There is one couple that I must write about — Rajiv Mittal ji, the administrator of our Sri Badrika Ashram and his lovely wife, Karuna ji. Karuna means compassion and she is most certainly her namesake. She is incredibly loving and giving to humans and animals alike.
I’ve been popping in at their cottage recently to play with the four orphaned kittens that were found at the ashram. They are no more than four or five weeks old and the mother is nowhere to be seen. So, Karuna ji is now the proud mother of very sprightly, very hungry, teeny-tiny quadruplets — Inna, Minna, Dikka and Guddia! (Pic above).
During my recent evening visits I saw that Rajiv ji, after a day at the office and running the ashram, is making the chapattis. Apart from Swami ji’s father, I have never heard of let alone seen an Indian man do this in my life. (I’m sure there are many that do, it’s just that I’d never seen it before.)
And I have learned that not only does he make chapattis, he can easily make an entire supper. And as Karuna ji sits for her meal, Rajiv ji serves her hot chappatis and then eats his own meal afterwards. Karuna ji herself has a busy day with all the seva (selfless service) that she does.
As I was there yesterday evening, Rajiv ji invited me to join them for supper and I very happy obliged.
For the first time in my life, I experienced the women sitting to eat first and the men, Rajiv ji and his son Raunaq ji, serving us.
It felt a little strange at first, and then I thought, why should it? Gender equality is something that Swami ji is truly an advocate for, and we are His disciples, so of course we should be following His example and teachings. Just because something has always been a certain way, doesn’t mean it always has to be.
It brought tears to my eyes to witness that Swami ji has to mention something only once and his dear devotee, Rajiv ji, takes it upon himself immediately. I have seen this with him many times, too many times to write about. The first time I ever saw Rajiv ji was at the ashram in 2015 and he was cleaning out the food remains from the drains and washing down the sinks of the communal dining area with water and his bare hands. This image has stayed with me since.
I wonder how many of you have read The Book of Kindness – Om Swami in which Swami ji narrates the story of His father making hot chapattis for His mother, and I wonder how many husbands/partners out there have started making hot chappatis for their other halves ever since? Or, have taken on Swami ji’s teachings and started doing something helpful where the roles were traditionally reversed before? Just something to think about.
I wish you all a beautiful day, filled with smiles and kindness towards yourselves and others.
Jai Sri Hari!