Traveller, a guest post by Naga R. Dhoopati

You have been testing me, Life,
I do not know. Why me?
Of all the people,
Of all the things I went through,
You keep throwing them at me,
and I keep overcoming them.
Hurdles and hurdles….
All people pass by me
All chances pass by me
I am always behind in the race… I don’t know why I have to race,
nor do I know if I possess the speed to catch up with the world….
for now I am stagnant, resting on this rock
Nothing here moves, nor any passers go by this route
I am not sure what I am awaiting, nor what I am searching for anymore.
I am here, just here,with the road, the dirt, the grass
At night I gaze at the stars, on a draw of a breath,
I question the universe, for what may come,
for the distance I have to travel, and, the paths I have to cross….

Homeless man sleeping, Varanasi, 2010

Homeless man sleeping, Varanasi, 2010 (by Justin Whitaker)

~

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“Truth is abusively re-interpreted as everything is perfect as it is. Tell that to the people who are dying of thirst or hunger, or to the people who are being raped or sick or stoned to death… Under the name of Truth, this is equivalent to actually injecting oneself with a massive dose of anæsthetic, de facto a refusal to engage with suffering… This is the opposite of waking up. Running away from suffering is known as a self-defeating strategy: even when it temporarily ‘works,’ the possible return of suffering is enough to make anguish and anxiety (i.e. new suffering) arise”- Denis Wallez, “The Middle Way is not Oneness.” G+

Reading this article made me cry today. I felt at least someone understands the pain I go through when I feel nothing is changing in the lives of people, and I feel helpless as I cannot help everyone. Many times people say, it is the karma of the people who are suffering, we can’t really do much to help them. It is not justified to watch people suffer without doing anything to help them in their situation. That actually might help fill our bag of bad  karma quickly, if you do nothing to help the people/ animals who needs a lift. People watch things happening around, but many do not take time to look into a solution.Our busy lives, our own bills take away our attention.

Slums of India:

When you look at the pictures of India, you see beauty, the Taj-Mahal, temples, and beautiful clothing. When you really step in, you see more things like this (video).

I feel people don’t see them as a problem at all. It is unnoticed, and uncared environment. It surprises me that on one side, you see the cleanliness of people during prayers and at temples, but such images lead us to forget that there are real people who are living in dirt. I notice this on my visits; there is trash everywhere and people keep adding to it. No one really cares. Many people get sick during the rainy season with malaria, high fevers, and gastroenteritis. Thousands of people die due to these preventable and treatable illnesses.

In a 2012 WHO report, there were 219 million cases of malaria and  it estimated 660,000 deaths from the year 2010. WHO celebrated world Malaria day on April 22nd-2013.

Roll Back Malaria (.pdf) is a WHO program seeking to control malaria. In India many people use mosquito repellents, mosquito bats and mosquito nets. They go around in the evening/night with them, close all the doors and killing mosquitoes. My kids enjoyed doing that, it gives a sound and a small spark each time you hit a mosquito. I am sure everyone in India gains the karma of killing mosquitoes.

However, not everyone can afford these things and are thus susceptible to illnesses due to their low income,  inability to afford medical care, and their poor living conditions. Watching people on the streets and walking away may not be the solution. We may let the man in the photo or the others live on the streets, be homeless out in the heat, rain, or in cold winters only if we all can be comfortable living under the same circumstances. A solution cannot lie in letting others suffer what we wouldn’t bear.

A quote I came across in a previous article at this blog:

“-My hut is roofed, comfortable, free of draft; my mind, well centered, set free, I remain ardent. So rain- deva. Go ahead & rain.”

Read more about Malaria from NPR here.

Any contributions can be donated to:

Buddhist Global Relief

World Food Programme

About the author, Naga R. Dhoopati

Naga was born and brought up in South India in a small village and currently resides in Durham, North Carolina. She is in school for Nutrition and health coaching and also studies different styles of movement. She writes, “The most fascinating thing for me is LIFE, and the way it unfolds. I enjoy being with my kids and their friends. Most of my time is spent studying to pass tests which is quite boring, but a necessity to move forward in life. In my breaks I read blogs, do yoga, and move for the music, and cook in between.”

  • bill wald

    Serious question: To what extent are we obligated to reduce our standard of living and security to impersonally help strangers 10,000 miles away? I try to be a good neighbor if I know I am not sending good money after bad.

  • Worried_in_USA

    Naga, do you think the caste system breeds disregard for others of lower castes? Perhaps this is the reason prosperous Indians do little to help the unfortunate in their countries, they hold those beneath them as not their problem. It is true this is not the attitude of most westerners, probably because of our Christian heritage, which holds that all are equal to God. Perhaps what India needs is a “reformation” in their religious attitudes so that the fortunate Indians will help the unfortunate Indians.

    • Naga R Dhoopati

      Worried_in_USA, It is difficult to disagree on caste system, but that alone does not play the role. There are other factors for e.g. high population, bureaucracy, though the money goes to India to lot of organizations the middle man gets it. It could be a reason as simple as getting used to live that way, just like we see homeless in US on the road, but we simply drive away, because we need to get to where we need to go on time. I hope that explains some.

  • Y. A. Warren

    I have become almost paralyzed by the extent of the problems facing humanity. I blame much on the helplessness taught by many religions and the promotion of creating more poor for the use of the wealthy.

    I support efforts to educate people on the importance of using birth control until they have enough resources to support themselves and a child. I also support efforts to supply free birth control access.

    I see this as a children’s rights issue. Every child deserves to be born to a family that wants and has resources to provide for the child.

  • Naga R Dhoopati

    Here is a link for a quiz from World Food Programme. Taking this quiz donates a warm meal to a child. The quiz here educates more on world hunger.
    http://bit.ly/KPsnhx
    Below is a link for the new report on national economy. Please take time to read. It explains, if we are all economically equal or not.
    http://nbcnews.to/1cXIb7u


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