Day 6 - Cauvery Diaries: Of Motorcycles and a Mystic
After Shivanasamudra and T Narasipura, the movement reaches its final phase today in Bengaluru. We will cover live Sadhguru and the bikers riding through the streets of this metropolis in a once-in-a-lifetime rally! Catch this and other major updates
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7:45pm - The Bengaluru event closed as Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa flagged off Sadhguru who literally zoomed out of the venue to go to Delhi, followed by the second leg of Cauvery Calling in Tamil Nadu.
We capture below glimpses from the evening:
Before coming on stage, Sadhguru walked the length of the hall, to the joy of the nearly 6000 people at the venue. While some greeted him with folded hands, others eagerly tried to click selfies.
Dr. M. A. Shankar, irrepressible as ever, said, “What does agroforestry do? If you plant trees, the roots of the trees take the rainwater that falls on the ground deep into the soil. This will help to maintain the fertility and nutrients of the soil and promote groundwater recharge.”
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, one of the board members of the Cauvery Calling Management Board, made a heart-wrenching appeal, narrating what Cauvery might say to all of us. “You have uprooted my forests, polluted my waters, dug up my river belts and left me helpless and hopeless in my life’s struggles. Please let me gain my natural beauty and let my waters bring prosperity to the farmers and all our people once again.” She implored us to open our hearts and our purses to make this happen.
Rajamata of Mysuru, Smt. Pramoda Devi, put her faith in the people of Karnataka to help save Cauvery. “Sadhguru has told me that it is going to take 12 years to plant 242 crore trees in the Cauvery Basin. But if all you lend your help and support I believe that this can happen within 3 years,” she appealed to the public.
C.T. Ravi, state Minister of Tourism, narrated the well known story of the goose that lays golden eggs, and compared Cauvery to the goose. “Cauvery has given life to millions of people. But because of our increasing greed, we have cut open Cauvery and now we are facing the consequences of our selfish actions.”
Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa mentioned the prominence that Cauvery Calling has achieved amongst the people of Karnataka. “The bike rally has created awareness in 6 crore Kannadigas across Karnataka.” He promised that the Karnataka government is ready to stand by Sadhguru in this movement. “Karnataka government considers increasing the forest cover and saving Cauvery as our utmost duty, and we promise that the government is ready to provide extensive support to this campaign.”
Sadhguru highlighted the importance of focusing on the soil, as it can hold 8 times more water than all the rivers on the planet put together. He said, “Soil is the real reservoir of water. The soil has to be rich in water. If soil has to be rich in water, it needs organic content.” The only way to ensure organic content in the soil is through tree litter and animal waste. This is what Cauvery Calling aims to accomplish to enhance water retention in Cauvery basin.
“75 billion tons of soil is being eroded every year on the planet,” Sadhguru added. He warned, “It is estimated in 60 years’ time there will be no topsoil anywhere to grow anything that we want to grow. This is a phenomenon across the world, but it is very severe in India because we have not taken care of a few things.”
As Cauvery Calling winds up in Karnataka, Sadhguru expressed his gratitude to the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Karnataka, BS Yeddyurappa for his support; the wonderful involvement of the Karnataka police; and the unprecedented coverage by all Kannada media.
Watch: Water is Lifemaking Material - Pranitha Subhash with Sadhguru
Pranitha Subhash seeks Sadhguru's insight into Cauvery, water and the essence of life, while they are in conversation at Krishnarajasagara.
Making Seed Balls for Cauvery
70+ students of Acharya Institute of Graduate Studies came for the Bengaluru event all the way from Soledevanahalli near Hesaraghatta. The NCC and NSS students made seed balls of Neem trees, Banyan Trees, Rubber Trees, etc on Aug 31st 2019 and planted them in the Tumkur forest area with the help of forest officials.
Bengaluru - Once the City of Lakes!
Bengaluru, once known as “The City of Lakes,” does not fit its moniker anymore. The 262 lakes that are said to have been there in the 1800s have now reduced to a mere 81, of which only 31 are termed “live” lakes. Others have been built over or polluted.
Bellandur Lake, covered by a layer of noxious froth periodically bursts into flames. It has attained notoriety, making headlines worldwide. One blaze burned for more than 30 hours and rained down ash on balconies and cars more than six miles away. Another infamous image of the 900-acre lake is a snow-white foam that often covers its canals. It has even bubbled up to a height of several stories and toppled onto roads and buildings nearby.
Water Clock - Bengaluru
Bengaluru falls at the edge of the Cauvery basin. The city’s major water source have been its lakes. But with the lakes destroyed, the city relies on Cauvery water pumped up a steep gradient from 140 km away - costing Rs. 350 crore per year.
