Excerpt from Guru Purnima 2010 by Sri Kaleshwar
Monika: So feeding people, clothing people and, “maintaining their dignity.” Just because you are giving something to someone who is in a lesser position than you, you need to not have any feeling that they are lesser and that you are greater than they are. You really have to maintain their dignity...that yes, they are the same as you. Lifting them and helping them to help themselves, which you see he (Sri Kaleshwar) is doing with the children. You know he is educating the children so that they can gain it themselves and feel that self-confidence in themselves.
Nityaananda: That's another great story about how he's awake to the suffering and takes care of it. Just like when any of us come in front of him. When each of us comes in front of him, whatever we are carrying he is awake to that and he's taking care. We are awake to spiritual ambitions. We are carrying our angle of humanity. But, he is awake to every angle of humanity. We have to be too. The way that education thing started was he read an article in a Telugu paper that an investigative journalist wrote.
In India, education is valued highly and they publicize their education. If you drive around, you will see billboards that actually have the faces, smiling faces of young men and women that got the highest test scores. You see it everywhere you go and you see it in the newspaper. An investigative reporter set out, to these the highest test score winners of three years ago, where are they now? He looked around and found that the high score of that year was in this area, and the reporter tracked this young man down. He found him sitting on the ground by the side of the road grinding sugarcane into jaggery, and selling it for a rupee a cup.
The reporter asked why he hadn't gone to school, and the answer was, there was no money for him to go to school. When Swami read that, he was not going to stand for that. That was offensive to basic human moral values. So, he immediately set up a program for this district, including 900 villages, and that was any child, any young person who has the intelligence, the test scores to go to school, he guaranteed they could go to school. He did that without knowing how many people were going to take that up or knowing how much it was going to cost, without checking his bank balance.
The call went out, if you cannot go to school for financial reasons then you let the Shirdi Sai Global trust know. I think a little over 300 people showed up that first year and he had them all come here with their families and paying everything: clothing, books, pencils, erasers, room and board, tuition, for as long as they wanted to go to school. If they wanted to go to school and get a Bachelors Degree, fine. If they want to go to school and go on to become a lawyer, good; engineer, fine; doctor, fine. It didn’t matter. All they have to do is stay in school and pass. That's a pretty big cliff to jump off of financially. So what, it's the right thing to do. And again, to see the faces of the young people, they wouldn't have any more education, what difference was made in the lives of those young people and their families.
Monika: And the energy he gave them, the pride, it was like, “Hey, Swami's behind me.” Seeing them, you could see the inspiration and the dedication that he gave to them at that moment. “I am behind you, I am supporting you, and now you've got to do a good job, and you better be disciplined.” You know. Then he gave them a beautiful talk: discipline, dedication, hard work, hard work, hard work. But, to have that support of somebody behind you, supporting you throughout your life, what a blessing that is spiritually, emotionally. Like a father taking care, that energy, that spiritual energy behind that.
Make a Difference in Someone's life this Christmas
Every year the Divine Lineage Healing Center works with Zac Thompson to create what we call “Christmas Baskets”. When you buy one Christmas basket you provide a family with an entire Christmas dinner. Last year with your generosity we assisted over 75 families across three different cities. Over 150 adults and more than 300 children benefited from this campaign to uplift those in need by spreading love and support.
Nityaananda: It goes on and on. From the early days, I mean basically, as soon as the new resources come in, a new problem is able to be addressed. In the early days, there weren’t that many resources, but still there was serious problems. Swami saw how widows were treated, and that really offended his human moral values. In the early days, whatever program, whatever profits were there, okay, (Sri Kaleshwar would think), “I can't change a cultural belief system over night. What can I do? What can we do to help these women, because they starve on the streets sometimes.” And so, several programs, the money went to buy sewing machines. Many people here saw those pictures or were here and saw hundreds of sewing machines. In India, you do a puja to everything. So, it's part of the program, they did pujas to the sewing machines. You gotta love it. When those women came to get those sewing machines, he gave them a livelihood. He gave them a way to earn a living. I mean, not every widow, but I hope you get the point.
Monika: But also what he said, it is a crime that society would not accept them to be remarried. So he said, I won't stand for that. I think then he started to go through the villages and said that anyone who wants to get married, any widow that wants to get married, I will arrange for that. You know, so that is another spiritual belief system. He said, that's crazy, why? That's a cause of suffering in society. Now we have to stand up and say no.
Nityaananda: He's made a difference, at the human level. We are starting at that level, because we need to, we need to. We come from an affluent place. There are over 300 of us from over 18 western countries. That kind of poverty exists in different places. We have poverty in our own countries, we have suffering in our own countries and we need to take care. But, it's at a scale that we don't appreciate, and probably have never experienced ourselves, but still, we need to recognize and tell ourselves the truth, investigate for ourselves and our own inner psychology, what are the highest moral human values that are operating in our lives? Because, until we have more awareness like that... All you have to do is look at the life of Swami Kaleshwar and the activities of the Shirdi Sai Global Trust and this ashram, to highlight, “Wow, what am I doing to help?” Swami's been putting dikshas for years, one of the dikshas, once a month or once a week you have to do some service to humanity. How many people have been on a program like that? It was good wasn't it? It is good. Once you start that, you don't stop. We can't spend one or two hours or 100 dollars?
Monika: How many students here are doing a program of feeding the homeless? There's quite a lot.
Nityaananda: That's about a third of the people. We can say thank you to Swami. It's a paradoxical situation that Swami lives in, he lives in the midst of all kinds of suffering and all kinds of desires, all kinds of longing. People come to him for everything, solving all the problems. We come to him for spirituality. We're blessed, we're privileged enough to have the luxury to turn to God. That is our great blessing. We already carry that.