On this day, the walkers camped at Chitradurga—the first day of rest after they left Bangalore on 10th of April. While many of them rested, a few of them, along with Sri M and Sri Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru, walked to Ankali Mutt, also known as Chandravalli.
The Ankali Mutt is thus known since saints from Ankalagi (Belgaum) frequented the place for meditation. The caves are located in the hills around Chitradurga – in the midst of three hills – Chitradurga, Cholagudda and Kirubanakallu. The caves, approached by steep steps are a continuous maze of passageways, rooms and anterooms. Narrow pathways open into large cavernous spaces in a moment and stepping into what seems to be another room, one finds oneself having stepped into the previous cave. Without a guide, it is certain that one would be lost in these dark and deep labyrinths. The cave systems started from 30 feet below the ground and went up to about 90 feet. The interconnected caves stretch for miles and there is said to be a subterranean pathway right upto the fort, a few kilometers away.
These caves have good air circulation but there is no light and it is pitch dark, making them seem secretive and a perfect setting for the erstwhile rulers of the region, including those of the Kadamaba, Satavahana and Hoysala dynasties when there was a threat of an intrusion. The group spent about an hour at this place. Three smaller groups of around twenty each went in turns, led by two guides.
The Chandravalli hills are a semi-arid region with scrub vegetation, a stream running through it forming a lake at a spot and historical stone structures here and there. It is an archaeological site and excavations have found painted pottery and coins from pre-historic and the Satavahana period and remains of human habitation during what is known as the Iron Age. A rock inscription of the founder of the first Kannada dynasty of Kadambas, Mayurasharma, dating back to 450 CE is found in the Bhairaweshwara Temple.
The hills and the Chitradurga fort also form the background of many a tale of bravery and valour when enemies attacked the ruling kings. One such story is that of a brave woman – Onake Obavva, (Onake - pestle) who fought the forces of Hyder Ali with a pestle. She is a legendary figure finding mention in Kannada textbooks and history.
Following this, the walkers were transported back to the Muruga Rajendra Mutt. After a quick breakfast, they gathered again in the Mutt grounds for the public Satsang, which started around 11.00 a.m. There were about 200 people present in the audience. Here, Dr. Sri Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru felicitated Sri M. Following this, Dr. Sri Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru gave an introductory talk. Amongst many things, he said that one should not be caught up by Swamis who are not genuine. He also noted that real spirituality does not lie in miracles but in the discovery of the inner Self.
Sri M began his address thus:
“Om, Sarve bhavantu sukhinaḥ
Sarve santu nirāmayāḥ
Sarve bhadrāṇi paśyantu
Mā kashchit duḥkha bhāgbhavet
OṁS hāntiḥ, Shāntiḥ, Shāntiḥ
May all be prosperous and happy
May all be free from illness
May all see what is spiritually uplifting
May no one suffer
Om peace, peace, peace
Loka Samasta Sukinoh Bhavantu – May the Entire Universe Be Happy!”
“First of all, I thank Swamiji for allowing us to rest at the Math for two days here and for talking about the Walk of Hope and it's central clown, Sri M. I was going to apologise for not being able to talk in Kannada. Since Swamiji spoke in English, I have a little bit of courage to say a few things in the same language. This Walk of Hope, which we started from Kanyakumari is a physical walk. Swamiji also mentioned that this physical walk is an expression of my inner walk.”
“I did not start walking to attract attention, to become well-known, or anything like that. The less well-known one is, the more peaceful one is. This is a fact. So, for me, it was an expression of my inner journey, as all great seers, great saints and great yogis have discovered that there is only one truth. And they look at it in different ways.”
“Ekam Sat. Vipraah bahudaa vadanti. There is only one truth, people may call it by different names. Since there is only one truth, there is only one humanity. All human beings, no matter where they belong, no matter what ideology they belong to, are first human beings. This is a very practical matter. There is no philosophy, just look around you. All human beings are born from the womb of a mother and depending on which house they are born, they are named in different ways, they are trained in different ways. But, ultimately, how are they born? They are born from the womb of a woman; they don't fall from the sky. So, ultimately, we are all human beings –Manushya.”
"Now, this is the aim of Manav Ekta Mission. Don't forget, despite all the activities and the things we go through that we are basically human beings. Also, every human being has the spark of divine in his heart. To kindle this divinity inside, to understand one’s self is the most important walk. It’s not just about walking to Srinagar and coming back. If we don't understand ourselves in this process, I think this walk would not be a success. For me, this is like a ‘yagna’. Not only me, there are so many people walking with us. It is a ‘sadhana’. While walking, we also watch ourselves. Looking at ourselves, finding out where we stand, who we are, where we are. This is the way to find out the Supreme Being, who the Swamiji has referred to as the Shivam, the Shunya.”
