Today I want to talk to you about Uday, and about Karma Yoga.
The word “karma” means action, activity or work – particularly the fruit or result of action. If we can be more mindful of the fact that every thought and action has a consequence, we can start to become more conscious and to see beyond the limited self.
Uday is seventeen years old. He grew up in the mountains of Mussoorie in northern India, in a tiny concrete room with barely any light. His father worked hard to support his family, carrying stones or people on his back for a living. As you can imagine, they weren’t very well off. To us, this might sound like a rather bleak existence – but Uday was always a happy and smiling lad. His family sent him to an NGO hostel in Rishikesh where he could get food, education and medical care.
Uday is very intelligent; he usually comes either first or second in his class and takes his studies very seriously. He helps others with their chores and never complains; a true shining star.
Uday has always dreamed of becoming a commercial pilot. He has been told numerous times, by many people, that pilot training is too expensive, and he should forget his dream. He hasn’t, though. He still dreams of being a pilot someday.
Why am I telling you this? Well, one – because I think we can all learn a lot from someone who has never once sat on the floor and felt sorry for himself, despite his humble existence. And two – because I want your help. We have set up a crowd-funding page to help Uday raise enough money to become a pilot. If everyone gives a little money, just what they can afford, perhaps Uday can escape the life for which he is otherwise destined, and become a pilot.
Karma Yoga is giving without receiving. Have you ever given someone something, entirely without condition or hope of getting anything in return? It makes your heart sing, doesn’t it.
This project is so worthwhile, and it means so much to me. It’s the sort of thing that will genuinely change someone’s life – and someone who really deserves it. This young man is sure to go on to change many other lives himself.
Imagine a life where your future was likely to be carrying stones or weeding fields for a few rupees to just keep your family’s heads above water. Many of us dream of becoming rich and famous; there are entire TV shows dedicated to plucking people from obscurity and turning them into celebrities. Uday doesn’t dream of this; he dreams of getting the training to have a job he will enjoy, where he can earn his own money and live a more comfortable life than the one currently mapped out for him.
We in the West have so much: televisions, iPhones, iPads, laptops. When something new comes out, we hardly think twice about buying it and upgrading from our old devices. Many of us wouldn’t bat an eyelid at spending £50 on an evening out, £10 on a drink and a snack at a coffee shop with a friend… imagine what the cost of these things could mean to Uday. I know a lot of us think we can’t make a difference – but we really can.
Gandhi was a karma yogi. We can’t all be Gandhi, but we can all make a difference in our own way if we can change our mindsets away from focusing on ourselves all the time. That is what karma yoga is about.
Karma yoga is a practice where your only concern is the betterment of humanity – and I can think of no better way to practise, than to help Uday fulfill his dream.
Please consider donating whatever you can afford to help Uday on his way, and let your heart sing! This is what Uday says about his dream
With love and gratitude