We are the Gift we are seeking – Madhusudan Agrawal
– Presentation given in Gift Symposium, Tokyo, Japan
Namaste: In India when we meet we say Namaste, which means “I honor the place in you wherethe entire Universe resides. I honor the place in you of love, of light, of truth, of peace. I honorthe place within you where if you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, there isonly one of us.” (quote by Ramdas)
My bow of gratitude to all my brothers and sisters of Byakko family, who have arranged this confluence of various streams of inspiration. My bow of gratitude to all my brothers and sisters who are present here and those who have come from various parts of the world to share the message of love, peace and oneness.
I would like to share a moment in my life when I was touched with a gift of generosity and thus changed it for ever. Eight years back, after I graduated from a film school in United States, I was looking for a job but deep down there was a calling to come back to India and find my stories.One day I get this big box in front of my house with a very expensive video Camera inside, there was no name of the sender but just a smile card which read “When you truly want something, the entire universe conspires to help you”. I was tagged with anonymous kindness. Till today I don’tknow who gave that camera. Later I found out that Smile card was an experiment in random acts of kindness done annonymously by a community called ‘Service Space’. With that gift I cameback to India, to meet people who have dedicated their lives for service, travelled and met one teacher to another and finally one of them said “God is truth, to find the god is to find the truth so Go find your own truth through whatever you do”.
With few volunteers we settled in Gandhi Ashram, Ahmedabad and started a communitycalled ‘Moved by love’, a place to cultivate internal stillness and external service. A space dedicated to acts of generosity and support human capital, centred around ‘Lok Mitras’,or ‘Noble Friends’. Here’s few examples of few projects and people doing the experiments.
Raghu : Raghu lost his legs due to polio at a very young age. He left his home due to poverty and came to the city. Today he runs a Food Tiffin service for 13 elders in the slums. One day few friends realized he was doing so from his own small salary. So instead of doing fundraising,few volunteers started fasting once in a week and gave that money towards this tiffin service.Food when given with personal sacrifice became blessed.
Gift Economy Rickshaw :Uday bhai’s rickshaw is beautifully decorated and equipped with a library, trash can, foodpackets and water bottles for the guest. After a heartfelt ride he asks his passengers to pay fromtheir heart. His meter is always on zero and he trusts that he will be provided what he needs.
Seva Cafe / Karma Kitchen: A gift economy restaurant in India and United States. With the spirit of ‘Guest is God’, food iscooked and served with love by all volunteers. In the end you get an envelope saying your billhas been paid by the person before you and if you would like you can pay it forward. No strings attached.
Silent Wednesdays: 13 years back, a small group of people in california, decided to sit for an hour of silence keepingthe doors of their home open for anyone to join. With no set agenda or proposed beliefs andwith no teachers these evenings were simply a medium to go within. The host Harshida Aunty cooked food for everyone who came. Today more than 30000 people would have sat in that humble living room and in more than 10 countries several people are sitting in small circles on a wednesday evening. The thought behind was simple, when you change within, the worldchanges.
We learned that these ‘Lokmitras’ (noble friends) truly saw their life as a gift and to be able tolive like that they were in harmony with their true nature. They understood and resonated withthe following values
Dharma (Self Wisdom) – Every Lokmitra deeply knows that his journey is about self exploration and connecting with the oneness of the universal energy. He follows his ‘Swadharma’ (His natural act). He knows he is just an instrument. he is follower of truth. He does what he does because he finds selfless joy in it, there’s no other way to express his truth. He lives in this moment.
Akarma (Non attachment with Action)- There’s no desire to scale or measure the impactof one’s deed because he knows that ripples of each selfless act has the potential totransform every life which is touched by it.
Imagine in last more than 10 lakh years of human history, this moment right now, has never occurred, imagine how many generations of our ancestors had to survive inorder for us to be alive and be present here. Thus I more and more realize that life truly is a gift and we are blessed to have this opportunity to pay it forward.
Gandhi Ji once said, time for individual enlightenment has passed now, we need collective enlightenment, and that will only happen through self purification. From ‘Service Space’to ‘Byakko’ Family, we need communities who are working towards creating inner change. Itgives me immense hope and joy to see so many of my brothers and sisters present in this roomhave created several of such thriving communities around the world. Communities that aremoved by love.
Today when I look into the eyes of my one year old daughter, I think to myself, what kind of world I will be leaving for her ? and will I be able to make a difference ? I remember the words of Adyashanti who said ‘If not me then who?, if not now then when?
May god make us all an instrument of peace and may peace prevail on earth.