Today was the first day of rest since the Walk of Hope began on 12 January 2015 — a sunny day amidst the muted bustle of a city lost in Sunday laziness. The walking group spent most of the day in rest and leisure, contemplating on the events of the past week and meditating on their own inner growth in the process. It is amazing how the physical act of walking transports one to the innermost sanctum of one’s mind, how the very act results in the transcendence of the physical limits of the body.
Being the hometown of some of the walkers, their residences welcomed the fellow walkers—accommodating and extending hospitality after a week of extreme route conditions.
At 11.30 am, the padayatris, led by Sri M, assembled in front of the Sri Padmanabha Swamy Temple and cleaned the entire main street leading to the temple. Many of the locals who observed this were inspired to join the group of 200 volunteers engaged in the cleanliness drive.
One of the cardinal objectives of the Walk of Hope is community health, which is implemented by propagating effective community awareness programmes to improve sanitation thus creating a positive influence on personal health and hygiene. The Ananthapuri TV channel once again interviewed Sri M and there was also a photo shoot of the proceedings.
Rest of the day was spent at leisure.
The evening program started at 6.00 pm with a musical presentation by Sunaad called ISHA RUMI: Beyond Form—a theatrical juxtaposition of The Ishavasya Upanishad and the Masnavi of Jalaluddin Rumi—held at Karthika Thirunal Theatre, East Fort.
Sunaad is an eclectic group of singers from Bangalore city composed of the school-going and retired, professional performers and hobbyists, home makers and working professionals, all of whom share a common passion – a love for Hindustani classical music. Tara Kini, a classical singer and educationist, leads Sunaad.The 18 magnificent shlokas from the Ishavasya Upanishad are sung in Sanskrit and set in 14 different ragas. The evocative couplets from The Masnavi have been set to 10 different ragas and are sung in Persian. Its captivating stories have been woven into the script as and when they echo the sentiments expressed in the shlokas.
After the scintillating performance that ended with a grand ovation from the audience, Sri M addressed the gathering. He thanked the members of Sunaad for introducing 'naad in our hearts'. He also added that the performance was, in essence, depictive of the intention behind Walk of Hope.
Sri M chose the occasion to elaborate on Rumi's life and also narrated a story about Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. Sri Ramakrishna was once riding in a buggy on the streets of Kolkata, when he saw a drunkard weaving his way unsteadily on the pavement. He immediately stopped the carriage, rushed to the drunkard and hugged him rapturously stating that both of them were drunk—one on liquor and the other on his devotion to the 'Mother'.
Many years later, when Belur Mutt was being established, Sri Ramakrishna's ashes were yet to be interred. Swami Vivekananda had preserved the ashes in a pitcher in the sanctum sanctorum. A sadhu with matted hair visited the Mutt and asked if he could hug the pitcher. Swamiji refused saying that it would improper as nobody was allowed into the sanctum sanctorum. The sadhu narrated the story of Sri Ramakrishna hugging him on the streets many years before when he used to be a drunkard. He has then, returned home to reform his ways. He had subsequently become a sadhu. Swamiji was moved to tears hearing this story of reformation and invited him in to embrace the pitcher.
Sri M concluded his address with the view that music transcended logic and one should go beyond logic to understand the language of the heart.