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Dr Chintamani Yogi
(Founder, Hindu Vidyapeeth Schools and Peace Service Centre)
I come from Nepal to talk to you about timeless values and social change. I live in Kathmandu, the capital city, but I was born in a very small farmers village. So I begin with a Namaste, an ancient Sanskrit blessing. Although I come from Nepal, a very small country in relation to the rest of the world, my work is to encourage goodwill throughout the world. I work through Nepal for the benefit of all of humanity. I also bring you the Namaste of my mother who, although she is illiterate and uneducated, is one of the wisest people of this Earth. She, who has never been out of Nepal, feels a connection with all people of goodwill, and sends her blessings to everyone.
I came to be associated with World Goodwill many years ago when by chance I came across a copy of the World Goodwill Newsletter that had been sent to a friend in Nepal. I recognised at once that the newsletter was in tune with much of my own thinking and understanding and so I wrote to Headquarters which led to an exchange of letters and ideas over many years. Yes, culturally, I am from a Hindu background, but I practise spirituality. Yes, I come from Nepal, a very tiny country, one of the poorest countries of the world, but I work for all humanity. If the seed is planted with very pure intention, then it will grow. Namaste means we join hands, we bow our head and we touch the heart. And this means there are three aspects of Namaste, the combination between hands, head and heart. When we join the hands, we are reminding ourselves of the promise, I will be walking on the path of karma-yoga. This path requires constant dedication to the principle of non-attachment. We are working very sincerely, very whole-heartedly, but again, working with a smile. If this path is followed with sincerity then all else can be left in the hands of God.
When we bow our head, it reminds us of the promise to walk on the path of gyana yoga, the path of wisdom. This wisdom is beyond all books. Learning is good; understanding is better; realising is best!
When we touch our heart, it is bhakti yoga. Listen to your own heart.
From the age of 21, I dedicated my whole life to social work. We founded the Hindu Vidyapeeth Schools, which promote values education in
Nepal. This movement aims to educate and support disadvantaged and orphaned children on a non-for-profit basis, and to empower them for the future. The school started out with just 15 children, now there are 3 schools and one orphanage with 1500 children from all backgrounds and religions. Among our other programmes are the Peace Service Center (Shanti Sewa Ashram), the Youth Society for Peace and the Children's Peace Home. We also support uneducated and exploited women to learn, and to make their own money.
The HVP schools teach all the standard academic subjects but we also seek to teach serious wisdom to our children. What we dream is not making them only a doctor, an engineer, or an IT expert, but more than that, a good human.
It troubles me that although there is so much learning in the world there is a lack of real understanding about life, and that realisation is
practically non-existent. People learn many things in life but understand little, and this is the cause of much of the world’s suffering. Many people are educated but not enlightened, many are successful but not peaceful. There are many who know so much but are not sincere in their relations. Human beings may be smart and skilled which leads to success but, without the understanding of the heart their lives are out of balance and this leads to suffering.
People blame their suffering, their stress, depression, lack of sleep, anxiety on everyone else. Yet, suffering is created by the individual and not by anyone or anything else. Understanding this is crucial to being wise. When there is no wisdom it is like complete darkness and it is this ignorance that is the cause of world suffering. When God wants to help an individual he does not do so directly, but instead provides opportunities for the individual to learn and show wisdom or, puts them in the company of those who are wise.
Gandhi was once asked ‘do you believe in God?’ and he replied, ‘God is not a person but only a principle’. This led to a further question of what is a principle, to which Gandhi replied ‘God is truth, God is love and God is peace’.
Karma-yoga requires us to walk the path of truth. So in conclusion, I ask you to pray for all those children who go to bed without food, to pray for all those women exploited in developing countries, for prayers can pass beyond all borders. A man went to his guru and asked how he could help humanity. His guru replied, “if you want to do something for humanity, please become a good human being.”