Sayla Eye Hospital reaches a milestone of 25,000 operations

25,000 people receive the gift of eyesight in Sayla

The difficulties faced by a blind person or one with very poor eyesight can easily be imagined, and when the affected person is poor and illiterate living in remote villages, the challenges become exponential.

The Raj Saubhag Ashram funded Matushri Kashiben Harjivandas Sanghrajka Hospital treating poor people free of charge is a God-sent blessing for most of the villagers receiving the gift of eyesight from their benefactors.

The hospital is equipped with modern equipment and kind-hearted doctors, Dr Kamal Shah and Dr. Vidyut Shah. The Fraco system is able to discharge patients within 24 hours. The eye hospital caters to patients from near and far – Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Baroda, Hyderabad and other towns and villages. Over 350 eye operations are performed every month.

In the last decade, over 25,000 patients have been given a new lease of life. Jiviben Patel (a poor lady treated at the hospital) says: “For any person who has lost his eyesight, his life become a burden. And that’s why old people from villages resist undergoing eye surgery, fearing physical and financial problems. But since the last 5 years, this successful doctor-team has given confidence to people and the queue outside the hospital is always increasing. I too have got my eyes operated and am now not dependent on anyone, and am grateful to have been given a new lease of life.”

Ladies Swadhyay - Trip to Deolali

The monthly ladies swadhyay was organized as a ladies jatra to Deolali in the presence of Brahmnisht Pujya Minalben and Pujya Lalitaben. On 31st October, all the ladies travelled to Deolali, stopping on the way at Manas Mandir Tirth in Shahpur for navkarshi and Prabhu Darshan.

During the afternoon swadhyay session Minalben referred to the letters written by Pujya Guruma to her guru, Param Pujya Bapuji, published in Veer Raj Path Darshini. Just as the AtmaSiddhi Shastra has 142 verses, we have a treasure of 142 letters written by P Guruma in the course of her sadhana.

In her discourse, Minalben referred to letter number 3 that P Guruma had written and wherein she refers to Shrimadji’s sacred words – “Any disciple desiring spiritual progress must definitely have unflinching devotion to the enlightened soul – his Guru and the path illuminated by him. Complete faith unto Satdev, Satguru and Satdharma is mandatory for a disciple for spiritual progress.”

Highlighting the importance of right thinking, Minalben added: “Karmas should be faced with equanimity. Karmas should be treated like to ebb and flow of the tide, here today, gone tomorrow. Whenever, one is drawn towards the material world, one should take recourse in the words of saints and enlightened souls, who have repeatedly said that sansaar or worldly possessions do not offer sanctuary, rather they bring grief and misery. We are lucky to have the refuge of an enlightened soul, Param Pujya Bhaishree. Now, we should be fearless in pursuing our goal, undaunted by any challenges that our karmas may place in our paths. Move forward fearlessly and remember that your daily agnas are your potent weapons. Do your agnas religiously.”

Lalitaben in her discourse said: “Since time immemorial, all of us have been under the delusion that ‘this body is me’, and have developed a deep affinity for this transitory body. This kinship has led us astray. Keeping ourselves aligned with our inner self, will help our external circumstances to align favourably. We should not endeavour to change the direction of the wind, rather increase our own equanimity, with calm acceptance of our circumstances.”

Swadhyay session two was also held on the second day and all the ladies departed for Mumbai, stopping for darshan at Kanjiswami Temple and Logassa Dham on the way.

Every soul took leave of their spiritual teachers with elation in their hearts and with a firm resolve to rejuvenate their sadhana.

IVY Swadhyay - Teacher's Day

The month of September is full of festivals, each of which has a spiritual message to impart. “Teacher’s Day” is one such occasion, when we express our gratitude to our teachers in school, college or university. Our greatest benefactor is our Spiritual Guru, who delivers us from the cycle of birth and death.

During the IVY Swadhyay, Brahmnisht Minalben highlighted the importance of a teacher and a Guru in our lives – while a teacher is responsible for our education and growth, our Guru makes us responsible for our own growth. A teacher prepares us for the journey in the outer world (sansaar), our Guru guides us on our inward journey (salvation); our teacher is our guide on the road to success while our Guru is our guide on the path to freedom (from the cycle of birth and death); a teacher explains the world and its nature to us, our Guru explains our true nature to us.

