Welfare of the Old People

A report by Sandhya Pandya

On my recent visit to Charparda, I was fortunate enough to call on the part of the Ashram where old people, who have nobody to look after them, were housed. My mother visits the Chaparda Ashram every year and knows the old people there and as such I was able to talk with them about their lives and experiences and under what circumstances they made the decision to come and live in a Vrudh Ashram. One thing was made obvious – that they were not wanted by their so called ‘families’. They were a ‘surplus’ to their own family unit i.e. husband, wife and children. These same children had family units of their own and their remaining parent was a ‘relation’ not a family member. The wind that is blowing in the west has reached our mother land where parents are extra people within the family that require time, patience and money – rather taxing on all accounts!

At the Ashram they are housed, clothed, fed and given dignity so that they don’t feel that they are living on charity. So far at every Ashram that has been founded by Bapu, there is a place for Vrudh Ashram. These Ashrams are financed by donations, mainly from overseas well wishers.

I have known Pujya Muktanand Bapu for the last 10 years and am constantly surprised at his patience and unjudgemental attitude towards people’s frailties of mind and body. His attitude is totally mind over matter and nothing is impossible – do what you can but don’t do it with expectations of reward or recognition because invariably you will not get it.

Sandhya Pandya, a mother of 2 girls, lives In the UK and visits Chaparda whenever she gets free time from her busy working life. Her mother, Ushaba, is one of the most energetic and inspirational ladies who lives in Chaparda for 3 to 4 months every year. Ushaba is now helping to develop and start the girls’ boarding houses and schools in Chaparda and in Junagadh.

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