Working Selflessly

At long last, I’m back. I will apologise now for the lack of my grumblings over the past month and a half. This post was started over a week in the interminable wait for results to be issued by email on A-Level Results Day, and is finally being finished.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘selfless’ as ‘concerned more with the needs and wishes of others than one’s own’. Through my experience of volunteer work and being a prabandhak at Sangh Shiksha Varg 2013, I thought I had some understanding of what it is like to do selfless service (sewa). After looking back on the last month, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Sangh Shiksha Varg 2014 stretched me in ways I couldn’t possibly have expected, and despite the fact that I was a prabandhak once again, it felt like an entirely different varsh at times. 

Three days after returning from across the Atlantic and deprived of sleep for at least a week, I found myself awake from 6am to 1am the next morning. Out of the five days I spent at Sangh Shiksha Varg this year, this was probably the day on which I learnt the most about the nature of selflessness. Before I continue further with my tale, I should say something about the nature of Sangh Shiksha Varg (which I will refer to as SSV from here). It is most certainly not a holiday. It is ten days filled with high intensity activity and huge amounts of learning in all areas. Adjusting to SSV is difficult enough; arriving in the middle of SSV 24 hours after being on holiday and being thrust straight into action is even more so.

As a result, I don’t think I approached the first three days of my SSV 2014 with the correct mindset: I was still in holiday-mode, if you like, whilst doing all the tasks that were required. As a result, I wasn’t hugely thrilled at having to go and do some more work at 10.30pm after being on my feet for virtually the whole day. Perhaps it was due to the monumental nature of the task we had to accomplish (putting down temporary flooring in a sports hall), but at around midnight, some small part of my mindset definitely changed, and I began to think about the role of a prabandhak in a way that hadn’t even occurred to me a year previously.

I think the best way to describe it is that I didn’t want to stop working. With the samarop (the concluding ceremony of SSV) around 36 hours away, we were constantly reminded as prabandhaks of the huge amounts of work we would have to put in before, during and after the samarop. Looking back on it, I feel as if I carried this attitude through the remainder of SSV (although I could be completely wrong), and due to the volume of work that had to be done, I felt a little inadequate when not doing anything. This certainly isn’t a feeling that I’ve experienced before, not even as a prabandhak at SSV 2013, which is why I’ve been saying that it felt like a whole new side of SSV that I’d never before experienced.

How to conclude this post? I think the best way of finishing this off is to simply make the point that whatever we are doing, we can always find ways of doing more. If something needs to be done, go out and do it. Be the change you want to see in the world.

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