SWAHA International

Hindu based non-profit organisation based in Trinidad & Tobago

Category: Stories (Page 1 of 2)

Pani Up Hill

My name is not necessary but my story is this,
Its details are fleshy and its topic’s never missed.
I dedicate all me and still I am silent,
My heart eats my sorrow as I am alone with God.
No stubborn remarks, not even a moan,
Struggling through rain as I am only human, but left all alone.
“I must be humble, I must, I must!”

As a girl, I do all for Mama and Papa, both chore of boys and girls in one,
This is hectic duty, not one of laugh or fun.
The sun himself sees not through the cloudy heavens clear so how am I to know,
The happiness in real childhood when heart is buried deep into snow.
Garment not even one piece, I’ve got the scrap for work but one suit for school,
Tough life, no time, no conscience for playing fool.
“I must be humble, I must, I must!”

No pani to wash hand or body but Mama say I have brain to rule nation,
I have not a friend to tell, I seem to smell too bad, Papa have no money for W.A.S.A it’s not his fault,
Many of the kids at my school call Papa Cult.
But Papa’s a good man, trying hard like little 8 year old me,
Duty first, it’s a harsh reality.
The world is cruel and barbaric when you live with pocket dry,
But I will spread my feathers to form wings and let them see me fly.
“I must be humble, I must, I must!”

“Papa, God looking at all; look up, see his light”,
My words left Papa speechless, no remarks to fight.
My feet always firm on ground as my bruised body stands strong,
My journey is broad but my distance is long.
Carry pani quite up the hill and back down,
Sell dasheen Bush down town.
“I must be humble, I must, I must!”

Go Temple, pray to Ganesh for health and knowledge in brain,
You don’t get these from inside the drain.
Listen more, talk less is one lesson God gives my heart,
No man can hurt me when I have good start.
My culture has married young as I must do duty once more,
Hope rich man take me at door.
War may come and time may go,
But duty is duty as I am a child, my name is Mineshrie Budna and always learn if life is hard, it stays so.
Life as a girl may not always be royal but when duty calls,
Hands put down, all must be done.

Amy Holder
Form 5 Shanti
Swaha Hindu College

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Ma – She Birthed Me

She birthed me, nurtured and showered me with all her love and care. Ma is the one who is there to take care of me when I’m sick and weak. She soothes my tummy aches and nourishes me with delicious home-cooked food. Ma ensures that I have clean clothes to wear on my body and a roof to shelter me when the clouds aren’t happy. She is there to comfort me when I’m having a bad day or when I have nightmares. She pulls me closer in her arms, whispers, “Hush, little baby” in my ear until I fall back asleep.

Without Ma, the house would be empty and dysfunctional. We’ve gotten so accustomed to waking up to the smell of breakfast and having lunch set on the table waiting to be eaten, that we’ve become helpless without Ma. Papa and bhaiya would live on bread and wear their dirty laundry. Ma is the peacemaker in the family; whenever bhaiya and I argue, she prevents the argument from turning into violence. Without Ma’s months of planning, our family vacations would not be possible. For each event that Ma organises, everyone, friends and family, are brought closer together and the bonds get stronger.

The wise say that one should treat one’s parents the way one treats God. The old say that your Ma is Goddess Lakshmi at home. “Mama” was the first word I learned to say and it’s the last word I say every night after wishing her a good night. Every morning when I wake up, I greet Ma with “Seetaram” and I bow to her feet. With my arms wrapped around her, I make sure to place a kiss on her cheek and put a smile on her face every morning. Ma taught me to put my hands together and chant the Lord’s name to receive blessings. She works hard to provide change in our pocket in case of emergencies, feeds us and educates us.

Ma has the qualities of Goddess Saraswati. In addition to sending us to school, she teaches us life lessons at home; everything that we need to know. Ma sets an example for her children to follow; she’s our role model and number one inspiration. She would wish nothing but the best for us and would not want to see her children fail in life.

Mata Durga would destroy any obstacles or miseries in one’s life. Ma would do the same for her children; she would protect us and do everything in her power to keep us safe and unharmed. Ma would risk her own life to save mine and I would do the same for her. Maa’s love is the most powerful thing is this world and it should not be taken for granted. There are so many other things that mothers do for their children; so many sacrifices and decisions are made for their child’s wellbeing each day. These things are often ignored until Ma is no longer present in one’s life. I’m proud to say that I love and appreciate my Ma with my heart and soul; life without her would be so incomplete. I want to be able to call her and tell her about my day when I reach home from work and find out if she’s doing okay. I want to be able to repay my Ma for every single thing that she’s done for me in my life. Thank you, Ma, for being there when I needed you on both good and bad days. I love you so very much.

