Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram completes 101 years this month, and it’s been 9 years since I moved to Ahmedabad. As I reflect back on time, one of the most important reason I felt for moving in here was the field of Maitri I experienced here. It was experienced through so many visitors, volunteers or guests coming here and primarily through countless spontaneous trips with Jayesh Bhai, either to a small village, a pilgrimage or just a Maitri gathering in Sughad. There is a magic in spontaneity, trusting the universe and not selecting who is coming and who is not, every soul who crosses your path is the right one with a message for you in the right time. After several experiments in Gandhi Ashram, from time to time we long for such agenda less gatherings to see what universe has to bring this time and thus we all decided to do a Nahak Milan. So we sent out this invitation to few friends for a three day gathering in Maitri Space (Sughad campus, Ahmedabad) on 27th- 28th-29th July 2018 : Dear All, At some point we all have met here in the ashram, in one context or the another, a friendship which was nurtured here in the warmth of Gandhian spirit. so a spontaneous thought arose to do a ‘Nahak Milan’ ( a meeting with out any fixed agenda but in the spirit of maitri and heart’s bonding).
This coming together is rooted in three broad intentions.
1. Samajh (to understand and know each other)
2. Sahyog (Co-operation)
3. Sehnushita (Tolerance)
And what unfolded was many beautiful moments of joy and togetherness. It’s hard to say what outcome this will bring but imprints of these joyful moments were deeply imprinted in our hearts and collectively felt.
Here I remember a story of Vinoba ji which I would like to share. When Gandhi ji passed away, all the leaders, thinkers and social workers, including Nehru, Vinoba, prasad, Azad, Kriplani and JP met in wardha to discuss way forward. 11th March, 1948 Seva Gram Ashram was buzzing with energy and anticipation with a question in every one’s mind ..now what? Many thoughts were shared, including a proposal for merging all the Gandhian organisations and make one to do the constructive programs. There seemed to be a common consent on this but except for Vinoba who was silently listening throughout and when asked to share, he did in soft but very clear voice “I support the idea of us coming together, there should be a ‘brotherhood’ but without any constitution or members list or register. Who ever connects with the idea of universal oneness is welcome to join and leave at any given time, and for which we should all come together and meet spontaneously in the spirit of Maitri, in Nahak Milan”. This thought was quite radical even at that time and many leaders didn’t accept it, but Vinoba being Vinoba, who was always moved by his heart, quietly but firmly refused to be part of any organisation.
I am personally biased towards this thought and deeply connect with it. In my limited learnings I see untouchability of different kinds now. We had untouchability of caste and now we have untouchability of thoughts. Any one who does not agree with us becomes our opponent. There’s a danger in making kindness and service a project, it can create boundaries between good and evil. These are only questions for me without any answers. I wonder what does it takes to move towards universal oneness, without any judgements and previous fabricated thoughts and outside inspiration, how do we move towards oneness within and outside and to be able to fearlessly love each other without giving up on humanity. I Hope to alteast start making an effort by dissovling my own judgements and boundaries which I find extremely difficult but I won’t give up, not on my self and not on you.
Being in the joy of holding these questions…here’s few glimpses from the gathering