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Archive for April 2nd, 2011

 

From: “Seshagiri Deva”

Subject: Exploited Trainees of Varanasi TC (Part 1)

Date: Sat, 02 Apr 2011 17:11:47 +0000

To: am-global@earthlink.net

 

Baba

 

== EXPLOITED TRAINEES AT VARANASI TC ==

 

Note: This is a critical update about those young, idealistic youths in

WT Training Centre (Varanasi) and the conditions in which they live. Anyone

interested in the growth and development of our Marga must keep a close

eye on this situation.

 

Namaskar,

As we all know our WT Training Centres are a beacon of light for humanity. It is here where we train and equip spirited youths with the ability to lead, teach, and guide the people.

 

Our Wt cadre has a tremendous role to play in propagating the ideals of Ananda Marga and the gospel of neo-humanism all around the universe. They are assets in the development of society. Naturally then we want our training centres to be operating at an optimal standard: physically, psychically and spiritually.

 

Keeping this in mind, here is a critical report about the life of our trainees at our WT Training Centre in Varanasi. This is something that every Ananda Margiis should know. At present there are six trainees in Varanasi. And this two-part series of letters gives an up-close look at their living conditions.

 

First, in order to understand this matter fully, please read this following Baba story

 

 

STORY OF DHARMA SAMIIKSA:

 

TEACHER NOT SHARING FOOD WITH SCHOOL KIDS

 

One very senior avadhuta Dada told the following Baba story about dharma samiiksa. It is highly relevant to the the points presented in this entire letter.

 

About dharma samiiksa in 1981, I remember one [story] that touched me in particular. A young man about twenty-one years old came for his review. He looked quiet, smart and educated. After asking his name Baba wanted to know what work he did for the mission. Modestly, the young man said that he was working in an Ananda Marga primary school and children’s home. His duty was to look after the four boys of the home.

 

After listening to what he had to say, Baba stared for a time straight at him. The analysis was thorough.

 

(Note: Baba witnesses all that goes on in this universe and beyond, that is why He is aware of each and every and every thought, word and deed. He is fully aware of all that transpires because this entire cosmos is within His mind.)

 

Baba said this little boy is a good chap; but after all, I (Baba) am sitting in my vyasasana. I have to keep watch over each disciple’s life and weigh impartially both the good and the bad. Then I will decide what steps have to be taken.”

 

Baba looked back to the young man, “So, my little boy, you are in charge of the children’s home, isn’t it? You teach some classes in the school. And if visitors arrive, you see they are well taken care of, I presume.”

 

“Yes, that’s so, Baba,” the young man replied confidently.

 

“Well, do you remember about a fortnight back when some visitors came to the children’s home in the morning?”

 

“Yes, Baba,” came the prompt reply.

 

“I know that you looked after them well — bought sweet and savory pastries from the market for them.”

 

The young man nodded his head happy that Baba knew of the visit. “What kind of sweets were they, my little boy? Was it rasagolla? And some vegetable cutlets and singara, I think.”

 

“Exactly, Baba.”

 

“You sent one of the little boys to the market to buy the food?”

 

“Yes, Baba.”

 

“You joined the guests while they were eating?”

 

“Yes, Baba.”

 

“I think the refreshments were very delicious and the few of you ate everything, isn’t it?”

 

“Yes, Baba,” he said softly. Now the young man was beginning to get a hint of something more in Baba’s line of questioning.

 

Baba continued, “Well were you aware that while you were enjoying the delicacies, the little boys were watching from behind the door? They were hoping that you would save a little for them after you had finished.”

 

The young man could not speak. Silently he stood, his head hanging down.

 

“When you finished, you told those children to wash your plates and cups. Do you care to know what was going on in the minds of those little children? They are innocent little boys. Unable to resist the temptation, they fell upon those plates and licked up the sweet rasagolla juice left on them. Are you aware of that?”

 

“No, Baba,” he said remorsefully.

 

Then the young man could only nod. He was stunned that Baba knew everything to the smallest detail. The youth stood silently looking down.

 

Baba lovingly raised further points about defects in the young man’s character and actions.

 

“Yes, Baba.” Now he [the young man] was weeping. “Yes, I could, but I did not try to feel their misery. I am sorry for that.”

 

Annoyed, Baba said, “Don’t say ‘sorry’, say, ‘I have committed sin.”

