Bay Area Service

The Sai Ashraya volunteers have been serving dinner regularly now, they are becoming friendlier and conversing personally with the homeless people well. The homeless friends recognize the volunteers and talk in a more relaxed manner sharing many personal stories. Now that they see the regular faces they are more comfortable opening up. While serving food the volunteers also sit with them and talk to them, in one of the recent heart to heart conversations a homeless friend who is 34 years old was sharing about his past.

He had a good home and he was working and living with his father. His dad had a girlfriend who eventually left him for reasons unknown and he became severely alcoholic and he finally became an addict. His father after several years kicked him out of the house. As his father was helping him financially, once he got out of the house, he landed up on the streets. He has been there on the streets of Oakland for last one year or so now. He has not been working or doing anything purposeful but to drink (when depressed), try some part time gigs and sleep in the streets.

One day, this person was so depressed and shared his thoughts to the Sai Ashraya volunteer. After the conversation, he felt very light and believed that somebody cared about him. He was telling the volunteers that he is educated and he does not need anyone’s support or sympathy yet he felt very relieved when speaking to volunteers.

 

There was one more beautiful experience, one of the elder members of the homeless community gave the volunteers some great deal of knowledge about therapeutic care. The volunteers were stunned listening to it.

 

Want to know what the homeless person said ? The old man in that rugged and torn dress told the volunteers that half the people in these camps seem like mentally unstable but there is no need for a professional therapeutic to take care of them. All they need is someone to come and sit with them and talk to them. Although they love the delicious hot fresh healthy food that is being served, it is the love and affection shown towards them, it is that care with which the volunteers talk to them that is valued more. And finally, the old man stated what made the volunteers shed tears. The old man said, this is therapeutic care that these people need. He said it's not medicines, it's not big hospitals or psychiatry appointments that are needed for these people, just patient hearing to their problems and sharing love selflessly with intent and sincerity is itself healing these people into wellbeing. He has been seeing more mature conversations in the homeless community, now people talk about getting a job, finding a home, trying to help other homeless friends and they are themselves trying to form a community to progress. These are just talks for now and no one  know when all this will actually happen, yet the volunteers are living witness to what Bhagawan has been proclaiming for years and years of his sojourn in this world –“Love heals, Love cures, Love is enough.”

It is not the food alone that the volunteers have been giving that is curing these homeless people but it is also the loving way in which they converse and take genuine interest in understanding their needs. Perhaps it's the subtle vibrations in the food made from a pure devotional environment that are creating the change in their thoughts. Or maybe it is the time that is being shared with them, that is making them think they should also not be homeless anymore and help other homeless people get out of their state. Only Bhagawan knows how this transformation is happening in the homeless people’s minds slowly day by day as they eat the volunteers food and spend more time with volunteers.

Bhagawan is also sending us more volunteers to expand HIS work. The organization (http://www.sahajmarg.org/smww/featured-centre/fremont) which primary focuses in meditation where about 200 people attend every time. They were exploring doing service activities in the Bay Area and through a friend who was also a Sai Ashraya volunteer came to know about our service projects. They participated in a service activity with Sai Ashraya volunteers at Oakland that really touched their hearts. They were keen to start a similar service project from their location ~ Fremont. Sai Ashraya volunteers went to their location and along with them, they made 108 sandwiches. These sandwiches were distributed in Oakland tiny homes and in the streets. This new service project is being planned to be executed every alternate week or once a month.

The Sai Ashrayra team is praying to Bhagawan to make them like Jesus to become pure and spread love, love and love. The true essence of HIS words resonate within the team -

I did not come to build hospitals, schools and Ashrams, I came for you to transform you, to make you realize you are all embodiment of Love.

Humans are not with divine nature, but divine beings sometimes displaying human nature. Once we cross over the limitations through love and service everyone will be able to realize and live life in the state of communion with Bhagawan permanently.