These pourakarmikas (civic workers) are invaluable to the society. Despite rendering such useful and critical services, they often feel that the society is keeping them at a distance. For past 18 years I have been repeatedly coaxing many of them to put their children to school. Education is wealth. It is the greatest asset which should not be neglected under any circumstances. It is truly heartening to note that now many of them are stressing upon children’s education. Many from their clan have prospered economically and have contributed to the country’s growth.
Our country has come a long way since independence. Government rules no longer prohibit segregation of people based on caste. A lot of facilities have been provided to the economically downtrodden which has ensured their economic prosperity. There are many among them who no longer need financial aid. But still, they sense the love lacking to them from the society. They feel their children are being forced to grow separately from the rest of the society. They are unable to feel oneness with the mainstream society. This is indigestible.
The learned often quote that all the classes of people originated from the same God. While this is verbally said, often those who make such statement refrain from translating it into actions. ‘Do not touch this; stay away from this place’- through such statements, these pourakarmikas are relegated to the background.
These are the people who work tirelessly to dispose our garbage from the roads. They are the ones who keep our neighbourhood clean. They strive for our well-being. If so, why is it that they cannot mingle with us? What stops us from absorbing them into the mainstream society?
It is our duty to periodically visit them in their localities. Offer to them good clothes and vessels. Go and educate them. Teach them values and instil in them faith towards the Lord. More importantly, shower them with love. This is what I have been preaching for the past 20 years and very strictly following.
Dattapeetham has very close ties with the pourakarmikas of this area for last couple of decades. They have been frequenting the Ashram. Be it in educating their wards, organizing their weddings, constructing temples for them or in many other smaller ways we have been associated with them for long. Even to date when Swamiji travels abroad, there are some among you who, with total devotion, fetch Ragi powder and other ingredients from their homes for my needs during my travel. I too seek that it must come from their homes only. Such is the love we mutually have.
There are many in society who do contribute for their well-being. But remember, your contributions must be accompanied by love. It is your love and acceptance that they need. Today they are perhaps in a situation when they can organize their finances and fend for themselves. But social love and acceptance is what they believe is desperately lacking. During festivals and other celebrations invite them and share your food with them. Talk to them lovingly.
There is a uniqueness about this Nada Mantapa. During festivities, irrespective of religion, caste and clan, everyone assembles and mingles here equally. Be it Christians, Muslims, Jains or people of any other belief, they are the same in this place. They lovingly arrive here on their own accord. In my belief, the entire humanity is one race. This itself is a worship.
Serving those who serve and clean the nation is itself a worship- this is what I often state. When it is said ‘Swacch Bharat’, it is important to first and foremost cleanse our minds. Be broadminded. Clean your mind and heart; Swacch Bharat will automatically take place. Merely cleaning bathrooms and garbage will not amount to Swacch Bharat. We must rise beyond that. We must share the joys and sorrows of these people and mingle with them.
I came across a sweeper and engaged him in a chat. I came to know he was a MBA. I asked him why then was he still cleaning the streets. He said that he is decently employed but still he does not want to totally abandon the task that was dutifully followed by his elders. I really salute that man.
Ranga and family lived here for many years. I used to tell him, ‘I am not imposing that you must bathe. But I am imposing that you must come to the inner precincts of the temple and see the deity’ For many years Ranga stubbornly refused. But at last, one day he bathed and stepped into the inner precincts (antarālaya) of the temple. He then exclaimed, ‘Oh! Today my life has attained fulfillment. I have become pure. Because of this Lord many good events have happened in my life. My son has abandoned drinking but still suffers due to some disease. I seek that the Lord should shower his mercy upon him’. Ranga and family served here for long. They were so dedicated and disciplined.
Our Government has been coming up with many schemes for their well-being. I congratulate them for all that. But my request is that together with the schemes, please also give them your love. Encourage them to join the mainstream. Once they are accepted, they will not have the necessity of shifting religions. Our country needs them. Together, our country will unite and will prosper. Action (karma) itself is worship of Almighty. All these pourakarmikas are Karma yogis.
Bhagavatam, Mahabharata, Ramayana and other ancient texts emphatically declare that entire mankind is one race. Narendra Modi, our Prime Minister, washed the feet of the pourakarmikas and sprinkled that water on his head when he was at Allahabad. This itself reflects his inner broadmindedness. He aspires to do a lot for you all. I have complete faith that he will do so.
(Audio was not clear at few places in webcast; so could not capture few sentences).