The Walk resumed today after a day’s rest. Sri M along with around 70 revitalized padayatris set out at 6.00 a.m. from Rangavilasam Palace, Thiruvananthapuram.
The weather is noticeably warmer even in the early hours of the morning. A few monks from various orders have joined the Walk over the last couple of days adding diversity to the group.
A few minutes into the Walk, the group stopped at the Pazhavangadi Ganapathi Temple and observed the temple’s chief offering by devotees—breaking of coconuts. The main idol is installed in a seated posture with the right leg in a folded stance. The temple sculptures include 32 different forms of Lord Ganesha and is maintained by the Indian Army. The Nair Brigade of the erstwhile Travancore Army originally installed the idol.
Proceeding from the temple, the walkers proceeded to Vanchiyoor to visit the house where Sri M spent his childhood years. As mentioned in his autobiography, this was where his Guru Sri Maheshwarnath Babaji paid him a visit when he was nine years old—initiating his spiritual journey. The historic'jack-fruit' tree that served as a mute witness to the significant moment is no more a part of the house.
Few prominent people from public life then joined the walk for a while - Mr. O Rajagopal, former Member of Parliament, Union Minister and senior BJP functionary; Mr. Vijaya Kumar M, former Speaker of Kerala Legislative Assembly and a member of State and Central Committee of Communist Party Of India (Marxist); Adv. K. Chandrika, Mayor of Thiruvananthapuram; and Mr. T.P. Sen Kumar, Additional Director General of Police, Intelligence.
Along the route, Sri M was greeted and garlanded by the local population in as many as 6 different localities. The group also visited a church and Sri M spent some time in contemplation at the pew. At 7.45 am, the group had a short break at Trivandrum Dental Specialists' Group, Kesavadasapuram.
The walkers proceeded to the campus of St. Mary's Cathedral where the priest welcomed them. St. Mary's Malankara Syrian Catholic Cathedral, Pattom is the central place of worship of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church. It is also the See of the Major Archbishop-Catholicos of Trivandrum. Pope John Paul II visited the Cathedral on February 8, 1986.
After walking 14 kms, the padayatris reached Swayam Prakasha Ashram around 9.30 am,where they halted for breakfast. After breakfast, the group traversed another 8 kms to reach the halting point for the day, Technopark Club House, at 12.20 pm, the day’s walk totaling 22 kms.
In the afternoon, after lunch and a brief rest, Sri M had an interactive session with college students who visited him. He spoke about Swami Vivekananda and how 'he experimented with truth'. Swami was not afraid of asking questions and, being one of the elite in Calcutta in his youth, he asked many people simple but profound questions. 'Have you seen God?' was one such question. He started from a point of disbelief and skepticism but later, he met his match in a man who lived in a Kali temple and could barely sign his name. Swami Vivekananda maintained that we need to find our 'own' personal truth.
When he first went to meet Sri Ramakrishna, the seer started dancing in ecstasy and shedding tears. Swamiji was astonished and he saw the possibilities of other states of consciousness that could be explored. This proved to be a quantum leap in his search. On a later visit, Swamiji asked Sri Ramakrishna if he had ever seen God. 'I have seen God more clearly than I can see you', pat came the reply. Swami Vivekananda was more intrigued by this and thus he kept visiting him regularly. Sri M added that Vivekananda tested his Master through and through, until one day, Sri Ramakrishna touched his heart with his foot, whereupon he felt something imperceptible pass through his heart, as a result of which he went into a trance. He realised that 'he' within him was disappearing. Consequently, Swamiji began wondering about the energy that Sri Ramakrishna possessed around him.
Sri M cited another anecdote from Swami Vivekananda’s visit to United States. After delivering a talk on Vedanta, Swamiji and his host were driving back in a horse-drawn carriage. Swamiji looked very serious and the host was reluctant to talk to him thinking he must be contemplating seriously on some matter related to Vedanta. As they got off after the ride, Swamiji suddenly exclaimed, “The chilly has to be added at the end”. The Swamiji was recollecting the recipe for a soup during the ride!
Sri M urged the students to read ‘The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda’ and added it would be relevant for at least another 100 years. He elaborated on the human system and revealed that meditation releases the 'feel good hormone' called serotonin. He spoke about the importance of the pineal glad, which 40 years ago was thought to be a vestigial organ by researchers. Swami Vivekananda had pointed out a century ago the importance of the pineal gland. Vedanta talks about the fourth state beyond waking, dream and deep sleep. It’s said that if sleep is controlled by the pineal gland, it also has a connection to the 4th state called ‘Turiya’.
Vivekananda termed his Guru thus: 'a speck of dust from those blessed feet could have created a thousand Vivekanandas'. Sri M said that the same could be said of his Guru too. In his opinion, such Gurus are hard to find these days where everything including spirituality is commercialized. Thus ended the interaction with students.
In the evening, at 6.30 pm, Sri M's satsang was held at the amphitheater of the Technopark. Close to 500 people attended the satsang. The topic chosen by Sri M was 'Spirituality and Management'.He started his talk by questioning if there was a link between spirituality and management. This, according to him, is a 24 x 7 awareness exercise and cannot be achieved in a cave. He added that constant self-awareness aided by internal queries like 'Am I honest about my purpose? Is my mind changing? Is it more compassionate, calm and friendly?' is the start of spirituality. There is only 'one’ self-manifesting as me and others; if I serve others, I serve myself; If I hurt others, I hurt myself. The Buddhists say compassion is the essence of Nirvana.
To the query whether spirituality has anything to do with management, he said management was nothing but managing one's own and other's capabilities. We have to come to terms with people having different opinions, as all are one but manifested as many. If there is no brainstorming, there are no ideas. Very often, one's idea may form only one perspective of the situation. Listening as a faculty is very important since 100 people may have 100 ideas. We can listen in the truest sense only when we are free of prejudices.
A tranquil mind can easily handle management stress. We need to be more open so as to accept being wrong. A calm mind possesses more energy to accomplish things.
The breath and mind are connected. Observing the breath thus is known as ‘Vipassana’. He said that everybody should it try it out and see the benefit for themselves, adding that 'the joy of the pudding is in eating it’.The session ended with the chanting of OM and observing one’s breath for 5 minutes.