"Life is for giving."
At the Board Meeting held in February 2009, that is last year, when the Budget for the year 2009-10 was discussed, there was great concern about how we would succeed in raising the resources required in the context of the economic slowdown that the world was experiencing. I recall that I wrote to our directors as under in early March 2009.
We have a massive effort of collecting monies for the year and the business for collecting for the Corpus as well. This is a very difficult year due to the recession, but just as we need to fend for our businesses, jobs and our families we need to fend for these children for whom we have gladly and willingly taken responsibility. We have no regrets about this commitment. We need to find ways of finding money for the project.
“I can only speak for myself and each of us will need to resolve this issue for themselves. All of you know Chinni, my wife and me well. I am 73 years old and my wife is not young either. We are not rich and have not earned a penny over the last twelve years because we have sworn not to. We do not wish to be distracted. We have some savings in the bank (being sale proceeds of a flat that we sold at Bombay) and live off the interest. It has been meaning ’less and less’ as the time passes by. But our needs are few and we own a nice house in Purkal. We do not socialise or spend time and monies in many ways. Both of us are dedicated to the work of this society and we do contribute some money to society apart from all our time and our skills to it. We are both happy and contented and thank the lord for this opportunity given to us. We have resolved to do our best to get the monies necessary and more importantly pray for it. We will also need to sell all that Stree Shakti produces. We will need to make sure that there will be additional employment and income generation in this Division.
Both of us wish to reach out to some people and make a difference in their lives. We understand that while monies are a means, personal involvement is the best possible gift that one can give. We are therefore giving what is most precious to us, our time and our life.
The experience that we enjoy is unique. The mask of the false self is falling off and we are happy with living with our own self. We know that ultimately the only thing we will leave behind is the only thing that we will take with us, qualities that we have honed and engraved in our soul. We are attempting to leave behind a legacy of the spiritual kind, which we believe is more important than the one of the physical kind. Our fundamental goal is to give these over 150 children the childhood that we owe them and the several women the pride of Life.
But there are problems in the environment. We need to cope with it, we need to fight and we need to do it. I believe that this recession is an opportunity to reinvent. We shall in the process adhere to great business practices and good business culture. We shall learn the power of Faith.
Having said that, I know that what happens is according to the will of God and that he is all love and wisdom. There is a hidden meaning of mercy in all that he does. I, therefore, lift up my heart and pray to him. I shall wait for collective wisdom to permit this effort of mine. I do not wish to forget that I am a part, however minuscule of this collective. I appeal to all of you to give this matter serious thought.”
Now there is another year and another budget and similar doubts. Will it all happen again this year? Are we wise in trusting the Divine purpose and not be sound with practical financial planning? Are we moving in the right direction? These are doubts that assail us yet again.
So, we revisit our ideas on Faith and Giving.
This Mission of Giving that we call PYDS has grown and survived over the years because of the dedication of several Friends of Purkal, all of whom have gained joy and peace from being a part of the effort. More are coming in since they see that there is something in this participation that satisfies. This group has blended into the large and happy Purkal family.
The biggest lesson that we have learnt is that the world is not degenerating but growing with a nucleus of many good people. Work on relationships grows this circle to include many likeminded. In the process, we become fully aware and many areas of our lives get touched. Our minds get filled with fresh possibilities with Life expanding ideas. All this is brought about through faith in goodness and compassion. We now know that we need to practice it more and better.
Looking at it in another light, we shall not amplify situations and facts by investing them with an overload of fears, worries and resistances. We have a need for security but it goes hand in hand with a need for adventure and for venturing into the unknown.
The Purkal family is now attempting to bring about changes in the Community that lives in Purkal through a model that attempts it by providing nutrition and excellence in mind stimulation processes. We call this practice ‘education’. These are being provided to the young so that they could become agents of change of the future.
The decision to take on this Project happened impulsively and the effort is growing and is being sustained with Grace. We have all been transformed into the soldiers who attempt this bold experiment. We are in it now and need to find the tools that will sustain the Mission. It is in the nature of things that Transformation comes first and the tools that make it happen to come in later. Swami Tejomayananda has pointed out that Mahatma Gandhi was thrown out of the First Class compartment in South Africa and that event triggered the Indian Independence movement and transformed him into a freedom fighter. The tools for the independence movement were discovered later.
There must be a higher purpose that dictates this Mission that we are involved in. We cannot control it but only prepare for it, by transforming ourselves into better people through our five senses and the thinking and perceiving faculties.
We need to be happy and cease to be mentally agitated. We have learnt that if we rise above desire, the object of desire comes to us. We get what we deserve and we deserve through service and sacrifice. The sacrifice needs to be firm, unending and abiding.
This piece is being written since I am in need of this reminder now and because I think that this is the most important lesson in Life that we have all learnt. I am therefore proposing that we adopt this as our School’s motto. We shall read it as ‘Paropkaraya Jeevanam’
The desire for service must be raised, ennobled and purified. Its lower aspects need to be controlled. Strong desire for realisation is aspiration and this is no fault since it is the mother of all virtues.
The essentials for practising sacrifice and giving is to make it sacred. What we give has to be of value to us. We are all to be anonymous in this giving and do this without any expectation. The giving is to be done wholeheartedly. While we enjoy our possessions, we enjoy it better when others partake of them.
Giving is the religion of the soul and it emerges from a higher, nobler calling. We are happy giving away our tangibles such as money but we have examples of young people who give their youth, energy, space, comfort to nurture and keep this family called PYDS together and we feel humbled. We know that the hands that serve are holier than the lips that pray.
By sacrificing our limited identity, we have gained a collective identity that works for the welfare, peace, prosperity, progress and happiness of a larger group. We have thus dissolved and merged with the Divine. We have become fearless and happy with our sacrifice and to a degree attained God and we know that this is the road to peace.
May we now pass on this message to all those whom we serve by adopting this as our motto and may we all resolve that we will live by this dictum ‘Paropkaraya Jeevanam’ ourselves.