Padayatra-leading philosopher Sri M meets Sonia, Rahul in Delhi


New Delhi, Oct 26: Renowned philosopher-social reformer Sri M has called upon top Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul to join a cross-country padayatra the 66-year-old spiritual leader is currently leading for the promotion of interfaith harmony in India.

The author-preacher, whose Kanyakumari-to-Srinagar journey titled ‘The Walk of Hope’ is now ending a brief break in Bhopal, met the Congress president and vice-president in the national capital on Saturday evening.

The half-hour interaction at Ms Gandhi’s 10 Janpath residence here saw Sri M apprising them of the upcoming itinerary of the 18-month mission that was flagged off from the country’s southern tip on January 12.

Earlier here, on Friday, the social activist met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal—and made similar appeal to both the leaders.

Known for his vast and deep knowledge about various faiths of the world and commitment to uphold India’s syncretism, Muslim-born Sri M, along with his 70-strong volunteer team, is meeting people in rural and urban spaces, where they also hold inter-faith prayers, eat together and conduct cultural programmes. When it concludes in the Jammu and Kashmir capital in April next year, the 7,500-km initiative would have reached out to 10 million fellow Indians in eleven states.

“The Walk of Hope is an exercise to restore the innate spirituality of the nation – rekindling true faith and rejuvenating the spirit of hope, love, peace, harmony and oneness,” says Sri M, who is a native of Kerala and runs the Satsang Foundation at Bangalore after having met his guru in the Himalayas. “The hope is to erase disparities arising from a misunderstanding of our diverse culture and religions, thus uniting the humanity of India through a spiritual approach proving people can live together despite all differences.”

The padayatra, which Sri M is leading under the aegis of Satsang Foundation’s Manav Ekta Mission wing, typically covers 20-25 km a day starting from dawn before they halt in the evening at a pre-determined village or town en route. The unique endeavour facilitates a diverse assembly of responsible citizens who have a robust faith in India’s plurality and foresee a united and inclusive India for themselves and the future generations. It has already witnessed major public participation that figures people from across India—spiritual leaders, youngsters, retired bureaucrats, corporates and a sprinkling of NRIs (some foreigners too). In fact, the march often finds people joining in a couple of thousands, and mostly its volunteers are fed by the local people.

‘The Walk of Hope’, which was flagged off by veteran scholar Karan Singh, MP, has elicited response from leaders of all political hues. They include the chief ministers of Gujarat, Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh –the states through which the mission has moved so far.

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