Ever since the year 2000 when Swami first introduced the concept of Grama Seva, it has been growing in strength year after year. This is true not only in the Sri Sathya Sai University but all over India too with all the samithis and district and state organisations pitching in wonderfully.
Villagers all over India have been touched by His Love. They have seen Him even before seeing Him physically.
During the previous years, the poor people were coming to the Lord to seek His refuge. But Bhagavan resolved to go to feed and clothe every poor person. This project,to start with, was executed by thousands of students from the 3 campuses of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning: the one at Anantapur, Brindavan near Bangalore and Prashanthi Nilayam, assisted by the students of Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School, Prashanthi Nilayam. The students without any external help or support excusively carried out this task. A very unique feature of this project was its magnitude. The entire planning, organisation and execution were completed in a record time of just one month. There was a fortnight of planning and execution followed by a fortnight of the actual Grama Seva
The real lesson in adaptiveness came from Bhagawan Himself, who scaled up the whole project from covering a few thousand people in a cluster of villages in the beginning to covering big towns with population of 1.5 to 2 lakhs in a single day. This could still be done with the same man power, the same resources, the same infrastructure without compromising even a little bit of the quality! The discipline did not come out of force but it came from the Source. This Grama Seva was conducted during the vacation. All the students stayed back so enthusiastically and converted their “holidays” into “holy days”.The Grama Seva has become Rama Seva. He wanted that students also experience that joy of giving and so He directed that they should go and serve each one of the people in their houses, at their doorstep and experience that joy of giving. Bhagavan explained a lot of important things. He told why is it that He was giving clothes and food as prasadam and not something else. He said “Bhikshanam deha rakshartham, vasthram sheera nivarnam”. Food is needed to foster the body while clothes are needed to protect us from inclement weather.
The first point which was observed was that love begets love. They saw this from the open hearted welcome that all the villagers accorded to them and almost always the rather tearful farewell that they bid . It is often said that when getting makes a living, giving makes a life. These were villagers who extended their hearts to them because their hearts were touched with the love of Bhagawan who had given them so many projects for their upliftment.
A very notable feature of Grama Seva which they saw in the response of the villagers was the reverence with which they accepted the prasadam. To them these were not material objects. Similar task is being undertaken in the various districts of Karnataka.
VALUABLE LESSONS LEARNT FROM GRAMA SEVA
Grama Seva was an eye opener in the sense that it gave a wholehearted view of the selfless giving nature of Bhagavan. The second point under the lessons learnt is that we were sensitized to the needs of the needy. There is much that the people around need. Much of it at the level of metaphysical rather than the material. A third very vital but critical point. It was found that contentment is the key to a happy life. None of them lost their sleep or worried over what they did not have. What they did not have did not stop them from enjoying what little joys life had to give them. This was a very big lesson that we learnt. Most important was ,the power of the name of the Lord.
What lesson does Grama Seva offer to humanity? The first and the most important lesson is the quality of the effort that matters and not the quantity. And this brings to the next point – to serve with love,this means reaching out to one and all. The second lesson which Grama Seva has to offer is that of Nishkama Karma.
Bhagavan has often stated – “Each one of us works for happiness. Whatever we do in hinged around the simple, single pointed objective of achieving happiness.” But when we try to bring happiness to some others, happiness comes to us by itself.
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October 8th, 2017