Sunday, November 29, 2015


(pancha is five in samskritam; amritam is nectar)
Amavaasya / Kali Yugabda 5117 / Manmatha Aipasi 25 (November 11, 2015)

Happy Deepavali and a happier note:
 Please find PANCHAAMRITAM 283 & 284 along this mail.
They could not be posted due to unavoidable reasons


Inspired by her friends, my mother started a new tradition in our home last night. She invited the family of our maid Madina to come home for dinner. She had earlier sent dad and me off to buy all the groceries and special food was prepared for them. We all ate together and had a lovely conversation as well. This is the first time we have ever done anything like this in our family. It felt surreal to see Madina’s whole family sitting on our couch and eating with us on our dining table. This was specially significant for me as I remember having bitter arguments with my mother as a kid about why our staff couldn’t use the same utensils and furniture as us! It would always end in her crying and then I had to back down. So you can imagine how amazing it was for me to see my mom organize this Diwali dinner on her own initiative. Also present was our other maid Meena. She lost her husband nine months ago in a car accident. She now works in six houses to support her family. She told me she makes food for her own kids in the morning, then cooks in six houses all day, then returns home to cook dinner for her own family again. She said on most days she has no appetite left after being around food the whole day! This brave woman earns Rs. 25,000 a month through sheer hard work. I’ve never seen her frown or complain. Could it be that the great teachers we are looking for are working in our own homes? (From an article by Smt Nithya Shanti in on November 10, 2015).


Agriculturists of Karaimedu near Neyveli in Cuddalore district (Tamilnadu, Bharat) achieved something immense. They managed to revive a huge lake sprawling over 1,664 acres that had become a dense marshy forest by silt that had accrued over decades. Today it looks like a sea, brimming to capacity. Of course, district collector Shri Gagan Deep Singh Bedi had persuaded Neyveli Lignite Corporation to fund the de-silting of the lake to the tune of estimated Rs 60 crores under Corporate Social Responsiility (CSR). In fact, it is the slush dumped by NLC that had caused disappearance of the lake. Now revived, the lake irrigates 12,000 acres of wet lands.  15 villages that reeled under drought for 50 years have started happily cultivating paddy and plantain crops that require copious water. At one stage, the farmers of Karaimedu preferred to forego cultivation and starve lest the lake revival may get stuck, and put their shoulders to de-silting. That was the crux. (Based on a report by Shri. T.L.Sanjivikumar in THE HINDU TAMIL, November 1, 2015).


The children of construction workers in Chennai metro were fortunate to have Kanchana Maala akka to introduce them in noble things of life. Kanchana Maala, a Bank employee, lives in Kolathur, North Chennai; inspired by the thought and service activities of Seva Bharati since 2001, she  started a tuition centre in a garage with 35 students from 14 schools in 2013. Students are taught bhajans, songs, games, good habits, culture, nationalism, cleanliness, punctuality and much more along with academic subjects. Other activities like Deepa Puja (wherein parents are also involved), mobile library, homeopathy centre, yoga etc., also form part. A unique thought of making children aware of societal problems, a Students’ Parliament Meet is organised yearly twice.  Children treat the tuition centre as their nation, and all the amenities needed (like cleanliness, education, food, water, electricity etc) are divided into 16 departments and are taken care of by the children. Guru Purnima, Samarpana Day, Sri Krishna Jayanti, Deepavali and all the festivals are celebrated together. To encourage saving habit, a savings account for children was started. At the end of the first year, 42 students have saved over Rs. 3,000. This motivation has helped the children not to spend money on unnecessary things.  Savings keep increasing year by year.  Children, after joining the tuition centre, have become cultured and their standard of education has risen; the parents of those children now feel very happy and want to help each other. These children today are in safe hands with good culture and vision (Based on a report by Smt. Ramadevi in ORGANISER, November 15, 2015).


 “If a Brahmin can sell shoes, Rajput can have contract of selling liquor, Vaishya can eat or sell meat then why can’t the people from so-called inferior communities act as Purohit?”asks Kaushikji Maharaj. Some people at Dholam Village under Chhipi Baraut Teshil of Baran District (Rajasthan) were agitated so much in 1998 after the people from upper castes did not allow the grooms from low castes to ride the mare that they announced to embrace Islam. Kaushikji Maharaj imparted training of Purohit to some people in that village. Born as Hada Rajput at Karvar in Kota, Rajasthan, Kaushikji Maharaj is the saint who seeks ‘bad habits’ of individuals or the evil practices prevailing in the society as ‘donation’ wherever he goes. Extended sainthood by Pandit Shriram Sharma Acharya of Gayatri Parivar in 1953, he has so far persuaded lakhs of people to abandon all kinds of addiction, curbed the practice of animal sacrifice in more than 200 villages of Rajasthan, transformed the lives of many communities, which traditionally indulged in criminal activities, and above all trained many people from so-called untouchable communities as Purohits who now perform all rituals in their respective villages. Not only this, he has also saved people of over 40 villages from conversion. Even at the age of 88 he visits interior villages and awaken the people against addiction, violence, crime and untouchability. (From ORGANISER, November 15, 2015).


On January 27, 2014, Biswajit found a woman’s handbag on the rear seat of his auto after returning home for lunch. In the bag was Rs 74,000 in cash, wrapped in a piece of white cloth. The auto driver immediately showed what he had found to his wife and parents. Minutes later, he was back at the Champadali auto stand, around 4km from his home, to wait for a claimant to arrive. “There was only one woman passenger on my last trip and I somehow remembered her face,” Biswajit said, who waited at the stand for more than half an hour. He had skipped five trips when he spotted the woman approaching the auto stand, worried as anyone else in her place would have been. Jhuma Chowdhury had sold gold jewellery to finance her daughter’s wedding. Biswajit, a  class VII dropout, became an auto driver after his fishery business bombed five years ago. Biswajit said he had to sell his house to organise his sister’s wedding and now lives in a rented thatched hut with his parents and pregnant wife. Since his father lost a leg in an accident last year, he has been the lone breadwinner. “I could have kept the bag but it never crossed my mind. My wife scolded me for coming home with the bag and asked me to go back to the stand immediately,” the auto driver recalled. (Based on a report by Smt Tamaghna Banerjee in THE TELEGRAPH, March 15, 2014).
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