Mujawarah in Udaipur

Posted by Sheetal Sanghvi on Dec 11, 2013

Last week, after an action packed day in Surat, a car load of us drove to Udaipur. Being process driven, lot of unexpected value emerged on the way.  At one point, our conversation went from laughing to super deep talk about Boddhisattvas.  It wasn't so much the content but the collective presence, that emerges and flows where it needs to.

On the first day, we visited Reva who lives on an organic farm where they host 'Swaraj University'.  They have batches of 15 students, who do ongoing two-month vocational internships with partner NGOs for two years; their overarching mission is to "regenerate local cultures, local economies and local ecologies."  A wonderful old couple who owns the farm told us, "Our greatest teacher of generosity is nature, everything from nature comes as a gift."

At night, we had a circle of sharing at a beautiful restaurant, Millets of Mewar, where everything is locally grown.  The conversations of the evening centered around Mujawara, on what it means to be a good neighbor. It was interesting how different people interpreted neighboring. Some spoke about being a good neighbor to our own emotions and feelings, others to our friends and family, while still others included nature (trees, birds, farms) and one person even brought in consideration to our virtual neighbors on Facebook.

Manish shared a story about a time when a group of friends from Pakistan were visiting him in Udaipur. News came of a bomb blast that had just occured in Jaipur, allegedly by Pakistani terrorists. In a touching gesture of being a good neighbour, all of the visitors donated their blood for the victims of the blast.

Vidhi shared an amazing story of how their grandmother Naanu Maa who would go door to door and ask for food from their neighbours as a ritual for a particular week every year and eat only that which was offered to her in alms. She was a very wealthy lady and did this only to build deep relations with the community. She said when she asked for food, she created an opportunity for her neighbours to engage with her and also practice generosity.

In Udaipur, we were the guests of Manish and Vidhi Jain, co- founders of Shikshantar and Swaraj University. In recent years, they've really come to adopt the "gift culture" idea and are doing lots of local experiments such as Hulchul Cafe, Jugaad (upcycling) workshops as well as weekly “gift massages” and “footpath library" at a local park.  A wonderful quote that someone shared with him really resonated with us: "In rural areas people are connected to processes; in urban areas people are connected to products."

Next morning, we met Sant Amitabh, 92 year old monastic -- via gentle insistence from Mukeshbhai.  We meditated together for an hour and we shared some thoughts for another half hour.  Despite his age, he's super lucid and articulate.  "Anyone who cultivates is a saint.  It has nothing to do with what color robes you wear."  One time Mukeshbhai took a young Canadian there, who had dedicated her life to service and he said, "Service is just a hobby for her."  Although gentle, he was very clear that we should end all craving and aversion.  When asked about his teacher, he said it was a 10-minute encounter with a saintly woman who essentially told him that there is nothing in this field of "maya" that is worth pursuing.

In the afternoon, Madhu and Meghna held a circle with various local friends at Shikshantar.  Later, Nipun gave a public talk about designs that lead with inner transformation -- in Hindi, for a full 2 hours! It was really well received, with some great questions, and a strong vibe that was built in the room.  Many were moved as one journalist offered to translate the deck and another offered to give free bulk-SMS's through his company.

At night, we held an Awakin Circle at the home of a wonderful artist couple, Amit and Shweta who had started Awakin Udaipur just four weeks ago. Even though they both had never attended an Awakin before, they were inspired to host it after hearing about it through a friend who had sat in these circles in other cities. So beautiful, as 20-25 of us sat in a circle, and Swara opened with a thoughtful reading that brought up some great shares followed by a love-filled and home-cooked warm dinner.

Even later in the night, we spontaneously did a "Dil Ki Kahani" with Manish and Vidhi which was really beautiful.  They shared how early in the journey, they took very strong stances against the status-quo but that creates even more polarities.  They now try to be a good friend first and let that lead the way.  These days, they are most excited about creating learning cities and learning unconferences.

We spent the next day with a giftivist city guide Vishal who took us on a walk through parts of the old city. We had some delightful moments of generosity offered to us when an old potter asked us to join his family for lunch just minutes after we met him.

