Somehow while writing about all the amazing places that I was visiting a thought came as to what makes this places so special and the obvious answer was people. People who stay there and hold the space make it special. So I thought of sharing some individuals with all of you.
Story-1 Thirupal Gorige
I wish to share a story about this incredible being Thirupal Gorige. He hails from a small village of Andhra Pradesh. His parents were cobblers. His childhood was filled with friends but void of all material comforts. He would be amused by visits made by govt. officers for health, education etc. And what amused him was they would all be dressed in crisp trousers and nicely ironed shirts and shining shoes. His parents decided that they would educate Thiru enough so that he can become some kind of officer and have similar personality. He worked hard to fulfill his parents dream and would walk 7 miles to go to high school. For doing his college he first time stepped in Bangalore. It was a city that scared him at first as everyone spoke English, wore good clothes and stayed in cozy homes! Somehow, his dream kept him going and he adjusted to the new environment. He was not able to afford any coaching for learning English so he buys a second hand dictionary and makes note of every new word that he hears. He studies to become a Company secretary. Joins a company and heads the legal and company secretarial dept. His parents are happy that he ‘s become some officer, they do not understand what a company secretary means. He educates his other siblings. The story begins from here. He is so humbled by how the universe has helped him to become what he is that he wants to pay it forward. So he starts supporting his village youth for education and awareness. He volunteers with an organization called Abhaya foundation that focuses on rural development. He inspires many trainees under him to become achievers in life for paying it forward and dedicating it to your soil. Till date he maintains the dictionary and learns new words. He is always ready “to do”..as he says “ If we can do so much..we should do so much, and not waste a minute if the idea is noble”.
Story 2- Arun Mozhi
What is your state of mind if you loose your loved ones in sudden span of 6 months? Depression, loneliness and helplessness happened to this lady Aruna Mozhi. She would keep crying unable to find any solace. She visited many spiritual places, did many different kinds of meditations but nothing worked. Her job with BSNL and her old parents kept her alive. Then she came across Vipassana. As she did one sit after the other she started understanding the law of impermanence. She also realized that she had little time on this planet as human being and that she should make most of it by serving others. That’s how she came across Sevalayam- A hostel for students from remote villages from underprivileged background at Madurai. She went there as a meditation teacher and became their mother. She started seeing her 13 year old daughter in all of them. Now she’s become every child’s “Amma” , she counsels them, helps them with the subjects and spends most of her time with them. She is also engaged in raising funds for the hostel as the place is in dire need to repairs, fans and basic facilities. She’s come alive in service and is ever smiling. Earlier she would float in tears if she had to share her life’s story with anyone, now she smiles and shares and says that this hardship has given her a chance to see the beauty in serving and dissolving yourself in the flow of the universe.
Pushpalata comes across as a next door simpleton who is busy in her own little world. Till you get to know her better as a women with immense strength and determination to run a home for paraplegic or quadriplegic patients. Amar Seva Sangham is located at Ayikudi a remote village in Tamilnadu. The home was started by Sri.S.Ramakrishnan who became a paraplegic due to a mishap in the year 1981.
Sri S. Sankara Raman, a Chartered Accountant and a wheel chair user, affected by muscular dystrophy, joined him in 1992 and they both strive towards the attainment of the dream, to build a Valley for the physically challenged. So where does Pushpalata fall in? She was a college going student when she saw Sankara Raman in an TV interview talking about the institute. Her mind and heart started racing in his direction. She thought of getting married to him. Against her family wishes she went to meet Sankara and proposed to him. He refused as he knew he could give nothing to this girl who may have dreams of a fairy tale life. She persisted and expressed her wish to serve at Amar seva Sangham. They got married and since the day she is untiringly working for the space. She’s the inner heart of the place. She runs from one workshop to the other and in between all this finds time to cook and feed her husband and also pursues her CA degree. She does all this without a trace of ego or also sense of “doing” in it. Upon asking her why she’s doing CA she said her husband is CA and runs a practice for their self sustenance and she helps him. They do not take any money from ASS for sustaining themselves as they feel they have the capability to earn their living. Upon inquiring what made her marry Sankara and why choose a life like this she smiles and says it was deep calling of the heart that couldn’t be ignored. She also chooses to remain behind the curtain always. All gold medals, certificates and accolades are for others. Pushpa with her golden heart and bright smile takes each day in her stride and gives her 100% in it.
Story-4- Preethi Srinivasan
â€‹Once upon a time a promising cricket player, a national swimmer who at the age of 18 becomes quadriplegic in a freak accident. Preethi is a woman of metal. It’s been 16 years since her accident, physically life is challenging everyday for her but she lives with full zeal. She stays at Thiruvanamalai and is greatly helped by the universal energy of the space. She would just not give up. She uses her heart and mind to the fullest to serve others like her. She has started a forum known as soul free, through this forum she wants to help all women who are suffering from similar disability to become independent. She was pained to learn that so many girls who suffer from spinal cord disabilities are driven to commit suicide as no one wants to take care of them. She is determined to connect with them and counsel them to become self dependant. Preethi herself works online for a movie review company and earns her keep. Her biggest strength is her mom who is always by her side helping and encouraging her to continue untiringly. As she is wheelchair bound she hardly goes out of her home. She joined us for a pilgrimage around Arunachalam and as Darpan pushed her wheelchair she appreciated beauty of every little thing around us. She taught us the biggest lesson of being grateful for having a healthy body that allows us to do so much more.â€‹
Posted by Sheetal Vaidya on Aug 21, 2014 | permalink
Trupti wrote ...
Sheetal ben. . super inspiring. Thank u so much for sharing.
Sri Nithya Mangalmayananda wrote ...
Very inspiring and touching stoies of real people ! Thank you Sheetal for sharing the above true stories !
Harsh wrote ...
Thank you Sheetal ben. :) In deep gratitude.