Text size: A A A

Please Click Here
to Return to
Love and Light

Region 2 - YAP: Ashton Lodge and Meera Nursing Home Visit

Region 2 re-launched YAP this year based on the theme, ĎService with Love.í In line with our theme, we decided to put love in action by visiting 2 nursing homes and spend time with the elderly. They have given us so much and for us to be able to show our love and gratitude was truly graceful.

The first nursing home was Ashton Lodge, where we spent time with the elderly playing bingo and generally giving them company. The second part of the day was at Meera Nursing Home where the youth came together to sing bhajans for the elderly. We also had a bhajan practice the day before, to ensure we could render our bhajans with love, and it was surely a blissful day.

My personal opinion of the day Region 2 Youth spent with the members of Ashton Lodge and Meera Nursing homes is that it was a stilling, humbling and powerful experience. I spend most of my life at Uni now, barely making it home at weekends to attend bhajans at the Sai Centre, but spending the day with my brothers and sisters in the region was something amazing for a number of reasons. It reminded me of how three-dimensional the world was Ė weíre never alone in our own suffering, or struggles, or personal setbacks; there are people alongside us who also need a friend sometimes, and giving them something as simple as a hand to hold or a buddy to play bingo with reminds us not only of the power we have to bring fun and games to a strangerís life, but also the difference a little love and hope can make on our own negative ponderings. Love, hope and a little service is all Swami has ever wanted from us; thatís all he will continue to ask of us. And if we can be brave enough to surrender to those small gestures, suddenly our day begins to change. We begin to breathe a new kind of life, and see the world from a new, humbling perspective.

When you attend and host events like these in the name of Service Ė on behalf of other individuals, for their own benefit Ė itís easy to believe youíre helping out the lesser man, that youíre doing them a favour. But if anything, spending the day with women and men Iíve never seen before in my life, the pride and positivity with which some of them hold themselves and the lessons theyíve taught us through something as simple as a friendship between two ladies who donít even speak the same language, has reminded me how easily our judgments are based on nothing but our own ignorance. Some of these people have lived the most inspiring lives and continue to keep moving when they only have themselves for support. And Iím thankful to Swami for allowing me to witness this kind of strength and example first-hand, receiving their smiles and love when all Iíve done is turn up, sit with them, and sing a few bhajans.

I thoroughly look forward to the next time we visit, and what other lessons we may be blessed with in exchange for a few hours of our time. Thank you for the experience, Swami, and for continuing to inspire us through your service, and love.

Dharpana Premachandra
Youth, Harrow West Centre