 

After a little pause, Baba continued, His voice calm. “It was only a few days ago that you suddenly returned to the school at about ten at night, after spending some days away. You asked the boys for something to eat, and they immediately brought you food. You ate a good dinner. Did you care to find out how the boys had arranged that meal for you? That food, in fact, was meant for one of the boys who, for some reason, could not eat earlier. It was kept for him. They gave that food to you, and the boy had to pass the night without food. He could not sleep for hunger.”

 

“No, Baba, it did not come in my mind.”

 

“Do you mean to say you forgot. Are you not in charge of the home? Don’t you have the slightest love or affection for the boys? You failed to do your basic duty. Can you say that your conduct is highly commendable? It it? What does your conscience say?”

 

“It deserves condemnation, Baba.” The youth now started weeping, tears rolling down his cheeks. Baba had spoken gently. He had neither rebuked him nor threatened him in any way, only exposed the Margii’s past thoughtless acts one by one. Baba’s affectionate tone had left a deep impression on his mind. He now felt great remorse for his misdeeds and wept without restraint.”

 

Baba said, “Do you know, every tinniest detail of a person’s life — both external and internal — are at my fingertips. I know completely both the dark and the light side of a person’s life. That does not mean, however, that I focus only on the dark side in order just to humiliate him or her in the eyes of others. Rather, it is the good qualities that should be

appreciate wholeheartedly.

 

“I (Baba) point out only those faults and evils which are absolutely necessary for one to be aware of for one’s own good. When one sincerely becomes aware of those faults, repents for his or her misdeeds and the desire to change himself or herself is genuine, no other punishment is necessary.”

 

The Margi was now sincerely repentant, and Baba’s mood became very tender. Otherwise He might have continued exposing the youth’s faults in public. Baba was very gentle with him and only did what was necessary to awaken his conscience.

 

He called the youth near. Affectionately, He asked, “Well, my son, who do you think these boys are? These children of our homes are only helpless orphans. Perhaps it does not matter if they are not dressed or fed well? The youth could only shake his head with tears running down his face. Now he wept not from remorse but from the touch of love. Baba had graciously blessed him by this whole experience.

 

Dharma Samiiksa was over. Prostrating himself before Baba, he left the room beaming. The divine inspiration he had received would remain an ever-burning lamp to guide him on this life’s journey.

 

 

LIFE AS A TRAINEE IN VARANASI WT TRAINING CENTRE

 

Now please read further for news about our Varanasi WT Training Centre: standard of food for trainees, imposed silence, lack of training, and so much more.

 

 

OLD SOILED CLOTHES FOR TRAINEES

 

Let’s begin by taking a look at a trainee’s first interaction at the Varanasi Training Centre. Upon arrival a new trainee is given clothing to wear.

 

Of course, as we all know, in AM, our style is not to wear fancy clothes but certainly one’s clothing should be clean. That is Baba’s guideline.

 

Baba says, “One should always use clean but not aristocratic dress.” (37 Workers Rules, pt #7)

 

When they arrive all their possessions are taken away; the in-charges commandeer all their personal belongings and money etc.

 

Tragically, our new trainees – who have come to dedicate their life to Ananda Marga are put in a depraved condition. First the Trainer Dada first takes away their money and those trainees are given dirty, used & soiled clothing.

 

As we know, used & soiled clothing is an invitation for skin diseases, rashes, and contagious viruses. Hence those trainees are put in a helpless position, as they are being forced to wear clothing that is unhygienic.

 

Let me reiterate that our trainees are wearing old, torn laungotas and undergarments that were worn by prior trainees and / or items that were tossed away by wts. It is both shocking and disgraceful. Let us also keep in mind that Varanasi is of a warm climate. Only simple clothing is needed so it would not be a big investment to give them fresh clothes.

 

In addition the WT Trainer Dada gets both cash donations and clothing donations (bundles of fresh clothes) for our trainees so they can have proper garments. But the cash donations Dada receives he spends elsewhere and he sells the bundles of new clothes on the black market. In the end, the trainees are forced to wear nothing more than dirty rags. This puts their health at risk as they are prone to infection and disease.

 

This only makes me think that if we were to treat our trainees humanely, then we might have more than six persons in training. For a world-wide organisation, a mere six trainees is not all that impressive. Certainly people talk about the conditions and that keeps some prospective trainees away.

 

 

TRAINER DADA’S JUSTIFICATION

 

The in-charges justify that WT Training Centre is the place of tapasya (sacrifice). That is their logic for not giving proper clothing. But that is not what tapasya means. Just they give this justification in order to save money.

 

Trainees get the indirect teaching that anyone can wear anyone’s old used clothes. That is why at DMS some steal gowns, turbans, laungotas and lungis from others. This is quite rampant.

