A great human revolution in just a single individual will help achieve a change in the destiny of a nation, and further, will enable a change in the destiny of all humankind
-- Daisaku Ikeda
On invitation from a friend and former colleague, Rahul Guharoy, I spent yesterday morning with a group of very dedicated and enthusiastic people whose purpose in life is to come together as a united body in combating life's uncertainties and help one another in times of need. They are collectively known as the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) which is a "Buddhist network that actively promotes peace, culture and education through personal change and social contribution." In India, they are known as the Bharat Soka Gakkai (BSG), which is an affiliate of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI). Their life values are heavily based on "the humanistic life philosophy of the Japanese Buddhist sage, Nichiren Daishonin."
Among the first things I noticed on arrival was the elevated level of enthusiasm each one of them carried within themselves at all times. Cordial, warm and eager, the very presence of a member was difficult to miss! During my conversations, I realized that these were people who had taken upon themselves to train themselves to inculcate and nurture a change from within, much akin to the philosophy of their 'Sensei' which they follow in very close coordinates!
After a round of introductions, some of them came forward to narrate real life incidents, struggles and victories that ensued. They also highlighted how, as active members of the SGI movement, they have been able to, with conviction, commitment and discipline, make their lives and those of others better and continue to do so with a remarkable sense of passion and unity.
Finally, the floor was thrown open to a hearty discussion on the topic "Human Revolution - The contribution of a single individual to bring about change." Many interesting thoughts flowed through as fellow members and guests nodded as each one spoke. I gave my two cents too, speaking on the need to be cognizant of the world around oneself and to effect change from within, quoting Socrates and Plato! Rewarded with a very patient hearing, and a round of loud applause, I felt greatly appreciated, the like of which I have not felt in a very long time.
I recalled my 1998 meeting with His Holiness Guru Nitya Chaintanya Yati, the erstwhile Head of the Narayana Gurukula Foundation at Fernhill in Ooty. The connect was easy and remarkably similar, talks on oneness, encouragement, positivism and more importantly world citizenship meaning a state of being, free from race, religion and other varied discrimination.
Couldn't have had a more eventful Sunday!