December 2015

Without the spirit of sacrifice, no service is possible. –  Chinmaya

Sacrifice and service are the two by-products born out of the same divine virtue called love. Wherever love is, sacrifice and service follow spontaneously. Service is an expression of our love. Sacrifice tests the intensity of our love.

It was during the days of British rule. Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose had made an appeal that one boy from each family should join the army of Netaji. In the mountainous region of Kohima and Imphal, there lived a seventy-year-old woman with her son. This son also went for recruitment. When enquired by the colonel of the army, he replied, “My name is Arjun Singh, 20 years of age.” Being the only son of his mother, he was rejected. The young boy was thoroughly disappointed. He returned home. His mother was so shocked that she could not take it, and in the process collapsed and died.

Next day, the young boy was seen again standing in the line for recruitment. The colonel was very much pained to learn that Arjun Singh’s mother died of the shock of non-recruitment of her son in Netaji’s army. He learnt that while dying, she had told her son, “I am not your mother; I am only an obstruction on your way. Your real mother is Mother India.”

The colonel offered his salutations to the brave mother of Arjun Singh and recruited him as the captain of the army.

Absence of sacrifice and service simply imply the absence of love.

A wedding speech of a lady in her in-laws’ house:

“My dear members of my new family, I thank you all for welcoming me to this new house. First, I must tell you that my presence here should not change your routine life. Those who used to wash clothes must keep on doing it. Those who cooked food must keep cooking. Those who cleaned the house must keep on cleaning. I won’t disturb anybody’s routine. As far as I’m concerned, I’m here only to eat BUN, have FUN and control your SON.”!!!

It is impossible that a family, community or a nation can ever progress and prosper without the members exhibiting a spirit of sacrifice for the welfare of all.

In 2014 FIFA World Cup football match, Japan lost their match against Greece, but they won hearts all over the world with their incredible gesture after they stayed back, despite their loss, to clean the stadium of all litter as the rest of the crowd filed out. Wearing raincoats to protect themselves against the drizzle, and armed with garbage bags, the 15,000 Japanese fans set an example of true sportsmanship and goodwill, unlike fans in other nations that have been known to resort to vandalism and violence (both in disappointment and exuberance) after a match.

At the end of the match, the defeated Japanese players formed a line and bowed to their fans, in appreciation of their support. The photographs went viral on social media, eliciting responses that hailed Japan as a fascinating example of sportsmanship.

Let us not forget – this is the same country which was devastated completely by nuclear bombings a few decades back. Today, thanks to their disciplined, patriotic and cultured citizens, the country is admired all over the world for its achievements in all spheres of life.

Unfortunately, the condition of our nation is quite deplorable.

Listen to what our former President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam has to say to the Indians:

“YOU say that our government is inefficient. YOU say that our laws are too old. YOU say that the municipality does not pick up the garbage. YOU say that the phones don’t work; the railways are a joke. The airline is the worst in the world; mails never reach their destination. YOU say that our country has been fed to the dogs and is the absolute pits. YOU say, say and say. What do YOU do about it?

In Singapore, you don’t throw cigarette butts on the roads or eat in the stores. YOU wouldn’t dare to eat in public during Ramadan in Dubai. YOU would not dare to go out without your head covered in Jeddah. YOU would not dare to speed beyond 55 mph (88 km/h) in Washington and then tell the traffic cop, ”Jaanta hai main kaun hoon? (Do you know who I am?). I am so-and-so’s son. Take your two bucks and get lost.” YOU wouldn’t chuck an empty coconut shell anywhere other than the garbage pail on the beaches in Australia and New Zealand.

“Why don’t YOU spit Paan on the streets of Tokyo? Why don’t YOU use examination jockeys or buy fake certificates in Boston? We are still talking of the same YOU. YOU, who can respect and conform to a foreign system in other countries, but cannot in your own. YOU who will throw papers and cigarettes on the road the moment you touch Indian ground. If YOU can be an involved and appreciative citizen in an alien country, why cannot you be the same here in India?

“In America, every dog owner has to clean up after his pet has done the job; same in Japan. Will the Indian citizen do that here? We go to the polls to choose a government and after that forfeit all responsibility. We sit back wanting to be pampered and expect the government to do everything for us whilst our contribution is totally negative. We expect the government to clean up but we are not going to stop chucking garbage all over the place nor are we going to stop to pick up a stray piece of paper and throw it in the bin. We expect the railways to provide clean bathrooms but we are not going to learn the proper use of bathrooms. We want Indian Airlines and Air India to provide the best of food and toiletries but we are not going to stop pilfering at the least opportunity.

Our excuse? – “It’s the whole system which has to change, how will it matter if I alone change?”

“So who’s going to change the system? What does a system consist of? Very conveniently for us, it consists of our neighbours, other households, other cities, other communities and the government – but definitely not me and YOU!!

“When it comes to us actually making a positive contribution to the system we lock ourselves along with our families into a safe cocoon and look into the distance at countries far away and wait for a Mr.Clean to come along and work miracles for us with a majestic sweep of his hand or we leave the country and run away. Like lazy cowards hounded by our fears, we run to America to bask in their glory and praise their system. When New York becomes insecure we run to England. When England experiences unemployment, we take the next flight out to the Gulf. When the Gulf is war struck, we demand to be rescued and brought home by the Indian government.

“Everybody is out to abuse and rape the country. Nobody thinks of feeding the system. Our conscience is mortgaged to money.

“Dear Indians, The article is highly thought inductive, calls for a great deal of introspection and pricks one’s conscience too.

Let’s ask what we can do for India and do what India needs from us… “

Our humble prostrations to Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda for having given us the platform called Chinmaya Mission, where we are taught to live honestly the noble life of sacrifice and service, producing more than what we consume and giving more than what we take.

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