Dombivli, 04 July 2020: The number 5,000 is not just an ensemble of digits for us, but it is a riveting milestone that was achieved in just 3 months by serving the needy during the COVID–19 crisis. We at Vivekanand Seva Mandal (VSM) served all who approached us for fulfilling their basic needs during this tough situation. From Urban poor to Tribal, from stranded Students to Orphanages, from Migrant Daily Wage Workers to Backstage Artists, from Single Women to Disabled Men and from Vedic Scholars to Muslim, Christian Indians, needy across several districts of Maharashtra to some cities of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, all were served by us in this mission.
Remembering relevant portion of history will be prudent here. The plague manifesto written by Swami Vivekananda in 1898 in a worse pandemic situation of that period, had the lines: "Come, let us give up this false fear and, having faith in the infinite compassion of God, gird our loins and enter the field of action. Let us live pure and clean lives. Disease, fear of an epidemic, etc., will vanish into thin air by His grace.”
With the divine and inspiring words of Swamiji reverberating in our hearts even after 122 years, VSM’s 80+ volunteers joined hands with 40+ volunteers from likeminded organisations like Corona Task Force, TrekShitiz, Vivekwadi Pariwar, Dhruv IAS Acadamy, Seva Sahayog, DACCSH and RSS Jana Kalyan Samiti. Armed with funds contributed by 150 plus generous donors in quick time, VSM scaled up all the efforts to help the needy during COVID-19 pandemic in a systemic way. This was done at a scale by leveraging multiple technologies, putting in place project management SoPs, using networking strengths of RSS pariwar, following all the social distancing norms and by verifying demand claims by the needy.
Commenting on the motive behind this mission, Chairman, Vivekanand Seva Mandal, Shri. Ketan Bondre said: “All of us were not only united by a clarion call to help all the needy in this hour of crisis but also committed to serve Goddess Bharat Mata in its divine Ashta Lakshmi form. As ‘Ashtalakshmi’ is considered the auspicious spiritual energy that results in complete divine and material well-being of all individuals. Together we took efforts to venerate the Goddess, knowingly or unknowingly, by launching various elements of this Seva Work during this pandemic-induced economic crisis.”
Adi Lakshmi, the Goddess provided us with immediate strength and composure of mind to be able to stand firm to help others. In this mission, we began by helping two residential ashrams housing 129 Children, making us revere the goddess in Santana Lakshmi form. Soon, the word spread, and many donors started contributing funds in the form of Dhana Lakshmi – wealth for pious use.
Commenting on this aspect, Shri. Muthuswamy Chandrasekaran, Founder Director, Special Materials and Technologies, Belgium and our long-time patron said, “Adi Shankara says in Bhaja Govindam, ‘देयं दीनजनाय च वित्तम्’ or’ do charity for the poor and the needy’. I may have money to be donated to the needy but to go and find out who really needs it, requires the organisations like VSM and its volunteers who are doing the fantastic work in the field. We must not only have the mind, but open heart to give. It is easy to give but giving it from the bottom of the heart brings maximum satisfaction.”
With the foundation of systematic and rigorous management training for the Seva Work received from VSM’s founders, volunteers revered the goddess Vidya Lakshmi to build scaled-up system to serve maximum number of needy during COVID-19. This was the trying times for volunteers as most of them were working from home and facing tremendous workload at their respective work environments. However, their courage and dedication bestowed by Dhairya Lakshmi proved useful in yielding impactful social results. This also resulted in fortifying Raj Lakshmi to enhance individuals’ inner strengths during such a negative environment.
VSM created many records of its own work during this mission. Like, the maximum number of beneficiaries served in the shortest possible time or the greatest number of volunteers working on one mission or the highest funds received ever and the highest expenses incurred ever on the Seva cause in the shortest time period, the widest possible geographical expanse for beneficiaries. All these achievements were possible because of blessings by Vijaya Lakshmi.
Thus, the 5,000 beneficiaries received Dhanya Lakshmi at right time and for as many numbers of times as they requested for. One of the beneficiaries, who is a backstage artist, expressed her gratitude and said, “I stay in a faraway suburb of Virar still I got the help in the form of grocery and medical supplies. I pray that may god grant you the strength to help all the needy.” She is not alone in extending her blessings to all of those involved in this modern-day Aradhana of Ashta Lakshmi. We humbly accept these blessings to prepare for more difficult tasks, to further help the society and to continue our cultural tradition of Seva Work.