A Day of Maitri in Delhi

Posted by Pratyush Rajvanshi on Apr 20, 2014

What happens when 16 inspired souls come together for a day in the spirit of maitri, in a place that is etched into history for its contribution to the creation of modern India? Some of us found out recently in April, when we spent a day together at the Gandhi ashram in Delhi :)

Established by Gandhiji in 1932, the Harijan Sevak Sangh has been a central node in the movement for empowerment of untouchables in India, our nation's independence movement and the quest for attainment of Swaraj. Many great souls have passed through this institution, dedicated their lives to service and self-transformation and added to the purity of the space.

So, it was a blessing to be able to spend a day here, with fellow pilgrims seeking to lead inspired lives. The group itself had plenty of inspiration within too. Ranging from some youngsters serving disadvantaged communities with love to some others leading a life of inner transformation, an Army commando-turned-service warrior to a seemingly ordinary housewife being kind to many around her in small ways, and some students looking to chart out their own unconventional path ahead :)

Right from the moment preparation started in the morning, it was clear that there wasnt going to be any 'other' today. Everyone came early to set things up, fully aware that we were doing it for ourselves:) By the time we started and prayed together, love and stillness already seemed to be fully present within us, along with the blessings of many others who wished to be with us but could not. Gandhiji also made his presence felt through his favorite bhajan ' Vaishnav jan':)

As we began sharing in a circle, many of us shared our recent moments of inspiration where we have experienced love in various forms and how it has brought with it an insight or a small shift within. Ankita shared how doing small acts of kindness for strangers (the money having been gifted to her anonymously) had led her to practice kindness in her own house by helping her mom do the dishes, and thereby turning a new leaf in their relationship. Hari ji shared how he's been going through a difficult phase being involved in a legal battle, but received help unexpectedly several times, and how it has strengthened his faith in the existence of a higher power and its generosity. Phoolchand kaka, a Gandhian elder who has spent his life in service, also graced our gathering. He shared his message with us of how it is important to focus on both jeevika (livelihood) and jeevan (life), and how the ties of maitri (noble friendship) require us to rise above all attachments and mental constraints and love unconditionally.

After lunch and an inspiring song offered by Rajat, we broke out into smaller groups to have even more intimate and reflective conversations about our daily practices and the challenges we face, as we try walk on this seemingly duality-ridden path of 'being the change'. It is difficult to say how much resolution happened in the sharing; but through the tears, smiles and laughter one could definitely say that it allowed our beings to lighten up and feel even more closer to each other:) It was only natural to flow into a circle of gratitude, with it knocking at the door many times during the day. We drew inspiration from Brother David, a well-known figure for his insights on gratefulness, through this beautiful video. As each of us reflected and then shared, it was incredible to be in that space and really feel the gratitude flowing through:) Many of us felt grateful to our parents and friends and teachers. Mohnish shared how he felt grateful to the space and the people, for allowing him to find inspiration within. Suman shared how she is fascinated by all of life and feels very grateful for this gift given to her. We concluded the gathering by sharing the built-up positive energy with all of creation and praying for their well-being:)

All throughout the gathering, we were amazed by the gifts that kept coming us that day! Some friends sent us some Wisdom crafts all the way from Ahmedabad, a sister in Delhi who could not join us sent hand-baked cup cakes for each of us as her expression of love; and Deven changed his Mumbai flight plans just to be with us for an hour! By the end of it all, we were too overwhelmed with the magic that had unfolded, and could only wonder where to direct our gratitude:)

As I attempt to share what happened during the day, I wonder how could one share about the several moments of connection and transformation each one of us experienced deep within us! And how could one even fathom how these will ripple out into our lives and those around us:)

May we all continue to show up to life, 'be the change' in whatever direction we choose, and let the ripples spread far and wide:)


Posted by Pratyush Rajvanshi on Apr 20, 2014 | permalink

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Previous Comments
  • Dr Vinay Kumar wrote ...

    I really have missed the opportunity this time to be with you. Please let me know when are you planning your next get-together so that I can make it.
    With love, regards, and best wishes.
    Vinay Kumar

  • Jagdish P Dave wrote ...

    How do i get connected with you and others like you to do a pilgrimage? Is there any organization or a personthat I can contact to get such help?

    I love reading such trrue stories and I feel deeply connected with them. Namaste.

    Jagdish P Dave

    Thanks you.