Nature showed its fury and retaliation in Chennai on the first week of December 2015 by continuous outburst of the sky with 300 mm of rainfall; something which the city was experiencing after 100 years. It was devastating and unbearable to watch so many people suffering and stranded with no house, drinking water, electricity, food etc. Many of the people had lost their hard earned possessions in a single day. People were stuck in knee deep and waist level waters which ravaged their homes. It was one of the major disasters after the Tsunami in 2004. While this was grave side of the situation; the other humane compassionate side of the common man came to light. People irrespective of caste, creed, religion, status came together to help the affected people in whatever manner they could. In a way it is sad that disaster of such a kind has to happen for us to know the essence and to put into practise teachings of our religions which has always taught love, peace and unity.
Sitting here in Singapore and watching the disaster unfold was heart wrenching; I wanted to do my bit however small that may be for alleviating the problems faced by these poor people. I didn’t want to just send our contribution to some organisation without knowing how meaningfully it was used. I have always felt that in such a kind of situation or any other similar situation most of the people generously give their contribution esp monetarily. I wanted to be more involved than to just help with the monetary part. As I was unable to be in Chennai physically; the next best thought was to identify if I could place online orders for grocery, bed spreads or any other urgent requirement for the needy. But where could I get it delivered? Will it reach the proper place? These thoughts were bothering me. I prayed to Swami sincerely to show me the way. Swami soon answered my prayers and guided me to the right people. It was Sis Shyamala from Chennai and my dad at Parthi. I was sure that I wanted to be part of this only through our Sai family as I know that it will reach the right people.
At Parthi the very next day, they were sending a vehicle filled with more than 200 bed spreads to Kanchipuram which was one of the most affected places. We were fortunate to be part of that seva. My dad personally got part of those bed spreads form the shopping complex at Prashanti and handed them over to the team proceeding to the affected areas in Kanchipuram.
I then contacted Sis Shyamala who is an active member at Sundaram Sai Centre Chennai. She had already begun doing her seva of cooking at home and serving the stranded people on the streets along with her children, helper and driver. She was more than willing to help us out. I soon contacted my amazing Sai sisters of our Sai Mahila Satsang and within minutes we were flooded with generous contributions. Everyone was enthusiastic to be part of this noble cause. It was indeed Swami’s grace and tremendous love, commitment and dedication of Sis Shyamala that our contribution helped in a positive way in whatever little capacity we could. She was so meticulous and had planned daily Narayana seva for the needy for the next 2/3 days (one day lunch was served for 200 old ladies at Vishranti home- picture below) and prepared 18 relief kits (she got all the provisions ordered at her place and sorted and packed them) for collection at Sundaram and many sarees and bedspreads on our behalf. She is intending to help out for the medical relief and settling atleast a family or 2 as part of the rehabilitation process. Words can’t express the joy we felt on seeing every picture she sent us; of the seva being done. It reached the right people and with so much love. If seeing was so much joy; I can imagine how lucky and blessed Sis Shyamala would have felt serving them in person.
Sis Shyamala is a true inspiration of Seva for us. She put into practise Swami’s teaching of ‘Manava Seva is Madhava Seva’ when and where it was needed the most. We Sai sisters of Sg salute and thank Sis Shyamala for her selfless service during this period. Swami bless her and her family with all the very best. Swami would be extremely proud of this daughter of His.
Thank You dearest Swami for Your grace for us to be part of this noble cause. Thanks to my dear Sai sisters of Sai mahila satsang. May Swami continue to shower His grace and blessings on all of you. JSR
MANAVA SEVA IS MADHAVA SEVA