The walk from Hinakal to Mysore was a short one of about 7 kilometers. The walkers, after an early breakfast, left Hinakal at 8.00 pm and reached Vijayanagar extension of Mysore city within 35 minutes of the start. A traditional vadya-mela welcomed the group of yatris into Mysore. Students from various schools and colleges had congregated at the point and the musicians led the padayatra through a few main streets in Mysore city before it stopped at the halting point, Jaganmohan Palace.
Mysore, the cultural city of Karnataka, is a beautiful city with old palatial buildings and a lot of green cover. The padayatris walked on the road by the Kukkarahalli Lake, which is in the Mysore University campus – ManasaGangotri. The roads are broad and wide and traffic density is low when compared to Bangalore. Many of the government offices and the University offices are housed in former palace buildings. The name Mysore is an anglicised version of Mahishūru, referring to Mahishasura, a mythological demon who could assume the form of both human and buffalo. The Goddess Chamundeshwari, whose temple is situated atop the Chamundi Hills, killed the demon.
As the capital city of the Kingdom of Mysore for more than six centuries, the rulers had paid a lot of attention to the city’s planning and growth. The Wodeyar clan who ruled the Kingdom were culturally rich, and they were also worshippers of Devi (in the form of Chamundeswari). They were also known for their good governance.Patrons of art and culture, the Wodeyars contributed significantly to the cultural growth of the city. Mysore is noted for its palaces, including the Mysore Palace, and for the festivities that take place during the Dasara festival.
With the J S S group of Institutions supporting the Walk, there were students from various streams including J S S Medical College, J S S Polytechnic and also J S S Women’s College participating in the walk today. 600 people participated in the procession. With the vadya-mela and the announcements of Walk of Hope, the procession attracted a lot of attention when they passed the commercial areas of the city and the residential areas closer to Jaganmohan Palace.
The Wodeyars used Jaganmohan Palace as their home initially. The Palace is one of the seven palaces of Mysore and one of the most beautiful contributions of the Wodeyar Kings. It is now converted into an art gallery and a function hall. The art gallery contains one of the largest collections of artifacts in South India. Most of these artifacts are paintings—prominent among which are those by Raja Ravi Varma and the ‘Lady with the Lamp’ by artist Haldenkar. This was originally placed in a dark room to provide an impression that the glow of the lamp is illuminating the lady who is holding a glowing lamp.
The walkers were assigned rooms in a lodging nearby – Iyengar’s Plaza. They had the luxury of staying in rooms on a twin sharing basis in a comfortable environment. They re-assembled in the Jaganmohan auditorium for the evening program. For the evening public function, there were in excess of 700 people present.
Dignitaries present, included:
- His Holiness Jagadguru Sri ShivarathriDeshikendraMahaswamiji, Head of the Jagadguru Sri Shivaratheeshwara Math
- Swami Mukthidananada, Head of the Mysore Ramakrishna Math
- Dr. Syed Akeel Ahmed, Professor
- Mr B R Pai, leading industrialist in Mysore
- Sri. Ramachandran, Chartered Accountant
- Father Gilbert Arnab, Roman Catholic Church, Mysore
- Sri M
All the speakers welcomed Walk of Hope as the need of the hour for the country and the world. Sri M felicitated the guests and Jagadguru Sri Shivarathri Deshikendra Mahaswamiji, in turn, felicitated him.
Sri M started his address with the collective prayers –
Sarvebhadraanipashyantu Maakashchit dukha bhaagbhavet
Om Shantih, Shantih, Shantihi
May all be prosperous and happy
May all be free from illness
May all see only the spiritually uplifting
May no one suffer in any way
Om Peace, Peace, Peace
Loka samasta sukhinoh bhavantu – May the entire universe be happy“
“First of all, I would like to thank the dignitaries on the stage for being here. But first, I apologise for not talking in Kannada! I wish I could because when I go to Kerala people always ask me to talk in Malayalam.By the time I reached the end of the padayatra in Kerala, most of the days I was talking in Malayalam, much to the unhappiness of the people from other states and outside India.”
“I must thank the dignitaries who are here, His Holiness Jagadguru Sri Shivarathri Deshikendra Mahaswamiji of the JSS Math, and our own Swami Mukthidananada of Ramakrishna Math. Why I am saying this is I have spent many years in the Ramakrishna Math and I am also an initiated member of the Ramakrishna Mission. Next, I would like to thank Dr. Syed Akeel Ahmed, who I am meeting for the first time. He put things in a proper rational manner but, as someone said, his delivery speed was high, since he wanted to keep the time. However, it was full of energy, enthusiasm and goodwill towards the padayatra. I also thank our own friend, Sri Ganapathi of the Mysore Star and of course, Mr Pai, Sri Ramachandran and Father Gilbert Arnab.”
“Dear dignitaries off the stage and all the padayatris who are walking with me from Day One. This yatra, on which many of the speakers have expressed their views, has no political agenda. We are supported from within for good things that can happen in our country. Apart from being a 7000 km walk, it is also an inner journey for us. I keep telling all the people about this aspect. If we just walk till Srinagar and come back without any inner transformation, I would think this Walk of Hope is a failure.”
