Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Sewa Sandesh 120: July 8, 2009

From Editor’s Desk
Sewa activity has grown phenomenally over last 5 years across the country. “Seva Disha”, the assessment issue on Sewa activity is published every 5years and the recently published issue brings cheer to everybody. Sustained efforts by volunteers and Swayamsevaks have put the total to a staggering 157776 from 43386 in 2004.
Following is the organization-wise break up:
Rashtriya Sewa Bharati ...................... - 59076
A. B. Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram ............. - 13969
VHP .................................................... - 72370 (including Ekal Vidyalayas)
Bharat Vikas Parishad...................... ... - 01050
Rashtra Sevika Samiti ..................... ... - 00461
A. B. Vidya Bharati ............................. - 09682 (Excluding regular schools)
Deendayal Research Institute.............. - 01000
A.B. Vidyarthi Parishad ....................... - 00168
---------------------------- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ---------------
Total- ................................................ 157776

Among these education is the largest sector with 38% (59498) share, while health programs and projects share 24% (38528), social programs are 27% (42304) and economic developmental is 11% (17329).
The numbers send a clear signal that creative activity is likened by the most and the society supports such activity most as almost all the projects and programs are supported by society and are not government funded.
Another trend that is observed in the Seva Disha is that almost half of the total activity is shared by southern states.
Sewa is Not A Tool For Achieving Name-Fame
Sitaram Kedilaya
“Sewa work is not the medium to gain publicity or a tool to achieve name fame. It is a novel way to serve the needy people without expecting anything. The workers engaged in service activities should present the sewa work in a way that can inspire other people of the society also”, said Akhil Bharatiya Sewa Pramukh of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Shri Sitaram Kedilaya. He was inaugurating the website of Sewa Bharati Delhi:( on June 26. He said, “The root cause of growing number of slums in the cities is migration of people from rural areas in search of jobs, etc.” He stressed the need to protect the rural economy based on cow to preserve the Indian culture. Leaders of some service organisations working in the field of service were honoured at the meeting by Sewa Bharati. A souvenir, ‘Sewa Punj’, was also released. Kshetra Pracharak of the RSS Shri Rameshwar, Akhil Bharatiya Sahsewa Pramukh Shri Suhasrao Hiremath, Kshetra Sewa Pramukh Shri Srinivas Murthy were also present on the occasion.
Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhan Samsthan, Bangalore.
At Present Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is spreading like a wild fire among the world population, more so in India, due to unhealthy life styles, sedentary work conditions, and improper diet. Indians are more prone to DM. If unchecked, DM will engulf India making it world capital of DM.
Considering this fact, Swami Vivekanda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana, Bangalore has launched a nationwide movement for prevention and management of diabetes mellitus thorough practice of Yoga, changing the diet and life styles etc. This program is being launched with the cooperation of doctors, yoga therapists, social workers and research groups.
In pursuance of this Stop Diabetes Program, a good number of yoga therapy Centres are being established in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secundrabad. These centres are being run by therapists specially trained to cure and prevent early onset of diabetes.
What a diabetic patient needs to do?
* Become a member of the holistic yoga therapy centre for diabetes by paying the prescribed fee.
* Practice Yogasanans, Pranayama and meditation daily for an hour at a suitable time.
* Practice Kriyas twice a week.
* Change your food habits as advised.
* Change your lifestyle as counseled.
* Learn and Adopt the relaxation techniques imparted at the Yoga therapy centre.
* Get your glucose levels checked periodically.
A Gurukul True To Its Tradition
- Shyam Parande
The phenomenon of Vedic pattern of learning in a globalized world seems to be some sort of ‘miracle’, if I am allowed to use that word. This seems to be an out of the world episode. The search for a classical Gurukul being run on the Vedic system of learning would surely end at the gates of a lush green scenic establishment called “Maitreyi Gurukulam”, named after the Vedic luminary Maitreyi. “Well, where is Gargee?” asked one of my seniors rightly, as many of them are not aware of the fact that Vedas have tens of women highbrows and that Maitreyi is one amongst them.

A sprawling 100+ Acres of lush green hilly forest full of Cocoanut, Areca nut, Jack fruit, and rubber plantation among the beautiful Western Ghats is probably the most appropriate venue for such a Gurukul where 100 and odd girl students are learning the Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagawatam, Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Vyakaranam together with some modern subjects.
We would have missed the opportunity of enjoying this two days bliss, had we stayed back in Bangalore for a Sewa group meeting. Every moment spent at the Gurukulam was full of surprises for all the participants, that no one could have imagined such a project being run under the aegis of a local Trust that is part of Hindu Sewa Pratishtana, Karnataka. Launched two decades earlier because a noble lady wanted her property to be utilized for a women activity and some more social service projects, this project has grown into one of its kind in the country.
An old couple, the owner of this huge plot of land costing some millions, were happy with some 200 dogs that lived with them on the 100 acres of land. They served the dogs like they served the Almighty Bhagwan. However, after the demise of the husband the old lady wished to donate this plot of land to some voluntary organization and approached a person whom she had heard about and who was a Sangh karyakarta. Her offer was negated by the karyakarta with a premise that he does not have the manpower for taking care of the huge plot of rich and scenic land.

