Empty, Gather, Ripple

Posted by Siddharth Sthalekar on Jul 23, 2013

On the 21st of July, 26 noble friends from the local community around Pune met to deepen their commitment through 'Inner Service'. A circle that began with a resounding thought by Madhusudan on what service meant to him -
"I have been reflecting since returning from a recent gathering in Switzerland - I wish to be like a Banyan Tree. After decades of offering shade to sentient beings, the mother trunk slowly hollows herself - allowing the newer roots to support the whole. And through the hollowing of herself, invites insects and birds to reside within her, eventually dissolving into nothingness" The intention was set - to, Empty ourselves, Collectively Gather and Ripple out into our local contexts.

For the past few months, each one of the ladders in the circle had been tirelessly serving their local community. Through simple acts of kindness, or washing dishes at Seva Cafes and Awakin circles, they have been bringing people together in love - effortlessly, yet relentlessly. And through the circle that was created on this beautiful Sunday, the power of collective completion was visible. A power that flowed through each participant, as they shared stories of transformation from their own beautiful lives.

After tirelessly cooking, serving and cleaning from 9 am to 11 pm at the Seva Cafe earlier that weekend, Col. Hari shared a story that echoes in our hearts even now. 42 years ago, as a 21 year old officer in the Indian Army, he was entrusted with the responsibility of noting the details of 5 Prisoners-of-War in the 1971 India Pakistan confrontation. Initially, he put up a brave front, but soon realized what a daunting task it was to address giant non-cooperative warrior Pathans. It's hard to say if what transpired was a torrent of genius flowing - but he decided to get up, and hug one of the officers. Instantly, there seemed to be a transformation - something he couldn't explain, but he saw it ripple through to the other prisoners and transform the moment. A transformation that he saw time and again while greeting guests at the Seva Cafe, or when Neerad stood at a traffic junction later that afternoon, hugging strangers and even when Michelle wished people a 'Happy Sunday' as they whizzed by in their cars :)

Bhumi, a 23 year old reflected on her incredible experience, celebrating a friend's birthday with 23 acts of kindness on the streets of Mumbai. Originally inspired by a 22 year old in Pakistan, it represented the power of pure intent-  as Hari Ji shared how his organization of 550 people were celebrating birthdays in a new way. Unconditionally giving to their security guards, watchman and fellow colleagues. Ashima spoke of her experiments in not only writing letters to strangers, but also trusting them for lifts. Neeti revealed the invisible offering she made to her apartment complex by sweeping the parking lots every morning - without anyone finding out! Sheetal, a regular at the Baner Awakin shared his surprise at the warm welcome from the security guards when he attended the circle every Thursday - all because the host Aabha had been serving them tea every morning for the last 8 months. 

From the circles of sharing, to charting our Tree of Life together, or acts of kindness on the street - the spirit of generosity was contagious and palpable through the day. Months of generosity amongst peers led up to an atmosphere to gather ourselves and realign with our values. And all this, so that we could go out, renewed, to ripple into our respective families. As we all closed the day by planting a sapling at the Urban Ashram, it represented our way of further rooting our values of purity and service in our consciousness. Our way of giving back to the love that we had received that weekend. Soon, gratitude shifted from a thankfulness towards someone, towards a cultivation in our own hearts.

Grateful for all that we received on the beautiful weekend at the Urban Ashram. May we continue to empty ourselves, collectively gather and ripple out in our local communities.

Moved By Love. 


Posted by Siddharth Sthalekar on Jul 23, 2013 | permalink

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Previous Comments
  • Vinya wrote ...

    Beautifully written Sid! What a lovely gathering of inspired souls!

  • birju wrote ...

    wow. WOW!

  • Ashima wrote ...

    we were there together... to gather.
    lovely experience and beautifully written


  • swara wrote ...

    Super super super :-)

  • Kishan wrote ...

    Gratified !!!

  • Aabha wrote ...

    It was a soulful gathering that has recharged and rejuvenated me...as you rightly said, we were together to gather... thank you for the beautiful write up Sid...Thank you to Sheetal and Khush for hosting this amazing gathering and giving so completely and selflessly and to Neelkanth Papaji for the lovely food! Love, Aabha

  • Afreen wrote ...

    Such beautiful pictures and stories! :)

  • Susheel Nair wrote ...

    Very heart warming! Thanks for giving us the inspiration to be 'moved by love' in Bangalore.

  • Nilamaunty wrote ...

    Beautiful! Can't wait to part of the gathering in December -January!
    Lots of love and blessings

  • Trishna wrote ...

    Thanks for sharing so beautifully as always Siddharth! Grateful for all that the MBL crew continues to do :)