The Karmayogi – Far Away from Media & Publicity?
Intro:A stranger three decades ago, is now a member of every family?
One fine morning a school teacher from remote Gajapati District of Odisha was seen before a hut in the outskirts of Bhubaneswar. The teacher kneeled down before the saffron clad sanyasi and sought his blessings. The ever smiling sanyasi showered with blessings.
The teacher Kabiraj Mallick has got into a Government school as a teacher. Connection with this hut was an emotional bond. Orphaned, young Mallick had nobody to take care. Forget about education, managing two square meals for the young child was the biggest challenge.
The ever smiling sanyasi took young Kabiraj to lap and taught him with love and care. Kabiraj grew up with the gurukul tradition. The Sadhu used to beg in nearby villages to feed Kabiraj and like him many more housed in his small hut. The
sanyasi enjoyed his work for him ‘Seva
This time Kabiraj has come to the sanyasi with a purpose. Now he is no longer dependant. He earns his livelihood. Yet not married. What he will do with his earnings? He wanted to donate major part of it this sanyasi who reared him. In turn the sanyasi could rare more children like him. “Guruji I want to donate from my income for good work you do”, Kabiraj said with folded hands. Guru himself too with his smiling faces was more candid. He replied had I invested in you? After you are able to earn you will pay back, was that the understanding? I am happy that I am managing to beg food and money from society at large. “I don’t expect money from your income but certainly expect you to be loyal to society and take care of children who are not in a position to go to schools because of their financial and family problems: the Guruji said.
Kabiraj had tears in his eyes. Returned empty handed but since then he spends major portion of his income in educating young boys and girls who otherwise would not have been able to in remote tribal Gajapati district of Odisha.
The saffron clad Sadhu born in Bengaluru, Karnataka now known as Swami Pranarupananda Saraswati. Swamiji had joined Ramakrishna Mission in 1968. After getting trained in the Mission and administered with deeksha, he was given the charge of Superintendent in a residential college near Belur. In 1978 he became a Sanyasi. He has B Sc degree as his educational qualification.
For one year, he went to Himalayas for tapasya in search of truth. Following tradition of Swami Vivekenanda the Sanyasi wanted to be a parivrajaka. He walked all the way from Kolkata to Puri on foot. Reaching Puri for one year in was in kshetrabas implying living on one time food collected from begging and observing complete silence continuously for one year.
|Swamiji’s relentless efforts has transformed the lives of many destitute children, many of them are well off now and leading respectable lives. ?|
His Guru Swami Vireswarananda, 13th President of Ram Krishna Mission advised him to do seva.
“My Guru asked me to select a backward area and to start some seva work. He said you should not select an urban area, because in urban area there are people who are working for the up-liftmen of the people. You should opt for some backward rural area”, said Swami Pranarupananda.
“Then I started thinking of an area where I can work. Bihar and Odisha were the states in my mind then. Ultimately I decided to work in Odisha.” he said.
In 1982, Swami Pranarupananda Saraswati decided to do some work to educate the poor children in Uttara village in the outskirts of Odisha’s capital city Bhubaneswar..
Why you decided to teach students and did not choose any other mode of social work, the sanyasi simply quoted Swami Vivekenanada that read ‘Education, Education and Education is the solution to all problems that India faces”.
Swamiji started working from 1982 in the village. Batches after batches of students have been taught and have left. But the greatest satisfaction of the sadhu was that they are being able to earn their livelihood.
Among the pupils’ Mahendra Mandal has become a Doctor. Mahendra’s brother Surendra was there till class 10th with the sanyasi, latter he did his MTech. Swamiji is happy with his students doing fine.
Starting with a hut donated by a local villager, Swamiji has come a long way. Swamiji recounted his early years. When he reached the village as a stranger and expressed interest to teach young boys and girls and parents were apprehensive. “Will he steal children and elope”, that was the time. Over the period, people also have developed confidence in the sanyasi.
As he managed to get more kids to his hut the local villagers became good neighbours. Daily moving on cycle he collected alms and cooked food and fed the children. Day in and day out he enjoyed his work.
He recounts his associates in early years Swami Abhayananda of Kantilo of Puri district. He extended his helping hand which is continued till date.
There were a couple Smt and Sri Sishir Mukherjee in Puri who regularly were providing financial help for inmates. Eventually, Sishir Mukherjee retired from work but continued with support. Swamiji once went to them and told the couple more than their money he needs them as the children need parental love. The Mukherjee couple now has taken a rented accommodation nearby and spending day and night in taking care of the children who the couple says have a better future ahead.
As Organiser talked to the seer, in his very candid voice did not accept that he has sacrificed anything. “As a sanyasi I do not have anything of my own. I simply have taken help from many people to teach and educate children who otherwise could not have been taught. Credit goes to all those who extended a helping hand” he said.
Swamiji has named his informal Ashram as Sarada Niketan. 30 odd young students are now housed there. Two buildings purely on voluntary donation have been constructed that is also on the land a person has donated for Sarada Niketan. Away from media and publicity or having any inclination for the same the karmayogi and his Sarada Niketan is admired with love and affection in the locality.
-Samanwaya Nanda ?(The writer is a correspondent in Bhubaneswar)?