The noble soul had her road map drawn clear in her mind. She startled the said Karyakarta one day to hand over the papers of the land, and walked away triumphantly, the latter left clueless. The noble lady left the material world in a week days time, with satisfaction that she has ordained the right type of Karyakartas to take care of her family property.
The team of Karyakartas from that region resolved to work in tandem to turn the dream of the noble lady into a reality. The canvas has been laid bare and that dream has become true as “Maitreyi Gurukulam”.
Hindu Tradition does not approve of trading in Education, medicine and food- the three essentials of life, the Maitreyi Gurukulam being true to tradition does not charge fees from the students. Education including lodging & boarding is free in this Gurukulam which is run on public contribution. I need to make a point here and that too candidly. Some in the west feel that charity in Bharat is absolutely low. Look, there are many endeavours that run in Bharat and that are not registered under charity which provide tax benefits to the “benevolent”. While the donors at such endeavours do not anticipate any such benefits as tax benefits, nor do they expect the name- fame- recognition, in return. Hindu concept of charity, I mean. Now just imagine free residential school for some 100+ girl students and the cost of that.
Morning prayers was a treat, all the girl students sat on the floor in the prayer hall with their tutors scattered among them, most of whom happen to be ladies, and some of the tutors are full timers of Hindu Sewa Pratishtana, as we entered the “Dhyana Mandapam”, the prayers were choreographed. This was really amazing! Some of the prayers were collectively offered while some in groups and some individual. The prayer was led by a young bright girl who performed this gracefully, as if she is the “master” of the ceremony. For me this experience was divine.
We watched while some “Gurus” came calling for the classes from the nearby villages & towns, the Gurus seated on platforms and the Shishyas sitting on the floor, right beneath the huge “cool” green trees- a unique setting for this type of a Gurukul. There were no blackboards or green boards, no chalk pieces and dusters; the oral tradition being practised flawlessly in a modern world where no one understands a concept unless it is presented to him or her through visuals.

We enjoyed the Sri Rama Navami celebration in the school where the girls sung absorbing Bhajans, it being the Sri Rama Navami day. Like breakfast for lunch, we were treated only with the mouth watering recipes but also with bonbon melodies of mantras throughout the lunch.
The pre-dinner session of cultural performances was fascinating. A perfectly choreographed Bharatnatyam on the “Evolution of the cosmos” based on Vedic concept in the form of a Guru- Shishya dialogue was a unique one in Sanskrit and Kannada languages. The expertise was evident in every step and every move and every expression of every participant, at least 25 of them, that left the audience spellbound. I would not be wrong if I term this performance as “professional” in the sense of best proficiency. The aptitude, the skill, the talent, everything manifested and synchronized skilfully, is how I understood it.

A class in progress at Maitreyee

The evolution of a personality is being experimented in this lab of human performances. Most of the girls have come out of modest rural milieu, not the ambitions ones of the urban locale. The education in this institution being free of cost, being supported by the philanthropic society in the vicinity of the project, was looked down by many as this Gurukulam sprouted initially. However, the society has recognized this endeavour and now the entrance test qualifiers only get the admission.
I would only call this a lifetime experience and one that would always linger on the memory line.
YSF Volunteer Nirbhay Dhapodkar Writes About -
An Experience Of Micro Financing Of Women
Our first real volunteer experience in Pune was at the School Kit Drive which has been a successful program going on for over 4 weeks before we had gotten involved. The program had already formed a strong growing membership and had a platform which was a very good introduction to the type of work that is done by Seva Sahayog. After assembling the school kits and packaging them, we delivered a portion of them to a nearby school. The members of the school planned a ceremony for the presentation of the school kits. Everyone involved in the school kit drive had a chance to hand the kits to the students individually. While receiving the school kits, smiles spread across the faces of the children. They knew that they’d have the proper equipment needed to have a decent education.
After a few days of getting settled in, we began our project. Coming from a finance background, I was advised to do the project that was related to microfinance and self help groups. . For our first two weeks, our project consists of creating a document and a presentation that overviews the current state of microfinance and its scope, along with information about self help groups. Currently, we are doing this during the day and at night we participate in a nearby Shakha that is run by 'Swa' Roopvardhini. The activities there include physical games, follows by exercises, meditation, Prarthana, and a study hall. On random days, the participants in the Shakha visit the houses of the participants that did not show up that day or haven’t shown up in a while and request them to come. Our experience with that Shakha has been very enjoyable.
While writing this, I realized that I had gotten a lot more from India than I expected. I thought that I would come here and help others, but I feel as though it has been the opposite. The experiences that I have gone through have really opened up my eyes to a world outside the bubble that is America. Even though some things we much more difficult and required more work than I would have had to do back home, every moment of it has been something I would never want to skip.
Seva Fellowship
If you have a gap of three months or more either after graduation or during job transition Youth for Seva wants to offer you a Seva Fellowship. Come join its team of enthusiastic volunteers in committing your time and energy in an effort to give back and serve your community.
Youth for Seva offers a fellowship for volunteers willing to make a full-time commitment for a minimum of three months in projects concerning various self-empowerment activities, basic education, technical education, self empowerment, women empowerment, cultural education, healthcare or come up with your own project. Youth for Seva will reimburse fellowship volunteers for any incurred expenses during this period. You have the option of either working in your home town or away from home in other towns/villages. Few volunteers may serve outside India as well (Malaysia and West Indies).
In committing to a fellowship with Youth for Seva not only will you have the power to make a difference in the lives of others but you will achieve a sense of fulfillment, gain a new and better perspective on life, and develop leadership qualities that will be extremely beneficial in your future career.
For more information, send email to or call Keerthana 9008418714 or Venkatesh at 9900227382

“Whatever work you undertake, do it seriously, thoroughly and well; never leave it half-done or undone, never feel yourself satisfied unless and until you have given it your very best. Cultivate the habits of discipline and toleration.
— Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookerjee


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