Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Sewa Sandesh 103: 8 January 2008

From the Editor's Desk:Sewa International has been making steady progressover the last decade and the mission has reached to more than 10 countriesnow. Activities do vary from country to country depending on the problems andchallenges over there. On one hand, support to various organizations in Bharat isutmost on its radar while on the other, serving local communities and evensupporting other communities in some countries is being envisaged. The bequesthanded over to us from generations is enough to encourage and enthuse Hindusto involve themselves in serving the suffering and the underprivileged. Theother major area involved is geared up to go to any part of globe and serve forserving the society. With this in mind, International Meeting of SewaInternational in the last week of December 2007 has re-affirmed conviction inits global mission.

A three-day 2ndInternational Sewa Meet of SewaKaryakartas of SewaInternational concluded inBangalore, Karnatakaon 30th December, 2007. Several participants and representatives from various countries including UK, USA, Australia, Kenya and Guyana participated in the meet. Shri Shyam Parande, Secretary Sewa International introduced the dignitaries and delegates to the audience. Ma.Suryanarayan Rao, Chairman, Sewa Internationa linaugurated the baithak. He spoke extensively on the theme –“Sewa: As LifeMission”. He said that our ancestors never divided human society by their words and deeds. He recalled the values and ethos of Hindu philosophy and said that Sewa is not equal to western concept of Service, in fact, it is higher than it. It is a big philosophy. He also recalled the prime feature of compassion in Indian tradition and culture. He remembered the phrase “Daridranarayan" coined by great Bharatiya Saint Swami Vivekanand and urged to worship the poor as seeing God in them. According to him Chittashuddhi is essential for salvation. He also recalled the inspirational thoughts and deeds of Swami Akhandananda, another great Bharatiya Saint who had been the Guru of Shri Guruji, secon dSarsanghchalak of the RSS. Ma. Rao said that all the ideas of Vivekanandaji regarding Sewa were incorporated by Akhandanandaji. He also quoted the statements made by P.P. Shri Guruji on the essence of Sewa. Speaking on this occasion Shri ShyamParande recalled the services of former Chairman Ma. Suryanarayan Rao and praised him as guide and philosopher. He also welcomed the new Chairman Shri Jai Prakash and hoped that he will serve the Sewa International well with his dynamism. He also introduced the new trustee of Sewa Interntional, Shri Vimal Kediaji as a new treasurer and new advisors Dr. ShankarTatwawadi and Lieutenant K.K. Nanda. Shri Parande emphasized on the uniform development of Bharat. He said that SewaInternational should work with a difference compared with other international charities. He also recalled the strength of Bharatiya society and told that the reason behind this is our tradition and culture. He described the shortcomings of Sewa activities and proposed about corrective measures. He emphasized on the effective means of Sewa to achieve the set goals. The entire programme was divided into eleven sessions. Video-presentations/power-point presentations and discussions took place in every session. Video presentations that were made on the occasion were on the organic farming, Dr Hedgewar Hospital;Rashtrothan Parishad and its acivities; Youth for Sewa and its activities; Bio-mass Gasifier, Bhilwada district, Rajasthan; C.B.M.D., Kutch and its activity relating to micro-credit;Kirshi Vikas Yojana; Vivekananda MedicalMission, Kerala;AarogyaRakshakProgramme, Assam; Vanvasi Kalyan Ashramand its activities etc.
Speaking on the occasion former Governor, Justice Rama Jois emphasized on the accountability of the work done by Sewa International and urged that there should a positive attitude towards swadeshi goods. He put several examples from the Hindu scriptures to prove his points. Foreign delegates had privilege to exchange their views and share their experiences. According to the UK delegation there are four kinds of challenges they have to face in their host country -: 1. Monetary; 2. Political; 3. Muslim community in UK and 4. From our own Hindu community. They also expressed concern about church hegemony on Sewa activities. They told that Sewa International, UK chapter works for Bharatiya diaspora as well as native British people and charities .They also informed that they have installed several charity shops in the UK that is being run by retired people and women. Most of the garments are usually sent to Africa. The representatives of Sewa International, Australia Shri Bheeshmachari told in details about the socio-cultural activities conducted by the Sewa International, Australia chapter. These activities include several programmes and projects, some events especially cultural, programme on the independence day and on the occasion of Deepawali, tree plantation and visiting jails to meet Bharatiya prisoners. The representative of Hindu Council of Kenya, Kenya told the audience that there is Hindu Council in Kenya, being 160 institutions itsmembers. The prime objectives of Hindu Council are to provide security, education Hindu Dharma and environment protection.
WORKSHOP: A workshop was organized on the occasion. Two groups were formed for the purpose namely the UK group and the US group. Bharatiya representatives were divided and mixed up with the both groups.
A two-day cultural presentation by Sewa Basti kids and few Yoga sessions were also organized on the occasion. Dr. Shankar Tatwawadi and Ma. Bhaiyyaji Joshi delivered valedictory speech. In his speech Dr. Tatwawadi assured the audience that all the suggestions made there would be implemented properly. He also pointed out that overseas Bharatiyas have to work under the system they live in, therefore their problems and feelings need special attention. Ma. Bhaiyyaji Joshi said that we have done something suggested by the previous meet, but a lot more is needed to be done. He also acknowledged that there are two generations of people in the Sangh, one that is able to make good presentations of Sewa activities and the other that is able to do all other things except presentations. Bridging this gap is the need of the hour, he added.
2. “Challenges faced by Sewa Organizations in various countries
3. “Effective networking: Nationally and Internationally; Fund supportinginternationally; needy areas and funding organizations”
4. “Yova for Sewa – participation of Youth-exposure to projects in Bharat andother countries”.
5. “International charitable Organizations/NGOs, working together with likeminded organizations, other Hindu organizations, non-faith based organizations.
6. “Building up systems – official work, records, documentation, websites, audit ofaccounts as well as activity”.
7. “Media: propaganda material, reaching out to Media. Publication: Bulletins,flyers, folders, handouts, book etc.

