Aashram where peace reigns!!
Weitten By: Syed Absar Ahmed (Herald Magazine)
It was very heart warming experience to find an Aashram at Islamkot , near Mithi where it is never locked. One can just walk into it ,eat his meal and sleep without a question being asked. It is not a Christian monastery , nor a Dargah or a Musafirkhana .
It is surprising that such a hospitable institution exists in Tharparkar district , that is perpetually drought striken and is populated by people , most of whom live far below the lowest line of poverty, generations through generations. The Aashram by its magnanimity has touched hearts, of people all over the sindh , because is refuge for the travelers , paupers, devotees, folk , the rich, for the atheists , low-cast Kolhies, humiliated Bhils, depressed Menghwars, who can not shake hand with anyone .Even the nomadic ‘rehbaries’ , that never build a hut and love to live in the open , can ask for food and get it . The desert gypsies are also welcome . In Tharparkar district , Food and water is never enough in the best of times. It is the Aashram that provides it the year round and that is why it is crowded with the needy . The day we were there , twenty bagful of wheat arrived as donation from the philanthropist The Aashram is neither a temple , nor a mosque , pagoda , parsonage , vicarage , church house , an orphanage or a wayfarer’s lodge. Muslims ,the Christians, the Buddhists , the Jews offer no such facility ; only Hindus have been known to do it since ages. You could call it a transit camp where one can sleep , pray , eat , relax continue on his way or return , time and again for a similar stint. Where we arrived at nine O’clock at night in the blinding rain..
Sant Lachmandas came running barefoot and invited us inside, where six of us , were seated by the fireside , Sant Khushhaal das kneaded flour , rolled a bread , sprinkled ; condiments , covered it with a similar platter of bread , closed it from sides , fried it and served to each of us. Piping hot dal , rice onions and Halwa as dessert were provided with a smile. There was not the slightest indication of displeasure for arriving at an odd time. If one is sick , he or she will be provided with Sick man’s menu , further the needy can carry food for the family. There is a fresh water well which has a spring. About 150 ladies fetch water everyday; 2000 cattle drink water from the twelve water troughs built around the Aashram. On an average 250 travelers avail this facility everyday. A new dining hall, to accommodate 1000 travelers, is nearly ready. 40 kg. of millet is scattered everyday on a platform for the birds to pick at. Ailing, disabled cattle are also given refuge. We found Maighuram Lohano and Geno Kolhi were singing “Bhajans” composed by Kabir and Miraji , Anupo Bheel played the cymbals . “The Bhajans are carried by the two words of mouth ; none are recorded , a sort of folk-lore ,” said Lachman das Sant. Our driver Jasram joined and played ‘ Dillo’ in rhythm with Dambora and string Guitar from the days of Latif Sain . No one is allowed to smoke , use liquor or intoxicants in Aashram. Donations are sent from all over the Sindh. This great humanitarian service was initiated by Sant Nenuram (1898-1973) whose life -size statue done by a devotee in pithoro is enshrined. Sant Nenuram was deeply moved by the teachings, spiritual message and love for humanity of Shah Abdul Latif . He followed it in spirit and deed which opened the floodgates of followers , each of whom was given two black papers supposed to cure the sick . The container used by him has never been allowed to exhaust; A hand full is added to the leftover to continue the distribution of “miraculous Prashad”.Countless millions have taken shelter in this unique place quenched thirds from the fresh water well , thousands have danced to the tune of Bhajans being sung round the clock and felt better after nibbling at the black papers. A German family residing in Karachi often visits this soul-lifting haven to console the troubled soul and to seek peace within. We came across this solace seeking group at Hinglaj temple where Muslims and Hindus come to seek peace of mind, amid flowing fresh water spring , majestic cliffs . Everyone has to travel through very difficult boulder-strewn , craggy path that winds through sifting sand, hilly ravings and thorny bushes. Whether at Asharam or at hinglaj , it is the tranquility and freedom from the hassle of the world that man looks for the console troubled mind , and he gets it by the bushel.
With Thanks from Herald Magazine.