Huntsville, Alabama, Homeless Seva
October 12, 2018
Served: Squash and rice stew, fried potato wedges, bread, salad and watermelon slices
Quantity: Two trays of stew and one tray each of potatoes, salad, bread and watermelon
Location: Huntsville Downtown Rescue Mission (DRM), a homeless shelter
Number of people served: Sixty-five
Time Serving: 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
Bhagawan’s very mission being to rescue humankind from the chaos they have created, the Sai youth of Alabama could not think of have been “sent” to a more fitting place – a rescue mission – to do Seva! The youth are so fortunate to be anchored to Him and His teachings during these turbulent times. When disruption threatens to enter our lives, He gently guides us back towards the path and the goal.
During the Navaratri discourses of 2018, after the rendering of the Bhagavatam by Amma, Bhagawan explained the importance and method of cultivating bhakti towards Him. The image of the wise man surrendering before Lord Jesus Christ, painted on the walls of the DRM, reminds us of the concept of atma nivedanam (full surrender to God), which Bhagawan has sung of in many a discourse. Once again, Bhagawan explained the method of achieving mental peace and clarity by shifting our thoughts away from our troubles, towards the service of others, and offering that Seva at His divine lotus feet.
The pastor at the DRM spoke about how truth is a refuge against the onslaught of disorder. One cannot but feel empathy towards those in our region of the United States, especially the poor, who have suffered recently when two major hurricanes – the western term for cyclones or typhoons – after forming in the Atlantic Ocean, struck within weeks of one another. The devastation to some of the small coastal towns is unimaginable and incomprehensible. The daily pressures of not having a home and becoming distanced from society must be equally demanding. Bhagawan often quotes the Sanskrit phrase, “Paropakaram idam shareeram,” which means that the body is given to be used in the service of others. These words of Bhagawan’s echo His actions in both the sthoola (physical) and sookshma (subtle) bodies. Christ gave His life in the service of others, as did and does Bhagawan.
Devotees have recalled many stories of how Bhagawan worked long hours incessantly – to the point where His body was exhausted, how He unfailingly gave Darshan, and how those who saw His feet witnessed how much injury they had sustained over time. The sacrifices Bhagawan and other avatars, as well as other people, such as many a veteran who is now homeless, make on our behalf, can help us learn to be more grateful and less overwhelmed and burdened. This is why Bhagawan speaks of doing everything for His sake and why Lord Jesus says He will make the yoke easy and light!