While growing up we all have read of stories with morals about brave men and women who always stood up for justice and fought selflessly. The Ramayan, Mahabharata and many other ancient texts talk about preserving the Creation and following the path of dharma. Being born in a Sikh family, it was instilled in me how Sikh Gurus dedicated their lives for the protection of those who were weak and suppressed and many of them sacrificed their lives to bring justice.
Recently I had an experience while traveling with my Guru, Yogi Ashwini, that brought to life all that I had so far just read and heard. We were in rural Andhra Pradesh, looking for a suitable place to rehabilitate old, abandoned and injured animals. Thirty minutes into the journey we came across a fight in the middle of the road. A woman was being beaten by a mob of roudy men in broad daylight. Not wasting one second Yogiji stopped his car and stepped out. I was watching while sitting in the comfort of my car. In thirty seconds he brought the fight to a halt without touching or harming anyone. Even before my brain could process what was happening and that we should do something, Yogiji was back in his car, the fight resolved, mob cleared. The men who were hitting the woman were so scared that they ran to their tempo and drove away immediately.
I cannot forget the look on Yogiji’s face as he asked the men how dare they hit a woman. I was instantly transported back to all the stories of valour and bravery I had read. At that moment he looked much taller and his shoulders much wider. His form had changed for those 30 secs and the sheer intensity of his persona was enough to drive the miscreants away. His voice had so much depth that men standing near him were trembling in fear.
This incident is etched in my memory and will remain with me forever. I learnt that dharma comes before anything. Dharma is not protecting only your loved ones and people belonging to your community or doing a kind act as per convenience. It means to stand up in the face of injustice and do all you can to protect the weak. I have travelled with Yogiji on many occasions and I know how little he moves about in public, limiting his interaction to sadhaks. This was the first time I saw him on the road, surrounded by a rowdy mob, all alone. Later on Yogiji explained to us that watching anyone suffer and not helping them is being party to the crime, it is adharma. A woman is shakti, and the creation took birth with the union of Shiv and Shakti. Women are given the highest respect in Vedas and it is our dharma to protect our women and ensure they are looked after. He also told us that he alone could have done nothing, it was his Guru who acted through him.
Not just women, under Yogiji’s guidance Dhyan Foundation looks after all those who are weak – humans, cows, dogs, monkeys, birds and more, for that is the dharma of a human being AND He teaches by example, not by preaching. This incident awakened in me a dormant strength of fighting for justice. A strength I thought I never had. Yog, he says, is an individual experience and Guru guides you on the path every moment, just like a mother teaches a toddler how to walk by holding him at each and every step. It’s indeed a blessing to be guided by Yogiji on this journey.