 

Many feel however that this is not a civilised way to behave. Proper hygiene and clean clothes are needed for our trainees. It is not our way in AM to give old, raggedy clothes to our trainees. That is just inviting a recurring problem: disease, sickness, and the misappropriation of money etc. When money is donated by margiis for this very purpose then that money gets diverted by the Trainer Dada to the upper kitchen – to his personal kitchen. Thus not one rupee of that donated money gets spent on clean garments for our trainees. Rather those trainees are forced to wear unhygienic clothing. So this manner of giving soiled clothes to new trainees at the WT Training Centre in Varanasi must be stopped.

 

Unfortunately, this is only a small part of the many injustices now going on in TC. Please read further for news about food, imposed silence, lack of training and so much more.

 

But we must not forget that fresh, new clothing must be given to our WT trainees in Varanasi. The clothing can be simple, but it must be clean and new. So this is one serious issue that is going on. Again this is not a recent phenomenon. Such conditions have been going on at the Varanasi TC for months & months, even years. It has become the so-called culture or “ethic” of WT TC in Varanasi.

 

 

INADEQUATE & MAL-NUTRITIOUS DIET FOR TRAINEES

 

Another critical matter for review is the food situation at the Varanasi WT Training Centre. Here is what is happening in the trainees’ kitchen. This too is a long-time, on-going problem,

 

Our trainees just get rice or gruel. (Note: gruel is just one cheap mixture of food thrown into one pot that is often given to have-nots.) If they are fortunate our trainees might get potatoes. They have to eat their gruel with hot chillies, or sometimes a small quantity of vegetables is given to trainees. Rarely are pulses and milk given. Yet in a vegetarian diet, pulses and milk are the main sources of protein. Both are missing in TC yet are critically needed in that young age. Gruel and chilis are what our young trainees are eating on a daily basis.

 

They are allotted around 900 calories per day: That means just getting a half-belly of food or less. The quantity is fixed. That is why those trainees fight for dry chapatis or plane rice when available.

 

And they have no right to complain – so says Trainer Dada. They must bear the conditions silently.

 

 

THE “SAND” LECTURE

 

This famous “sand” lecture is given to all trainees to keep them in line.

 

The trainer Dada and other big Dadas tell the trainees how when they were in training then the system was to put sand in the food of trainees. That is one tall tale they tell.

 

Then they also lecture how when they were trainees then they would eat once a week. Plus other tall tales are told.

 

Then those big Dadas conclude by telling, “So you are fortunate that you are eating rice-gruel and a few potatoes. What more do you need? We are doing a lot for you. You have not come here for enjoyment. This is penance. Do not think about what we (Trainer Dadas) are eating. We passed this test long ago. That is why our kitchen is different and our food is different.”

 

If the trainer was a real sadvipra, he would have given the lecture of family feeling and displayed that by keeping one kitchen in TC. Then the whole atmosphere would have been very cordial and respectful. But this he did not do. So he is shirking his responsibility and providing poor and defective “leadership”. Trainer Dada is not living up to Baba’s mandate – not even close. Rather he is going against.

 

Baba says, “Supervisory workers will have to take proper care of each of their supervised staff in all respects.” (Six Additional WT Rules, pt #2)

 

Baba says, “Before sitting down for a meal, invite whatever persons are present around you and share your food with them. If they do not want to share, enquire whether they have enough food with them or not.” (Caryacarya-3, “Procedure for Eating”)

 

The trainer Dada must be the embodiment of AM ideals, but sadly in this case the trainer Dada totally overlooks Baba’s above teachings.

 

Instead the above type of lecture is given by the Trainer Dada (CTS). And when big-bellied Dadas visit, they give the same story. That is what they tell to those half-starved trainees. They give that lecture to hungry trainees after they (Trainer Dada etc) themselves just ate a full belly of delicious foods like curd, fried tasties, delicacies, & sweets at a separate royal kitchen in TC etc. And while lecturing about the greatness of being food deprived they themselves are belching due to indigestion and overeating. Is this not shameful.

 

 

THE REALITY OF THAT SAND STORY

 

Here are the real facts behind the so-called sand story:

 

1) This incident of putting sand in the food happened on one day for one meal. By accident some dust fell into the food. It was an open kitchen in a dusty place when the pre-storm winds were blowing. And that was at a VSS camp in the 1960’s – not WT training centre. And it was never repeated again. Indeed at the next meal at the VSS camp everyone ate very well.

