“It takes a village to raise a child,” goes an African proverb. Our environment influences us in many ways. As a child, we accept everything as is. These acceptances shape up our thoughts and hence our future. That’s what makes the role of a parent very significant.
In my humble opinion, it’s a mother’s responsibility to nurture our hearts by imbibing virtues like kindness, care, and devotion. And, the father’s duty is to groom our head through knowledge and truth. Maybe I developed this opinion because that’s exactly how my parents functioned.
You could call my mother a Karma Yogi, the one who treats work as worship. Fever or headache, sadness or happiness, I’ve never seen her take a break from her tasks of caring for us. Even at a party at someone else’s place, she would be doing the dishes and taking care of the kids. She would always sing hymns in praise of the Divine while cooking, a habit I’ve adopted from her.
On the other hand, my father is a man of knowledge. He would tell me numerous moral stories, challenge me with personality development puzzles, share learnings from his regular Chinmaya Mission scriptural sessions, and applaud me for my honesty. They both liked Sri Sathya Sai Baba and devoutly followed his teachings of Seva (social service) and Bhajans (devotional singing).
Though I didn’t understand the value of this upbringing at that time, these learnings profoundly influenced me. Therefore, my auto-response to reading the revered Om Swami’s blog was, “What Seva can I do to this saint whose writings are transforming me?”
My husband, who is balanced and philanthropic by nature, was raised by a mother who’s an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu (she even sobbed when a picture of her favorite deity was lost!) and a father who’s a stickler for truth and discipline.
When I shared my thoughts of helping Swami, my husband’s immediate response was, “That’s my wish too, but Swami won’t take any financial help for his personal needs. He needs someone to translate his blogs in Hindi.”
Desperate to help, I ran one of Swami’s blog articles through Google translate and sent it over to him. I know it sounds silly now, but it felt right at that time! Swami replied with a polite rejection and praise for trying.
As my husband always says, I’m both his strength and weakness! So, when my inability to help deeply saddened me, he came to my rescue and started translating the blogs into Hindi. Thus, I got my first work-from-home volunteering task, managing the tech-savvy Swami’s Hindi Blog.
By Divine Grace, many more Seva tasks like making posters, greeting cards, book covers, uploading mp3 files to SoundCloud, and conducting events also poured in. A couple of years later, my mother along with my (deceased) maternal grandfather started translating Swami’s blogs into Tamil. That allowed me to manage the (translated) Tamil Blog as well!
While I was under the impression that ‘I was being kind and supporting Swami’s cause’, the Divine was silently helping me in the background!
Personally, I don’t believe in writing down my spiritual experiences for the general audience (barring a few that’ll motivate my readers in the right direction). I don’t wish to make the readers crave those subjective experiences and distract them from the primary purpose of such happenings: transformation.
Still, if you wish to know how Divine presence helped me, please read The Book of Faith. Roughly 90% of the incidents mentioned in that book and many more have occurred in my life!
I distinctly remember Swami’s words at the onset of the Hindi Blog Seva, “Even if one person finds their way back into life from your efforts, your purpose is achieved.”
Today, after several years of my husband’s committed efforts and more than 4000 hours of my time (during severe depression and over a period of 5 years) towards Seva, I can confidently say: Service to a saint has indeed transformed the lives of a couple of people – my husband and me.