Just One Sentence

Mar 13, 2005

"I have never purchased anything in my life," she said.

Sometimes, just one sentence like that can knock you down. Especially if you realize that person saying that is an almost-80 year old Gandhian who has walked 40,000 kilometers trying to inspire the spirit of service.

Nirmala Deshpande, largely known as "Didi", is a legend; she walked with Vinoba Bhave during the Bhoodan movement, people like Indira Gandhi used to follow her, Dalai Lama has never refused her invitation, President Musharaf of Pakistan gives her a huge welcome for talks on non-violence.

I knew I was going to meet her early on in my India trip. But I didn't know how. Well, it just so happens that four of us went to pick her up; she needed a pass for the next day's Dandi March and the booth at the airport was a chaos. As others are attempting to secure her pass, Nirmala-didi says that she wants to rest. We take her to the car. Soon, it's just me and her.

It turns out that everybody else got stuck for an hour, and while Nirmala-didi and I spent quality hour taking about dharma. She asked me what I was doing in India, and I told her whatever I knew. And she told me stories about how she has "made it a habit to never carry any money and trust the universe."

When you don't plan meetings, the universe does it for you. I love it!

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"Service doesn't start when you have something to give; it blossoms naturally when you have nothing left to take."

"Real privilege lies in knowing that you have enough."