It was the best of times ;
it was the worst of times.
It was the age of wisdom;
it was the age of foolishness.
It was the epoch of belief;
it was the epoch of incredulity.
It was the season of light,
it was the season of darkness.
It was the spring of hope,
it was the winter of despair.Charles Dickens in Tale of Two Cities.
There are so many things wrong with the world today but this post is about finding positivity. I do not wish to digress here.
Today is Nirjala Ekadashi, a very auspicious day for all Hindus. There are many mythological stories concerning this day dating back to Pandavas. Legends state that pure selfless fast kept today, even without consuming a drop of water in this dry hot summer day can serve as a penance and will lead us to Vaikunth Vishnu’s dhaam after death.
It is easy for my generation to envision to fast. We might even enjoy it for weighty purposes. We do not even do half the amounts of physical labour that our ancestors did. Neither do we suffer even remotely from sun’s fury. Our bodies are conditioned to the comforts of air conditioners. But not very long ago, it was a hard tedious task only made easy by repeating God’s sacred name. It required great determination, tremendous will power and self control.
My father used to observe this fast. We were awestruck to watch him attend his office on foot and also go about all his other duties in this hot weather without consuming any liquid all day. We did not even own any cooler back then.
We had other tasks also earmarked for this day. For my humble landlords, it was a day for divine services. The Sikhs and Hindus have traditionally organized chabeels on this day. It is an arrangement where water, sweetened milk (roohafza), tea, snacks and meals (langar) were provided to one and all. The entire community and neighborhood participated in this joyous event either directly by preparing meals or indirectly by monetary sevices
The task set for my friends and me was to distribute the seva to far and beyond. The tents were usually set up adjoining busy roads or market places where all the rickshaw pullers, auto, truck and bus drivers, vendors, labourers as well as any passersby where fed with utmost devotion and duty.
The restrictions around the ongoing pandemic have made such gatherings impossible; but over the last few weeks we have seen similar such examples of duty and benevolence. We have seen zeal of commitment of corona warriors. We have witnessed selfless tasks of kindness from the common man helping the lesser fortunate sections
I also know, that we have seen more than enough of hate, sacrilege and brutality around the world. But this needs to STOP NOW.
Let us all remember what we need to do. The 3H formula given by the greatest saint who lived in soul of India, Swami Vivekananda. We all need, and this is an individual responsibility – Head to think, Heart to feel, Hands to work.
Let us all think rationally, feel sensitively and with empathy and let us all work relentlessly towards the upliftment of our own society with our bare hands.
Let us not shirk from our own duty. This is the paramount need of the hour.