The ‘Annadhanam‘ journey with the amazing members of Rudralaya from Mulund
Rudralaya, is a name synonym to Vedas, hymns and scriptures to thousands across the city of Mumbai today wherein scores of gurus who have learned and studied hundreds of these Vedas, Upanishads over the years pass on their learning to thousands every year. But there are a few, like me for whom that name symbolizes just one person, ‘Sri Y D N Iyer of Mulund ’ or Y D N mama as I fondly used to call him.
In 1992, after I had my Upanayanam ceremony, I was asked by my dad to join the nearby ‘Veda class.’ I met Y D N mama and under his guidance was lucky enough to learn few Vedas, Upanishads, Rudram and Chamakam.
Y D N mama had a tremendous influence in my life as he was not just a guru but an amazingly gem of a human being and a wonderful soul. He was without a doubt one of the most selfless and kindhearted individuals I had ever met.
Sri V N Gopalakrishnan, Sri Venkatachalam, Sri Sethu Madhavan continued Sri Y D N Iyer’s legacy after him and since 2000 they have also celebrated 26th January every year as ‘Rudralaya day’ in Mulund west – Bhakta Sangham temple.
This year, marks the 15th year celebrations for Rudralaya and the members of Rudralaya thought of doing something that has always been close to my heart.
They planned an early morning trip across old age homes, children’s home and orphanages and arranged (Annadhanam) food for around 1,200 people who were staying at these homes. Needless to say, when my dad (who is a member of Rudralaya) mentioned this to me, I asked him if I could be a part of Rudralaya groups journey too and the response was affirmative.
The arrangements were wonderfully done. We all met at Bhakta Sangham temple complex around 10 am today morning (25th Jan 2015) and there was a tempo/van that was ready with food to cater to all of the 1,200 people. Around 20 people joined in (men and women) at the said venue and we all left for the said trip.
Few of the members had brought their vehicles and we divided ourselves into groups of 5 and joined in. To name a few, there were Sri V. N. Gopalakrishnan,Kutta, Gokul, Guruswamy, Somu, Sriram and quite a few others – we all were happy to have got this opportunity to do something, especially under the name of Sri Y D N Iyer’s Rudralaya.
It’s so true, when you get to do something for someone who is less privileged, in reality, it’s never for them, it’s truly for your very own internal bliss.
Over the years I have been associated with lots of NGO’s (Mother Teresa’s Missionary home at Vile Parle west, Kherwadi assciation, Dharavi’s various NGO’s, local trusts etc) and I can tell you, the experience we had at these homes/trusts today was equally blissful.
Rudralaya group visited the ‘Vatsalya Trust’ in (Bhandup east) which caters to the care and rehabilitation of destitute children. Just FYI, Vatsalya means ‘affection’. After the food was catered to the said group, we headed to ‘Chembur Childrens home’ located at Anushakti Nagar in Chembur which is home to hundreds of mentally and physically challenged children and adults (both men and women). Here we got an opportunity to even serve the food to them and the experience was a true eye opener. After they had their food, few of them in whatever way they could, actually walked up to us and said things like, “Thank you, good food, ate well today, etc” which was unbelievable, because on a daily basis, we meet so many normal human beings just like you and me who probably squabble, bicker, whine about so many ridiculously insignificant things, that we often forget to say THANKS or show gratitude to the million things we have with us every day. The best part at this Chembur Children’s home was, they started having their food only after saying a prayer and then saying THANKS to almighty for putting food on their table. It was unbelievable!
Each time, I see these children across so many trusts and NGO’s, I feel more and more grateful for what life has offered me in its own way.
For any of you who plan to visit such places, Vatsalya trust in Bhandup east, Chembur Childrens home in Anushakti Nagar, Chembur, Mother Teresa’s missionary home in Vile Parle etc are amazing places where these kids are really taken good care of by those running these trusts and doing something for them would really make you feel more good about yourself, at least more grateful, peaceful and serene internally for sure.
Hats off to those running these trusts and a kindhearted and sincere THANK YOU and salute to the members of Rudralaya today for giving me this opportunity to be a part of such a heartwarming experience.
Today’s experience reminds me of these quotes from Mother Teresa and Muhammad Ali –
If you can’t feed a hundred, then feed just one – Mother Teresa (To read the article – Click here)
Service to others, is the rent you pay for your room here on earth ~ Muhammad Ali
Now looking forward to wonderful Rudralaya celebration tomorrow, a tribute to the iconic ‘Y D N Mama’ whom I had the privilege of meeting almost every single day on my way back from school to home. In fact, I remember the umpteen times I used to just walk into mama’s home as a kid as I was heading back from school, just to meet Y D N mama, mami and have a glass of water before I reached home.
I am thankful to my parents for giving me an upbringing and an environment where I got to meet such blessed souls and a special gratitude to the members of Rudralaya again for letting me to be a part of their experience.
Have a blessed year ahead.
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