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Day 12 - Cauvery Diaries: Of Motorcycles and a Mystic

Field Stories
14 September, 2019
8:48 AM

Yesterday saw the riders wind their way through Trichy and Thanjavur. Today, we visit an Isha nursery where saplings will be grown for farmers, and then off to the endpoint of Cauvery in Thiruvarur as well as to Chidambaram.

Day 12 - Cauvery Diaries: Of Motorcycles and a Mystic

Sep 1 - 2 Days To Go || Sep 2 - 1 Day To Go || Sep 3 - Day 1 || Sep 4 - Day 2 || Sep 5 - Day 3 || Sep 6 - Day 4 || Sep 7 - Day 5 || Sep 8 -Day 6 || Sep 9 - Day 7 || Sep 10 - Day 8 || Sep 11 - Day 9 || Sep 12 - Day 10 || Sep 13 - Day 11 || Sep 14 - Day 12 || Sep 15 - Day 13 || Sep 16 - Day 14 || Sep 17 - Day 15 ||  Sep 15 - Day 13 || Sep 16 - Day 14 || Sep 17 - Day 15

Missed out on what’s been happening on the campaign? We have some little video bytes for you here to give you a virtual experience! Bookmark it!

Watch: Sadhguru travels from Thiruvarur to Chidambaram, the next stop of Cauvery Calling

Watch: Sadhguru and UNDP's Achim Steiner on Cauvery Calling

Achim Steiner, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, discusses the intricacies of Cauvery Calling with Sadhguru at the recently held UNCCD COP14.

Earlier today, Cauvery Calling rolled into the town of Mayiladuthurai for lunch.

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At a wedding hall called Indra Bhavan, the volunteers received the guests with more pomp and grandeur than one would wedding guests - a welcome fit for Indra (king of the gods) himself!

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With traditional drums and beautiful dresses, the volunteers went all out to make this a memorable feast for all - with 25 delicious dishes of southern Tamil Nadu served on a banana leaf.

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Here, we caught up with a few volunteers who were serving lunch for the participants to get their sharings.

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Visalakshi from Mayiladuthurai was excited to be part of the Cauvery Calling campaign. “We did not know that it is because of the trees being felled that Cauvery was not flowing anymore until Sadhguru launched Cauvery Calling. So we went into action spreading the message to all our friends and relatives and spurred them into donating for the cause. We are very happy that Sadhguru is here in our town for this.” She was so overwhelmed with Sadhguru’s visit that she could barely speak.

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Priya, another volunteer was thrilled to be part of this, “Sadhguru is doing this because we need water to drink. I haven’t done much volunteering, but I promise that I will continue to do whatever small thing I can for this initiative.”

Watch: Sadhguru at UNCCD COP14 (Full talk)

Speaking at the 14th edition of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, Conference of Parties (UNCCD COP 14), Sadhguru explains how our human-centric approach to life is killing us, and looks at the express need to control the human population on the planet.

Watch: Day 10 Highlights of Cauvery Calling

Tamil Nadu welcomes Sadhguru with open arms as people flock to show their support. Hundreds of people gather in every village that Sadhguru passes through, many holding Cauvery Calling placards and showering the motorcade with fragrant flowers. From agroforestry farms to engineering colleges, people responded with a deep sense of involvement as Sadhguru spoke about the campaign.

Instagram Live - Sadhguru and Kajal Aggarwal

Sadhguru was live on Instagram in a conversation with actress Kajal Aggarwal. Speaking about the #3queens4cauvery, “When did you all become queens?” Sadhguru quipped.

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Kajal responded to it with a “It’s all in the head,” comment. When Sadhguru invited her to be part of the ride, she lamented about not being able to. She wrung out a promise from Sadhguru, “You owe me a bike ride, Sadhguru.”

Sadhguru was sweet enough to reply, “Yeah, I definitely owe you one for those one lakh trees.” Kajal went on to make a request to the public “Anyone who is tuned into our conversation should make a donation to this cause because this a pressing issue.”

