Bharat Jago Padyatra

The first Padyatra, the 'Bharat Jago Padyatra' (India Awake foot-march!) began on September 24, 1983, from Badrinath in the Himalayas (elevation, 10,000 ft). The 600-km route, covered entirely on foot, included historical places such as Pandukeshwar, Joshimath, Karnaprayag, Rudraprayaag, Devprayag, Rishikesh and Hardwar. In addition to that, he visited 500 villages and met more than 3,00,000 people on the way, talking to them and listening to their grievances. The poor and needy people were also given blankets and medicines.

At each of the 24 stops along the way, evening programs were held to acquaint the local people with the aims of Padyatra and to inspire them to realize their inner potential, both spiritual and social. Speaking out against corruption, social injustices and lawlessness, he said, "We are advancing materially but are losing spiritually and that is the cause of all the problems and sufferings in the society. A government can punish a criminal, but can't reform his criminal tendencies. This can only be mitigated by an inner transformation. That is the power of spirituality." The Padyatra ended on 28th October 1983 with the spectacle of 60,000 people marching peacefully through the streets of Delhi, calling for a spiritual and social renaissance.