The padayatra left on time at 6.00 am. A cloudy dawn saw the padayatris moving out of Bilikere on to Hinkal, on the outskirts of Mysore city. The walk again was on State Highway #119 and #88.The landscape has more or less remained unchanged over the last two days except that they came across more villages as they neared Mysore. After an hour of walking, they stopped for a short break. After the refreshing break, they walked till they reached a satsangi’s farmhouse for breakfast at 8.00 am.
Walking on, the yatris came across villages like Hullenhahalli, Manuganahalli and Nagawala. They are now approaching the industrial belt of Mysore and Ilavala Hobli is one of the main industrial belts of Mysore with many industries, followed by the Hebbal – Keonics IT Park, where the software and hardware parks are situated with presence of many IT giants like TCS and Infosys.
Just on the outskirts of Mysore, there was a group of around 40 people waiting to receive Sri M and the walkers into Hinkal. After they met the walkers, they visited a Ganesha temple and then reached the Nagalingeshwara Residency Hotel by 12 noon. Both men and women were assigned rooms in the same lodging house – two to three in a room. The stay was comfortable with proper beds and showers. Once the rooms were allocated, they were served lunch.
After a short rest, the padayatris assembled outside for a tea and then walked to the Ningamani Neelakantappa Convention Hall where the evening program was organized. The hall, about 4 kms away from the lodge, took them almost an hour to reach.There was a beautiful Carnatic vocal recital by a young upcoming artiste, Sri Yuktiraj Bhat. After a soulful rendering of about five compositions, the artist concluded with Sadashiva Brahmendra’s ‘Piba Re, Rama Rasam’, which was enjoyed by one and all.
Sri M honored and thanked the artists and then commenced the satsang at 7.15 pm. He quoted the following invocations:
Gurureva Param Brahma
Tasmai Shree- Gurave Namah
The Guru is Brahma, the Guru is Vishnu, the Guru Deva is Maheswara (Shiva),
The Guru is Verily the Para-Brahman (Supreme Brahman); Salutations to that Guru.
and Lokah Samasta Sukinoh Bhavanti… (May the entire universe be happy)”
Sri M began thus, “Unfortunately, I can understand Kannada but I cannot speak Kannada. This beautiful lady here has agreed to translate my talk. First of all, I would like to thank Sri Yukitraj for his beautiful rendering, especially the last one, my favourite, ‘Piba Re, Rama Rasam’. He sang with all his heart.”
“Now, moving to the padayatra, the intention of this Yatra is not merely a social act. It comes out of my inner experience—that we are all one, and therefore, we are linked together as humanity. This walk is only an expression, an outward manifestation of my inner understanding.” “We started from Kanyakumari on 12th of January, 2015—the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. This is also the confluence of the three seas - the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea.
Just like we human beings come from various parts of the world, speak different languages but finally come to a confluence—we all belong to one humanity”. “This is not something new. I am not saying something I picked out of a book, along my way. It is an ancient teaching, maybe more than three thousand years old, in terms of a conservative estimate.The Rig Veda said,‘Ekam Sat. Viprah bahuda vadanti’, meaning ‘The truth is one and the wise call it by many names’.”
“For humanity to survive in a time of crisis that has reached a flashing point, it has to regard each thought, each ideology, each religion, each intellectual understanding and everything as one – though they may be different. No two human beings are alike; if they were so, it would be impossible to tell one from another. There are bound to be differences.”
“The definition of ‘prakriti’ is ‘that which is different’. So, inspite of differences, to realize ultimately that we are one is the aim of Manav Ekta Mission. Sometimes, we forget this and act in strange ways causing violence and causing harm to each other.”
“We have already completed about 1200 kilometers and we have more than 4300 kilometers to walk. Here we are walking everyday. New airplanes are being discovered that can go faster and faster everyday and here we are walking everyday in the sweltering sun, 20 to 25 kilometres a day. What’s the reason we are doing this? What’s the reason we are inviting so much pain and suffering on our physique? Is there some reason? There are some people walking with me - a group of 50 to 60 permanently - why have they taken this burden? Because, we want to know if we can live together as human beings without fighting and causing harm.”
“In every house, there are children and there are mothers. When a child or a mother gets killed in a house, it is the same as happening in our own house. We must realise this essential truth. We can differ in our opinions and we beg to differ. We can sit across the table and find out what to do. There is no need to resort to violence.”