Kajal asked later what is happening on the ground and how things are coming along for Cauvery Calling, and was excited to hear Sadhguru say, “We are on our way to 242 crore trees.” Sadhguru’s innocence shone through as he offered, “Hey, let me at least go and sit on my bike so that you can take a look at it,” and proceeded to go out and revved his bike up and let it roar for a few seconds. As soon as Sadhguru was out, he was mobbed and he made light of it to Kajal before signing out of the conversation.

Cauvery Song - Valam Pera Venum Cauvery, Featuring Super Singer Senthil Ganesh

May Cauvery flourish eternally! Poetically describing the science of river revival, "Valam Pera Venum Cauvery" by Sounds of Isha is a joyous call to each and every individual to come together and act now!

Earlier today, Sadhguru visited the famed Thyagaraja Swami temple, an ancient Shiva temple in Thiruvarur. Here he urged the people to plant trees for the wellbeing of Mother Cauvery, as well as their own.

To Drink Or To Bathe?

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Shilpi, a volunteer from Bengaluru shares her work for Cauvery Calling and what inspired her to act now.

“I remember I was 13 years old when I faced the worst water crisis that could be imagined. I was in a boarding school in West Bengal, and we used to regularly experience water shortages. This one time, for fifteen days straight, there was no water!

“The children living close by were sent back home. But for those of us whose families were in other states, this was not an option! It would take a full two weeks for my letter to reach my parents; there were no telephones at the time. This incident taught me many things.

“How to ration water? We could either drink water or bathe with it!

“It was a tough choice, but I had to sacrifice having a bath for 10 days when the days were as hot as 35 degrees Celsius!

“I had a mug of water to brush my teeth and to have a sponge bath. The worst part was the toilet! The western style toilets with toilet paper needed a lot of water for flushing! We would walk half a kilometer from our campus to a nearby pond and bring back a bucket each!

The impact of this is, that even today, when I stand under a shower with flowing water I feel immense gratitude.

“The pain of living with such limited water, not knowing when you will get the next supply of this life sustaining elixir, makes my heart beat for Cauvery Calling even harder. When I went and met our farmers, my pain and gratitude for them increased many fold.

“One day it was Varalakshmi Puja, and everyone was busy in their homes. Usually you find a group of people at the market or the dairy or other public areas. But this day we had to go knocking on each door to speak with them. One of the women in this farmer’s family was so touched that we were here to speak to them rather than celebrating the festival, and so, despite the torrential rains she insisted we join their family in the puja. She shared sweets and gifts and coins with the volunteers. This demonstration of inclusivity left me so touched. They have so little but want to share even that.

“In some of the villages I found only elderly people and young children. People between the ages of 20 and 50 were all missing! They had to migrate to the city to earn a living. Somehow things should get better for them to return to their villages, to their children and their homes.”

Meet Our Nadi Veera - Rajat

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This Nadi Veera, better known as the “Spreadsheet Veera,” is ready to take on whatever comes his way. You will find him flashing the widest smile even when things get intense during work. With this attitude of being able to find a solution for any obstacle, he can burn the midnight oil for days on end when delivering a deadline. March on, Nadi Veera!

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Read: Farmers Can Save Tamil Nadu From Drought by Sadhguru.

Sadhguru explains how rivers are not the source of water in India and how our monsoon water is running away because there is no vegetation to hold it. Agroforestry is the ultimate solution because it is both ecologically effective and economically lucrative.

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Missed out on what’s been happening on the campaign? We have some little video bytes for you here to give you a virtual experience! Bookmark it!

Watch: Sadhguru cruises through the rice bowl of Tamil Nadu this morning in Thanjavur.

