Ved Mandir Shakha in New Jersey celebrated Vijyadashmi Utsav on a chilly Sunday afternoon of October 16, 2005. Shyam Prandey, International Co-Ordinator of Sewa International, was the chief guest of the program.
The program was structured into two halfs. First half was Yoga and Khel in the lawn outside the temple. Second half was baudhik inside the mandir. All the swayamsevaks were divided into 3 ganas, Male, Female and Youths. They started out by warming up with light stretching exercises, followed by traditional yuva postures such as Surya Namaskar, Ardhkati Chakrasan, Tada aasan, Pashtimo aasan etc. Then everybody had a quick round of entertaining games. Youth had a fun competitive races like Duck race, Sack race, lemon spoon, finding and putting the puzzle pieces together. Everyone enjoyed the games.
Once inside, the shakha started with hosting of the Bhagwa flag.accompanied with Dhwaj Vandana, led by Yelloji Mirajkar, HSS North East Sambhag Karyavah, and his daughter Smitha Mirajkar. Then Rajiv Rastogi ji introduced main speaker of the day, Ma. Shyam Parandey ji, to eagerly awaiting audience of nearly 100 men, women and children. From then on, Shyam Prandey Ji, International Co-Ordinator of Sewa International, took over the program and spoke at length regarding the importance of sewa, and sewa work done worldwide by swayamsevaks such as Tsunami in South East Asia, and Hurricane Katrina relief work done by HSS volunteers.
The program ended with a sumptuous lunch prepared and served by sevikas.
Few salient points from Ma. Shyam Parande ji’s Baudhik:
Hindus have never invaded foreign lands by sending soldiers to take over countries. However, Hindus have made their imprint on culturals in over 28 countries. This was made possiible by sharing Hindu philosophy with the local people in distant lands and allowing for the assimalation of local culture with Hindu philosophy. For example, the Ramayan characters in Thai, Indonesian, and Japanese version of the Ramayan have all the bodily features resembling that of the local people. It was said by the Chinese ambassador on his recent trip to India, that “India captured China for over 20 centuries without sending even a single soldier with its cultural impact on country”, referring Buddhism in China.
In the current world, Hindus can offer to the world Yoga, Ayurveda and Sewa. It was emphasised Sewa has no equivalent word in English just as there is no equivalent word for Dharma and Karma. Sewa is neither charity nor service. It goes beyond that. According to Hindus, by birth we have 4 runas (duties). Matru Runa – service to mother, Pitru Runa – service to father and your ancestors, Rishi Runa – service to sages and finally samaj, and lastly Service Runa – service to the soceity. The emphasis of Sewa is the fulfillment of this last runa. Sewa international volunteers are performing Sewa with this concept of Sewa.
Ma. Shyam ji while taking about recent Tsunami explained how the local fishermen were able to capture the signals of the tsunami by noting that fish which normally are found at the bottom of the ocean floor were turning up in their nets. These fishermen knew when they catch this type of the fish, it usually means the there is a disturbance at the ocean floor, but modern scientists did not heed the concerns of the fishermen. The fish and many animals which live with nature at all times also detected the tsunami warnings. So did a tribe from Andaman and Nicobar islands. The entire world had thought that a particular tribe which lived in the wilderness of the Nicobar islands archipeligo had been killed by the tsunami, only to later learn of the wise ways of the simple tribal people. The tribe had sensed the tsunami warning and had relocated to a safer ground. The tribe was later rediscovered after several weeks, alive and well.
These examples illustrate the Hindu view of living with nature.