NITI Aayog had listed Bengaluru as one of the 21 major Indian cities which would run out of groundwater by 2020 (this is next year!), and the BBC ran a story naming it as one of the 11 cities in the world that would soon hit Day Zero, like Cape Town in South Africa and Sao Paulo in Brazil.
Cauvery Calling has come not a moment too soon. Bengaluru needs to wake up and act now!
5:35pm - Folk fusion artist Vasu Dixit sings “Tarakka Bindige” composed by 15th century poet and devotee Purandaradasa. In the song, the poet asks for a pot of water so he can offer to his god. He says the water itself is divine. Then he launches into another popular Karnataka song, “Ragi Tandira” that has the audience singing along!
6:10pm - Isha Samskriti students leave the crowd speechless with their Bharatanatyam performance for the song, "Vande Mataram."
Watch Sadhguru live now!
4:45pm - Sadhguru gets onto his motorcycle for the big bang - the last Cauvery Calling event of Karnataka.
A City Boy’s First Connect with the Farmers
A young man from Bengaluru met thousands of farmers as part of the Farmer Outreach Campaign of Cauvery Calling. Read his story here:
Watch: Sadhguru's Heartfelt Invitation to Bengaluru
Sadhguru shares about his experience of cruising through Bengaluru and the phenomenal response received by the motorcycle rally, for which over 1000 motorcyclists had registered.
In case you missed it, watch a clip from this morning’s rally!
Sadhguru and band of motorcyclists flow through Bengaluru for CauveryCalling.
A Farewell and A Beginning
Today, as the first leg of Cauvery Calling finishes, the participants on this yatra had a moving closing session. Vijayashree from San Jose burst forth in poetry:
We the Chamundi seekers arrived here without much focus
Oh! Our beloved Sadhguru
You blessed us with Cauvery Calling as a bonus
We the Chamundi seekers can’t wake up to our alarm
Oh beloved Sadhguru
You woke us up with Sounds Of Isha
We the Chamundi seekers, stuck in our prisons of high paid jobs and high mortgage homes
Oh beloved Sadhguru
You bailed us out to the lap of mother nature
We the Chamundi seekers, we are clueless about Chinese or Mandarin
Oh beloved Sadhguru
You taught us that we are as much clueless about Kannada
We the Chamundi seekers are hungry for a home-cooked meal
Oh beloved Sadhguru
You blessed us with hot fresh south Indian meals under starry skies
We the Chamundi seekers ran away to the concrete jungles, away from the mother nature
Oh beloved Sadhguru
You blessed us with beautiful hills of Coorg, banks of Cauvery and Shivanasamudra Waterfalls
We the seekers of Chamundi doesn’t know how to bid farewell to you and your compassion
Oh our beloved Sadhguru
You blessed us with presence time every day from 6:20 pm to 6:30 pm.
Although their journey ended today, it is just the beginning of a 12 year project. Many participants expressed their commitment to raise the needed funds to see it through. They set up crowdfunding pages on the Cauvery Calling website. It was inspiring to hear one person say that on her birthday coming up soon, she will be able to plant 25K trees. Another shared a story, “She had set up a page for 100K trees just a few days ago with a deadline of Oct 10. "I never thought it will be possible to achieve this in such a small window of time, but I already have 60K trees donated on my page!”
Another participant announced that she will contribute $250,000 towards the expenses for infrastructure, marketing and other logistics. Another participant, Raju from Singapore also joined in, “We won't be able plant saplings or support farmers without huge infrastructure behind it. Being a businessman, I know this, so I too wish to contribute towards that.”
A Groundnut Seller on the Ground for Cauvery Calling
Cauvery Calling has been garnering an unimaginable amount of support from politicians to movie stars to common people. A groundnut seller was found in full gear in support of Cauvery Calling this morning.
Supporting Cauvery Calling for a Greener Future
Let’s recall the things we used to do when we got some pocket money. Buying a new toy, a much-awaited music album CD, eating out with friends, etc. The list used to get upgraded with every passing month.
Our young supporter Rishik made an unusual choice. He contributed for 8 trees from his pocket money. He is an inspiration for all the youngsters who wish to see a greener and better future.
Also at the Palace grounds today in Bengaluru was Bharat, in support of the project. “It makes too much sense to be ignored,” he said, as he made a contribution for 20 trees before walking away holding up the Cauvery Calling placard. We managed to click his picture before he took off to raise awareness.
Bengaluru Roars for Cauvery!
