The Walk of Hope group started Day 5 at 5.30 a.m. from the Rotary Club, Marthandam with 23 kms to be traversed. After walking about 4.5 kms in the general direction of the Kerala border, the group briefly stopped at the Ashram of Sri Pattathu Ayya Bala Prajapati Adikala, Head of Ayyavazhi.
It must be recalled that he was one of the dignitaries at the Flag-off ceremony in Kanyakumari on January 12th. The Swamiji, who was awarded the Kottai Ameer award for communal harmony by the government of Tamil Nadu in 2003, offered prayers for the Walk of Hope while the group had tea and biscuits at the Ashram.
Ayyavazhi is centered on the life and preachings of Ayya Vaikundar; its ideas and philosophy are based on the holy texts Akilathirattu Ammanai and Arul Nool. Accordingly, Vaikundar was the Purna avatar ofNarayana. Ayyavazhi shares many ideas with Hinduism in its mythology and practice, but differs considerably in its concepts of good and evil and dharma. Ayyavazhi is classified as a dharmic belief because of its central focus on dharma.
Today, the group had megaphones announcing the Walk of Hope and also distributed pamphlets to people for peace and harmony. Lots of local people joined the Walk on the way. After a walk of 5 kms, the group reached St. Anthony's Church, Kaliakkavilai at 8.00 a.m, and after breakfast at the Church Hall, started off again.
A rousing welcome by a group of over 100 school children awaited Sri M. Soon, many more children joined in and there were close to 500 children to greet the Padayatra. A heart-warming scene, the energy of the children was effusive and encouraged the walkers in their purpose.
Proceeding further, Sri M and the group halted at many a point with the local populace greeting him with lit lamps, flowers and food. Around 50 Nursing Science students from Saraswati College of Nursing also joined the walk for a short while.
Walking 12 kms from Kaliakkavilai, the group reached the Swadeshabhimani Freedom Park, Neyyattinkara. The Freedom Park is named after Swadeshabhimani K. Ramakrishna Pillai (1878–1916) who was a writer, journalist, newspaper editor, and political activist in the erstwhile princely state of Travancore. He was the editor of the newspaper Swadeshabhimani (The Patriot) and hence known by the name. He wrote Vrithantha Pathra Pravarthanam (1912), the first book on journalism in the Malayalam language. He also wrote the biography of Karl Marx (1912) in Malayalam, which was the first Marx biography in any Indian language.
A white pigeon, symbolizing peace and harmony was released as a symbolic gesture here.The group then reached Dr G R Public School, Neyyatinkara, the halting place for the men walkers, at 13.10 p.m.
The evening Satsang was organized at NIMS (Noorul Islam Institute of Medical Sciences and Research) at 6 p.m. In an auditorium filled to capacity, the bhajans were sung to the accompaniment of tabla and piano and everyone joined in the prayers for peace and oneness. After a welcome address by dignitaries representing the hospital, Sri M addressed the gathering.
In his address, Sri M explained the intent of Walk of Hope. He mentioned that he plays a very small part in the Walk and people should not walk because of him. People's intent should be of faith, devotion and hope that we are all together united. Quoting Vivekananda, he said that every soul is potentially divine & the purpose of a human being is to manifest this divinity. The Walk is indeed difficult and one, who completes it, would have his mind and heart transformed. In a lighter vein, he remarked that for every 100 kms, a 10% change would occur.
He further added, “Going through the walk, one will have to make sacrifices, comforts will have to given up and one will have to adapt. Thus one becomes a ‘sadhaka’ as walking is a ‘tapasya’.” He urged more and more people to join the Walk in the interests of peace and harmony.
Sri M concluded his talk with the chanting of OM, followed by a few minutes of peaceful silence.
[ Image Credit : Natasha Aggarwal ]