Keeping noble purpose in mind, the Jana Sewa Trust, known for rendering yeoman service inthe field of education for over thirty years, has added one more feather to its crown by startingthe Veda Vijnana Gurukulam, a Gurukulam on the traditional pattern. The Gurukulam formallycame into being in Jyestha month of Isara Samvatsara (1997) on the auspicious occasion of theJana Sewa Trust’sPadamandala(Silver Jubilee)Objectives:
1. Preserving the traditions of the Vedas, Shastras (Science) and Yoga in their original form.
2. Reviving the Gurukul tradition in the modern science.
3. Developing young research scholars in the vedic science.
4. Inculcating modern outlook and spiritual insight in youth.
5. Proving that the Rishi Parampara is still valid in the modern age.
6. Teaching the Shastras in their own medium Samskrita and propagating SamskritaSambhashana (conversational Samskrita).
7. Developing young boys as cultural ambassadors to propagate Bharatiya way of life.
THE PRINCIPLES BEHIND THE GURUKULAM: The ‘Shastra Parampara’ of BharatVarsha is held in high esteem all over the world. That ‘Parampara’ must and can only bemaintained through the Gurukul tradition. So, the young and energetic workers must be trainedup in order to preserve our tradition and make the Shastra need to recognize their responsibilitytowards the society and the nation as a whole. The education at Gurukula aims at making thestudents imbibe certain noble qualities which set high standards for others to emulate.
Studying some branches of the Vedas by tradition with its interpretation.
•Proper philosophical outlook through the study of the ‘Prasthanatraya’ i.e.Bhagavatgita, the Upanishads and the Brahmasutras.
•Attaining command over the Samskrita language by studying Samskritagrammer and language skills.
•Achieving clarity in thinking by studying Padartha-Vijnana in NyayaVaisheshika.
•Studying the original texts of Bharatiya-Vijnana in different Vedangas.
•Knowledge of physical and Social Sciences, English and Computer for utilizingin practical life.
•As per the Gurukul system the Vedas, Sciences, Yoga, Agricultural practice,arts and skills (Kala-kaushala) are considered the five aspects of education(Pancha-mukha).
CURRENT ACTIVITY OF THE GURUKULAM: At present’ 49 students are studying in theGurukulam. There are seven resident Acharyas to guide them. Some renowned scholars fromoutside regularly visit the Gurukulam and guide the students in their study and research.On the occasion of Ganapathi Sabha, Navaratri Sabha, Sankranthi Sabha and Yugadi Sabhastudents’ evalution is made according to Shalaka Paddhati and Pravachana Paddhati. Thesystem of evaluation of the overall development used here makes evaluation a natural andcontinuous process. Apart from their studies with the Acharyas at the Gurukulam, facility isalso provided to the students to approach other scholars in various fields to satiate their thirst forknowledge.
Further, with a view to enrich their knowledge of the ancient literature, the students are to selectone subject from the Veda and the Vedangas for research. They are to prepare a detailed thesison their chosen subject in the final year. According to Gurukula concept Vidya (Education),Bhojana and Vasati (boarding and lodging) are given free of cost.
1. Candidates must have passed their PUC or SSLC examination with Sanskrita as a subject,Age 16 to 18 years.
2. Candidates must be ready to study for six years according to the Gurukula tradition andshould have proper physical, mental and intellectual predisposition.
1. Education at Gurukulam is neither to learn a means of livelihood nor to pass someexaminations. It is to learn a way of life and to dedicate the whole life for a greater cause.The Gurukulam inspires the students to take up the life mission of being an Acharya.
2. Students while pursuing their Gurukula study can appear for exams like B.Sc./M.Sc. inYogic Scinece and Shastri, Acharya exams in Veda and Vedanta conducted by Yoga andSamskrit Universities.
ACHIEVEMENTS:The first batch comprising eight students and the second batch comprising seven students arealready serving the society as cultural ambassadors.In different Gurukulas and Vidyabharti institutions its students are working as Acharyas ofVeda, Vedanta and Yoga.

I crave not for kingdom, nor for heaven, nor salvation. All I wish is toalleviate the sufferings of the afflicted.
– Raja Ranthideva

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