Wednesday, 1 November, 2006

Monument of Compassion

I could not join the concreting seva at the bridge , as I had so much work to do. While working in the computer room, the phone rang. It was Jaya, who teaches hatha yoga in the ashram. She wanted to speak to someone. Recognizing my voice, she said, “Hey, what are you doing there? Shouldn’t you be getting your body dirty by doing some concreting seva?”

I told her, “Well, from what I have understood, getting the body dirty is not karma yoga. Cleansing the mind of dirt is.”

Many, unfortunately, do have a misunderstanding of karma yoga. Karma yoga is not about physical work. It has less to do with physical action than with the attitude behind action.

By 4 p.m., I finished my work. I went to the site to take photographs of the concreting seva, for our website. After taking a few shots, I felt to join with my brothers. I changed into my ‘dirty’ clothes. Even though the ashram residents had been working all day, they were still enthusiastic. They were smiling or laughing as they worked. Others were chanting their mantra.

I started shoveling the mortar. This was the last phase of the seva. About 50 sacks of cement were used for creating the concrete. Everyone was so enthusiastic that I had to wrestle with a few of my brothers to get a shovel.

As we shoveled the last bit of concrete, someone called out, “Jai bolo satguru mata amritanandmaayi devi ki!”

Prompt came the response, “Jai!”

Amma’s wish to help the villagers was finally getting fulfilled. As I stood gazing at the imposing bridge that evening, I couldn’t help thinking that it was a radiant monument of Amma’s compassion and service to the people of this island.

1 Nov 2006