A teacher gives us knowledge, boosts our ego, instructs us and sharpens our mind. A teacher leads us by the hand and trains us to solve problems, while our Guru explains to us the transience of the material world, deflates our inflated ego and teaches us to resolve our issues. A guru leads by becoming a living example. A guru questions our answers. He questions our behavior by asking ‘why’? A guru needs nothing more than faith and humility from us.

The objective for both kinds of teachers is imparting knowledge and making us self-reliant. But what makes a Sadguru very important to us is His perception. A teacher perceives a student as a body; while a Guru sees the disciple as a soul – different from the transient body.

One can always find a teacher but a guru has to find and accept you. When a teacher finishes with you, we celebrate – but when a guru finishes with you, life celebrates. Whatever our circumstances might be, we learn to choose the truth; we learn to select what is right.

Imparting values further, Brahmnisht Vikrambhai spoke of Navdha Bhakti – explaining the third type of bhakti (Smaran Bhakti) in his discourse.

The blend of the word naam and smaran – ‘naam-smaran’ although used as one word, are singular and imply separate meanings. ‘Naam’ means meditation whereas ‘Smaran’ means repetition of a mantra again and again.

This bhakti saved Prahlad from getting burnt in the fire and Draupadi from being humiliated. This bhakti, this faith in the Lord’s name, kept Shabri steadfast on her belief that Lord Ram will grace her humble hut with His presence. This faith in the Lord, her devotion as we know was indeed rewarded. So is the instance of Janabai, a great devotee of Lord Vitthal. Her faith and complete devotion to the name of Vitthal always kept her cheerful and fearless. The important point here is focusing the mind on the task, consciously keeping the mind engrossed in the Lord with utmost faith. The mind is thus slowly tamed; it wanders less and learns the art of stillness. The inner strength to endure the troubled waters easily comes to us. The delusional belief that ‘the body is me’ dissipates with every repetition of mantra until nothing but the truth remains.

To remember:

  • A Sadguru teaches us to keep the ship of spirituality steady amidst the troubled waters of the worldly passions.
  • In whatever we do, we must try and catch our ray of concentration.
  • Participate in required occasions, but remain detached.
  • Whether a moment of worldly pleasure or pain, this too shall pass.
  • ‘દુઃખ મેં સુમિરન સબ કરે , સુખ  મેં  કરે  ના  કોઈ. જો  સુખ  મેં  સુમિરન  કરે  તો  દુઃખ કાહે કો  હોય’ – Kabir

IVY Swadhyay - July 2015

The path of  Divinity and Enlightenment is about having a zeal for true knowledge and wisdom.  And Ivy swadhaya inculcates this passion for true knowledge in young and vibrant mumukshus, to help them build the required foundation – character.

One of the simplest and quickest means given to us is daily recital of 1 mala of – ‘Aem Namah’ – the mantra of Saraswati Devi – Goddess of true knowledge, music, art, wisdom and learning. For younger children, a minimum of 27 times should be counted daily. To further nurture these budding flowers of Ivy, a Saraswati Mata Pujan was organized on 5th July, by the ever enthusiastic and helpful mumukshu – Riteshbhai, at his residence.

More than 40 children, adolescents and parents participated in the Pujan. The meticulous arrangements ensured a smooth, timely flow of the entire event. Every soul experienced inner peace and the beginning of a melodious rhythm of passion for wisdom being played within them. The benefit of such a Pujan and the daily chanting of the mantra is not just limited to excelling in academics or in one’s career, but the lessening of ‘Gnanavarniya karma’. This escalates our advancement on the path of divinity.

With the most important day in a mumukshu’s life – paying obscience to one’s divine benefactor, the Guru on Guru Purnima day- around the corner, Ivy swadhaya highlighted the value and importance of a True Guru and the devotion that we need to have towards him.

Such should be our connection with our Guru, that we should experience piousness in his presence, be anxious to serve his divine feet in his absence and wake up with his divine image before our eyes and bow reverently to his greatness. Such a simple habit to cultivate!

