Influence without affluence

Heard a very moving story of our own great Sindhutai, rightfully known as “Mother of Orphans”. She was born in a village of Maharashtra in a poor peasant family. Instead of sending her to school, her parents asked her to take out buffaloes for grazing. At the age of 8, she was married off to a 30 years old man and by the time she turned 19, she was already a mother of 3, pregnant with the 4th. That’s when she raised her voice again a village strongman exploiting poors. This rattled him, leading him to Sindhu’s husband. He told him about his wife’s loose character that she was sleeping with many men around and that child in her womb was not her husband’s but the strongman’s. He advised the husband to kill such a characterless woman. Her husband beat her mercilessly , including kicking her stomach and thinking her to be dead, dragged her to the cowshed to concoct a story of her having been trampled by cows, buffaloes and oxen ! An unconscious Sindhu was protected by a cow, who stood over her to save her from being trampled. Sindhutai miraculously gave birth to a girl there and cut her umbilical cord using a piece of rock. Totally broken and with an infant in her lap, she started her journey of epic struggle. Totally distraught, she decided to commit suicide by lying on the railway track with her infant. That’s when she heard a cry from a totally disabled person in great distress. Taking it as a call from Lord Krishna, the supreme Godhead, she got up, helped the old disabled person and started taking care of him along with her baby by asking for alms. She realised that Lord Krishna had some higher purpose in life for her. That’s when out of the alms she collected, she started taking care of orphans and urchins. As it is said, rest is history, with Sindhutai earning the sobriquet of “Mother of orphans”.

The story doesn’t end here but has a twist! One day she saw an old, haggard, sick and almost disabled person at her doorstep asking for her help. With difficulty, she could recognise the man to be her husband. Being magnanimous and large hearted, she agreed to admit her husband into her orphanage, but as her son and not husband. Today she introduces him as her eldest son. Of course, a large number of her orphan children are today professionals and highly paid individuals, including her daughter born in the cowshed who is a Medical Doctor.

While Sindhutai’s story is now well known, hearing it from Swami Radhanath, the inspiration behind ISKCON’s free midday meal for 1.2 million school kids across India, and instrumental in founding the Bhaktivedanta Hospital in Mumbai, the story brought about a very different perspective of Lord’s wish and life’s higher purpose. His use of the phrase ” Influence without affluence” that so aptly applies to Sindhutai’s struggle and work clearly establishes superiority of compassion and purpose over money.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

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