My sister and I were planning today to serve Bhojana as part of our Ram Navmi observances at Mandir this year. Later that afternoon, at a discussion regarding Domestic Abuse, we were introduced to Shobha. Dianne Madray* saw Shobha** sitting on a bench outside her hotel on Brickdam and went over to ask her what was wrong. Shobha told her that she had no money to feed her children. Dianne brought them food and has since been helping them out.
Listening to Shobha’s tale and watching the innocent faces of her two children, gives you that sickening sensation at the bottom of your belly. You are compelled to help or at least find some way of getting some assistance for them.
Looking at this young lady and her two young children who are literally starving, I remember our plans for cooking at Mandir, I think about the cooking and feeding frenzy that will be going on in a few days time at many Mandirs. Food/Prasad will be lavishly prepared and served to many who are not starving. I wonder, why Hindus can’t think about cooking and serving meals to those who are literally starving, like Shobha and her kids? The foodstuff used for one night’s Puja, can feed this family for at least one week. Won’t the Divine Mother shower Her Choicest Blessings to the ones feeding those that are starving rather than those that make lavish bhojana/Prasad for Her?
Last Shiva Ratri, at the Pujas at the Mandirs in New York, devotees took thalis upon thalis of fruits to offer and gallons upon gallons of milk were poured on Lord Shiva. We were given so much Prasad/fruits that it took us one week to eat. As I watched the fruits being piled into huge baskets, thoughts flew to the kids in Guyana and could picture in my mind’s eyes how happy they would be to be given some of those grapes and apples. And the milk? How many babies are starving for milk—the same milk that we are pouring on Lord Mahadeva. Won’t the Blessed Lord be most happy should we take the milk and give it to those that really need it for survival? After all—does He really needs milk from us to know that we love Him?
My brother Pandit Maheshwar, stopped inviting people to attend pujas at our home. Instead, he cooked food/sweets and gave it to needy children. As soon as the kids saw his vehicle, they will be racing to him. He also used to feed cows grazing by the roadside, with fruits and there was this particular cow who used to race towards the vehicle as soon as she saw it.
The point of writing this is that Hindus need to change our way of thinking. God does not need the food that He/She owns/created. God does not need food to know that we love Him/Her. Won’t we earn more blessings/good Karmas when we feed the needy? Isn’t Sewa/Daanam an important part of our Dharma?
My prayer for this Nav Ratri, Raam Navmi and Hanuman Jayanti, is that we should at least feed the needy--reach out to the Shobhas and children like hers in our Society. Let us make a pledge this Nav Ratri, Ram Navmi and Hanuman Jayanti, that we will make sure that at least one child do not go to bed with a hungry belly. My sister and I are giving foodstuff to Shobha and her children this Nav Ratri/Ram Navmi, am praying that you also, are going to give food to some needy soul too.
** Shobha needs food for herself and 2 small children. Her baby is expected early in April. Anyone interested in helping Shobha and her kids can contact me in Guyana @ 656 0019 or firstname.lastname@example.org . If you are in New York/North America please contact Dianne:email@example.com.