By Shivana Ramchune

Form 5 Shanti

Swaha Hindu College

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The Past Generation

My mother recently told me, a kahani
About the arrival of my Aja and my Ajie.
She also mentioned some details about my dear Nana and Nani.
You see, many years ago,
A historical event occurred.
They all arrived by the boat loads,
As their voices would now be heard.
They settled all over Trinidad and Tobago, separated from each other.
But no matter what, they still cared for one another, their brotherhood continued
Towards the end and their love and friendship had no end.
I remembered all the messages they left with my mother
To remind the next generation of what they stood for.
They told her to be truthful and pure and live for one another.
It was only by their hard labour, their children did not suffer.
I could still remember the smell I was getting, as they were preparing
the talkarie in the kitchen!
The atmosphere was warm and inviting as they held their daily panchite.
They shared memories of their journey, parampara, fine traditions.
They dressed in their sundar capras and sang hindi geets
United by arranged marriages under the bamboo, and stayed in love you see.
They remained faithful to each other no matter the disparity.
You see these traditions have instilled strong values that will remain with me.
I will live to tell my children about my past generation,
who went through indentureship to clear the pathway for me.
Without them it would have been a lost generation
No one to fight for us and give us sound advice.
I now salute you, purvaj, for leaving us the template of a good life .
By: PATRICIA B. NANAN

Administrator of SWAHA Sangre Grande ECCE Centre

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Open The Chest! Show The Lord Within!

The many leelas of Shri Hanumaan in Shri Raamcharitramaanas portray him as possessing an abundance of virtuous qualities, as being the resilient, persevering and dutiful devotee. He provides a blueprint for the aspirant who wishes to walk the road of bhakti or devotion. This Raamdoot (servant of the Lord) epitomises excellence in duty, limitless strength and the magnanimous power of the mind. The perfect example of gyaan guna saagar, he is an ocean of wisdom and virtue.

Writing in Uttar Kaand, Shri Tulsidas describes an episode that demonstrates the distinctive qualities of Shri Hanumaan and His profound dedication to His Lord. Such unparalleled courage and conviction is yet to be demonstrated by another devotee.

Shri Raam had just been anointed with the sacred tilak, having been proclaimed the new King of Ayodhya. Vibheeshan, one of the guests present in the Royal Assembly, presented Sita Maataa with a gleaming, gem-studded ratna-maala. She, in turn, wished to gift this exquisite jewel to someone present and found a most fitting recipient in Hanumaanji who was sitting quietly with his eyes focused on Shri Raam. Prostrating before Sita Maataa, Shri Hanumaan expressed his gratitude and began examining the maala curiously. He thought, “This ratna-maala has a rare external reflection. Apart from this, what else is there of value? Perhaps, the essence or the value of it is to be found on the inside of the beads, since I cannot see anything on the outside.”

Thinking thus, he began to break open each bead to look within, and finding nothing to attract him in any of them, he simply discarded them. The other guests present were overawed by the reflection and brilliance that the maala exuded and were perplexed to see such apparent disregard by Shri Hanumaan. Unable to contain their anger the Kings shouted at him.

King: “Why are you destroying such a valuable item?”

Hanumaanji: “I am looking for the name of Raam in it.”

King: “Is the name of Raam in everything?”

Hanumaanji: “That which does not have the name of Raam has no value.”

King: “Is the name of Raam in you?”

Hanumaanji: “Certainly! Without a doubt! Raam-naam is inside of me!”

King: “Then show me. Show me the name of Raam inside of you.”

Immediately Shri Hanumaan with inner prostration to His Master, burst open his chest and there before all present in that august assembly, the name of Raam was imprinted in every pore of his entire body. Not a spot could be found where the name Raam was not seen.

Everyone was astounded by this revelation by a devotee who proved to the world that his Lord actually dwelt within him.

This simple episode demonstrates the vishwaas or unstinting belief, the raw courage, confidence and conviction of a true devotee of God. Hanumaan’s attitude is representative of the restrained mind, the highest state of mind that focuses on spirituality and nothing else. This is in contrast with the kings who saw only the external beauty of the maala. Caught up in a world of materialism, as the kings were, one becomes lost to the spiritual realm and remains entangled in a web of greed, anger, hate, jealousy and other lower tendencies. However, through saadhan or sincere austerities and worship of Shri Hanumaan, the veil of materialism is removed and one is lifted out of the lower states of mind. It is only then that the vision of the world is no longer material, but spiritual. Only then can we stand on the rooftop of the world and proclaim confidently, “Most certainly, Raam-naam is inside of me.”

