“My vision for World Peace is to see our world free from nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction by the year 2050.” With this goal in mind, Pune-based Yogesh Mathuria has set out yet another time to spread the message of love and peace all the way from Pune to Sri Lanka. This feat will be taken up by Mathuria and a few likeminded people on International Day of Peace (September 21) which symbolises his motives. The proposed route to Sri Lanka is a walk of around 4,840 kilometres, passing through six Indian states and about 760 km in Sri Lanka. He would be covering 5,600 km in total within a span of six months.
An excited nine-year-old had the opportunity to meet Satish Kumar and E P Menon, who had set out on a peace walk in 1962. They walked without money from India via the Soviet Union, France and the UK to the United States. Almost 45 years later, the excitement was back for Mathuria as he chanced upon meeting Kumar in Dehradun and decided to follow his footsteps. “I think the meeting was a universal message for me. That’s when I decided to undertake the peace walk and follow my master (Satish Kumar),” explains Mathuria. After spending about 30 years in the IT sector which affected his health and the unfortunate demise of his wife lead him to a spiritual path. Realising the vanity of life, he decided to dedicate his life to help others and bring about the change that he wanted to see in himself. “Walking for the Peace Pilgrimages without any of my personal money is like completely trusting the universe. I also believe that it is Shiva’s blessings, that brings me closer to my life purpose. I believe that it is calling from Shiva himself and that he has chosen me to spread the message of oneness, peace and brotherhood in our world. I am effortlessly drawn towards spreading peace and brotherhood in our world, which is actually the need of hour. I want to put my best foot forward to uplift humanity as one,” says Mathuria.
With a firm belief that outer peace comes through inner peace, he has already walked to Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Shirdi and Wagah border in the last four years. A ritual followed on all his journeys is to bring together people and recite prayers of eight religions ranging from Islam to Buddhism in eight minutes. This is followed by a brief session of meditation and Mathuria narrating a few personal experiences that promote friendship and love among people. The hardships he goes through while walking for almost 10 hours a day are softened by anyone who is willing to offer him a place to rest. The people who have played host to Mathuria in his past pilgrimages have taught him a poignant lesson. “As all the religions in our world are man-made so are the boundaries across countries. No matter which religion the family I stay with belongs to, they’ve all treated me with the same amount of love and respect. This just goes to show that religion doesn’t make us any different in the way we treat others, we all are the same,” smiles Mathuria. But, the peace lover’s intentions are not always met with similar taste or always accepted. Narrating from some past experiences, he talks about how people usually walk away quietly or some even tell him that his act could end up causing harm to the country. He adds, “I remember, some men in Punjab told me that instead of promoting peace you will create more problems. They may mistake you for a terrorist and take you away, why are you wasting your time?” But, it is the positive reinforcement he has received from certain people that clears the path for him to attain his goals. “I stayed with a retired army officer once and he told me that after fighting in the army for so many years, he’s realised that war is not the solution but what I am doing benefits all,” beams Mathuria proudly.
Once Mathuria completes the ‘World Peace Pilgrimage to Sri Lanka’, he hopes to fulfil his dream to walk to Pakistan which has been left incomplete despite several efforts. The man who is set to turn 60 soon, will only rest once his supreme goal is achieved. “In the year 2020, I hope to visit China and other countries carrying forward the message of pure love and oneness to all human beings of our world. This way I would be able to walk through almost 100 countries over 50,000 km in about five-plus years of pilgrimage,” reveals Mathuria.
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