As the sun arose to another day, 150 padayatris started from the Community Hall, Paripally at 6.00 am, their destination for the day — Kottiyam. Today’s heartening point was many people from the local community joined the Walk right from the beginning. With frequent stops for the customary welcome and greetings accorded to Sri M by people in many localities along the route, the team reached Chathannoor around 8.00 am. Breakfast was organized at a Satsangi’s residence in this town. One of the stops en-route was at KIMS, a multi-specialty hospital,with a brief photo-shoot at another place.
The group reached the halting point for the day, Kristu Jyothis Animation Centre, Kottiyam at 10.20 am. The team today walked 15.3 kms with eight stops in four & half hours, averaging around 17 minutes a kilometer. With the local supporters dispersing along the way, the group had 100 padayatris remaining when it reached the halting point.
The Kristu Jyothis Animation Centre is run by the Kollam Diocese and was started 25 years ago by the Very Reverend Father A J Rozaria. The objective of the Centre is to serve as a place of study to assist people from all communities to lead financially independent lives. This is open to all sects of Christianity as well as other faiths. The institute offers many courses and also conducts many seminars and residential programs. The yatris had lunch at 12 pm and, after a brief rest, gathered at the auditorium for Sri M’s Satsang at 5.30 pm.
Sri M began his talk with Rumi, the 13th century Sufi mystic, and the whirling dervishes. He spoke of ‘that which moves but moves not’ and the ’centre of the wheel never moves’ – in reference to our consciousness that is ever still like the eye of the storm. What one is longing for is not different from the search for the innermost.
Sri M then narrated an anecdote about four visually challenged men who go about describing an elephant. One touches the feet and describes that the elephant is like a pillar, the second man feels the trunk and explains that it is in the shape of a hosepipe, the third one touches the tail and explains that it is a stick with bristles, and the fourth person feels the ears and describes them as fans. They start fighting amongst themselves claiming that their personal version of the elephant as sensed by them is indeed the right one. A passer-by, with eyesight, enquired into the reason for their fight and concluded thus after listening to their story, ‘All of you are right but also wrong in the absolute sense as each one of you has defined only one aspect’.
The central Truth is so expansive and encompassing that when it is understood, there can be no quarrel. Truth is all-inclusive.Sri M reiterated that Walk of Hope is an outward expression of our inward unity. We are all sparks of the same fire. We are all different people but we can be one, be united. While the nature of the Walk is outwardly, it is also a journey of inner transformation.
He further added, the Walk started from Kanyakumari, the place where the three seas unite, and it is also the place where Swami Vivekananda spent time in meditation. The ‘Hope’ is to unite people. In this Walk, we have participants from diverse backgrounds, different locations, languages and religions. If 100 people, as diverse as they are, can stay together for a year and 5 months, then there is definite hope for unity.
The Satsang ended with the resonance of OM and a long meditation. After dinner at 8 pm, the padayatris settled down to rest for the night.