The padayatris, led by Sri M, left the Panmana Ashram at 6.00 am for the destination point — Oachira. There was a strike / hartal call for the day In Kerala State and this turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as the group could walk comfortably—unencumbered by the vehicular traffic, resultant fumes and associated noise. The roads remained empty and the group walked in collective quietude.
After walking through sparsely populated areas, the group met more people and traffic in the town of Karunagapally. Breakfast was served at the IMA Hall, Karunagapally, the distance walked so far being 6.7 kms. The local people with garlands greeted Sri M at this point.
After breakfast, the walkers stopped at the Sheikh Masjid—also known as The Taj Mahal of Kerala. It is designed on the lines of the Taj Mahal, in honour of a Sufi saint, Ali Hassan Sheikh, who lived more than 450 years ago. He was a saint from the Kannur Dargah. The dome of the mosque is semicircular, providing an area of 8,000 square meters where 3,000 devotees can offer namaz at a time. G. Gopalakrishnan, a self-made Hindu architect, who has renovated and designed more than 70 mosques in Kerala, designed Sheikh Masjid—a spectacular example of communal amity. Sri M spent a brief time in prayer here.
At 9.00 am, the group was met and greeted at the Mother’s Kitchen, Vavvakavu, a popular restaurant on the highway. Mother’s Kitchen indeed had provided the breakfast to the group at IMA Hall, Karunagapally. They group, proceeding further, stopped at couple of places for the now customary greetings and welcome by local people.
The padayatris reached the halting point, Oachira Parabrahma Temple, at 11.00 am, traversing a distance of 16.7 kilometers. After being allotted rooms and dormitories, the yatris dispersed and assembled for lunch again at 12.30 pm.
The Oachira Temple, according to the Puranas, is one of the most sacred places of Kerala.This focus is on the ParaBrahma temple (dedicated to the Para Brahman or Omkaram—the Universal Consciousness), and it covers thirty-six acres of land. The Oachira Temple is unique in the sense that it does not have covered structures for temples or a sanctum sanctorum. People worship the Para (the original formless power who manifests as the three supreme forms of God—namely Brahma, Vishnu and Siva) under ancient, well-preserved trees, in their own individual ways.
At 5.30 pm, the padayatris gathered for the evening satsang. In the tranquil and calm backdrop of the temple, the evening began with bhajans rendered by the community.
Post the bhajans,Sri M began his address saying that the intention of the Walk of Hope was Manav Ekta—the oneness of all humanity. The Walk started from Kanyakumari, the confluence of the three seas, symbolizing the unity of people from different places and lands. He spoke of Adi Shankaracharya, who first went on a padayatra across the subcontinent and established four mutts at Dwarka, Puri, Badri and Sringeri. Along the padayatra, he wrote commentaries and toiled hard to dispel ignorance and spread the message of oneness amongst people. Adi Shankara, in order to bring unity among various sects of Hindus, wrote five verses known as ‘Pancharathnam Stotras’ for each of the deities followed by these sects—primarily Shiva, Vishnu, Shakti, Skanda and Surya.
After Shankaracharya, Swami Vivekananda (before he came to be known by this name) travelled across the length and breadth of India. At Kanyakumari, Swamiji swam across the sea to the now famous rock named after him. It is on this rock that he found enlightenment on his life’s mission in 1892: to arouse the nation from its dismal slumber of a thousand years of slavery and rediscover its past glory. This was also the reason why Sri M started from Kanyakumari, after garlanding the statue of Swami Vivekananda.
Sri M remarked that this was his first visit to the Oachira temple and that it was unique in its concept. There is no temple dedicated to Para Bramhan or Universal Consciousness like the Oachira Temple in the entire world. The temple was truly unique and needed to be promoted, as it is a beacon heralding human oneness or ‘Manav Ekta’. People from all sects and denominations visit the temple and offer their prayers in their own ways. This, he said, is exceptional and unique.
He again urged the people to join the Walk and ended his talk with the customary chanting of OM, thereafter people joined him in a few minutes of silence.Sri M then invited a few padayatris to share their experiences of the Walk with the audience.
Dinner was served at 8 pm, after which the group retired for the night.