One of the guests at the Awakin Udaipur happened to be the Chief Conservator of forests and was inspired to host 20 of us in Sajjangadh, a peaceful forest sanctuary the very next day for an incredible sunset, an hour of silence, followed by some tea, chanting and sufi songs.

As we drove back to Ahmedabad, we all felt connected with this community in the spirit of Mujawarah!

Posted by Sheetal Sanghvi on Dec 11, 2013 | permalink


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  • Harsh wrote ...

    Woow. :)
    Love is flowing. :)

  • Sree wrote ...

    Beautiful articulation of a magnificent experience.

  • bhrugesh wrote ...

    Will please give me the address of sant amitabh

  • swati wrote ...

    संत अमिताभ की खोज मे । मुबई से माउंट आबु पहुंचे , गुजरात भवन मे सामान रखा ओर हम चले गोमुख रोड । गोमुख ओर वशिष्ठ , कुदरत का अदभुत नजारा देखा । गुजरात भवन आते वक्त नाले के पास एक बडा भवन देखा।एक न  See full.

    संत अमिताभ की खोज मे ।
    मुबई से माउंट आबु पहुंचे , गुजरात भवन मे सामान रखा ओर हम चले
    गोमुख रोड । गोमुख ओर वशिष्ठ , कुदरत का अदभुत नजारा देखा । गुजरात भवन आते वक्त नाले के पास एक बडा भवन देखा।एक नीचे पडे बोर्ड पर देखा "पिंजरे से पंखी बाहर निकल के खुले आसमान में उड ने को तैयार " यह चित्र ने हमारी जिज्ञासा बढादी । एक महाशय बहार आए हमने उनसे बोर्ड पर के चित्र का अर्थ पूछा।उन्होंने कहा, इस चित्र का अर्थ
    संत अमिताभजी को पुछो, मुजे नही पता , संत आश्रम छोडकर चलेगए है।वह महाशय चले गए , हम सोचते रहे , गुजरात भवन में पुछा तो कहा बाजार में सरदारजी से उस चित्र का अर्थ पूछो , शायद उन्हे मालूम हो।
    हम चले बाजार सरदारजी को खोजने , बाजार मे सामने आ रहे पहले सरदारजी को हमने पूछा , तब पता चला कि यह संतजी के भगत है ।उनहो ने कहा 'संतजी सेवकों के विवेकहीन आचरण देख आश्रम छोडकर 14 साल
    पहले निकल गये ।उनके जैसे सरल कोई नहीं देखा'।संसार से वैराग्य की ओर जाते देखे हैं, लेकिन आश्रम से वैराग्य ! यह पहलीबार सुना ।
    हम माउंट से उदयपुर पहुंचे उस करुणावान संत के दर्शन हुए।शांति का एहसास मीला।
    "पिंजरे से पंखी बाहर निकल के खुले आसमान में उड ने को तैयार" संसथान के बोडॅ का अर्थ पुछा तो पहले मुसकुराए, फिर बोले ' तुम नजरो के सामने जवाब देख रहे हो '।
    एक महाशय से जब बात हुई तब पता चला कि संतजी के लिए लोगों ने दान दीया, कुछ महत्वकांक्षी व्यवस्थापको की बदलती नीयत ने संतजी को निकलने के लिए मजबुर कीया संतजी आज 14 साल से कीराये के मकान मे निवास कर रहे है।
    संतजी ने कभी सोचा नहीं था वह सदनशीब लोग इतने सालो से सेवा करते रहें ओर जिनपे भरोसा कीया उन्होंने धोखा दीया । वह "आध्यात्मिक शोध संस्थान " माउंट आबु।

    व्यवस्थापक : पृथ्वीराज जैन - 09825033591
    चंद्रपकाश चोपडा -09825007011

    भगवान इनको सदबुद्धि दे।

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  • Santosh Jani wrote ...

    " साडा हक एथे रख " कामयाब
    Without any options trustees are surounder to sant amitabh. Thanks shital, Thanks swati, Thanks all of you who involved this meter.
    ઉપર ના લખાણને as comment મોકલવુ છે," moved by loved " article મા. તમે સંતોષ જૈન ના નામ થી મોકલી શકો ?