After two days of rest, the walkers were back on the road. They left at the usual time of 6.00 am from Cariappa Square, Madikeri towards their destination, Hoskote. They walked on the Madikeri-Mysore road, the distance to be covered being 26 kilometers. The yatris are now heading towards the plains, leaving the relative coolness of the hills. The sun is getting warmer. In Madikeri, they passed the memorials of the freedom fighter, Guddemane Appaiah Gowda and the first Indian Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army, Field Marshal K M Cariappa.
Guddemane Appaiah Gowda led the revolt against the British in an armed struggle, which covered entire Kodagu and Dakshina Kannada districts. This was one of the earliest freedom struggles against the English way back in 1837 and came to be called the Amara Sulya Dange or ‘Coorg Rebellion’. Field Marshal K M Cariappa is one among the two Indian Army officers to hold the highest rank of Field Marshal. His distinguished career spanned almost three decades and he was appointed as the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Military in 1949. Popularly known as ‘Kipper’, he studied at the Central High School Madikeri. He had a towering personality and was a visionary, one of his insightful quotes being – “Army is there to serve the Government of the day, and we should make sure that it does not get mixed up with party politics. A soldier is above politics and should not believe in caste or creed”. The brave ‘son of Kodagu’ passed away in 1993, at the age of 94.
Proceeding further, they walked through a village named Ibnivalvadi, a socially close-knit community where people assemble in a Village Square or ‘Chaupal’, smoking their ‘hukkas’ and chatting till late in the night. Suntikoppa is a busier township between Madikeri and Kushalnagar where people congregate for its Sunday market. Muthappa Temple here attracts people from all over for its feast every year. Agriculture continues to be the sustaining activity of people in this region.
The padayatra stopped at regular intervals for refreshing themselves with water or a juice. Breakfast was served at a Satsangi’s house at 9.00 am. The only other stop they had was at the Bytoorappa Shiva Temple, one of the popular Shiva temples in the region. They reached their congregation point, St. Sebastian Church, Hoskote around 1.00 pm and were greeted by a group of 60 children just before they reached the point. A reception of 20 people awaited them on arrival at the Church.
The walkers were driven to the Palm Era Resorts, their place of stay. After lunch at 2.00 pm, they rested for a while. They gathered again at St. Sebastian Church’s open grounds for the evening Satsang at 6.00 pm. Sri M commencedhis address with the universal prayers -
Oṁ Shāntiḥ, Shāntiḥ
May all be prosperous and happy
May all be free from illness
May all see what is spiritually uplifting
May no one suffer
Om peace, peace, peace
And Loka Samastu Sukinoh bhavantu – May the entire universe be Happy.
“There is one dilemma, the Reverend Father speaks in Kannada, Malayalam and English, all three. My Kannada is terrible and my Malayalam is somewhat okay. I will mix Malayalam and English because there are many here who can understand Malayalam.”
“Most people here know about the padayatra through pamphlets, newspapers, TV and Internet. So I won't go much into this. We started in Kanyakumari, a Sangam of three seas (confluence) and also the Zero point, which is India’s land end. This signifies that we have to throw our egos into the ocean before starting because it is the stupid ego which comes in the way - I can do it, I cannot do it, I am the greatest, I know everything.”
“While we walk from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, taking one and a half years, I am hoping that when we return, we will come back with young and fresh minds, atleast. As we go along, we will learn new things. I am hoping that we are equipped to learn new things.”
“The main aim of the padayatra is based on my personal spiritual experience—that human beings have the divine essence within them. There are different kinds of people, so there are different kinds of religions, ideologies, thoughts but we are all one as human beings. We are all born as human beings, we all breathe, we all eat and we all die, in that way we are all the same. Pain and sorrow are common to all human beings. We don't say that I am a sad Christian, we just say I am sad.”
“This message can be realized and spread only when we walk, with our feet firmly planted on the earth, down to earth. The purpose is to sow the seeds of unity upon this earth. Therefore, it is called Manav Ekta Mission. We have covered more than 1100 kms and we have entered Karnataka. I must admit that in Kerala and in Karnataka, we had an overwhelming response. Looking at this, I think that as we go along, the movement will snow ball. The Walk of Hope indeed gives us much hope.”
“We must see first that all souls are potentially divine. Swami Vivekananda said, ‘Each soul is potentially divine. The goal is to manifest this divinity by controlling nature, external and internal. Do this either by work, or worship, or psychic control, or philosophy - by one, or more, or all of these - and be free. This is the whole of religion. Doctrines, or dogmas, or rituals, or books, or temples, or forms, are but secondary details.”
“We have been received with great warmth in the Church. Now that we are here, I cannot help quoting from the ancient wanderer who wandered the streets of Jerusalem. “I and my Father are one”. He also said ‘The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Such a man is a perfect parivrajaka (a wanderer) a perfect aniketa . In the West, he would be known as a homeless person. Jesus was proud of his homelessness.”
Sri M then said that a human body can be compared to the ‘Kshetra’ (temple or dwelling house) and the soul could be compared to the ‘Kshetrajna” (in-dwelling deity). Quoting again from The Bible, “Know Ye not that You are the temple of the Holy Ghost?” and “Blessed are the peacemakers, as they will be called the children of God”.
“This idea of oneness is Indian and has been there since ancient times. I believe that India should be the one to spread this message to the world because it is here that all religions have co-existed amicably since times of yore.”
“I am reminded of a story about Prophet Mohammed–Mohammad Nabi had to flee from Medina with Omar as company to escape being persecuted. They were fleeing and the fear of death hung over them. They travelled through the desert and came upon a cave, which they entered for rest and prayer. A little later, Omar who was used to warfare, said that a group of twenty horsemen were in pursuit and that the two of them had no chance against them. To Omar’s surprise, Mohammed Nabi told Omar to trust in him since they were actually three! As they hid in the cave, the horsemen came right in front of the cave, stopped and turned right around and went back! Mohammed Nabi then told Omar, ‘I told you not to worry’. As they went to the entrance of the cave, they saw that large desert spiders had woven a web right across the cave mouth giving an impression that the cave had been unoccupied for long. ‘The third one’ said Mohammed Nabi, ‘was Allah’— God or whatever name you would like to call him.”
“This faith in God, Allah, Jesus, Parabramha or whatever you call it, is why we are walking all this distance. Sometimes, I think we are like mad people to walk in the sun but we are firm in our faith that there is a Supreme Energy that is helping us.”
“I wish all of you would pray for the success of Walk of Hope and walk with me even for half an hour. It would give us much more faith.”He concluded the Satsang with the prayer for happiness of all beings in the universe.
The yatris then retraced their way back to the resort. Halfway, two forest rangers stopped them and told them there were two wild elephants close to the area they were walking in. Despite the flutter of excitement to watch the tuskers, it was decided to take the route of caution and everyone boarded available transport – an ambulance, a police escort vehicle and two autos to return to their place of stay.
They reached by 8.45 pm and retired after dinner.