“Once upon a time there lived an old fakir in a small village near the desert in western India. He had a pet donkey and a dog for years. Every morning he would send them both with an empty container on the donkey’s back to the village. All the villagers would then voluntarily fill the container with food grains. The fakir would spend hours making Rotis (bread) from the collected grain and then he would put it in a box with two jugs filled with water on the donkey’s back. Then the dog would lead the donkey inside the desert but the fakir would stay back in the village. The donkey and dog would walk for couple hours, deep inside the desert. In those days many people would travel from one village to another and would have to pass the desert. They would quench their hunger and thirst from this anonymous offering and continued with their travels. They never knew who sent the food and the fakir never knew who received the offering. This invisible bond of love and gratitude, nourished them all.”
This true story was shared by Neerad Bhai in one of the MBL retreats and recently as we were hosting a group in Sughad, where there were youth participants from six different countries I felt this story reflecting the spirit of Moved By Love. The program which was called SustainAware, explored sustainability from the perspective of Gandhi Ji and Indian culture/values, was very beautifully organized by Blue Ribbon Movement, laddered by Abhishek, Akshat and Ayushi.
The group engaged in various head, heart and hand activities of moved by love, including visit to a village, silent dinner, evening of inspiration in Seva Cafe, visit to Manav Sadhna, Safai Vidylaya, circles of sharing, exploring edges, meditation with Mukesh Bhai, prabhat pheri, engagement with Aanganwadi sisters etc. I was there in the group intermittently with Siddharth, where as Meet was volunteering full time. As I was sitting during one of the circles, a thought entered my mind “What am I doing here? with so many groups coming in and out and often taking them around Gandhi Ashram, what’s in for me, how am I growing, what am I learning, shouldn’t I be focussing in my own work, do something about my own sustainability? As my mind was getting heavy with all these thoughts, my heart responded the same evening and all my ‘self’ dissolved in the immense love I felt. It was the last day for the group and I was invited as part of the closing circle. Twenty of us sat together for a minute of silence, and then we watched a short movie of sister Yuka, where she shared the power of prayer and the entire world as one family. And in that moment as if everything made sense, it reminded me of the promise I made near Mt.Fuji to make an effort to be an instrument of peace and love, it reminded me of the presence of divinity in each one of us, it reminded me of the responsibility of our lineage and the gift of future for the generations to come.
In silence then we walked around the campus starting from the peace pole and ending the walk with washing the feets of each participants, a symbolic gesture, which helped us to see them as true pilgrims, who are on a sacred journey to share love through their work and being. We came back to the Maitri Hall, and as we sat together, we all deeply felt the presence of each other, without a spoken word, much was shared. The deep silence conveyed the unity of our hearts. Tears of love flowed from everyone’s eyes and as they stood giving parting hugs, I quietly walked out of the room, knowing my task was done. I remembered the birds who fly without leaving a trace behind them, I remembered the volunteers who work anonymously spreading smiles, I remembered all the noble friends silently holding space of love for each other and then as I looked up, I saw countless stars shining their brightest light, I remembered the Fakir from the desert and I smiled.