It was my last day volunteering at Manav Sadhna, a non-profit partner organization of the Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad, India. With the simple mission: “Love All, Serve All,” the organization serves thousands of slumdwellers through 38 health, hygiene education and employment projects. I had spent several months there, teaching yoga in schools, shelters and orphanages. I was sad to go. I shared this with one of the organization’s founders, Jayeshbhai, as we sat on the kitchen floor, having one last meal together.
From the first time I met him, Jayeshbhai touched me with his wisdom and compassion. “When the ego dies, the soul awakens,” he had shared during that first brief encounter two years before. An awakened soul, Jayeshbhai always has a smile on his face and insists upon having meaningful interactions with every person he meets. He greets each person with the kind of tenderness that parents display for their own children. Indeed, this man truly sees the whole world as his family.
“Whenever I want to meet you,” Jayeshbhai now spoke, “I just close my eyes, and see your beautiful face: patient, quiet, loving. I always think of four things when I think of you: your patience, love, passion and presence. You have a strong, peaceful vibration. It is very powerful.”
Though I did not believe I deserved such high compliments from a man I regard as a living saint, Jayeshbhai speaks with such sincerity and compassion that I was sure motivated to develop these qualities.
Jayeshbhai said the work of teaching yoga is an ‘invisible service,’ and how powerful it is, as it puts people in touch with God. He then told me about an 80-year-old artist who has made many amazing sculptures. “This man is also a yogi,” he shared. Jayeshbhai compared the work of creating art and teaching yoga, pointing out how both require tremendous patience and humility. “Dadaji [the sculptor] is a true artist because he creates without thought of reward. I think it would inspire you to meet him. I hope you will join us as a way to remember me when you go.” I went. It did. Continue reading