It was almost a century ago but still seems like yesterday! Every morning, during my rendezvous to the sacred soil at the sabarmati ashram, my heart becomes overwhelmed with the fact that Mahatma Gandhi walked on the same turf.
From the playfulness of the squirrels to the chirping of the birds, everything reminds me of the prayer ‘Vaishnav Jan’. Prayers made up a significant part of Gandhi ji’s daily practice. He used to say, “there never has been a time when God didn't listen to his prayers.” He felt a deep connection with God during his prayers. It seems like the time has frozen. We could still feel Gandhi’s emotions and sentiments when the children of our primary school chant ‘Om Tat Sat’; the mantra of complete salvation. It feels like we are actually one; many bodies beating with a single heart. How can we talk about love and not reminisce Vinoba!? The sole purpose of his life was to connect hearts. How pure must had been his love! And inexhaustible his devotion! During Bhoodan movement, when he used to ask people to share their lands, they not only used to share lands but sacrifice their entire lives for the cause. We can still witness the joy of Vinoba’s sharing and sacrificing in the daily chores of our school children. Be it feeding the ants or playing with the animals. They all live and learn together like a big family on this earth. And then in this family of love and service, joined Parikshit bhai. Gandhi ji would say if we had five humble service workers like Pariskshit lal, we can remove untouchability with love. He could foresee that the next century would belong to the women. And that's why he paid special attention to forge educated and strong charactered women. His values and vision are still manifested through Vinay Mandir and Teachers Training institute for girls from rural areas. And then came IshwarBhai, who became my pillar of pride, strength and love. He was fondly known as the Toilet man. He would meet everyone enthusiastically with a blessing that may their work be pure and benign. He practiced both, external and internal cleanliness. And with his inspiration such excitement, all the kids at Parikshitlal ashram shala, do all their chores on their own with lots of love. They play, eat, learn and live together. We all believe that cleanliness is everyone’s undivided duty.
Ohhhh, I am sorry, I forgot to introduce myself. I might seem small but am of great importance; I am a broom. I dust away all the dirt, trash and debris. To keep others clean, I don't mind being dirty. I dust myself often to repeat this process. I get the strength for such selflessness from the prayers of Gandhi, sacrifices of Vinoba, assidousness of Parikshitlal and Ishwarbhai’s grit toward cleanliness. Apart from this the blessing of our elders and motivation by my peers keep me active. It acts as a constant reminder that we are not alone on this path of love and purity. Let us pledge to pick up a broom of love and sanctify our hearts. Let everyone in this world be Victorious !
Jarna Virani Devnani