A touching account by KAVITA KARNAD on how taking the first step towards offering seva slowly enables you to shed unwanted clutter and Discover The Light Within! (October 2017)
Everyone is familiar with the phrase “Calm seas never make good sailors”. Similarly, my journey and quest to connect deeper with the Divine began with profound incidents that were experienced by my family and myself. These evoked a deep sense of reverence, love, gratitude and the desire to offer seva at the Lotus feet of our Guru and our Math.
As a novice devotee, I initially watched in fascination the sincerity and seva offered by more mature
sadhaka-s who had been around for a longer time. Soon, however, from just a volunteering parent, I was roped in as a Prarthana teacher. With Parama Pujya Swamiji’s Blessings and encouragement from Smita Nagarkattepachi (who was then a Prarthana teacher herself and is now the Chief-Coordinator) there was no looking back. Interacting with children is a real stress buster and a different experience totally. It has been over 7 years now, and I am so glad to be a part of our Prarthana Varga family. My trips to Karla and Shirali increased and so did my attempt to participate in different activities. Each holistic trip / camp was memorable and wonderful. Making props with other volunteers for stage performances by the little children of Shri Parijnanashram Vidyalaya in Karla was a unique experience altogether.
Parama Pujya Swamiji’s Blessings and Grace never cease to work wonders amongst devotees of all age groups, from senior citizens to the children in Prarthana and the ‘teen-ups’ ofYuvadhara. The amazing social outreach projects taken up by our Math under Parama Pujya Swamiji’s Guidance - like woman- empowerment (through Samvit Sudha and HMPP i.e. Hand made paper products), Parimochana to initiate self-help groups in villages and most importantly, - education (mentoring of educational institutions at Shirali, Mallapur, Mangaluru and Karla) all conjure a feeling of deep pride and joy as the heart reiterates – “This is where I belong!”.
From physical fitness with rebounder sessions to emotional wellness and spiritual growth with japa, meditation, pranayam and ninaad sessions, His Holiness continually ensures that we derive maximum benefit in every sphere of keeping body, mind and spirit in sync.
say c-h-e-e-s-e Smileys for the happy children of Parijnanashram Vidyalaya
Papercraft for Prarthana
Parama Pujya Swamiji’s Aashirvachan-s, Upadesha-s and Swadhyaya-s have always been inspiring and motivating in all spheres of my life and also are my constant guiding force. Satsang-s with like-minded people have further fueled my desire to delve more and deeper into the realm of the Divine Sannidhya of our Beloved Guru. Seva Saptaha gives me the necessary discipline, experience and exposure to interact with more devotees. This has taught me to shed my own inhibitions, accept my shortcomings, move past my comfort zone and LEARN!
Observing mauna has changed me a lot. It is an offering I make to the Divine on any one Monday of the month. That day is always special. I increase my japa and immerse myself in HH’s Swadhyaya-s and Ashirvachan-s..This enables me to introspect, keep control over my emotions and to let go of that unwanted clutter which tends to exhaust so much of our good energy.
The emotional strength that mauna stirs within has done wonders in every aspect of my life - in seva or at home, or even in dealing with difficult people and situations. This has made me realize again and again that I take back so much more than what little I attempt to offer as seva!
In spite of the differences amongst us, (working style, thinking and attitude) all volunteers have that one strong bond in common, which is the reverence for our Guru and our Math. Where there is vibrancy in singing and chanting, there is also peace and tranquility in meditation and mauna. Each sadhaka gets an unfolding platform to display his or her potential amidst the spectrum of varied skills and talent and different professionals. The resulting inspiration and creative output at each gathering at Pujya Swamiji’s camps infuses so much joy and enthusiasm and becomes a beautiful expression of collective love and gratitude.
HMPP gave Sushma Koppikarpachi and me an opportunity to launch coloring books for children and diaries. Back in my own Santacruz sabha, we manage a Samvit Sudha hub with six volunteers (Smita Nagarkatte, Sujata Nadkarni, Shobha Nayampalli, Aditi Mudbidri, Surekha Padbidri and yours truly!). Getting involved in any of these voluntary activitivities may seem difficult in the beginning when self-doubt becomes a huge impediment to one’s own untapped resources. But soon, when realization dawns that participation is what matters and every devotee is important to facilitate growth and bring about a change in himself/ herself and the samaja at large, the path opens up and more opportunities pour in. It is often said that “Little drops of water, little drops of sand, make the mighty ocean and the mighty land.”
To be a Chitrapur Saraswat and to have a rich and revered Guru Parampara like ours to exalt in, is a true blessing!! So powerful and palpable is the feeling, that once connected, the Gurushakti draws you like a moth to a flame, not to burn, but to discover the light within!!