“I think this message should originate from India, because this has been the philosophy of India since ancient times. When we go back to ancient times, we see that the Parsis, the Jews, the Christians, the Muslims, they were all welcomed into India and never considered a second-class citizen.” “We sometimes forget this knowledge. The whole idea is to remember this - first, we belong to this country and second, that since we are all human beings, we also belong to the whole world. The Vedas did not say only this country should be happy. So, think of the whole world as one humanity. Not only from this country, we also have people from abroad walking with us because they feel this is a genuine cause.”
“In English there is an expression, 'down to earth'—it literally means to place your feet on the ground. In ancient times, Adi Shankara walked in all the four directions and also walked to Kedar Nath twice. It is called a padayatra because your feet are on the ground. Every time our feet touches the ground, we are planting the seeds of humanity in the dust of the earth, which we hope, will one day sprout and grow into beautiful trees and give shade to our future generations. Someday, they will remember that a mad man walked this earth for a genuine cause.”
“So my appeal to all people, wherever they are, is to have beautiful music, to have lovely songs. For it to be so, one needs all the ‘swaras’ - notes. You cannot have a song or make a beautiful raga of only 'sa', or 'ra', or 'ga' - you need all - 'sa, re, ga, ma, pa, dha, ni, sa'. If you have a flute, how will you get music if there aren’t seven holes, or if it is not hollow?”
“So, when we started at Kanyakumari, we said to ourselves, let us start with zero. Let us forget our ego and our arrogance - that we are so and so. We started from there, so that when the Lord plays on this empty, hollow flute, beautiful music will emerge. Music attracts everybody. If I sang in a language, it would attract only some. What if I played without language or what if I played a flute? Or, what if I played a violin? We are so adaptive - we have taken the violin, which is part of the western music, and adapted it to play Indian Classical music. It is a tremendous thing—playing ragas on a violin. This adaptation is such an important part of the Indian mind and this message hasto emanate from here to the world.”
“I don't want to keep you for long, since we are walking 20 to 25 kilometers everyday. I am 66, but I am not so tired, but still. Apart from that, it is nice to say things that mean something rather than go on blabbering. So, I don’t want to prolong it too long.”
“I want to tell you a small story from Bhagawatam, which is connected to the life we are leading for the past 65 days. It also has to do with bhakti.” Sri M then narrated the story about Kunti’s Prayer to Lord Krishna when he was bidding farewell to them after the Kurukshetra war. After the coronation of Yudhisthira as King, it was time for Lord Krishna to return to Dwaraka. Lord Krishna bowed to Kunti, respectfully asking for her blessings and also seeking to know if he could grant her any boons. Kunti’s reply to Krishna went thus: “I know who you are… you are the one who started the war, you are the one who fought for us… I know who you are.” And then, she prayed, “Let all the world’s sufferings and calamities come to me; let me suffer as that is when you will appear before us, giving us your darshan. It is only when we go through pain that we remember God.”
This took Sri Krishna aback for a moment. After a few moments, he put his palm on her head and said – ‘Tathasthu’ (So be it), thus granting her the boon. “We are all in some way playing the part of Kunti - taking all this suffering. We know how it is, some may think the padayatris are walking happily, but inside them, the story is different—there are shoe bites, there is pain, there is no place to sleep. People are going through such adversities. It is only in these temporary adversities that we realise what others may go through; especially of those who are homeless—the aniketas, the ones without homes. Everyday we are in a new place. In a small way, we are all Kuntis. The Lord that we call upon is in everybody's heart - the God, the Supreme Reality resides in the human heart as the ‘antaryami’. It is this God we are invoking so that this country can live together as one.”
“So, I plead to each one of you to walk with us. Walk with us in your minds; support us with your mind. If possible, walk with us.”
“I never tire telling this story. St. Francis of Assisi was walking with a few disciples and they requested him to address them with a few words. He said he would do that later and they walked on. At the end of the day, when they rested at a place after a long walk, the disciples again reminded him about his talk. St. Francis replied –‘ My walk is my talk’. This is also what I have to say, this walk is my talk.”
Following the Satsang, the padayatris were transported back to the hotel and they retired for the night after dinner. Tomorrow, the walkers are scheduled to enter Mysore City.