by Abhishek Gupta
I have been on a fairly strong learning journey for a few years now. Just when I would think — what’s next, there is something that would open a box of questions and expand my quest even further.
I recently attended the Ecoversities Alliance at the Swaraj University, Udaipur. The gathering was nothing short of a life-changing experience for me. It is hard to express how I felt in words, yet I would try now.
Love was everywhere — Aloha!
I am usually conscious about expressing or even receiving love. For the first time, I saw myself asking for hugs when I needed them. The gathering was such that the broken relationships would heal, minds would seek silence in the favor of hearts — all with the power of love, of being one. There was a very strong sense of connection that was nurtured so effectively by Manish and Swaraj. It made me wonder about my own life, how I nurture love in my own being, and at NavGurukul. Now it just seems obvious that we should spend more time building relations with our students than our curriculum 😉 Lots of changes are already in order at both gross and the subtle levels!
One of the conversations with Divyanshi, clearly made me see how my own personality would be strongly reflected in our own organization. It sounds trivial but it started a chain reaction in me to deeply understand what is that I am multiplying. I usually remark that NavGurukul or any education system has to create Gandhi(s) or individuals who are eager to figure out their own ways for their own selfish reasons, yet who would end up impacting positively their surroundings because of the strong alignment between the two. But are we really doing that? Or there are serious deficiencies in my own self or in NavGurukul, which would be multiplied sooner than the good seeds?
Hello, dear insecurities!
When you seek more awareness, you get to see patterns, fears, and insecurities in yourself. It was no different for me this time. I realized that I have never lived off without money. I have enjoyed a strong sense of security due to the financial capabilities of my family and my own self. Money doesn’t interest me much today, however, I don’t know how to live without it either even if little. The same dependence is manifested in my work at NavGurukul where I have always taken financial independence (read dependence on the mainstream economic systems) of each student as an incontestable truth. Now, I am trying to add to my Manthan — experiences which will help me move beyond this fear and dependence of mine.
When I look at the people who inspire me, I see in them an insatiable spirit to serve. I have a strong idea of bringing about change, but it also comes with a lot of mind. I need an impact. I need my actions to result or shape into something useful. However, I want to move from this give and take approach and genuinely explore my understanding on how to serve well, with all the love, surrender and dedication. I feel inspired to work on my own spirit with the help of various SEVA opportunities.
Above articulation doesn’t do justice to what all I learned and experienced, however, it was strong enough for me to change my plans and travel to Gandhi Ashram to be around Madhu, who really pushed my ideas with his words.
Gandhi Ashram was inspiring in ways I can’t imagine. Gandhi’s energy could be felt everywhere, which was amplified with the love that was showered by Madhu and Diken. I could only feel blessed receiving all the love and energy. Their spirit helped me to see my own and I felt even more determined to explore myself further on the paths that were opened at Swaraj University. The various experiments led by them around love, compassion and service were something that I needed to witness and inspire my own actions. I can’t be more thankful to Madhu for his invisible mentoring to me throughout my time there.
I had the privilege of meeting and sharing the guest house with Dimple, founder of “Love Heals Cancer”. Though the interaction was short, yet her infectious energy to work . It is easy to sense how her dream is just a reality waiting to happen with all the force that she brings.
Shortly after leaving Gandhi Ashram (which wasn’t easy at all), I had an opportunity to visit Udaipur Jail with Manish and Diken. It was the final leg of the visit, and one of the most important ones. I always had a calling to work in some capacity with the people in prisons after a very simple yet hard-hitting video shown on the last day of the Vipassana camps.
I had the fortune of meeting some of the most enthusiastic people who are really willing to put an effort to learn honestly and become better people. An inmate sang songs on Bulleh Shah, his own compositions on elderly people and female foeticide. The compositions weren’t just good but penetrated the hearts of everyone over there. I have sometimes felt pride in helping to create a learning environment at NavGurukul where the students are eager to absorb and grow. But the urge to learn in the jail was humbling, to say the least.
These 10 days marked with love, questions and deeply felt emotions would always be an integral part of my learning journey. What I have experienced and gained from these days and kindness of so many people I was privileged to meet, I can only hope to pass it manifold.
Love and Metta to all!
P.S: I attended Kabir Yatra just before the Ecoversities Alliance. :))