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Pundit Sat returns home to serve
The Satya Anand Ashram, temple of Truth and Bliss at Dookhan Drive, Johnny King Road, Aranguez, is only two years old, but many of its members and devotees have been quietly involved in charity and social work in the community and beyond without any unwanted publicity long before the construction of the temple.
Satyanand Maharaj, fondly called Pundit Sat, has been a pundit since the age of 16. Even from that young age when he did not have an ashram, he was donating items to the poor and destitute.
At 48, he has returned to his home village of Aranguez after working in Tunapuna for more than 20 years to serve the people in the community.
Speaking to the Sunday Guardian at the temple, Pundit Sat said “Our primary purpose is to propagate holistic living through spirituality.
This is achieved by following the Hindu way of life, calendar of events, and practising the tenets of Hinduism.
“We observe all the Hindu rites, fasts and festivals, we’re are also a point for the dissemination of religious material.
“In addition to that, we also do social work which constitutes helping the less fortunate and distributing food packages to those in need.”
He said the organisation did not advertise their philanthropic work, instead members went out into the community very quietly and looked for people that needed assistance the most.
Pundit Sat said there were working poor in this country who may not be able to even buy food with the money they worked for, and many of them they aided treasured their privacy and anonymity.
He said he spent most of his 32 years as a pundit serving in various bodies organising Ramleela, Holika and other celebrations, and his experience will be utilised in the village temple.
Pundit Sat said the members were letting their work grow organically, looking at the needs of the community.
He said they did not want to duplicate what was already being done in the community by other religious groups, such as Phagwa.
Pundit Sat said members had in mind to do a Ramleela, walk for peace, and a soon to be implemented yoga class.
Picking up slack in school feeding programme Pundit Sat said they were monitoring closely what was happening with the school feeding programme in relation to cutbacks and were going to pick up some of the slack with schools in the district.
He said they were looking for ways in which they can help and channel the resources of the community to such an end.
He said they had support from the business community, and quite a number of their members were ready and willing to help.
Pundit Sat said such people wanted to give but were not looking for publicity or recognition, “they know they gave, God knows they gave, the people they helped knew, and that was enough for members.”
The retired teacher said no one was exempt, their charity was extended to people of different religions, race, and gender.
He said members believed that the hands that served were greater than the hands that prayed.
He said while members meet once a week for formal prayer sessions, they worked in the community almost every day via a network.
Pundit Sat said they met on Thursdays to identify people’s needs and how best to help— whether they needed clothes, school books, shoes, and also by networking to help people get jobs.
Temple’s panchayat like King Arthur’s round table He said humanity superseded religion, it was an indescribable feeling when serving that money cannot bring; it was right dharma or action and they wanted others to live, share and experience.
He said his wife, Vandana, was chairman of the group and was responsible for the organization, coordination, and management of events at the temple.
Pundit Sat said members had a panchayat, or village council where everyone sat at a round table patterned after King Arthur’s where everyone had an equal say and voice.
Pundit Sat said besides spiritual counselling, religious activities such as the reading of the Ramayana, Hanuman Chalisa, Shaligram, Tulsi and Surya puja at the temple, weddings can be held there for people who cannot afford lavish celebrations, the temple and services of the pundit were free, but there was a caveat; no meat or alcohol at the reception.
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