Benefactor of the Deprived
It is absolutely true. Until and unless the fire in the stomach are satiated one can not imbibe spiritual precepts howsoever sound and great they may be. Pujya Bapuji, who is ever engaged in uplifting all strata of the society, by organizing distribution of food to the poor along with satsang, has indeed put this principal into practice. A saint has remarked - “For a hungry man, food alone is the spirituality, food grains are actual God and clothing solely is Divinity.”
Large Bhandaras (feasts) are organized for the poor and tribal people under Pujyashree’s guidance. Thereafter, clothes, utensils, food grains, oil, soap, amla choorna packets, Chyavanprash, sweetmeats, footwear and other daily necessities are distributed. Cash assistance too is provided. And at last, they are served with the nectar of devotion. As the devotees are engrossed in Kirtana (devotional chanting), the pace of chanting is upped and the loved one’s of the Lord are led into the laughter exercise to give them a taste of bliss. This extraordinary technique replaces the humdrum of their lives with cheerfulness. Then Pujyashree advises them on how to lead a healthy, happy and contented life.
Pujyashree tells them, “Among tribal people an erroneous custom of wearing silver bangles and silver rings has crept in, which is detrimental to health. Gold ornaments should be worn above the navel and silver ornaments, below te navel. Those going against this principle are prone to have physical and mental afflictions and those following it enjoy good health.”
The Sadguru who teaches the art of converting tears into a musical composition, death into salvation, hatred into love, defeat into victory has been instrumental in putting a stop to the practice of mourning excessively in memory of the ancestors that was prevalent in tribal community and has replaced it with the custom of expressing gratitude for the departed souls thereby converting death into an auspicious happening. The book titled - ‘Mangalmay Jeevan Mrityu’ teaching the art of converting death into salvation, is a must for every household.
Lakhs of backward people have taken advantage of these Bhandaras, Sometimes sweet porridge, sweetmeats, fruits, sherbet, buttermilk, umbrellas are distributed in addition to Bhandaras. Trible people affectionately use different terms for Bapuji like ‘Sweet porridge Baba’ and ‘Buttermilk Baba’. In view of Bapuji himself participating in such altruistic endeavours His disciples get inspired to follow suit with great zeal and enthusiasm.
Bapuji says - “Make your life a celebration. (Utsav) ‘Ut’ means supreme and ‘sav’ means yajna (sacrificial act). Feeding a hungry man, giving water to the thirsty, showing the way to one who has lost his way, providing courage to te dejected, showing the path of satsang to people in bad company- all these are Karm-Yajnas (The Yoga of selfless action). If you feed a hungry person, hewill of course be benefited by way of his hunger getting satiated; but at the same time you will be all the more benefited by way of mental satisfaction an spiritual elevation"
On top of this, Pujyashree tells his disciples “You should not entertain the feeling that you are doing any favors by giving something to the other person. On the contrary, he is doing us a favor by providing us an opportunity to be of service to him. This should be the feeling in our heart. In reality, it is the same Lord who is accepting the gift and it is verily the same Lord who is inspiring the giver.”
Inflation, poverty and unemployment are the burning issues today because of which a huge segment of the society is leading a miserable life. For such people Bapuji has, out of his supremely beneficent spiritual thinking started a unique program,‘have food and get paid for performing devotions’. This scheme has been in operation for a good number of years. Poor, jobless and deprived people assemble in the Ashram or at specified places and participate in devotional chanting, japa, satsang, and self-study of scriptures from morning till evening. They are provided with afternoon meals free of cost and are given 30 Rupees in the evening as wages. This way poverty and unemployment is reduced and at the same time the environment is sanctified by the japa and devotional chanting.
In times of earthquakes, floods and other natural calamities, Pujyashree Himself visits affected areas as far as possible. He provides them a helping hand, consoles them and builds up courage in the people there. Where He cannot reach Himself, He sends his disciples and gets items of necessity and daily use distributed free houses as well.
On occasions like Deepawali when the people are busy celebrating and enjoying the occasion with friends and family, this saint, the darling of masses, goes, amidst the poor people and tribals hoping to bring the smile of Deepavali lamps to their withered faces. The saint delivers them from misery and fills their life with such brightness that they say in unison: “If it is Deepawali Bapu has to come and whenever Bapu arrives it is Deepawali.”
Many eminent personalities queue up for hours, craving for His Darshan. When such a high profile Saint stoops to talk to a poor and destitute man and inquires about his welfare, it becomes a spectacular sight.
Do light lamps in your own house on the Deepawali day, but if there is a poor neighbour, light a few lamps in his house too. Distribute some seetmeats, fruits and clothes over there as well and say a few words of affection and encouragement. Illuminate life with the light of Vedic Knowledge of ‘सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिन:’ “May all beings be happy…”
Poverty does not refer only to the absence of wealth; one who does not posses peace of mind and happiness is also a pauper. Probably, that is why it is said, ‘Guru Nanak says the whole world is unhappy.’ Attachment, hatred, jealousy, greed, selfishness, censure are worst poisons of this age because of which a number of people are suffering acutely. Even such people, when come across Bapuji, their various vices like attachment, hatred and jealousy is converted to love, greed is replaced by sacrifice, selfishness and calumniation are replaced by self-less service and they learn the art of getting established in the Self and thereby attaining salvation.
Under the guidance of the compassion-incarnate Pujyashree, the Ashram and its various samitis have undertaken a variety of service tasks namely: Distribution of daily necessities in orphanages, distribution of free food grains to the poor, destitute and the widows, distribution of buttermilk and water gratis in public places, distribution of fruits, milk, medicines and literature in hospitals, anti-addiction campaigns, organization of free medical camps and arrangement of free mobile dispensaries, prisoner-upliftment programs in jails etc…
Impressed by these altruistic activities under Bapuji’s auspices, VHP’s International president Shri Ashok Singhal says, “The entire Hindu society shall remain indebted to Param Pujya Bapuji for the great achievement he has made in instilling faith, in the tribal and forest people, in the Hindu culture and the Hindus will never be able to repay the debt. The great personage has set up various service programmes in tribal areas. Those, who could not tolerate this, have tried to malign the saint through the media. Hindu society will not be affected by this propaganda and it is the need of the hour to be alert and spread the tight message.”