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Sanjay’s Faith

Hindu boy, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Middle East

It was Ekaadasi, a time when Sanjay’s Guru would keep a strict fast. However, his shishya (disciple), Sanjay, was still of a tender age and could not undergo such an intense sacrifice. The Guru allowed him to prepare something to eat.

“Sanjay, beta (son), take this rice and beans. Go to the shed over there and make yourself some khichri (mixed rice),” the Guru instructed.

Excitedly, Sanjay set out to prepare his bhojan (meal). After cooking it, he sat down, ready to enjoy his sumptuous meal. Just then he remembered his Guru’s words, “Beta, sadaa praarthnaa karo. Always pray. Ask God to bless the food that you eat.”

Very humbly, the child sat before his food and said innocently, “Jai Shri Raam! O Shri Raam, come bless my food before I eat. Jai Shri Raam!” He opened his eyes eagerly searching for his Prabhu (Lord).

Sanjay waited and watched for his Shri Raam to come. Yet Shri Raam did not appear to bless his meal. He thought to himself, “Where is Shri Raam? Why does he not come to bless my food? The food is getting cold. But I cannot eat this food unless it is blessed.”

One hour passed. Then two hours went by and still no sign of Bhagwan. Sanjay, now bewildered, begged His Lord to come quickly, “Shri Raam, Shri Raam, Kahaan hai, Shri Raam? Kahaan hai? Aao na, Prabhuji, aao. Where are you? Please come!”

More hours went by and still Shri Raam was nowhere to be seen. By now Sanjay was overcome with hunger. He could bear the pangs no more and was about to faint when suddenly a bright light appeared before him. It was the resplendent form of Shri Raam with lotus-like eyes, a face of pure innocence with His bow strung on His back and arrow in hand. Without wasting any time, Sanjay and the Lord sat down to eat the bhojan. “Here, Prabhu, have this portion and I would have this,” said Sanjay as he divided the meal in half. Then after the meal, the Lord disappeared just as He had arrived. Sanjay too returned to the ashram (hermitage) after some time and continued his daily routine as normal.

The next Ekaadasi seemed to take years to arrive. Sanjay, now ecstatic to meet the Lord again, collected his grains hurriedly and quickly, went off and prepared the meal. Then, just as the last time, he called the Lord to partake of the meal.” This time Shri Raam, accompanied by Mother Sita, came to dine with Sanjay. The child divided the meal into three portions and distributed among them. After meals, they both left. As Sanjay also left, his heart longed to observe Ekaadasi every day just to be with the Lord.

The next time Sanjay asked his Guru :” Guruji, can I have some more grains?”

The Guru asked him the reason: “Beta, you seem to have a bigger appetite daily! What do you need the extra grains for?”

“You see, Guruji, when I asked Shri Raam to come and bless my food, he came with a lady. So we have three mouths to feed now.”

The next Ekaadasi, the boy was excited to cook his meal again. The Guru supplied him as requested. As per his usual routine, he cooked and called out to his Lord. This time however, when Sanjay called Him he came with the same lady and another person. The child shared his food amongst four of them. “Here Shri Raam, have this. Aunty you can have this and Uncle have this and I would have this,” Sanjay said, separating the food in quarters. Now, Sanjay glowed with a brilliance that was inexpressible. Every encounter with the Lord seemed to make Sanjay glow brighter and brighter.

The next time, Sanjay requested an even larger amount of grains which the Guru willingly provided again. As usual the child prepared the meal and all three came. This time, though, a monkey accompanied them and as usual, the meal was divided, all partook and left.

The next Ekaadasi came and just like the last time, Sanjay asked for more grains, telling the Guru in excitement, “Guruji, now Shri Raam came, a lady, another man and a monkey as well. So I need more grains. ” The Guru now pondering on what the child said provided him with the extra grains. The Guru thought to himself, “Could this child really be seeing the one and only Shri Raam? Could the others be Sita Maataa, and Hanumaanji? Could this pure and innocent child really be getting the darshan of Sita Maataa and Hanumaanji? I must find out today.”

As Sita Maataa, Lakshman and Shri Raam sat having their meals, the Guru came in and hid behind a tree. Immediately they all vanished allowing the Guru to see only Hanumaanji. The Guru was overjoyed at being able to see the magnificent form of Lord Hanumaan. He thought to himself that Sanjay was certainly a blessed child to have the company of all of them. He himself did not have the unwavering faith that Sanjay had.

The power of faith is incomparable; it is pure and childlike and can create miracles.

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If only…….and no regrets

One morning as Priya was drinking her morning tea she looked back at her childhood and thought of how different her life would have turned out had her parents been around to support her. In that moment she instantly went back to her past.

