Day 110 | 1 May 2015 | Kadahalli to Varur | The Walk of Hope 2015-16

  • 1.Walk-of-Hope-in-Karnataka-2015-16-1
  • As dawn breaks, the Padayatra picks up speed on May Day, Kadahalli, Dharwad, Karnataka
  • 'Carefully does it',- a gardener at work,-Tadas Cross, Dharwad, Karnataka
  • Tiny tots of a itinerant shepherd family, Tadas Cross, Dharwad, Karnataka
  • 5.Walk-of-Hope-in-Karnataka-2015-16-2
  • WOH enters the Navagraha Teertha Jain Temple, Varur, Dharwad, Karnataka
  • The priestess of the Navagraha Teertha Jain Temple, Varur, Dharwad, Karnataka
  • Sri Dharmasen Bhattaraka Swamy honours Sri M at the Navagraha Teertha Jain Temple, Varur, Dharwad, Karnataka
On May Day, the padayatra left Kadahalli before first light, the destination being Varur—in the vicinity of Hubli, an important city in Karnataka. Nature changes according to the seasons and the geography, and it is interesting to note that the yatris do not see the golden rays of the sun these days as they used to. The first light is greyer and silver and when the rays reach the earth, it is the silvery light that one sees rather than the usual golden ones.

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The first break was less than an hour away and they were served a hot ‘chaaiya’ – tea. The padayatra is now approaching the city of Hubli and, as in the past, they encounter more and more hamlets upon moving closer to the city. Here,the route gives them an access to pass through many small villages – weaving in and out of them in minutes; in fact, the walk today involved walking through around fifteen villages. Strangely, they did not come across many people. More of cattle and goats were the order of the day. There was a surprise element when a stray deer ran parallel in an open field alongside! They also saw a team of horses grazing languorously by the road, indifferent to the hundred odd people walking by. It is also a heart-warming moment for many of the yatris when they watch Sri M greeting people on the way and his expression of gratitude when served refreshment – be it by the police or hired help! It is always interesting to observe the reactions of the passers-by when they spot the padayatra. Their attention having been caught by the announcement vehicle, their expressions change from mild curiosity to astonishment! For them, this is definitely not a typical padayatra they might have come across earlier – usually that of Jain monks or some other religious establishment.  What attracts them is the motley group of men and women, in more or less equal numbers, wearing floppy hats and caps with dark glasses to keep the sun away! Today, it caught the attention of a group of young men in a car, who stopped and enquired about the walk. After conversing with one of the yatris who invited them to walk for a while, they walked with the group and also interacted with Sri M. They were apparently on their way to Goa for a holiday and stopped in surprise to see such a large number of people, walking in the hot sun! As the days progress, more roles of responsibility are being added and things are getting organized amongst the yatris. One of them has to do with the carrying of the banner in front of the walk – just ahead of Sri M. The carrot is, of course, the opportunity to walk close to and interact with Sri M. This has become a task in ‘high demand’ and people, mostly women, have divided ‘banner time’ amongst them! Sri M fondly & humorously refers to them as ‘banner-jis’. Another set of people has taken it upon themselves to pay attention to the cleanliness and hygiene of the places they stay in. As soon as rooms are allotted, armed with gloves and required equipment, they get busy sweeping, washing and scrubbing the rooms and washrooms. A far cry from what they were accustomed to with many of them holding high offices or monitoring hired help back home! The walk was quite uneventful and they reached Varur by 10.30 am, having walked 18 kilometers. The halting point was the Navagraha Jain Temple, an important stop for most Jain monks. The priest welcomed Sri M at the temple. They visited the temple and were then transported to Siddharoodha Math, their place of stay. Siddharoodha Math was built to honour the memory of Sri Virakta Siddharoodha Swamy, who took up Samadhi in 1929. In 1919 and 1924,Lokamanya GangadharTilak and Mahatma Gandhi visited this Math respectively. It is a religious institution involved in the service of all and sundry. It is also a centre for the propagation of Advaita philosophy, as taught by Swamy Siddharoodha. Siddharoodha Swamy renounced family life at a young age to set out in search of his guru and found him in the person of Sri Gajadanda Swami at Gudigante, near Srisailam. He served his Guru whole-heartedly – cleaning the ashram and cooking for him. Finally, his Guru blessed him and asked him to go on a pilgrimage to help the needy, uplift ignorant souls and guide them on the path of spirituality – duties that Siddharoodha carried out with devotion throughout his life. He wandered from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, before finally settling down in Hubli. People realized his divinity and started to visit and receive his blessings. He came to be considered as one of the great saints in Karnataka. People from all castes and creeds were welcome and he took up many causes of the downtrodden and believed that everyone was entitled to enlightenment and liberation. A proverb in the Kannada language goes thus: 'Siddharudhara Jolige Jagakkella holige' meaning that if Siddharoodha begs & people provide alms in turn, everyone in the world receives sweet pancakes! There was no Satsang scheduled today and upon reaching the Math, the padayatris rested for the day. The stay here is for two days and therefore the yatris get extra half-an hour of sleep in the morning – as there is no loading of luggage. Hubli city is not far away from the Math and people planned to stock up on their supplies in the evening.

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  1. Well Dressed Beggar says:

    Jai Gurudeva… Jai Kriya Babaji…

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