I live 10 minutes away from a person whom I met on my first visit to the ashram in 2016. At that time both of us had begun new journeys, she as a renunciant and me towards connecting with myself. Since then this wonderful person has listened to me endlessly, given me simple yet life-changing pieces of advice and made me get closer to the real me. Every time she gets a little busy I complain to her like a child that I need her attention because I am her first student.
This person is Sadhvi Vrinda Om ji or as I call her Sadhviji.
As we live close by I get a chance to see her every few months and talk to her about everything under the sun in the time that she takes out for me. I don’t leave any opportunity to spend time with her, so whenever anyone organizes satsang, the first thing I do is to make sure that I am the one to pick up and drop Sadhviji back home. On several such short trips, I have witnessed Sadhviiji’s generosity to help the less privileged that we encounter on the road. However, one such instance stands out to me.
This was the first sharad navratra of 2019. Sadhviji was coming to my house for some work and obviously, I was over the moon. As we were passing a busy road, Sadhviji asked, “Aarzoo, could you stop the car for a while. There is a baba who is feeding stray dogs. Let me just quickly hand him some money.”
So I parked the car and got out with Sadhviji. She insisted, “You can stay in the car, I’ll be back in a minute”. “I can’t let you go alone on such a busy road, you need a bodyguard.”, I joked. Sadhviji smiled and said, “Chalo phir bodyguard.” (Let us go then, bodyguard).
As we were walking and as always talking, it suddenly dawned on me that I am dead scared of dogs. In case these dogs come close to me, Sadhviji would have to become my bodyguard.
Nevertheless, I kept my calm because I honestly could not have let her go on such a crazy busy road by herself. So I sent a little request to Sri Hari to keep the dogs well behaved and away.
As we approached the baba and the dogs he was feeding, Sadhviji asked him, “Baba do you take care of these dogs?”. Baba looked up at us and said, “Yes, I feed them every day. These are stray dogs and as you can see they are so weak. So I take out a portion of my food to feed them.” This was coming from a person who himself was so frail and old. Also by his appearance, it didn’t look like he had good means to support himself.
“Here baba, keep this money. It will last you a few days.”, said Sadhviji as she extended her arm to give money. Baba thanked her and said something which I have heard Sadhviji say several times, “In our busy lives we forget that even stray animals get hungry. It is such a noble deed to feed these children of mother nature.” Sadhviji agreed with the baba with a soft smile that never leaves her face and then lovingly looked at the dogs for a minute or so before we left.
I couldn’t help but notice something. Here was a baba in ochre robes which had become dull and old. On the other hand, was Sadhviji in her bright and new ochre robes. Even though the difference was stark not only in their ochre robes as well as ages, yet one thing which made them similar was their kindness for the stray dogs who we tend to ignore in our crazy busy lives. These two could not only understand the hunger and pain the dogs suffer but also make sure that they did something about it, even if that meant giving them their share of food.
I am reminded of an amazing blog that I read a few days ago on os.me. Mr. Hetal Sonpal in his blog titled “Anatomy of a Fundraiser” had a wonderful message for all of us. “Many times in life, we undermine what we can do. We tend to view ourselves as way too insignificant and do not take up a task. We use that as an excuse to not even try finding a solution. However, once we commit to a cause, even if half-heartedly, then the world conspires to help attain the goal or objective. Especially when we are doing an act of kindness, the help comes from the unlikeliest of sources and when we least expect it. So keep yourself exposed to such opportunities and never give up till you have tried your best.”
I couldn’t have explained it in better words. There is just one thing that I want to add, it’s not just the humans who need our kindness. Sometimes it’s a hungry dog or a cat or a bird who wants food, sometimes a drying and thirsty plant who needs water, sometimes it’s mother nature who would prefer that you walk a little distance instead of coughing up smoke from your vehicle. Kindness comes in all shapes, forms and sizes. Just keep your eyes and heart open. For when you spread the magic of kindness in the world, the divine honours you with an incomparable sense of peace and calm.
P.S.- For those who have read till the end, here is a secret that Sadhviji shared with me out of her own experiences. I have tried it and succeeded on numerous occasions. In Sadhviji’s words, “Whenever you are feeling sad or low, gather the energy to get up, go out and find someone that you can help, even if it’s a small deed. The person you are helping will be happier and you will be calmer. It will rekindle the flame of happiness in your heart and spirit to move on in life with peace.”
The featured image is of the same day.