The padayatris left at 06.00 am sharp from The Varmas Public School, Vaikom, accompanied by 20 school boys. Relatively a cool morning, the padayatra progressed to its destination for the day — Agastya Ashram of Kureekkad. Walking through the fields for a while, the walkers experienced the gentle mist floating around them. Being a cloudy morning, the sky was tinted red with shades of grey.
Sri M was greeted at Udayanapuram by the local community and, then again, by another group at Pummrunnam with garlands. At the Toll Junction, Vaikom, a local group of 20 people greeted him, out of which some joined the Walk.
At 8.20 am, the padayatra entered into Ernakulam district at Poothotta. A grand reception awaited the walkers here—complete with panchavadyam and a group of 50 people. From here, they walked to R. Shankar Memorial Nirmalyam Auditorium, Poothotta. At this point, they were welcomed by a group of bhajan-singing students. At the auditorium, there was a gathering of about 70 people with half of them being students. Shri K Babu, Minister of Fisheries, Ports and Excise, Government of Kerala met Sri M at this point. The walkers were served breakfast here.
After breakfast, the students from the Varma Public School took leave from the padayatra and returned to Vaikom. Walking on, the group was welcomed at Paravoor by about 30 people with some of them joining the Walk later. The group had a short tea-break at a wayside tea shop in Udayamperoor, and walking on, the procession was greeted at 10.30 am by school children from the SNDP HSS School. Shortly thereafter, having enjoyed a juice break, the padayatris arrived at their halting point—Agastya Ashram, Kureekkad.
Agastya Ashram is a charitable trust, founded in 1991 by a renowned physician and saint – Sree Sudheer Vaidyan. The entire complex has about 13 temples with the first temple dedicated to Siddhar Sree Agasthya Muni. Their Sree Agasthya Medical Centre is a charitable Institution devoted to the practice and propagation of Marma Treatment for curing chronic ailments. This Centre symbolises the harmonious fusion of three modes of treatments-Siddha Marma, Ayurveda and Allopathy.
Sage Agastya is one of the seven venerated rishis—a revered Vedic sage and one of the earliest Siddhars. He is believed to be the author of Agastya Samhita and was considered as having possessed the ‘ashta siddis’ (eight paranormal powers) that included the complete knowledge of medicine. Sage Agastya is also considered the father of Tamil literature and compiled the first Tamil grammar called Agathiyam. He is believed to have lived in the 6th or 7th century B.C. and specialized in language, alchemy, medicine and spirituality (yogam and gnanam).
Today was a cloudy day and the sun was not quite in its blazing avatar. The Walk thus was much more comfortable, though humid conditions prevailed. Having reached the halting point early, the walkers had some time to spend at leisure. They covered 23.5 kms in 6 hours averaging their best pace so far – just over 15 minutes a km. The group numbered around 180 when they reached Kureekkad.
Lunch was served at the Ashram at 1.00 pm.
The group gathered for the satsang in the evening and Sri M’s address began at 6.30 am.
Sri M commenced his address on the note that the padayatra has completed twenty-nine days today and, every day, satsangs have been held at the halting points. The topics mostly have dwelt upon the padayatra—an experience that has been given flesh and blood, which he wanted to share with as many people as possible. He elaborated that there is no other agenda behind the Walk other than peace and harmony.
He added, “Since the setting today is Agastya Ashram, where people worship several great Rishis of yore, I will share with you something about my sadhana and my experiences. It was sage Agastya who came from the North to the South and taught Mantra, Tantra, Veda, Vaidya to the many students here. Out of the many things he taught, the most important is the Shivapanchakshari Mantra i.e. "Om Namashivaya".”
“There are many nadis described as per Yogic physiology. But, the most important are ‘Ida’, ‘Pingala’ and the ‘Sushumna’. The Merudanda (the spinal cord) has its bottom end joining the ‘Muladhara Chakra’ (the root foundation Chakra). For a normal man, even if the Muladhara Chakra works at 25%, he will have no difficulty in eating, digesting, excreting and procreating. But, with Yogis, things are different. Their Muladhara Chakra operates at 100% efficiency with their inner energy rising up the Chakras one-by-one. Chakras are psychic centers where the power of nature combines with internal ‘prana’. Thus, the Yogi is able to raise his internal energy through the chakras from Muladhara to ‘Swadhistana’, proceeding further through ‘Manipura’, ‘Anahata’, ‘Vishuddha’ and ‘Ajna’, to the final ‘Sahasrara’. Once this stage is reached, the Yogi attains ‘Ananda’ (bliss or Sivam), which is synonymous with bliss and auspiciousness.”
