Friday, September 02, 2005

Katrina tragedy and hindu community response

I feel proud to be a hindu today. The magnificent, spontaneous response of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) by organizing to perform the seva work makes me cry that there is still humanity left, amidst the horrendous reports coming out in the media. I feel proud to be a hindu today.

I feel proud to be a hindu today because such response is what sanaatana dharma (eternal dharma) is all about. Dharma is an ordering principle. When a community is in such dire straits, it is human responsibility not only to offer solace to the victims of the Katrina natural disaster but to reach ou to each of the victims to give them hope that there are people, their brothers and sisters who will not allow any natural disaster to overwhelm dharma. I feel proud to be a hindu today.

I feel proud to be a hindu today because there are heroes in America, heroes like Amit Misra, Sharad Amin and Khanderao Khand and hundreds of other swayamsevaks (volunteers of their own volition) who have answered the cries of anguish of the victims of Katrina with spontaneous, cultured responses to mitigate the suffering of the victims, in this hour of need. Relief activities of this kind are referred to as seva in the languages of Bharatam, that is India. The sanaatana dharma has enjoined on us a simple, but powerful doctrine : jana seva, narayana seva. Rendering service to the people is rendering service to narayana, the paramaatman. This is the purest form of yoga where every aatman seeks out the paramaatman through seva. This seeking out is yoga. How to define culture? It is, simply, an automatic pattern of good behavior. The Bhagavadgita, the song celestial notes: karmanyevaadhikaaraste maa phaleshu kadaacana; 'Dispassionate Duty is your responsibility, not ever yearning for fruits of your actions.' This is dharma in action. This is what Andre Gide said in French: l'acte gratuite, unmotivated action. This is what is seen in the actions of HSS. I feel proud to be a hindu today.

I feel proud to be a hindu today. There is hope for humanity. So long as there are men and women like Amit Misra, Sharad Amin, Khanderao Khand and hundreds of other swayamsevaks to reach out with a helping hand, there is integral humanity which overcome all odds. A friend in need, is a friend indeed. I feel proud to be a hindu today as I and all members of my family offer prayers for America, with tears in our eyes. May dharma protect America. The saying is: dharmo rakshati rakshitah. Dharma protects those who protect dharma.

Dhanyavaadah (Salutations in humility).



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