“So what is this inner journey? It is moving into unity from diversity. The essential nature of the world is diverse, the meaning of the word 'prakriti' is also diversity - literally, that which divides is known as ‘prakriti’. However, in this division there is a central point, which holds all of this together. This unity is an inner experience for me and I am only translating it as an outer experience. For me, this is my personal experience and I want people to understand it and for this, we have formed the Manav Ekta Mission.”
“For me, it is primarily a spiritual journey. When the heart becomes loving and affectionate and will not, in any way, cause injury to other beings, then all other things fall in place automatically. Swami Vivekananda was once asked - what is the essence of the Vedas? He replied, 'Each soul is potentially divine. This divinity should be manifested through work, devotion or through understanding. The rest is all subsidiary.”
“For Mysoreans, this must be very important because Swamiji lived in Mysore for many years. Subramaniam Iyer, who was the Diwan of Mysore at that time, was his teacher. Swamiji was such a humble being. Swami Vivekananda apprenticed himself to Subramaniam Iyer to learn the Upanishads. Can you believe that? This is the land where he lived.”
“I will tell you a story, the favourite of Ramakrishana Paramhamsa, who as you know experimented with all different paths and came to the conclusion that ultimately all religions are the same. Of course, people look at divinity from different aspects and different viewpoints and different teachers have come and taught in different ways, so there is a difference. However, we are all part of the human race. This must not be forgotten. We may have differences of opinion, we may have differences of belief, and we may believe God is this or God is that, we may believe that there is no God, but can we believe that we are not human beings?”
“My experience is the essence of Vedanta is the essential unity of humankind. There is an Arabic word for there - 'Ahad'. When this is understood, one can understand the Supreme Being. In fact, among the Sufis, there is a Hadis from the Prophet, which says 'Man arafa nafsahu fa-qad arafa rabbahu', which means, ‘one who understands himself understands the Lord’. Do we find any difference in this from the Vedantic thought which says ‘when you know yourself, you know the Lord’? We don't. It is only a difference in language.”
“Sri M then narrated Rumi’s story of the four visually challenged men who go about describing an elephant. One touches the feet and describes that the elephant is like a pillar, the second man feels the trunk and explains that it is in the shape of a hosepipe, the third one touches the tail and explains that it is a stick with bristles, and the fourth person feels the ears and describes them as fans. They start fighting amongst themselves claiming that their personal version of the elephant, as sensed by them, is indeed the right one. Noticing their agitation, a passerby with clear sight enquiring on the reason for their fight, laughed and explained that while each one was correct in their way, they had missed completely ‘the whole’, the elephant in its entirety. He said that varied religions were also like this. Each one sees only one perspective and concludes the Truth from that whereas the essence is vast and infinite.”
“For us, in my own humble way, in our own humble way, we are trying to bring about this understanding. We maybe different, we may have different religions, but if human beings are not different, how can one recognise them; yet, this does not deny the fact that they are human beings. The greatest understanding is that human beings, in spite of the differences, can hold hands and live together.”
“This message should originate from this country because this is the country, which from ancient times, has said, ‘Ekam Sat, Viprah Bahudaa Vadanti – There is only one truth, the wise call it by many names’. If this message goes out from India, then it will reach the rest of the world. This is because the Vedas say it inclusively - 'Loka samasta sukinoh bhavantu'. Let the whole world be in happiness.”
“Now, it is not an easy thing. It is a path filled with many obstacles. But then, has anything good been achieved without surmounting any obstacles? We have to cross this and I cannot do this single-handed. These 60 people walking with me or I alone, we cannot do this by ourselves. Maybe we can do a little bit - plant the seeds. I ask and request all here to do a little bit for this. As a gesture, if you walk with us when we start in the morning, we will feel assured. Only participation can bring about change. I believe this Walk is only about planting of the seeds for peace and harmony”.
“As Dr. Syed Ahmed said, youth power is the most important thing. We, with our grey hair, our energy might have faded. But the youth have to be activated for this process. In English, there is an expression - down to earth. Literally, we are down to earth. Into the dust we sow the seeds of peace and humanity. Some day, with proper watering and nurturing, it may grow into a beautiful tree of flowers for the future generations. Otherwise, the world maybe destroyed.”
“Before I conclude, I want to say two things. One, it is the action not the words that are important. May I quote this, I like quoting this, many people who have been walking with us have been hearing this too.There was a great saint named St. Francis of Assisi who used to wander with his disciples. Once while wandering, his disciples 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’.
Go to the Twelfth chapter of Bhagawat Gita -
Samniyam Indriya graamam Sarvatra Sama Buddhayaya
Tey Prapnu-vanthi Maameva
Sarva Bhootha hiteh rathaha.
Those who have control over their senses,
who have equanimity in all situations,
and who are engaged in the welfare of all the beings, verily,
they all come to Me.
“If we keep just this in mind, hold hands in spite of our differences and walk together as one nation. Let’s apply a larger context—walking together as one humanity—then I think, something can be achieved. I pray that you support us, even in your minds.”
Thank you very much”.
Following this, the gathering dispersed and people retired for the day. Tomorrow being a rest day, the atmosphere was visibly relaxed for the padayatris.