Please click here for part twenty-two

Second day of the Durga Puja, when I was walking down to the Yajna Shala, I noticed, there are so many small pointy pebbles on the road. It was a bit challenging to walk, if you try to avoid them. Plus, the road was curvy and windy, on top of that, to the construction was adding more dirt, and tiny pebbles were scattering all over the road. To make it more challenging, water coming from construction area, would create mud around. Very thoughtfully, Guruji and Ashram arranged car transportation to Yajna Shala for elderly and whoever needed a ride. Everything was perfectly planned, so no devotee would face any inconvenience.

But then, I am thinking, what about my Guruji? He is walking on this same road every day for us. When he returns back after Yajna, its dark that time. He doesn’t take the car ride. Wouldn’t this dust bother/trigger his asthma? These pebbles must be hurting him every step he takes. He walks very fast, so I am sure he is not taking, his sweet time to avoid stepping on every pebble, or mud, or dirt. The pointy pebbles hurts and smooth pebbles make you slip you step. Every devotee here, always bows to his feet, with immense gratitude. At temple where he walks, we lay down the most comfortable and fluffy carpet, for him to walk on. Everyone makes sure that his delicate feet, get no harm at the temple visit. But then, here? Why not here? He must be feeling discomfort, pebbles must be hurting his soft, gentle feet. That thought made me so sad, and tears started rushing down. My heart was in enormous pain. How did I not notice it yesterday? It must have hurt him yesterday, when he came down, and when he left, it is going to hurt him today too. Now, I couldn’t hold my tears anymore.

Next day morning, when Ria ji asked me where I heading out to, I told her my plan. I was planning to pick all the pebbles on that that road. She loved the idea, and said she would like to join too. She couldn’t bear the thought of Guruji’s discomfort either.

That morning, we started picking all the pointy and smooth pebbles. In less than two- three hours, we could only finish one patch of the road. We were facing the sun directly, and Mr. Sun was showing no mercy on us. We were sweating, we were thirsty and so hungry. We realized we needed a better plan. That evening, I asked Kirti Ji if we can get brooms, so it will be faster and easier for us to finish the work. Picking up each and every pebble was taking time, if we could use the broom, it would be faster. She assured us that there are hired workers, clean the road, and we don’t have to do it, but she understood our love and devotion towards Guruji, and agreed to give us the two brooms next morning. Gunngun ji said she would join us in the morning as well. Our trio was ready now!

Here, please note that all three of us, never did any hard work in our life. I never hold any broom, for that long in my hand before. I knew how to use it, as I have watched it in movies, and seen our cleaning lady using it, when I was at Pune home. Here in Dallas, I don’t have a broom. I have a lady who vacuums our house, and keep it clean. I have people who keep our garden and lawn look perfect. I don’t work in the Sun. Same story with Ria ji and Gunngun Ji. But as everyone knows, love makes you do crazy things, and our love for Guruji was good enough for us to take the broom in our hand.

Now we had Gunngun ji with us, plus we got two awesome brooms, to help us make the road more than perfect. This time we were smarter, and decided not to face the sun (realization comes after enough sweat and pain!). Plus, we changed our time, now we went right after aarti (around 7:30 am) so it was not too bright, not hot (smartness comes along with the realization!). After our diligent work, we all agreed that the road looked very clean and less pebbles on the road. Still, to our surprised we didn’t finish the full stretch as planned. We decided to come back again tomorrow. One thing was sure, at night, my tired body would fall asleep in a second, till now it was not aware of, existence of the hard works in this world. My hard body work was limited to the gym.

That evening, when I was heading down towards the Yajna Shala, I saw loads of water resting in puddle on the road which we worked hard with so much love. That patch on the road, was completely muddy and dusty and laughing at me. Now Guruji has to go through the muddy spot, full of dust (but no pebbles). All that work for nothing? It wasn’t a perfect road for him to walk on.

I understand, we were like those little squirrels, helping lord Rama to build the bridge, but for us even one less pebble under our Guruji’s soft feet, is worth working on the road.

Gunngun ji had some family emergency, so she couldn’t make the next day, but me and Ria didn’t give up and were ready again, next morning with our brooms.

Now this time, we started from bottom, it was going well. Many devotees would see us, greet us and would go off. None of them showed any interest in our activity so it worked out well. I remember, that day, my broom fell apart. I didn’t know how to fix it and Ria ji couldn’t do it either. I got so sad, but precise that same time, one of the devotees just came to us and started talking. Very generously, he helped us, and fix my broom. He praised us for our devotion towards Guruji. For me, Sri Hari ji sent me a help, he is aware of short comes. I don’t even know this kind helpful devotee’s name, but I thanked him from bottom of my heart. Some other were curious, and did ask us why we bother to do this work, and some gave us valuable free advice, how we can do it better etc.

One comment was interesting. One devotee said, “Om Swami ji has lived in harsh weather situation, in Himalaya’s, and walked on many difficult roads, this is nothing for him. These pebbles won’t give him pain”. I just smiled and said “It makes us happy, that’s why we are doing it”. Ria Ji was a bit upset, and didn’t appreciate his comments. I love my Ria ji, my baby girl, in her early 20’s, her heart is full of pure love and devotion for Guruji. She truly knows, what surrender is.

My thought was simple, it doesn’t matter how difficult roads, Guruji has walked on prior, I wasn’t there that time with him. But now I am here, I will pick every pebble in my capacity, to offer him comfort. If I vacuum and make the carpet fluffier and softer in the temple, why can’t I make this walk way comfortable for him? Those same feet I bow to kiss with love and devotion, shouldn’t go through harmful pebbles, to come see all of us, evert one single day. Wasn’t he walking on that road, to perform Yajna for us? And just because he walked on harsh roads before, doesn’t mean he should walk on them now. Some devotees show their love by cheering his name and shouting “We love you Swami ji”. We preferred to show it, by picking up little pebbles to make his walk bit comfortable. I believe in guruji’s words “Compassion is not a favor, it’s my duty.”

Please click here for part twenty-four