To match the selfless love of our Guru is impossible. But, being kind, humble, loving, forgiving, truthful to ourselves and others is what will give him happiness. All we can offer him on this Special day is moulding ourselves to inculcate virtues and an ever-growing love and bhakti for Him.

You are the doer. You are the designer of your own deeds and destiny’ – says the Lord. This feeling should get strengthened each day. If I’m suffering, then I must have gone wrong somewhere. It is entirely my fault. No one else is to be blamed. It is my uncontrolled attachments and desires to this transient world and material objects that has put me into misery. ‘The more I have, the happier I am’ – such a belief only makes us delusional. Minimalism should be our regime.

Instilling in us the motivation to progress faster on the path of divinity, Minalben recounted 3 inspiring tales:

1) An old man tried to climb the Himalayas in spite numerous difficulties and doubtful looks from others. When asked how he would accomplish this impossible feat?,  the old man replied, ‘I will, my heart got there first’. When we are determined, the word impossible doesn’t exist. We are all the more fortunate to have a support system like Pujya Bhaishree.

2) A student asked his teacher, ‘Can we see God? How can we have His Darshan? The teacher replied, ‘Penance is one excellent way to experience His graceful presence.’ Following the teacher’s guidelines, the road of penance and his incessant bhakti compelled God to show His grace to the devotee. We have also seen the result of extreme penance done by Ravan to obtain the darshan of Lord Shiva.

3) In a small town of Karnataka called Udipi, lived a devotee – Kanakdas. Being from the Shudra caste, he was never allowed to enter a temple. Wanting to see the statue of Lord Krishna, he would go behind the temple to have glimpse of Lord’s back. His unremitting love and for the Lord, compelled Him to give Darshan. The statue turned around 180 degrees to face the devotee. And since then, the statue faces the backside of the temple.

The second phase of the swadhaya focused on the topic of Navdha Bhakti, touching upon Shravan, Ashray and Kirtan Bhakti.

Brahmnisht Vikrambhai explained the letter 706 from Vachnamrutji. This letter is addressed to Keshavdas Nathubhai, one of the disciples of Krupalu Dev. What makes him a great disciple is his virtue of transparency. Keshavdas is a devotee who does not hide his faults. This is one virtue that we need to cultivate. The letter also sheds light on a powerful tool we have – The power of thought.

This is ‘the most vital and potent tool’ to grow inwardly on this path. Detachment and controlling our likes and dislikes are the fundamental virtues. This comes when we truly concentrate on the teachings of our Guru. And unwavering faith in Guru and believing that His shelter is the Only, Irreplaceable and Ultimate shelter that will bail us out from our miseries. This feeling is also explained in the poem  – ‘મૂળ માર્ગ સાંભળો જીનનો રે’.

No sooner do we show our readiness to surrender- mind body and intellect at his lotus feet – then they begin to function in accordance to His guiding light. This doesn’t mean we cannot be ambitious. But, at the same time, we need balance. Balance between the mortal and the immortal – Balance is to do something and allow something to happen. ‘પુરુષાર્થ કરો પણ એના પછી સમતા રાખો.”
Kirtan Bhakti is acknowledging, applauding and singing the glory and virtues of the Lord. Shedding the strongly held inhibitions and doing Kirtan Bhakti changes us from within. This Bhakti makes us innately positive. And if done with true heart, soon becomes music, movement becomes dance, smile becomes laughter, and our mind becomes meditation and with it, all the life becomes celebration……..

With Pujya Bhaishree at centre of our living, life will become a celebration. A dedicated disciple will always be awe-struck by the vast ocean of the Guru’s virtues….the element of admiration will never recede. This is how we must celebrate the Day of Guru Purnima.

It is said that:

‘‘ધરતી કો કાગઝ કરું, કલમ કરું બનરાઇ, સાત સમંદર કી સાહી કરું, ફિર ભી ગુરુ ગુણ લિખા ના જાયે”’

‘If this whole world was a sheet of paper, and all the trees were to be my pen, and the oceans were tobe ink, even then the glory of My Guru could not be written completely’.