Let there be PEACE

Amrita Prasad
Sunday, 13 January 2019

Yogesh Ravindra Mathuria, who recently embarked on his Peace Pilgrimages in Bangladesh and other nations and has done several Peace Walks in the past, says he is reaching out to youngsters to bring about greater world peace

Yogesh Ravindra Mathuria, also known as VishwaMitra Yogesh, is a peace pilgrim who has walked 12,676 km in 419 days over the last five years across 18 Indian states, and Sri Lanka and South Africa. 

The 61-year-old Pune-based former IT professional started his Peace Walk journey on March 29, 2013 on his 50th birthday, from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, and completed it in 19 days, and he didn’t stop there. 
In the same year on September 21, which is observed as International Day of Peace, he walked from Pune to Mumbai. This year, on January 12, Mathuria started his Peace Pilgrimages from Pune to Bangladesh and other countries. 

He has dedicated his life to promoting peace through pilgrimages and wellness services. His aim is to reach out to youth and encourage them to promote peace, beyond borders, religions and boundaries, and spread love and unity. Mathuria tells us more about his mission and message.

You had worked in the IT industry for over three decades. What made you quit your job and start Peace Walk? 
Working in the IT industry was a roller coaster ride and I enjoyed my work. However, my wife Bhavna’s death gave me clear life lessons that money can’t buy health. I believe she sacrificed her life to change my mindset, so that I could live a life of purpose and abandon the mad career path I was pursuing. Today, I am fully focussed on my health but at the same time I do not fear death. I also decided to dedicate my life to peace.

What is your motto and vision behind Peace Walk? 
My motto is to reach out to youth and promote peace as they are the beacon of our future. Motivating them would make the world a better place. I want to give back to Mother Earth and society (humanity) all the love, care and support. I believe love will bring changes in humanity gradually, and there will be no wars, and peace will prevail.  

What kind of support and encouragement have you received from others?  
Last 11 years, I have received immense support and encouragement that made me realise that humanity isn’t dead yet. On my last Peace Walk to South Africa, I met so many people who were inspired by my work that they offered their help by providing food and warm clothes to me and others who participated in the walk. One of them even offered to buy return air ticket. I received so much love from people whom I never met and that’s much more valuable than any materialistic thing. 

What are some of the challenges that you faced during your journey in these years and what has been some of the learnings and takeaways? 
I suffered from my first heart attack within a period less than three months of Peace Pilgrimage to Sri Lanka (in 2017) which shook me and my family inside out. Also during the time I was recuperating and coming back to stable life, I suffered another heart attack. The ‘school of life’ has taught me a lot and all the challenges have only enriched me. On my way to South Africa, I was on the verge of getting robbed several times but I bowed down to them and told them about my Peace Walk. They understood and left me unharmed. These incidents were an eye-opener and my desire to connect with people grew stronger.

How successful have you been in your mission to spread the message of peace? 
Every time I see more and more people joining me on my peace walk, I feel successful to motivate them. 

How do you feel when people call you VishwaMitra?  
The meaning of VishwaMitra is a friend of the world and this name was given to me by my mentor. Now, when people call me by that name, I feel privileged to receive such appreciation and love. 

What are your plans and goals?
I started my Peace Pilgrimages in Bangladesh on January 12 which will be followed by Japan on the occasion of 150th birth anniversary year of Bapu and Ba, 100th birth anniversary year of Nelson Mandela and Dada Vaswani, and 100th death anniversary year of Sai Baba. This will be followed by Peace Pilgrimages to other neighbouring countries, namely Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal and China over the next 3-4 years. I also propose to do ‘Peace Pilgrimage — A Walk Around the World’ covering 51,000 km across 100 countries in 6 plus years starting in 2023.

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