Prashanth Nair, a meditation teacher with The Art of Living residing in the Bangalore ashram, had the privilege of driving the Master on a few occasions. He shares the following story which is an incident that occurred during one of his trips.
Several years back, one morning, Gurudev was getting ready to leave from Chikmanglur. Everybody was having breakfast when he suggested that we pack some extra food for everybody who was traveling with him. There were around 15 packets still left. However, everyone was quite full and didn't think they would be hungry again during the journey. One of the teachers suggested that the food be given away in the nearby village. Gurudev only said, “We’ll see”. So we left. We passed by one more village and Gurudev still didn’t say anything, so we continued. After a while, we saw a group of people — men, women and a few children, walking down the road.
Gurudev told us to stop the car and enquire about them. We got down and and after speaking to them found out that they were a group of construction workers from Orissa. A contractor had brought them here and they had been working for a few weeks when he suddenly sent them away without paying them their wages.
They had no money, not even for food and there were women and children among them. They had decided to walk to Bangalore to look for some work so they could go buy their tickets home. They had not eaten for a long time. They looked haggard and upset and tears welled up in their eyes.
So we distributed the food parcels among them, it turned out be exactly enough for everybody. Then Gurudev met them and asked them where they were going. They told him they had cried and prayed to their deity, Puri Jagannath, for food and money to go back to their village.
Earlier that morning, Gurudev had met with a few volunteers and villagers. They had donated some money to him as a token of their love and gratitude. Gurudev had accepted the money and it was with him.
Gurudev gave them this money which came upto a few thousand rupees, and was more than enough for their journey back home with extra for food as well.
On another occasion, a few years back, there was a series of thefts in the ashram.
It began with shoes and sarees. Slowly things from open windows were taken. Then locks were broken and valuables stolen. This went on for a few weeks.
Meanwhile security was tightened and there were men patrolling the grounds. Finally, the thief was caught. Turned out that the thief was a lady from the village and she was pregnant.
The administration decided to hand her over to the police. But by the time she was taken to the station, it was 10 p.m. The policeman asked them to bring her back the next morning since there was no woman constable at night.
The matter was then taken to Gurudev who simply laughed and asked them to put her in a room. There were several courses happening at the ashram at that time. There were barely any vacant rooms.
Gurudev then told a YLTP (Youth Leadership Training Program) teacher to give her some counselling and teach her some pranayams. Gurudev's compassion was such that the next day he gave her some money and a saree and told her to stop stealing. "The ashram has so much knowledge, happiness and peace to offer. We can only be compassionate towards someone who is caught in the smaller things".
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