Monday, December 27, 2010

Remembering Ishwar Dada

Beautiful story shared by Nipunbhai:

Few days ago, one of the legends of Gandhian service passed away in India -- Ishwar Patel. When he went unconscious around 4AM on Dec 26th, doctors thought that was his last. But when his mourning family gathered around him in the morning, he remarkably opened his eyes and gave everyone a chance for a final goodbye. He smiled, looked at them with compassionate eyes, and spoke his final words: "Jai Jalaram." It was a phrase to salute the divine, that he had shared with his wife every day for the last 52 years of their marriage. Having served selflessly for over 60 years, building over 500,000 toilets for the poorest communities, Ishwar-kaka knew a thing or two about changing the world. Yet to his beloved son, Jayesh Patel, his parting advice was simple:


"Keep doing small things."

In lieu of practice today, we sat in the front courtyard of Ishwar Dada’s ESI, remembering him, understanding him and celebrating him. This is the same courtyard from which Manav Sadhna actually started 21 years ago. It all came full circle: from Ishwar Dada sprouted Manav Sadhna and from that sprouted a generation of kids, 21 years later, who are sitting in his courtyard understanding who this great man is and how they are children of his heart.

Here we decorated, with love in heart and mind, Ishwar Dada’s true home.

Then we had a heartfelt discussion with Sureshbhai, about Ishwar Dada and his life. Sureshbhai, has spent the past 3 months, 24 hours a day, with Ishwar Dada. He served Ishwar Dada through the last 3 months of Ishwar Dada’s health struggle. Sureshbhai had learned a lot from Ishwar Dada, and was more than glad to spend some time with the kids sharing his learnings from a very humble saint, Ishwar Dada.

And at the end of our gathering we did prayer for Ishwar Dada’s soul and spirit, on the very toilet samples he had used to teach and explain about sanitation to the thousands that have visited him over the past 30 years.

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