Meet Our Motorcyclists - Arjun Raman

Snippets from Sadhguru’s talk at the Farmers’ Leaders Association

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“I don’t have to tell you about the problems the farmers face. You know them better than me,” Sadhguru began his talk at the Farmers’ Leaders Association. He spoke about the Isha nurseries: “The Tamil Nadu Agricultural University conducted research and declared that out of saplings from 40 nurseries, 39 of them contained pnuematoid deposits in them while the saplings from the Isha Nursery did not. This is because we didn’t use a single crystal of salt on the saplings.”

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Sadhguru declared, “Since it’s the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, we renamed 35 of the Isha Nurseries as ‘Mahatama’s Green India Mission’ so that they can be included in the scheme.” Sadhguru appreciated the farmers, saying, “Farmers in India are not parasites who live off other people. A farmer is a person who feeds this country. It is because of them this country stands.”

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The next generation has been some of the strongest supporters throughout the campaign! Today has been no different...

Watch: This morning Sadhguru arrived at the Thanjavur Isha Nursery.

Watch Sadhguru address the Farmers’ Leaders Association Live Now!

About Thiruvarur

Thiruvarur is popularly known as “the granary of Southern India” as Cauvery has blessed this place with alluvial soil, which is extremely fertile because of the river sediments that get deposited here. The place is rich with lush paddy fields, tall coconut groves, and verdant vegetation. More than 70% of people are engaged in agriculture here and the district is a major source of rice for the state.

It has also served as a center of eminent people in arts, spirituality and science. Eminent names from the field of Carnatic music like Shri Thyagaraja Brahmam and Shri Muthuswami Dikshitar were were born here.

Shri Arul Kumaran, Managing Director of ‘Wish Wash Processing’ has extended his full support to Cauvery Calling. As an agricultural enthusiast who is already practicing agroforestry, he was very keen on joining hands with our initiative. He is one of those who have understood the urgency of Cauvery Calling. He has already pledged 10,000 trees and has also created his own fundraising page.

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Missed out on what’s been happening on the campaign? We have some little video bytes for you here to give you a virtual experience! Bookmark it!

Cauvery in California

Tanushree Biswas, a spatial data scientist with a choc-o-bloc calendar takes out time from her busy schedule and makes her own campaign for Cauvery Calling.

She has been in touch with our team in India after her regular work hours, every day for the past week. Whether she pinged for details on species we plan to plant along the Cauvery or on research points that can get more funding, she was unstoppable in doing whatever it takes to get people to support the cause. She even went to the extent of making little sketches to demonstrate how trees will save a river.

“Since I started the #CauveryCalling campaign many of my friends wanted to understand the connection between ‘trees and water,’ better. So I drew them a sketch to explain how trees help with slowing down evaporation, keep the soil aerated with root systems, tap into the reservoir to give us drinking water, keep the soil porous to recharge shallow aquifers. They are like a sponge, a bridge between the world above and below. Without trees the water that falls on the soil will either evaporate away or will get lost during floods through surface flow. Trees are the easiest way to capture rainwater in a tropical country, with long monsoons,” she explains, with great passion and involvement.

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11:00am - Police officers greet Sadhguru as the convoy heads towards Thiruvarur.

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Earlier this week, UNCCD Secretary General, Ibrahim Thiaw was in conversation with Sadhguru. Ibrahim Thiaw was acquainted with Isha’s two decade year old track record of working with farmers and improving their income by 300%-800%. Sadhguru further added the need for Cauvery Calling as a fast track solution to solving farmers' economic problems and revitalizing India's rivers.

Watch the video:

10:25am - 42 ladies from nearby villages in Thanjavur are the champions of this 10-acre nursery where over 160 varieties of saplings are grown and maintained by organic matter or manure. This nursery has been growing over 1.5 million saplings per year for the last 6 years. 90% percent of these wonderful sevadars have been in this nursery from day one. For them, this is not a job - this is something they do for the love it. 

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“I take care of this sapling as I would take care of my children," says Nagalakshmi.

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Before he leaves, Isha Home School alumni steal a moment to reconnect with Sadhguru.