When Priya was sixteen years old she decided to join her school’s dance club. After a couple of months she became a star when it came to dance and she shone just as bright in her academics. Priya was an ideal student with the perfect life, or so everyone thought. Priya’s parents, Sanjeev Sonja, were very successful people. Her mother being extraordinary lawyer and her father, one of the most cited author’s in the world. Even though her parents gave her all she could ask for material wise, they never paid attention to Priya’s emotions.

On December 16th, Priya had the biggest dance recital of her life. She had been selected by her teacher to perform and she was thrilled. She invited her parents to see her dance her heart out and they promised to be there, especially since in the last eight months they hadn’t shown up to any of her performances. Priya loved her parents but they never took the time to share in Priya’s life, but she always tried to get their attention, not that it made a difference, as they were always too busy.

Time approached in haste and pretty soon the seats of the auditorium were filled with eager beings waiting to for the show to begin. As Priya scoped the crowd, she came to the realization that neither of her parents was going to show up. She was devastated but had no time to reflect on her sadness as the show was about to begin. Her dance number was exquisite, she danced like never before. Gliding through the air as if she was weightless with grace and poise, she was beautiful. Everyone applauded and complimented her afterwards but the people she wanted to praise her were nowhere to be found.

Later that night, when Priya got home her mind was busy but her body sore. She saw her parents in the den doing work and decided to address them. Priya asked why they didn’t come to the show and her mother claimed she was too busy and her father had simply forgotten. Tears welled up not only in her eyes but in her heart, as Priya realized that her parents didn’t care for her. That night she cried herself to sleep. The next day Priya went to her dance teacher and left the dance club. Her teacher was stunned but said nothing.

Priya usually had practice on Monday and Friday afternoons but since she left she started going out with a new crowd of friends on those evenings. Drinking and smoking, Priya became an unruly adolescent. Her grades began to slip and her attitude completely changed but still her parents never noticed a difference until that fateful evening. While Priya was out with her friends they took her to this gambling bar in a bad neighbourhood. While trying to be cool she decided to play and ended up losing all of her money and a little bit more. Violence broke out when she couldn’t pay her debt and one thing led to another. All Priya could see was the gloomy skies becoming darker as she realised she had been shot.

Priya had been paralyzed from the waist down after the shooting incident and was never able to walk again, far less dance. Years passed and she eventually moved out of her parent’s house and became a book keeper in a little store nearby. Her parents now understood how their negligence had a part to play in their daughter’s misfortune and regretted it every day but made a promise to never let her feel as though she was alone ever again by showing her all the love and attention she needed.

As the light of the morning sun glistened upon Priya’s face she was zapped back to reality where she sat in her wheelchair and sipped her tea. It was then and there she thought if only she had tried to talk to her parents she may not have been in the situation she was in today, because she now realised that in a parent-child relationship, as in all relationships, communication works both ways.

By

Sumayah Gloden

Swaha Hindu  College

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The Touch of Bhasmaasur

Bhasmaasur was a powerful king who longed for absolute power. He realised that such power could only be granted by the Lord so he went deep into the forest and performed intense penance for many years. Lord Shiva, pleased with his years of sacrifice, appeared before him and asked, “What do you want, Bhasmaasur?”

“I want power, Lord, such power that if I touch anyone’s head, man or God, with my right hand, he will be reduced to a heap of ashes,” he replied.

“So be it!” said the compassionate Lord and He granted Bhasmaasur the boon he sought. It is often said that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. This king felt that the world was now in his hands and that he had command over all, including the Divine. He began to laugh.

“I will begin with you!” Saying this, he leapt forward to touch Shiva’s head. The Lord raced away with Bhasmaasur close on his heels. He called on Lord Vishnu for help.

Lord Vishnu assumed the form of a beautiful dancing girl, Mohini, and stepped into the path of Bhasmaasur. Mesmerised by her beauty and charming smile he stopped and spoke to her, “Who are you and what are you doing alone in this forest?”

“I am Mohini. I am alone and I live in the forest,” she replied.

“Will you marry me, O beautiful girl?” he asked her gently.

“Surely, I will. But the person who wishes to marry me must be able to dance,” she answered with a soft smile.

Bhasmasur confessed that he was unable to dance but he could learn from her. To this Mohini readily agreed and began her dance lessons with him. So deluded was he by her beauty that he forgot the boon that he had received and the reason he had asked for it. His only thoughts were to please her so that he could marry her. He managed to follow her steps, imitating her every movement. As she moved, he followed. Faster they moved, and faster, and then suddenly Mohini placed her right hand on her head and Bhasmaasur, following exactly as she did, placed his hand on his head. Needless to say, he was reduced to a heap of ashes.

Moral: Bhasmaasur used his boon for committing evil and this led to his demise. One should never use one’s abilities to harm others.

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