Monday, September 22, 2008

Om Sriman Narayana, Sada Mee Sevalo! -Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam Seva Sang

"Look Upon God, when Its Beyond You" . This is one of the first lessons I learnt in life from my father. As an ardent devotee of Lord Venkateshwara, to me devotion to the god is achieved by selfless service to mankind. It had been a pleasure to fall in love with the God who is known to bless his devotees in the right way.
2 pm - Second Saturday of the month, venue- TTD temple, Chennai, India. There is a wide gathering of nearly 200 people assembled in the kutheri (music) hall of the temple. The objective was one- service to people- either be it in the Tirumala, the abode of Lord Balaji in Tirupathi or the other centres of service in Chennai. The group at the stroke of 2 pm, got divided into 4 teams headed by the senior most seva (service) personnel who started taking the list of people who would board the bus to Tirumala on the coming wednesday. The charts started to get prepared in large number and duties started to get delegated, including counting of pilgrims, taking care of the long queue, providing food packets and water inside the cells having people waiting for darshans, laddu counters, flower arrangments, serving food at dharmastala, controlling crowds at all places, servicing in the hospitals and emergency teams and helping the local police to maintain calmness and security in the temple premises. The devotees who have agreed to be part of the seva will be in Tirumala for a week or fortnight based on their convenience, sleep in the dorms provided by the group leader, eat the food that is served free, and will come back to the rooms only to sleep. They do not enjoy any special benefits, except that they get one free darshan after the service is completed. This period is totally under service and dedication to the God, they believe in.
There is another group where its team leader, comes out with an activity list, that includes cleaning of local temples, collecting clothes and provisions for oldage home and orphanages, list out the people who would provide accounting and billing services in the Cancer Institute Adyar, Egmore General hospital, emergency wards that need real service and also providing communal kitchen for people suffering in nearest towns and villages due to floods etc. This is an extended arm and have in it professionals and students who are not able to take a week's off to be part of the core TTD Seva sang activity.
I joined this group of people almost 7 years back when the group was around 200 people and enjoyed my service in the local activities. One of the core members Mr. Panduranga Chinnikrishnan is my dad's cousin who is devoted with his wife for a complete stay in Tirumala under this seva service in his retired life which makes me proud of such selfless dedication from a elder couple in my family. Today the Seva Sang has got more than 4000 people joining this service organization. There is no joining fee, no stipulated regulations and absolutely no topic of giving or taking money in this service group. All it needed is clarity of thought, purity of actions, total devotion, and ardent dedication to serve the mankind. The belief is that blessings of the Lord is with us as we serve our fellow beings. Om Namo Narayanaya Namaha!!!

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