The padayatris departed from their place of stay at 4.45 am since they had to be ferried to the starting point by bus. The Walk started early at 5.30 am from Kuluvanahalli for today's destination—Siddaganga Math in Kyatsandra. Kyatsandra is both a residential and commercial town with a large floating population due to the presence of Siddaganga Math—a religious and spiritual establishment that is a city in itself.
It was a sweltering summer day again and the walkers maintained a brisk pace with the sun yet to rise. The walk was mostly on the service road and only at a few points did they have to join the heavy traffic on the highway.
The yatris traversed through small places like Hanumanthapura, Honnenahalli and Dabaspet. Breakfast was served around 8.00 am at C V G Junior College, Dabaspet. With most State schools closed for holidays, these buildings are the preferred spots for breaks buildings since they are close to the highway yet away from the dust and grime. Generally, they have a few trees forming a green canopy that provides a short respite from the merciless sun and the traffic, enabling the walkers to sit and eat at leisure. Breakfast time is generally about 45 minutes so that the walkers who fall behind are also able to catch up with the rest.
With the rising heat, the walkers are provided refreshments every three kilometers or so—coffee & tea during the first break and fruit juices once the sun is up. Buttermilk was also offered by the Karnataka Police at a couple of points.Moving further away from the big city of Bangalore, areca and coconut farms dot the highway on both sides. A couple of refreshment points were organized in these farms, the ambience of which was enjoyed by one and all.
Sri. Rafeeq Ahmed, MLA, Tumkur constituency met Sri M at the last refreshment break, close to Kyatsandra,. Local television media covered the event and also interviewed Sri M. A group of students from Kerala, studying at an engineering college overlooking the highway, greeted the padayatra raising slogans in support of Walk of Hope and also interacted with Sri M.
Just before they entered Kyatsandra, a Satsangi and her family welcomed Sri M and the walkers with traditional honours, after which everyone walked to the Siddaganga Math campus. The walkers stayed in the allotted rooms for 2 consecutive nights and thus they could relax immediately without having to wait for their luggage and other formalities.Covering about 26 kilometers, the padayatra reached Yatri Nivas, very close to Math just after 12.30 p.m. The Siddaganga Math authorities hosted lunch and dinner that day.
The history of Siddaganga Math goes back to the 13th century when Sri Gosala Siddheswara Swamiji, who belonged to the ‘Shunya Simhasana’—a spiritual academy during the days of the social reformer Basaweswara—founded it. Siddaganga Math is a unique gurukula providing education to more than 10,000 poor children with free food and shelter. The Math has more 132 institutions under its wing with 9 primary and 56 high schools, including a Sanskrit institution, an engineering and a business management college. They have also established general hostels all over rural areas in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Children from all communities are welcomed in the institution and are provided free education and food. Many children stay on in the Math even during holidays if they do not wish to go home. The Senior Seer of the Math personally interviews the children before they are taken in.Sree Sree Sivakumara Swamigalu, who is now 108 years old is still active and grants audience to the public. He took over the leadership in 1941 and has built it into what we see as a movement today. Sree Sree Siddalinga Swamiji is the current President of the Math since he took over in 2011 and acts under the guidance of his Guru Sree Sree Sivakumara Swamigalu.
The evening saw Sree Sree Siddalinga Swamiji and Sri Mahalinga Swami from Degula Math, Kanakapura joining Sri M to address the gathering of about 250. Before the Satsang, there was a music performance by Sri Ravindra Soragavi, a well-known Hindustani musician who sang vachanas and Kabirbhajans.
Sri M’s address began thus with his customary invocations:
(Which) pervades the entire unbroken form of the circle (of creation), moving and unmoving.To that beautiful and benevolent Guru through whom that state was revealed (to me), salutations.
Gurur Brahma Gurur Vishnu GururDevoMaheshwara
GururSakshatParabrahmaTasmai Shree GuruveyNamaha
The Guru is Brahma(The creator), Lord Vishnu(The preserver, and Lord Shiva (the destroyer)
To that very Guru I bow, for He is the Supreme Being, right before my eyes.
Lokasamastasukhinohbhavantu – “May the entire universe be happy”.
Sri M spoke thus: “I don't speak Kannada, I will speak in English instead, so please excuse me. I do not want to say too much about the walk because the information is already there, people have spoken about it, but I will say a few words. This is Walk of Hope, which means, we are hoping for something. What is this hope we have and why have we started from Kanyakumari on the 12th ofJanuary, 2015 and why are we walking towards Srinagar, a task which we will complete in 500 days. In April of 2016, we hope to be in Kashmir by the grace of God and Guru, so why are we walking in the sun everyday? Have we gone mad? Or, is there something behind it?”
