On Day 41, the Walk of Hope was crossing another milestone, as the padyatris got ready at 5:30, after their customary morning cup of coffee, with Sri M joining in at 6.00 am, all ready for the journey. By noon, having walked over 700 kms, the Walk of Hope 2015-16 would enter Kozhikode district , having completed 8 of the 11 districts in Kerala. The day’s destination point was Cheruvennur in Kozhikode district. After having walked a short distance, Sri M visited a satsangi’s house on the way and the walkers had a tea break at this time.
Soon after, Sri M was greeted by a group of 30 people and some people joined the walk. Around 7.30 a.m., they reached the Ariyallur Shiva Temple with Sri M and a small group visiting the temple. Breakfast was served enroute, on a short break at a Satsangi’s house, a delightful example of traditional Kerala architecture, perched in the middle of an estate with a beautiful garden.
The garden even had a lotus pond. The area was indeed a welcome point for the walkers to enjoy their breakfast at leisure. It was not surprising that they had an extended breakfast, spending almost an hour over it.Starting after breakfast, a group of people, again numbering around 30 people greeted Sri M and the yatris with some of them joining the walk. Another short break on the road had them being served refreshing pieces of watermelon. The route today was quite a cool and comfortable one, on winding, narrow roads through small towns rather than on the broad and open highways. The trees on the roadsides provided the much required shade from the heat. Walking very close to the Arabian Sea, they could catch glimpses of the cool blue, sparkling waters. They also crossed three bridges over vast expanses of water. Truly picturesque, indeed!
Just short of the halting point, the longest stretch in the day’s walk, they were greeted by a group of around 20 people with almost all of them joining the rest of the walk. 12.30 p.m. saw their arrival at the Subramanya Temple in Cheruvennur in Calicut district. They were met by a reception with almost 60 people and the traditional chendamelam. This was their congregation point for the day.
The walkers were allocated their areas of stay by the local volunteers. Women were provided accommodation in an under-construction house with minimum comforts and the men were settled in a spacious marriage hall. Kozhikode was formerly known as Calicut and is second only to Ernakulam, in terms of urbanization in Kerala. According to historians, the word Kozhikode is derived from ‘Koyil Kodu’ – Fortifed Palace. The district is populated mostly by Hindus and Muslims.
Today, they had walked 23.13 kms, 120 of them when they started and ending with over 150 in number. After lunch and some rest, the walkers gathered at the Satsang venue by 6.30 p.m. Sri M and a few walkers during the early evening break, visited the sanctum sanctorum of the presiding deity - Lord Muruga or Subramanya – son of Lord Shiva and his consort, Parvathi, in the temple.
The venue for the Satsang was the open space right next to the temple and Sri M started his talk at 6.30 p.m.
Sri M’s opening prayer today was “Om Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah, Sarve Santu Nir-Aamayaah | Sarve Bhadraanni Pashyantu Maa Kashcid-Duhkha-Bhaag-Bhavet | Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||” translating to May all be happy, May all be free from Illness or troubles, May all see only what is auspicious, May no one suffer. Om, Peace, Peace, Peace.
“The essence of this shloka is that everyone irrespective of religion, caste and creed, craves for Shanti and Ananda. We have to complete 6500 Kms as we do our padayatra from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. Many people consider it a crazy idea but there are many people walking with me who are braving heat, muscle pains, blisters and whatnot. what could be their aim? Nothing but "Sarve bhavatnu sukinah".
He then narrated the story of the Kasturi Mriga ( the Musk deer). The Musk deer (now in the protected species list) is usually found in the lower Kedar region of the Himalayas. It emanates a beautiful fragrance during a certain season. The deer, not knowing that it emanates from it’s own body, searches all over, pushing it’s snout into shrubs trying to find it’s source adding that the “the musk deer gets it’s muzzle tangled in thorny brushes and it starts to bleed, still it does not stop looking for that elusive smell. Peace, Ananda and Prem, all are inside.
The whole life of a normal human being is in the search for these attributes outside, and the search goes on. Right from childhood we are looking for that sukha or happiness and you will reach it if you do this or you do that. And then we pursue it and do whatever it takes for achieving it.
“I spent many years with my guru following him in the Himalayas and nearby places. I learnt many lessons and had many experiences. I am fully convinced at an experiential level that para-bhrama that is nothing apart from that Ananda is available nowhere else but inside us. Only once our minds are cleansed will we realise that it is right inside us.”
Narrating another story, Sri M said, “Many years ago, the then King of Patiala who ruled over a small kingdom wanted to expand it’s boundaries. It could be done only by conquering the neighbouring kingdoms. For this, he needed the permission and assistance of the Mughal emperor, Bhadur Shah Zafar. Therefore, he went all the way to Delhi and requested for the same. The emperor, listened to him and was not sure if the King’s endeavor would result in his happiness increasing. He suggested that it could be done but he wanted him to see something and took him to the ramparts of Red Fort. From there, he pointed to a fakir who was sitting in tattered clothes under a tree with a blissful expression on his face. He asked the King of Patiala if the fakir or he, the emperor, was happier. He also told him that if he still wanted to fight, he would extend all help to conquer the neighbouring states. The King of Patiala said that he would return after thinking about it, but he did not. He went to Rishikesh, met a guru and was not to be seen afterwards. In his absence, his younger brother became the King of Patiala. Years later, the current Maharaja had a desire to go to Badrinath and started off with his retinue. Since the journey was very difficult and fraught with dangers, his courtiers requested him to take the blessings of a Sanyasi.
