“Love one another and help others to rise to the greatest levels simply by pouring out love. Love is infectious and the greatest healing energy.” ~ Sai Baba
Chandrakant Sawant, in his mid sixties, a great devotee of Sai Baba, is setting an example for all of us by walking in Sai Baba’s footsteps. He is providing food for hundreds of starving poor men every day. But why is he doing this? Why is he spending his meagre income feeding other men rather than spending it on his family? What have made him such a faithful devotee of Sai Baba? How long will he ration out food for the destitute? Surely, these questions can be answered by the man himself.
In 1958, Chandrakant Sawant, living with his wife in Kandivali, had come to Malad, journeying the 4.3 km through train in the pursuit of his work. “I had cleared the boards of class seven from Lalbaug, Bombay. I frequented this place on the lookout for a better job and was very well familiar with it. I got down on the platform of the railway station and walked my way towards the market. The place used to be occupied with pedestrians and hawkers and still continues to be since both the market and the station intersected here. I had to cross the road to get to the other side and while doing so, a giant bus came towards me. It was a fight or flight situation but I stood there with fright. What was meant to happen, happened. The bus ran over me, severely fracturing my limbs and legs into bits and pieces”, narrates Mr. Sawant.
This unexpected tragedy had left Mrs Sawant in mock horror as it had been only a month and a half since their marriage. It was apparent that her husband would take six to eight weeks to recover from the accident. In fact, the doctors told him, the left side of his body would be paralyzed forever. Chandrakant had given up all hope of walking again but his wife did not. She had strong trust in Sai Baba and she was determined to see Mr. Sawant back to his jovial self. She visited the temple daily and prayed for her husband’s speedy recovery. She also vowed to feed five wretched stomachs every Sunday till Mr Sawant would be in the pink of health.
The injuries which would have taken minimum of six weeks to heal took half the time and Chandrakant was back to his usual self. The thoughts of his dysfunctional left body would never haunt him again.
He says, ” It is at the mercy of Sai Baba that I’m alive today. We ask him and he gives us. I came to know about my wife’s oath after returning home from the hospital and it touched my heart. I thought why feed only five men when we have one in every four going to bed on empty stomach? Why feed them only on Sundays when there are seven days in a week? I decided to take it one step ahead and cook food for the unprivileged every day. Initially, it would cost 250 rupees to feed 250 men but now for the same number it costs 1500 rupees. My wife and children are very happy and supportive. Isn’t that’s what all a man needs? Love, family support and happiness? I feel blessed.”
Along with eight mouths to feed at home, Chandrakant Sawant caters to the needs of hundreds of other penniless men among whom are beggars, old homeless folks, the needy as well as the greedy. Mr Sawant believes that the root cause of all the evil persisting in our society today is “hunger”. If a man’s stomach is yelling, so is his body. He will fight, steal, threaten and commit violence to keep himself alive. But when the root is eradicated, how will the tree sustain?
Mr Sawant is the Chairman of ‘Sai Mitra Mandal’ and the editor of ‘Riksha Chalak Sena, Maharashtra.’ To quote him, ” It has been thirty-two years and not a day have passed when I did not cook khichdi and puri for my brothers. The ultimate goal of life is happiness and this is just giving me that. I want to endure this work for the rest of my life. The world is one big family and if we won’t assist our family members then who would? I don’t have the lust for materialistic possessions. Helping the unfortunate gives me immense satisfaction and joy and it means more than anything else to me. I would like to tell people to give as much as you can but giving without expecting anything in return.”
Lucky are we to have a kind man with a noble heart amongst us. If you can’t help others to fly with you, then at least give them wings!
PS – Ignore the errors
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