“Not only that I am walking, so many people are walking together. Why are so many people inspired to walk for one and a half years, all the way from Kanyakumari to Kashmir? There must be something. The reason is very simple. From ancient times, the Rishis have said there is only one humanity. ‘Sarvebhavantusukhinah’ is the expression used for this. When we say this, we cannot exclude anybody, we have to include everybody. The Rig Veda says ‘Ekam Sat, Viprahbahudaavadanti’ meaning ‘The truth is One, the wise call it by many names’. The aim of the walk is to remind people that no matter what ideology you believe in, no matter what religion you belong to, no matter what disagreements and agreements are there between us, do not forget that we are human beings.”
“We are born on this earth, we die on this earth, we breathe the same air, we eat the same food, we drink the same water, and finally the ashes of the body after death are mingled in the rivers of this land. We cannot be different. Very often, due to various reasons, sometimes political, sometimes in anger, sometimes because people persuade us to do so, we forget the fact that we are human beings - manushya - and we kill each other. The Jain faith proclaims 'ahimsa parama dharma', meaning ‘non-violence is the highest dharma’. Let us remember this. Let us sit across the table and have a dialogue and not resort to violence. The aim of this yatra is to once more remind people that we are basically human beings and if we live together united, this country will become a formidable and magnificent country.”
“This message must emerge from this country because this country has welcomed all kinds of people from all over the world. The Portuguese, the Parsis, the Jews, the Muslims, there is no one who has not been welcomed here. So let us live in peace and harmony. The greatness of this country is the multi faceted culture and the knowledge we possess. Let us travel and keep it in safe hands.”
“But why walk? Only when we walk is our feet on the earth. There is an expression in English - down to earth – now that is only possible when you put your feet on the ground. There is no harm in walking. We have covered one thousand and four hundred kilometers. Except for a little ache in the legs, I think every one's health has improved in general. You can ask people, talk to them. Human being’s legs are made to walk and they never walk. We sit inside cars.
This is not the way with only the rich, I have a driver who, if he has to go to a shop and buy something, he says 'car mein jaye sir?' (Can we take the car, Sir?). You see how it is?” “Let us learn to walk. This walk takes us to rural areas, to villages, to places where cars cannot gobut only bullock carts can. Also, I think when we touch our feet to the ground, all of us, the walkers will sow the seeds of oneness of humanityin the dust which we generate on the road, which in the future will sprout into beautiful trees with flowers of oneness and goodness. Perhaps, because of this effort, the cruise of the future generation will be smooth.
So this is all aimed for the benefit of the future generations. I am very happy when young people join the walk. Please help them join the walk. Fathers and mothers, please help them join the walk. They are the future of this country and this oneness, this Manav Ekta, is the only agenda we have.”
“Now, this is not only an outward journey, it is also an inner journey. It has to be a sadhana for us because we are not just social workers. We are spiritually minded people trying to find something within. So we also consider this walk as an inner journey, to move towards that which is called auspiciousness - Shivam. To go there, one has to purify oneself. One has to make this walk a Yagnya so that every step you take initiates a refinement by which the mind becomes pure by the time we reach Srinagar and come back. Not only have we achieved something physical by this walk, we have also understood the oneness of reality of things, which is the Supreme Being—whose spark resides in every heart and which cannot be different because it has originated from the same source. This is the aim of this walk and there is no other agenda. Everyone is welcome to join this walk. Even if it is for five steps, ten minutes, one day, we consider that as a great inspiration in bringing people together in this country.”
“I do not want to talk too much because as St. Francis of Assisi said, my walk is my talk. Movement and action - the first lines of the Isha Vasya Upanishad says ‘Yatkim cha jagatyam jagat’, meaning ‘The world is that which moves’. Moving is called the Jagat. The center, which is absolutely quiet, is the essence of all things. So keeping the center here, let's walk, let's do, and let’s spread the message of peace, love and unity among human beings.”
“Before I conclude, I also thank the Swamijis of the Math. Before I came here, I went to the Math and prostrated before the Swamiji—despite the fact that he is 108 years, he is asking us what's going on, what the walkis about. This is amazing; it is indeed a sign of spiritual growth.
So thank you very much. Om Shanti Shanti Shanti!”
After Sri M spoke, Sri Sri Siddalinga Swamigalu addressed the audience in Kannada and echoed Sri M’s sentiments. He spoke about compassion to fellow beings and co-existing with all since all humanity is one.
Following the Satsang, the walkers had dinner and retired for the day.