16th April 2020
Harih Om Tat Sat. A discussion has been going on with Jamshedpur residents about reaching some remote settlements of tribal people, who fondly look for food from some kindly individuals. These hungry souls are apparently the marginalized sections, to whom perhaps the Government support does not reach.
This plight of any section of people must be a matter of direct concern for all good and noble hearts. For, right from Krita Yuga, the struggle and striving of the human heart have been to shed its selfishness, and imbibe more and more sympathy and concern for others.
In morality as well as ethics, in devotion as well as spirituality, this inner effort to mitigate selfishness and nurture altruism constitutes an indispensable fundamental pursuit. Because of the endearing and compulsive nature of this great human value, people never relented their efforts to soften themselves and foster the welfare of others together with that of themselves. And some here and some there have been quite inspired by the spirit of sacrifice and daana (dedicated offering).
Can you imagine, in every city of India, a good measure of high quality nutritious food is being wasted daily, making it not available even for birds and animals! In colleges and other institutions, this is a daily occurrence. At weddings and similar social functions, where people are prone to be exceedingly liberal in offering food to the invitees, specially prepared delicious food is wasted after feeding the guests.
A few years ago, Nutan Swamiji came to know that Ashok Ghosh was heartily involved in collecting and reaching such extra cooked food to different locations, where marginalized people in varying numbers would come with vessels and take the food home. Ashok has a chain of volunteers alerting these recipients beforehand, so that they would be ready in the spot while he goes there.
On hearing about it I felt very touched and in a way fulfilled. A very rare line of service, and that too, in supplying readymade food to appease the hunger of at least a few here and there.
When I met Ashok later during my annual visit to the premier Steel City, I discussed the subject in some detail, and enquired whether he had enough facilities to carry and distribute the food. It was then that he said he would like to have an air-conditioned van, to carry food fresh. We discussed the matter, and decided to make a suitable vehicle available for the purpose. One was bought and given to him. It does good service, making Ashok’s mission more organized.
Very soon he inspired the students and teachers of some of the schools in Jamshedpur to play a role in this service. Each day of a week he would visit a school, where the children would bring two chapatis each from their house. He could take a few thousand chapatis to distribute to the tribal people.
Yesterday, when Nutan Swamiji enquired from Ashok how he is getting food for distribution during this lock down, he emotionally responded: “Swamiji, I think you could hear my cry about how to get some food for these poor hungry lot!”
We were wondering in which manner we could help Ashok Ghosh’s mission. He suggested that it would be great if we could supply bread and jam. We asked Somenath Bannerji of Jamshedpur to find out a proper bakery and procure the necessary items for the next few days according to his list. So the distribution to a number of interior tribal villages within about 50-60 km from Jamshedpur started from today the 16th April.
Meanwhile, the feeding of the needy people in Jamshedpur is continuing with the help of CIRD devotees and volunteers. Under the guidance of Sonari Police Station and with the assistance of a few benevolent people and institutions, a community kitchen was serving lunch and dinner to 2500 needy people in an orderly, hygienic manner. We have given materials for four days’ feeding, and our people are in touch with them for any further assistance they need. Quite a few CIRD devotees are taking part in serving also. It seems the number of people needing food has already grown to 4000.
I always love to remember and remind that hunger, as well as the joy of having food is common to all beings upon the Earth. Even a Maharaja, moving incognito, will need his food in time wherever he is. Like breath, hunger cannot and will not wait.
In Thrissur too, we have to extend our service as the lockdown is not lifted. Already three Panchayats around the Ashram and Wadakanchery Municipality where Vyasa Tapovanam is located, are on our list of beneficiaries. Arrangements are being made to procure food supplies for the purpose.
Let us feel for the others, giving them the joy of feeling for us!
Love and ashirvaad. Swami Nirviseshananda Tirtha and Ma Gurupriya send loving good wishes.
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