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10:00am - At the nursery, volunteers have decorated it with a traditional kolam.

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"We should be willing to die for 242 crores trees to happen," Sadhguru said to Mike, a participant from Australia, when asked to give a message for the volunteers in Australia who are gearing up to support Cauvery Calling. Then he told him to send them this photo:

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"With this pencil, I am writing the future of Tamil Nadu," Sadhguru said while planting saplings using this pencil.

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Sadhguru puts seeds of rose wood in the mother bed for saplings to grow later.

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9:30am - As Sadhguru and the participants make their way into the nursery, they are greeted by volunteers, whose warm faces melt hearts.

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9:20am - Sadhguru has set off for the first destination today - an Isha Project GreenHands’ nursery in Thanjavur!

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Subtle processes become the most intense ones if you are immersed in them. Victoria from Tampa, Florida, USA gets overwhelmed after she offered the Guru Pooja this morning.

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With inner wellbeing stimulated with Yoga practices and Guru Pooja, it was time to treat the taste buds to great food, because tables are set and breakfast is served!

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From exotic blueberries to mouth-watering muffins, and baskets and trays of fresh fruit, who can say no?

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A glimpse into what happened yesterday after the Thanjavur event…

Ogling the Bikes

After the Thanjavur event yesterday, Sadhguru was surrounded during a press meet.

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Then he rode back to the hotel and took some time to check out the bikes of his band of riders. He keenly looked at each one and revved up a few to enjoy the roars. "We have a whole brigade of interceptors," he said looking at a line of Royal Enfield bikes in the range of 500 to 650 CC. Royal Enfield have generously supported the Cauvery Calling campaign by providing these motorcycles to the convoy.

Those who had brought their own motorcycles had the pleasure of showing off their treasures. Hormzd from Mumbai, the proud owner of a mammoth Triumph Tiger 800 XCA, shared how Sadhguru knew finer technical aspects of his bike: "The wheel base is a lot bigger than the smaller model. Much more suitable for the offroad," he said looking at the beast.

"He has been making fun of all Tigers (motorcycles) since we started. He calls their chassis a scaffolding," added Hormzd. "It just feel too good to be true. Even in my wildest dream I had not imagined to be with him in such proximity. Before I joined this ride, I would get so overwhelmed if I were to go near him. Even if I saw him coming towards me, I would take a step back. But I feel he has the capability of switching his way of being on and off, and he is making it easier for us to mingle with him as a motorcycle enthusiast," he observed, expressing his gratitude for being included in this unforgettable campaign.

"He called my Bonneville T120 as something made for the graduates of classic Enfield fans. Actually it is true because I had an Enfield before, and I was quite fond of it,” said Vaibhav from Delhi.

Another bike which Sadhguru fancied among the the collection was Kawasaki 900. He shared that if time allowed and he could ride from Chennai to Coimbatore, he would definitely want to experience riding on Triumph and Kawasaki.

Supper with Sadhguru

From Au Gratin, Pasta, Tiramisu, Quiche to delicious, steaming millet dosa, idly and appam served with a range of chutney from the region, the dinner last night satisfied all palettes from across the world. The Southern Sojourn is a diverse group with people from over 10 countries traveling to for Cauvery Calling.

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The sumptuous dinner in the ornate hall of Svatma culminated into an informal satsang with Sadhguru. Though it had been a long hectic day when the convoy transversed through the streets, bylanes and highways from Erode to Thanjavur, the atmosphere was charged with high energy, and joyful chatter filled the entire hall.

The Mystic joined the participants near midnight, and they all hovered around his table in rapt attention to his every word.

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As we make an early morning visit to an Isha nursery, let’s look back on Isha’s work over the last decade in growing saplings and facilitating tree plantation across Tamil Nadu through Project GreenHands. It is this vast experience that equips Isha to pull off a project as huge as Cauvery Calling which requires farmers to plant 242 crore trees.

Read about Isha nurseries here.

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