“Now, this is not only an exclusively Hindu thought. Among the Sufis’ there is a saying ‘man arafa nafsahu faqad 'arafa rabbahu’. He who knows his nafs (Self) can understand the rab (Lord). This is an experiment in finding out where we stand, where we can improve. One thing we should bear in mind is that all success belongs to the Lord, not to us. Now, I think the basic principle what the Swamiji referred to as Shunya is something that cannot be described in words. Any way you try to describe it as, it falls flat. It is not nothingness in the ordinary way where there is no-thing. It is something from which this whole thing has come. So, don't mistake that word. It's everything-ness, let's put it that way.”
“And, I think, the basic starting point for a human being is to become Shunya. What do we mean by becoming shunya? It means that, compared to this vast universe, we are not even as big as a speck of sand. If you look at this whole universe, you will see that you are not as big as even a speck of sand. We like to think that we are the biggest of the big. It is not so, it is our mind that is trying to project. If you start from Shunya, then there is space for Truth to come in. It starts from humility, from understanding that this human being that lives for a moment and dies after some time is actually nothing. To start from that point, whatever we build, we have to leave that and retreat. To understand that we are nothing is the beginning of the understanding of that Supreme Nothingness.”
“Therefore, we started from Zero Point in Kanyakumari. The highway department calls it Zero Point. We wanted to call it Manav Ekta Point but they have not agreed. It doesn't matter. I think Zero Point is a better word. So, when we started from Zero Point, I told all my friends, let us think we are zeroes and let us move towards that greater zero who is the Supreme Being, who is also known as Shunya. There are a few things we have to practice in daily life to be free. When there is no space, one cannot be free. This space has to be there within us”
“I will tell you a small story, which won't take long. Once, there was a great professor who had studied everything—he had studied all religions, he had studied physics, chemistry, everything. He thought he knew everything. He went to a Zen master requesting for a transcendental experience. Actually Zen is derived from the Sanskrit word 'Dhyana', the word 'Dhyana' went to China and became 'Chan'. It subsequently went to Japan and became Zen. The Zen master said to the professor: let me make you a cup of tea. You know, the Japanese are very ceremonial. To drink tea, they have to have a little table, they have to have a tablecloth, and they have to have a cup in the middle. So he did all that, brought the tea in a kettle and poured it into the cup.”
“As he poured, the cup became full, of course. He continued to pour the tea, so the tea over flowed and seeped into the table cloth. After a while, the professor said that the cup is overflowing, assuming that the Zen master didn’t notice. So the Zen master turned to him and said: Your cup is overflowing, how can anyone give you Zen? So there is no space. Space is an important thing. What I am trying to say is that when we reach Srinagar, let us not feel that we have done something. Let us be humble. Then, there is space for the Other to be. It is not such a complicated affair; in fact, it is such a simple thing. First of all, recognise that the other person may be greater than you, how do you know he is not? You maybe the lowest of the low. That is a good way to start life.”
“Second, don't steal something that belongs to somebody else. Everything belongs to the Lord. Don't lead a life of falsehood. Some people come to me, 24 hours they speak untruths, and they want to find the Supreme Truth. How is that possible, you tell me. In day-to-day life, first start practicing. Not be as I am but I will find the Supreme truth. This is not possible. Avoid violence as much as possible, because in every house, there are mothers and sisters and children and fathers who suffer as much as those in your home. Remember this.”
“So, the only aim of the padayatra is to remind people that we are all human beings, that's all. If this much is achieved, then we have done something. And, this message must originate from this country because this country has welcomed people of all castes, creeds and religions. So keep this idea in mind and let not the mind stagnate. When water stagnates, it breeds mosquitoes. When river flows, I think there is a word in your literature called Jangama, movement. So when this movement is there, we can move towards the Supreme Reality.”
“It’s good enough if you pray for us. If you walk with us, that's also okay. Even if you walk 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 1 day, we will feel that our aim is being fulfilled. There is no bar. Anyone can join, at any time, at any place for this Walk of Hope. Namaskara to Swamiji and Salaam.”
The walkers dispersed after this and rested a while after lunch. Later, in the evening, Sri M had a private Satsang with the yatris to discuss and resolve certain practical aspects of the Walk for about an hour, after which they had dinner and retired for the night.