Before the rally, as Bengaluru was gearing up, we managed to catch hold of a few riders who were bubbling with excitement, to get them to share their experiences with Cauvery Calling.
Vishwas, a national medalist in cross-country biking shared with us how he has rode across the extremes of -25 degrees in the Himalayas and 50+ degrees in Rajasthan and that he was excited to be riding for such a cause. He is hopeful that this rally will gather the support necessary to save Cauvery.
Ashish Singh, the chief of the Biking Community of India, was part of the rally. He expressed his interest in being part of Cauvery Calling in various parts of India, and he happily posed for a picture with his team of riders.
We caught actor Akul Balaji with his bike, as he was waiting for Sadhguru before the rally began. “Everyone here has a connection to Cauvery, and it is a must for all of us to be part of Cauvery Calling,” he says before he excitedly posed for a picture.
Dinesh, who works with the Isha E-media team in Bengaluru has been busy interviewing supporters and capturing their experiences. He was moved by the response that Cauvery Calling received. He believes that today’s rally has instilled an energy in us that will help us go forward and work for the cause. He shared his picture as he hopped on his bike to join the rally.
The Many Faces of the Rally
The rally this morning brought out the diversity of Bengaluru.
Yakshagana and Cauvery
“I am dressed like this because I am studying Yakshagana. It’s a traditional art form of Karnataka. Just like we are losing river Cauvery, we are losing this art form. Now that Sadhuguru is trying to save Cauvery, I say we save both Cauvery and Yakshagana. I hope our future generation gets to see them together,” shares Sherwani Hegde.
With a chirrup in her voice she added, “I am waiting to see Sadhguru. I hope this movement becomes the movement of our nation.” And she got her wish!
Father and Daughter Duo Cheer for Cauvery Calling
Meet Kenisha, one of the youngest followers of Sadhguru. Kenisha wanted to send out a creative message through her art, she drew on her t-shirt to support the cause. “We can see the excitement in the environment. Everyone is charged up to save the river,” shares Kenisha’s father.
11:57am - After the awe-inspiring rally around Bengaluru, Sadhguru arrived back at the Palace grounds. He addressed the supporters and thanked the Karnataka police for their service, acknowledging that it was not just another duty to them. He applauded the excellent Kannada media coverage for the cause.
Then, on the count of three, all the hundreds of bikers revved up their engines in a big roar for Cauvery Calling - Action Now!
A few minutes later, Sadhguru took a group photo with riders and supporters!
11:30am - The Rally is On! Watch the livestream!
11:20am - Sadhguru has arrived to begin the Rally for Cauvery in Bengaluru!
He is joined by hundreds of supporters and riders. They begin at Kanteerva Stadium. Watch the livestream!
Soon, Sadhguru and the bikers will be riding through the streets of Bengaluru, cheered on by supporters. Ride with Sadhguru - Rally for Cauvery Calling! Join the movement and watch the livestream!
10:30am - Sadhguru and ETV anchor Dhananjay have a walk-and-talk interview on the Palace grounds.
Throughout the interview, Sadhguru elaborated on the benefits of agroforestry. When asked what was his message for the people of Telangana and Andhra Pradhesh, he said both the governments must understand that Cauvery must flow into the sea. It's a wrong notion to think that all river water should be used before she enters the sea, it must be allowed to merge with the sea.
10:10am - Before heading for an interview with the Telugu channel ETV, Sadhguru batted for a short while with Bengaluru youth this Sunday morning on the Palace ground. They were happy to take selfies with him!
10:05am - Sadhguru squeezed in another interaction with actor Shashi Kumar, the winner Kannada Bigg Boss Season 6. Shashi has also been a motorcyclist on Cauvery Calling riding with Sadhguru. Learn more about him on the Day 4 Cauvery Diaries.
When asked about the future prospect of agriculture, Sadhguru spoke of how “agriculture as an unguided design has worked for some time,” but now the methods must be changed. He said we can produce food with just ⅓ of the land allocated for agriculture today and with just ⅕ of the human resources. To do this, we need to improve soil quality and adopt modern technology in farming. And so as a part of Cauvery Calling, training centers will be set up across the two states where educational courses will be held for farmers.
9:45am - Sadhguru met Anushree, a Kannada actress and TV anchor in Karnataka. The theme of this meeting was a “fun interaction with Sadhguru.” Anushree cheerfully began, “Had I known that Sadhguru is camping at the Palace ground, I would have come and joined the camp! What a novel thing to do!"
She then played a brief dumb charades with Sadhguru - showing him some placards which he had to act out. Stay tuned for the video!
