Fraser Sherman, a witty American writer, has said some compelling things to say about helpful leadership. He shared that whenever someone needs help, it is a leader that steps up and provides them with all the help they need. Moreover, irrespective of whether a task is as small as cleaning a toilet, a leader takes on the job without any hesitation. These traits only evoke a sense of goodwill and respect from people. Helping others is a step forward in elevating our lives.
Robert Ingersoll, a well-known American lawyer, civil war veteran, and politician, had said that, “We rise by helping others.” By helping others, we not only gain the respect of others, but also gain a sense of self-respect. This is just when we help others. We cannot even estimate the true cost of helping others on a larger scale.
Today, it is often seen that at the time of need, instead of rushing to help, people shoot videos on their mobile phones to make it viral. A few years ago, a teenager hailing from the Koppal district in Karnataka state, got into a serious accident after a vehicle ran over him. At that moment, the people around surrounded him and took out their mobile phones from their pockets. However, instead of calling an ambulance, they began shooting videos of the unconscious boy. This ultimately led to him losing his life, which would have been saved had he received timely treatment. It is during times like these that we and others get to know who we truly are.
Regis Murayi averred that, “Part of being a person is about helping others.” For Pramukh Swami Maharaj, helping others was a part of his innate nature. Be it day or night, Swamiji would always be there to lend a helping hand to those who needed it. In the year 1961, the Kalash Festival of BAPS Swaminarayan temple was being celebrated in Gadhada village. Once late at night, Swamiji was headed somewhere for work. He saw a young man taking a handcart full of Patravali (leaf plates) towards the trash bins in the dark. There was a small hill along his way, and despite the man’s best efforts he couldn’t push his cart over this due to the slope. He was gasping for air and sweating. Swamiji saw this and immediately rushed to the man's aid and started pushing the cart alongside the youth. Together, they successfully got the cart over the hill. However, Swamiji did not stop here. He also helped the man dispose of the garbage before proceeding ahead for his work. As he was leaving, Swamiji smiled sweetly and said Jai Swaminarayan to the young man. The young man was blessed by witnessing the eternal helper’s gesture. He wondered how despite being the leader of such a prominent organization, Swamiji did not hesitate to help him. Real leadership is this, helpful leadership.
It is also said that, “Helping is the new economic currency.” And, everyone is in need of this new currency.
On 5th May, 1968, Yogiji Maharaj was preparing to leave for Varanasi from Kolkata. At the time, all the saints were busy with packing and meeting the devotees. Everybody was busy doing something. On the other hand, Narayanprasad Swami was in the kitchen alone making puris for taking it while travelling. There were a lot of puris to be made for everyone, but there was only one person making it. At that moment, Swamiji passed by and just glanced toward the kitchen when he saw Narayanprasad Swami and understood his situation. He realised that one saint alone could not finish this task. Swamiji told him, “Let me fry them”, and immediately sat on an empty, upturned kerosene tin and began frying the puris.
Just as it is impossible for someone to wake up in the morning and become the world’s best tabla player, it is not possible to wake up one fine day and become the world’s best leader. It takes a lot of hard work to achieve that. These efforts are not for becoming the leader, but to become the helper. Only those who are naturally inclined to be helpers are naturally able to become leaders. And it is only this type of a person who is wholeheartedly celebrated as a worthy leader in the world. Pramukh Swami Maharaj is one such leader. Such a leader’s centenary should be celebrated with joy.
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This article is written and submitted to The E Today by Sadhu Amrutvadandas. We thank swamiji for his research and analysis and hope to see the awareness about life and peace being spread ahead to larger mass of our citizens.