Another story, this one from Hurricane Katrina:
A few years ago I watched in horror as Hurricane Katrina ripped through the Gulf Coast of the United States. It’s a tragedy that remains in the minds and hearts of millions of people the world over today. I was in Texas when the news flashed across the screen. It touched me deeply as an American and because I taught in New Orleans and had many students there. The next emotion was shock as along with the rest of the country I was dumbfounded by the lack of support from the United States during this horrific crisis. No food, water or any kind of support was in place for days. Crying, I called Guruji’s secretariat and told her what was happening and that we needed Guruji’s help. He was across the world in Rishikesh, India but as soon as he got the call, he called me back immediately. I asked him for help because the people were drowning, dying of heat, lack of food and water and just being dumped on the street to die or left to die on rooftops. Guruji told me we would do something and that he would come himself. He then gave me a plan of action to take so the Art of Living and IAHV could immediately provide disaster relief. We had never done this before in our country so we needed his guidance. Within 24 hours we had a team assembled in Texas and Baton Rouge, LA. Devotees who were also impacted by the hurricane who were doctors were providing trauma relief on the ground. Others were jumping in their cars to bring supplies and support in any way possible. Funds were being raised for Katrina relief throughout the country by Art of Living devotees. While my own country wasn’t taking immediate action to help the victims of Katrina – I knew I could rely on Guruji to immediately respond and find a solution – even a world away in India.
True to his word, just a few weeks later, Guruji, arrived in Texas where most of the victims of Katrina had been sent. He tried to get to New Orleans itself, even considering a helicopter. But by that time, the roads and air travel were being managed by the military, the city was in such a dangerous state of emergency that even medical personnel were being booted out. As it turned out the night before Guruji arrived, another hurricane arrived in Houston, Texas. The city, including our volunteers who had been helping the Katrina victims, was forced to leave. Guruji told us all not to worry, he’d be there soon and then he gave us more instructions on how to comfort the victims. 24 hours later we were altogether in Austin, Texas, with Guruji lifting our worry, grief, fear and anxiety. He stayed a few days, met with many of the Katrina victims in Austin and Houston lifting their hearts and spirits, met with city officials and disaster relief volunteers and held many meetings to see what more our organizations could do to help people get back on their feet.
While it may seem like an extraordinary effort on Guruji’s part to come all the way to Texas to help us, if you know him at all, you know this is how he moves through life each and every day. He IS selfless service in action wanting nothing and only giving.