In a Guha near Lakshman Jhula, the King went to the cave and addressing him as 'Maharaj', offered pranams to the tall yogi sitting inside and sought his blessings. The Yogi blessed him uttering ‘Thataastu’. Hearing his voice, the King had a vague suspicion that it was his elder brothers' voice. As the Yogi opened his eyes, he was absolutely sure that it was his long lost brother. He besieged him to come back to Patiala and told him that he was ruling only because there was nobody to rule the kingdom. The Yogi who later became famous as Tapasvi Maharaj replied, 'what did you address me as earlier?' You addressed me as ' Emperor of the Universe'. I am already the emperor, why should I come back and rule over a small kingdom?’
These stories teach us that a treasure lies within each human being, irrespective of caste, creed, gender and color. Today, we had a very amusing incident as we walked. A very old 'umma' (a fond term of address for a female Muslim elder) bent with age, stopped and asked why we were walking. She took time off and spoke to us, ‘children, everything is one. There are only two divisions, man and woman - all other divisions are man-made'. Religions, of course, are different. As there are spokes to a wheel which make it move, each spoke is different. But it is possible to live happily despite disagreements, different belief systems, without strife and hatred.
The Rig Veda stated this two thousand years ago, 'Ekam sat. Viprah bahuda vadanti' (Truth is one. The wise call it by many names). Do not forget the fact that every man has within him a portion of the ever present para-bhraman. I know from my experience that we are all One. To make everyone realise this, we are undertaking the padayatra during which we hold Satsangs as well.Whatever Sadhana you do, you will need to develop control over your senses. This is what makes us different from animals. We, then, have to necessarily take the next step and move towards God. We cannot waste the golden opportunity of the rare Manushya Janma (human birth) that has been offered to us.
If we also realise that we have to be 'Sarva bhuta hite rataha' - deeply concerned about the welfare of all beings, we will be peaceful and would not be able to dream of hurting anyone. I am sure that this message has to emanate from our country, which has welcomed everyone from outside our shores - the Portugese, the Jews.the Arabs, the Christians - though some of them have exploited us for many generations.
The rest of the world should learn from us. For many centuries, foreigners would flock to our country to gain wisdom. But Alas! Now, we are going for 'higher' education. If we stick together, we could reverse this trend and India could be the world’s spiritual teacher. It is good to learn what is valuable but many of us learn what is wrong. So far as the foreigners are concerned, they seemed to have realised the futility of living life the 'western way' and are coming here.
Develop love, otherwise our body is a grave”, he reiterated. “During our short life as a human being, should we love or hate? I am 66 and many of my friends have passed away and I also will someday leave.
It will be April of 2016 by the time we complete our Padayatra. Afterwards, I would like to speak to people at all the places we had visited, more leisurely.”
Afterwards, I would like to speak to people at all the places we had visited more leisurely.” Sri M narrated two stories from Sri Lahiri Mahashaya’s life. Shyam Charan Lahiri was a resident of Varanasi and a great Yogi. A friend’s son had completed his medical internship and his father wanted him to take Lahiri Mahashaya’s blessings. The dutiful young son came to Mahashaya and offered his respects. Lahiri Mahashaya, in his conversation with the doctor, proceeded to ask him what the symptoms of death were. The doctor explained the symptoms and Lahiri then went on to demonstrate ‘death’. He sat down and went into a deep state. The doctor was shocked to see that there were no external signs of life – no pulse, no breath and the body turning cold. He immediately raised an alarm and a crowd gathered and the yogi was declared ‘dead’. Much to their astonishment, Sri Lahiri Mahashaya got up and laughed saying that he was only in a deep trance and not dead.
Recounting the second story, Sri M said that “ Lahiri Mahasaya had taught the same Kriya technique to two people - a professor and a postman. After three weeks, every day the professor would come and pester the yogi with the same question, 'what is the next step?' One day while the professor was in Lahiri Mahashaya’s house, the postman appeared, bringing with him the mail he had failed to deliver the previous days. The Yogi then asked him if he needed to be taught the next step of the Kriya. The postman immediately gave a firm No, saying that with the first step itself, something had happened to him, some electricity had passed through his spine and he is walking now around in intoxication. Though he found himself in ecstasy and was enjoying it, he was unable to do his daily duty by delivering mail and people thought he had gone mad, and so he did not want the second step. Lahiri Mahaysaya chastised the professor for not following his instructions - not doing the first step itself and yet asking for the second step”
Sri M concluded his talk with the words “ I think this story is very relevant to aspiring seekers.”The audience joined Sri M in chanting OM thrice and then in silent meditation.
The evening program ended with the local community who had gathered in large numbers offering pranams to Sri M.
Dinner, as usual was served at 8 p.m. after which the walkers dispersed to their places of rest by 9.00 pm.