“If the Ananda which man experiences through his limited sense organs is 2%, the Ananda which the Yogi attains through the above-mentioned practice will amount to 100%. Sri Vidya uses Panchakshara Vidya as part of Kriyayoga. In Sri Vidya, there is both external and internal worship by which the Chakras get activated and all the earthly shackles fall apart.”
He further elaborated, “Sadhus equalise Prana and Apana and raise the internal energy from the Muladhara through the Sushumna Nadi touching the Chakras. This inner energy is called the Kundalini and is likened to a coiled serpent. It is called Nagaraj and, here it is termed Nagayakshi—the female form. This power has to be awakened first and raised carefully upwards. In Srividya, the Shivapanchakshari is used to do the cleansing of the Nadis and other mantras are used to raise the serpent power. This whole process is not a joke and has to be done with the guidance of a Guru. But, ‘mantra-japa’ is safe.”
Then, Sri M demonstrated the way to chant the mantra “Om Nama Shivaya” correctly.
He then continued with his address: “Nadhi shuddhi is very important as, without the same, none of the techniques described above work. In most people, the nadis are blocked due to karmas from the past and present and, additionally, kama, krodha and lobha. They have to be cleared to enable spiritual progress.”
“Thus, Japa and Pranayama are prescribed as part of Srividya. Once you have Sushumna Nadi shuddhi (purity of sushumna nadi), you are enabled to listen to the internal music.” Sri M likened the Yogi's body to a flute that also has 7 slots, one of which is a little more removed from the others akin to the Sahasrara Chakra. He continued, “Imagine a flute filled with clay. Can it make any music? For it to play music, you will have to clean it up nicely just as a Yogi must have Nadi Shuddhi. Once he gets Nadi Shuddhi, he understands the many other worlds, many other Anandas through his internal senses, which are more acute compared to the external senses.”
Sri M added that the padayatra is a replica of this internal voyage; walking from Kanyakumari to Srinagar is similar to progress from Muladhara to Sahasrara. He said, “I have also told my fellow travellers that this padayatra is not of much use if we are not able to successfully undertake the internal yatra as well.”
“We started the padayatra at the holy Sangam of the three seas ie: the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal on January 12th, the birth anniversary of our beloved saint, Swami Vivekananda. The way our group of people, who hail from different parts of the country and abroad, from different religions and beliefs, shapes and sizes are received warmly at various destinations of our journey—be they schools, temples, mosques and churches—lends credence to my belief that we are all one. Two thousand years ago, Rig Veda told us "Ekam Sat Vipra Bahuda Vadanti" (The truth is one but the wise call it by many names). We also have in our hearts Krishna's words to Arjuna (12th Chapter of the Bhagwad Gita): “My most beloved Bhakta will be "Sarvabhoota hite ratah", the one with the welfare of all beings at heart.” Gita's dictum that a human body be compared to the ‘Kshetra’ (temple) and the soul be compared to the ‘Kshetrajna’ (diety) remains forever in our hearts as we undertake this journey.”
Sri M advised: “I am sure that if you have the above philosophy steadfast in your minds and also undertake simple meditation practices with "mitaahaara viharasya" (everything in moderation), spiritual progress will be much easier. You should also not hurt anyone "manasaa vacha karmana” i.e. by your thoughts, or words or deeds. Thus, you will effect changes within you, within your family and you will observe many things changing externally also, for the better.”
He then said, “I hope to complete our padayatra by April 2016, but I take things one day at a time. Once today is well taken care of, the next day will take care of itself. I think my fellow travellers have also begun to think and act like that.”
Concluding his address, Sri M instructed a pranayama technique starting with chanting of 3 Oms, followed by silent meditation for a few minutes and then, watching one’s breath by mentally chanting the sound 'so' while inhaling and 'ham' while exhaling.
The Sastang concluded on this note.
The walkers retired for rest after dinner at 8.00 pm.