No Ordinary Event

Swami Sannyasananda Saraswati

Paramahamsaji promised that this would not be an ordinary event, and it was not. He gave away many beautiful sarees to the women of Rikhia for the wedding of Sita and Rama. He also gave away over 600 hundred 'good luck kits' to young women who had been promised in marriage. Face after face of each young bride was filled with a sense of thanks and joy. These are not wealthy women but some of the poorest in the area. He spoke of the need to and value of maintaining the cultural and traditional spiritual values of the Indian people. This is the true wealth of a society and one which makes it a strong society and not a weak one. Who else would give away 250 to 300 million rupees worth of marriage gifts and essentials without caring for reward or favour in return?

There were so many people to feed, every day thousands to take care of, with the leftovers taken to surrounding villages as prasad at night. The swamis who delivered it often did not return till after midnight as they were often asked to stay for chai and kirtan by the people. Not much sleep for an Akhara swami!

Swami Niranjanji was on duty as disciple and as master of ceremonies. To see him always at Paramahamsaji's side, always available, always ready, always on the ball, was an inspiration in both duty and seva. Many nights he was up till past midnight completing tasks, planning for tomorrow, and then up again before dawn as usual to coordinate and oversee the next day.

Also given away were many rickshaws, thelas (hand carts), sewing machines, sewing kits, woodworking and other tools for roadworks and farming, bicycles, cooking pots, clothes, toys, medicines and much more. What moved my heart the most was the sight of seven specially designed tricycles for people with no legs or lack of use of legs. Some were carried from their sliding mats and hand pads or from crutches to ride away in their own hand-cranked brand new tricycle. Paramahamsaji promised to order a thousand more so that no disabled man, woman or child in his area would be without transport which is so vital in being able to gain useful employment.

This was true seva, true bhakti, and this was no ordinary event!

Oh, and by the way, Sita and Rama finally did get married amidst much singing, and dancing, witnessed by at least five to six thousand enthusiastic and supportive people on the walls, in the trees and in every available space of ground. I hope they received as much value as I did in seeing all the work behind the scenes that made the whole event what is was – magical and moving.