Tamil Nadu standing at random places on the roads to meet Sadhguru as he drove through their towns was awe-inspiring, but not that surprising. But it was unbelievable to see Sadhguru stopping every hour after crossing the border into MP to meet hundreds of people who had gathered. Some of them waited for over 3 hours to get the chance to see him.
The first formal welcome was at Pitol – a small village situated at the border of MP with a population of under 500 people. Incredibly, 200 people from villages around the area had gathered to garland Sadhguru and offer him flowers and fruits. Another 500 people were waiting during the 1-hour drive from Pitol to Mohankheda – a place famous for its 16-ft statue of the Jain Tirthankara Mahavir.
On the highway, just before Mohankheda, at 5 pm Sadhguru met some schoolchildren who
were cheerfully waiting for him since 11 am. When asked why they were waiting for so long to meet him, and how they heard of him, they said, “We were told that someone is traveling all across India to save the rivers, so we were excited to meet him!”
Another unscheduled stop at Manawar saw 2,000 people, including the local administrators and police commissioner, waiting for Sadhguru with great anticipation. Sadhguru got out of his car there, went to the stage they had so lovingly set up for him and spoke to them. This was the first place in MP where Sadhguru sang Nadi Stuti, and the entire crowd sang after him. The locals from this remote town had even arranged for a drone camera.
At every stop, Sadhguru took some time to talk to the crowd, asking them for their support. “When I hand over the policy document to the PM, can I say your entire village is supporting the policy?” he asked a few.
“It was deeply inspiring to see Sadhguru give himself like this for the cause,” shared a volunteer who was translating his words into Hindi for the local folk.
Finally, about an hour short of the final destination for the day, the rally found itself entering a patch of dense vegetation, and they knew instinctively that it was no ordinary forest. They had stepped into the Vanya Organic Farm.
So what is special about this particular farm for Rally For Rivers? This farm, near the banks of the Narmada, has turned out to be a thriving model for the Rally For Rivers policy recommendation. Unlike a regular agriculture farm, this agro-forestry farm was something to behold. The sight and smell of fallen leaves on naturally moist soil was intoxicating. Walking barefoot on the damp mud after sunset was an adventure in itself for many.
The farm owners and their friends welcomed Sadhguru and led the convoy on a short tour. They served the Ralliers unshelled groundnuts, delicious bananas, fox nuts that were popped and seasoned to taste like popcorn, and dark green mangoes that were bright orange on the inside. All were the produce from the farm.
Sadhguru had a short meeting with the organizers, and then everyone left for Maheshwar, a small town on the banks of Narmada, where the rally was to halt for the night. After a long day of travel, many Ralliers thought, “We will be in the retreat (stay area) in another ½ hour,” and settled into their vans in relief.
A huge rally of 30 cars and over 300 people, including the important dignitaries of the town, were waiting to receive the Rally within 10-15 minutes of the drive. They requested Sadhguru to address the crowd that had been waiting for hours, for 5 minutes. Sadhguru got on the stage, and spoke to them passionately for 30 minutes , which included Hindi translation. They lovingly conveyed belated birthday wishes to Sadhguru and gave him some gifts. Sadhguru then was taken to the Narmada riverbank where he personally offered Maha Aarti to Narmada as guided by the priests.
This morning after Guru Pooja in Maheshwar, Sadhguru and the entire caravan went on a boat ride at 7 am on the Narmada waters. Sadhguru alighted at Banishwar temple, full of lingas, situated in the middle of the river. This temple was built by Ahilya Bai Holkar, a renowned Maratha warrier queen and Shiva devotee.
He spent about 10 minutes alone by himself in the Banishwar temple, while others waited for him in the boats. Whether it was coincidence or Grace, we don’t know, but as soon as Sadhguru entered the temple parikarma, the sky opened up and a heavy downpour happened just for those 10 minutes while he was inside.
Stay tuned for updates from Indore.