Today, the Walk started at 5.30 a.m. from Dr G R Public School. Sri M joined the group 2 kms down the route at the NIMS Hospital. In a short while, the number of walkers swelled to 150—a constant stream of people joining and leaving at various junctures.
The cool morning turned noticeably humid in comparison to the climate in Tamil Nadu. It is also quite evident that awareness of Walk of Hope is relatively higher in Kerala and interaction with the locals has increased due the higher density of people. Just as Day 5, there were at least 5 stops wherein people waited for Sri M's blessings and, in addition to this, a photo opportunity with the local newspapers.
Soon the word spread that Kerala Chief Minister Shri Oommen Chandy was expected to join the walk. Around 8.00 am, the CM welcomed the padayatra at Nemom (Near Bhasura Theatre). In his address, he said that the Walk of Hope stresses on the importance of humanity and convergence of love and friendship. With the leadership of Sri M, this great initiative will prepare the people for unity from the south to the north of this country. This is a huge responsibility and sacrifice undertaken by Sri M, wherein he is directly meeting the people along the way and earning their love and support for this activity that encourages love, brotherhood and mutual trust. With more enthusiasm from the people, the significance will be understood better and response will considerably increase.
Sri M thanked the Chief Minister for his attendance in spite of his busy schedule. He further said that the Walk is not about him but rather is a padayatra by Manav Ekta Mission for peace and harmony. With the welcome and enthusiasm the Walk has received so far, he was sure the Hope would be fulfilled. People, irrespective of caste, creed and religion were excited to see the initiative that talked about the oneness of humanity. He added that religion is one’s personal experience and it was important to live one’s life without harming anyone. He drew attention to the Rigveda where it says: "Ekam Sat, Viprah Bahudha Vadanti" (There is only one truth, only sages describe it in different ways) and the Bible where it says: “Lay treasures in your heart, for no thief can steal it. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”
After this, the group back tracked a kilometer on the route and stopped for breakfast. Hordes of schoolchildren awaited the group in welcome. Volunteers handed over WOH pamphlets to the curious onlookers. With locals joining the walk in certain areas, the number of walkers rose to 200. People greeted the group with showers of flowers, offers of fruits and juice.The Walk of Hope reached Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram at 11.10 a.m. A photo-shoot was done on the steps leading to the temple along with the local population. The group arrived at 11.25 am at the halting place at Thiruvananthapuram –Rangavilasam Palace, just a kilometer away from the temple. Maharaja Swati Tirunal, the monarch-musician, constructed the Rangavilasam Palace in 1839. On arrival, the Ananthapuri News Channel interviewed Sri M. The distance traversed today was 20 kms.
The Walk of Hope was accorded a public reception in the evening at 5.30 p.m. at Kuthira Malika, also known as The Mansion of Horses. A palace built by Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma, on the south-eastern side of Padmanabha Swamy Temple, the palace gets its name from the 122 horses carved into the wooden wall brackets that support a portion of the roof.With over a 1000 people in the courtyard, the audience was moved by the soulful rendition of classical songs by Kavalam Sreekumar. The public reception for Walk of Hope started around 6.30 p.m.
Chief Guest V S Sivakumar, Health and Devaswom Minister said in his inaugural address, “Spiritual leader Sri M’s ‘Walk of Hope’ from Kanyakumari to Kashmir spreads the message that all religions preach peace and harmony- a message which helps build unity within the country. Only unity can ensure progress and prosperity of a nation like ours that has so much diversity. Sri M’s yatra promotes unity by spreading the message that all religions preach peace and harmony.”
Speaking on the occasion, former Union Minister and BJP leader O Rajagopal recalled how a ‘vision’ that occurred to Sri M during his childhood prompted him to initiate discussions with various religious leaders with a view to build communal harmony.Former Speaker and CPM leader M Vijyakumar said that the Walk Of Hope was a ‘highly adventurous journey’ as it planned to cover over 6,500 kilometres from Kanyakumari to Kashmir in 18 months. He said the public should show their solidarity with the walk by becoming a part of it.
Mayor of Thiruvananthapuram, K Chandrika and Kerala State Public Service Commission member V S Harindranath offered felicitations. Children, who were adjudged winners of a painting competition held in October to create awareness about the walk, were honoured on the occasion.
After all the dignitaries addressed the gathering, Sri M's Satsang began at 8.00 p.m. Sri M started his address in Malayalam, asking humbly the audience's permission to speak in Malayalam interspersed with English.
Once again, he drew attention to the Rig veda where it says: "Ekam Sat, Viprah Bahudha Vadanti"(There is only one truth, only sages describe it in different ways) and the Bible where it says: “Lay treasures in your heart, for no thief can steal it. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” His teacher’s grace awakened him to finding his core that also existed in every living being. He embarked on the padayatra with the intent that every human being should realize this core. This can be done only by going inwards. An external walk of this kind would be of no use unless the journey turned inward to realize the essence.
Devotion is generally seen as singing kirtans, bhajans, visiting temples and piligramage centers. Doing these are good but unless it manifests externally as kindness and compassion, these will remain only rituals.
He again referred to the 12th Chapter of the Bhagawat Gita – Bhakti Yoga and spoke about the importance of keeping the sense organs in abeyance and ensuring that the welfare of all beings remained as the intent in every external action. Remaining cool and calm in every situation is important.
It was a short and beautiful satsang.