Vrindavan has many people, organizations and systems that help the thousands of old widows who somehow find their way here. Old age homes, shelters, chanting houses (bhajanalaya), regular feeding of the poor, hospitals all geared to one end – helping those who cannot help themselves. If you want money, sing for 5 to 6 hours and you get 12 rupees; if you are ill come to the hospital to be treated. But what if you are so ill that you cannot get to the hospital? That also means you cannot go to the bhajanalay to sing – so no income! If you do not have an attendant with you (which is true for most of the ladies) you cannot be admitted to the hospital. How many of these ladies die a painful death at the end of their miserable lives … all alone …
A group of people, under yet another charitable trust, is trying to bridge that gap. Personal, individualized care for those the system cannot handle. Going door to door, searching out the neediest, they bring hope back into the hopeless world of these lonely souls. Taking them to hospital, spending sleepless nights as “attendants” of the patients they even cook and bring food over for them once they are released – caring up to the point where the ladies can resume their regular earnings or just die …
A group of about 8 to 10 young boys and girls, coordinators and volunteers – in their 20’s – day in day out (including night outs!) spend all their time with the old widows of Vrindavan. Every day they meet and meditate together and then go their separate ways to help. They spend time with the old ladies, get them blankets, clothes, walking sticks, slippers (including replacements for those that the monkey has stolen). With bright smiles on their lovely faces they gather later to tell the stories of the day. Who are these people? What rejoicing when someone under their care is back from the hospital or is able to walk again or just open the eyes and smile weakly. With glowing faces and warmth in their voices they recount their day’s work, check for things to do the next day and … the next day, again they are back at it! What drives them? Who guides them? Why do they do this? When asked this question, “what are you trying to achieve with these old ladies” the reply is pat “we want them to be loved. To have hope and the comfort of knowing someone is there to look after them no matter what. When they die we want them to pass on happily and in peace so that the next life is much better”
We hear of the angles flitting about the universe helping people. Are these young ones from that stock? Come to earth to help alleviate the suffering?
This charitable trust started by a devotee of Paramhansa Yogananda, in a short span of less than a year has done a tremendous job. The work on the field is looked after by another devotee of Yogananda ji. What light of hope and love they are bringing to this dark dark corner of the world … words cannot do justice to it.
To give their scope of work in brief:
– 2350 are given a month’s ration
– 350 daily get half litre of milk and fruits
– 170 are housed in rented homes that cover all their needs
– 1,400 get home visits on a regular basis
– 100-200 are taken to hospital every day for treatment
– Cots, mattresses, clothes, slippers, walking sticks, medicines, cooking gas, etc. given to hundreds so far
– 4-7 are in hospitals at any point of time attended to
– A home for cows with people to look after them
– Many too frail to be moved are helped in numerous ways to make every day of their lives better.
The love they receive from the people they serve seems to galvanize the volunteers to more action. What a blessed life they are living; what a joy it is to get to know them. For many doing this kind of service to near and dear ones is frightening or cumbersome to say the least – yet these young boys and girls go out and do this every day to complete strangers! They even perform the last rites for the ladies that pass away, say their prayers, put a new photo over the old one and continue to serve someone else … Who are these people? Do angels really live on earth amongst us? You got to see these people to believe …