.. Our Mentors ..
Pankhudi is proud and blessed to have some knowledgeable, talented people who have been a guiding inspiration to our growth and success so far.
Prof. V.M. Gadre
Department of Electrical Engineering
May 31st 2009
It was a wonderful experience, today, to meet with many young men and women who are building, and have built, Pankhudi. It is always a refreshing experience to feel the vibrant energy of youth, but particularly more so, when it is energy directed towards selfless objectives.
The memory of the first meeting that I had with Shahzad Wakeel, in 2005, is still fresh with me. Dealing with the National Service Scheme (NSS) as a part of an academic curriculum is a mixed experience. These are the moments which make it really worthwhile - when one sees a young man rise to the occasion with a desire to do something positive for many others. Shahzad and I talked about how important it was, to begin with concrete, small acts of service and compassion; and to introduce many of them from time to time.
Around that seed, it was beautiful to see the tree that had grown today. The tree that would give shade and rest to the weary, fruits to the hungry, roots had spread far and wide - to four cities in a big way; and many other cities in a smaller way.
We talked today, about how important it was to have many large lamps with huge reservoirs of oil, and sticks of incense which would burn to give fragrance - along with matchsticks and camphor. The matchsticks would light the lamps; the lamps would light the sticks of incense. An occasional ball of camphor would burn to destroy impurities - seen and unseen, which caused obstruction. All of them were required for light and fragrance to spread, in their own place and with their own role.
To unravel the metaphor, such people are required who can ignite an activity (matchsticks). People are needed to guide and give light to an activity - through persistent effort (lamps with huge reservoirs of oil). People are needed, who have overcome their own need to be seen, but burn on their own selflessly to give fragrance (incense sticks). People are needed - who burn in a flare to eradicate obstacles; the angry young crowd which can destroy cancerous evils coming in the way (camphor) - though they may not be able to contribute in a sustained manner. All of these are required for a body like this to continue growing and glowing.
I believe you have all of them. In fact, most important, you have the lamps and the incense sticks - without them, the organization cannot last long. It is very important that you retain all your people, albeit letting them rest occasionally, to rejuvenate themselves.
Pankhudi has been doing much of its work with educating children, helping blind people and uplifting orphanages. These are simply priceless contributions. To carry the metaphor further, it is important that one lamp lights many others - to borrow from the golden words of Pandit Shriram Sharma Acharya and Guruji Sri Sri Ravishankar. The people that you work for, and uplift, will grow most, if they (i) value what they have got from you (ii) build on it to grow on their own and then (iii) strive one day to do something along the same lines in their lives. Facilitate these by all means.
If you ask me one thing that you can do more, though you are already doing quite a bit, it is - do everything that you can, to give the strength and confidence to every young man and woman in this country: that he/ she can make a positive difference to self and others. Every young person first needs to work towards realizing his/ her own potential; and a very important step in that direction is to reach out to many others (Satsang -the company of good people with great good deeds done together). I am sure Pankhudi shall do this for many years to come, and you could join hands with many other similar bodies to grow. The river does not lose its identity even if it ultimately flows into an ocean.
Pankhudi has grown from a little bubbling stream, into a deep river with much pure water flowing in the form of youthful energy. Let many tributaries emerge, only to make the river stronger; let the river join many others and flow into an ocean.
With all best wishes and prayers for your growth and sustenance.