Fun apart, Sadhguru took the opportunity to explain the next plans for growing trees in Karnataka. He says, “We have already gotten 120 acres of land. We need to raise 25 crore trees.” He reiterated that everyone must understand that this effort is not something you run away from once the two weeks of the campaign are over - you have to be with this for 12 years.
7:05am - Participants get an opportunity to share their experiences of their journey as we reach the last day of Cauvery Calling in Karnataka. Every sharing was accompanied with moist eyes if not tears dripping in gratitude. Here are a few excerpts:
“I came here as such a rigid person. I didn’t want to raft, sit under a tree, or touch the earth. But now I am walking in the mud, sitting happily under the tree, and am not worried about spiders in my tent. This has been such a blessing.” - Leonie, Germany
“Everything that we had from the food to personal attention and other details has been wonderful. I have been with Isha for the past 18 years, and live in the Isha Institute of Inner-sciences (iii). I am 73 years old, but every time Sadhguru sees me, he says “Oh! Here comes the 93-year-old. Other times he would call me an 80-year-old. I am so confused about my age! I am really humbled and privileged to be able to do this wild yatra. I will be am going for the Southern Sojourn (Tamil Nadu stretch of Cauvery Calling) and the next Kashi Krama yatra as well. If I can do it, everyone can do it regardless of their age. To be able to actually witness the Cauvery Calling campaign and see Sadhguru as an embodiment of endless energy has been the highest blessing.” - Usha, iii
“I come from a dense part of Nepal and have been brought up in equally wild places. But what is happening here is something else. If it was an ordinary camping yatra, most older people won’t be able to travel by bus every day, be on different camp sites, pack and unpack every 10-12 hours. Even me, though I am still young. But we are untouched and full of energy. This is possible only here, only under the grace of Sadhguru.” - Ranjan, Nepal
“Riding with Sadhguru was the most amazing experience. It has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I have the fortune of being able to proudly tell my grandchildren one day that I have been a part of this great cause of Cauvery Calling. I urge everyone to please plant trees and make Sadhguru's vision come alive.” - Kannan, Chennai
5:00am - A volunteer shares, “This is our kitchen under construction now. By 8:00am, our two volunteers, Swami Devabahu and Muthu anna, along with two assistant cooks, will keep ready five different varieties of food items for over 200 people. After having tasted many delicacies from the Karnataka cuisine, we are told for our last meal on the trail of Chamundi, we are going Gujarati, a delectable detour before we enter the mystical Tamil Nadu.
“These four people, have been traveling from campsite to campsite - reaching before the participants to set up their kitchen before every meal, and cook three times a day. They leave each campsite after the participants as they winding up immediately after each meal. In the last 5 days, not even once have we had all three meals in the same place. After every meal, they wind it up to safeguard against wild animals. They produce unimaginable delicious and nutritious dishes in such mass scale even in the meager facilities available at campsites. In between all of this, they are taking care of their own needs. This has been their yatra so far, and it will continue for the next seven days.”
Swami Lavana exclaims, “It's just a crazy amount of work for the CC Akshaya (Kitchen) team! Two days ago, I got a glimpse into what they do, when a few volunteers and I joined to wash a never-ending pile of over-sized vessels for two hours due to shortage of hands. A really amazing job by the entire team. Not sure if they are even sleeping for 4 hours per night!”
This is the reason we are celebrating our meals on our live blog. However delightful it is to our palate, there is a profound story behind it. Our gratitude for the unwavering devotion of our volunteers. We bow down to the farmers, Mother Earth and Cauvery for nurturing us.
9:20pm - It was a sight that the Palace grounds wouldn’t have seen or expected. The participants arrived to see it turned into a campsite fully equipped with portable toilets, hand wash and a kitchen.
9:30pm - The kitchen team whipped out their trump card to set up a dosa stove, where a steaming hot local specialty, Mysuru Masala Dosa, and another special - Neer Dosa - was served straight out of a tawa. Alongside a few other specialities, the platter of popular Karnataka cuisine was complete. Kudos to the kitchen team!
10:20pm - Sadhguru arrived at the campsite and the participants surrounded him. He mingled with them, and they profusely thanked him for giving them an opportunity to be around him. "We had such a terrific time in the last 6 days, each camp site was stunning, and Shivansamudra was just unbelievable," shared one of the participants. Then questions started flying from all around.. After addressing a few questions Sadhguru smiled and said, “This has become like a satsang.”
Just before Sadhguru was leaving a little Chinese girl said, “Can you please knock me on my head again,” which was met with laughter from the group as they waved goodbye to Sadhguru.