 

2) When those big Dadas did their Wt training then they were in TC for 7 – 10 days. And the food was good. There is no comparison between the food they ate and what is served nowadays. Now trainees remain in Varanasi training centre for upwards of three to five years or longer. Over such a long period of time, many suffer from serious malnutrition and weight loss. They are emaciated and look anorexic. Tragically, that is what we see happening with our trainees.

 

Plus they do 4 times fast without water when on the previous day they did not get proper food. You can imagine the state of their health.

 

And one should not forget that according to AM ideology the trainer is the guardian of all trainees. It is his distinct responsibility to look after them. These trainees are mostly aged 17 to 20. When living in their laokik house their parents cared for them and now they are forced to live in such a pathetic situation at TC. That is painful.

 

Why do they stay? Love for Baba. They think that irrespective of the torture they receive they should persevere.

 

From now on, we will photograph and weigh each trainee when they enter into as well as when they graduate from TC. By that way we can document what is going on and keep watch on the situation.

 

 

EVEN NO JAIL DOES LIKE THIS

 

It is a fact that even no jail in a civilised country treats their criminals the way we treat our WT trainees. No one in jail suffers from malnutrition – there are laws and regulations in place to ensure all are given proper and nutritional food. Perhaps some may refuse to eat, but that is another matter.

 

Hence, see the shameful and sorrowful state of our WT training centre in Varanasi.

 

Without food and proper nutrition, how can we expect our trainees to be able to think and study. That is one of the reasons trainees could not learn anything about AM philosophy in training centre. After all, if one is always hungry how will the brain function. Baba says this body is a biological machine it is most obvious that it needs fuel, i.e. food, in order to function properly.

 

 

RESOLUTION ON FOOD ISSUE

 

This food deprivation issue is quite serious and needs to be resolved. One basic formula is that a specific and adequate amount of food must be served to each and every trainee based on their body type and medical needs.

 

Unfortunately, what is is given now is half of what is commonly needed to be healthy. Yet those big Dadas justify this treatment: They give misleading lectures how taking only 900 calories food, which is less than half of the daily bodily need to keep the mind alert.

 

The truth is that those trainees are terribly deprived of food. What to speak of being psychically or spiritually alert, due to a lack of food they fight over dry chapatis, i.e. flat bread. Such is the pathetic way our trainees are treated. They are reduced to being scavengers, totally gnawed by hunger.

 

Again, here our cry is not that all trainees should be fed dainties and delicacies befitting of some aristocratic diplomat. We are not insisting that trainees be served fancy sweets and tasty cakes on a daily basis etc.

 

The demand is that our trainees cannot live off of half a scoop of rice-gruel. That is what our fight is about. To starve our trainees is an injustice and inhumane.

 

Note: The only recent change is that the trainee who laboriously prepares all the special food for Trainer Dada and his guests now receives some leftovers from that meal. Whereas in the past, the trainee would carefully prepare a feast for Trainer Dada Ragamayananda and then leave empty handed with an empty belly. This is the way it was for the trainee cook for years. But of late, that has changed and now the cook eats some of those leftovers. The Trainer Dada is not so “generous” with the other trainees however as they never see even one morsel of those savory dishes.

 

 

REFLECTION

 

Since some time this has been going on. Has no one ever thought about this in the past? When some wts and margiis go to visit TC they see the plight of the trainees’ kitchen and those half-starving trainees. They fell moved and complain. But the trainer replies that he has no money. So margiis donate money to arrange proper food for all the trainees for several months, but the trainer’s greed obstructs this from happening. All money goes to the trainer’s kitchen. This is the ongoing problem.

 

 

TRAINER’S ROYAL KITCHEN

 

The WT trainer has his own special, private kitchen for himself and his guest avadhutas etc, while all the trainees are part of the general kitchen. The only exception being the trainee-cook who is given leftovers of what the Trainer Dada does not eat. Some days it is more and some days less.

 

In the royal kitchen one trainee serves as cook and he makes dainties and sumptuous dishes for the trainer and his guests etc. But all those starving trainees must eat in the general kitchen. They can smell and mentally taste what their Trainer Dada is eating, but they themselves must eat nothing but gruel. You can imagine the mental state of our poor trainees. Does this not remind you of the dharma samiiksa incident narrated above.

 

In the Avadhuta kitchen, they eat all kinds of dainties and delicacies with clarified butter etc. They enjoy spices, condiments, company products, as well as tasty rajasik items with lots of oil.

 

Our big-bellied Dadas eat rich, oily food. Our half-naked and hungry trainees serve them their delicacies. This is the painful story. Our trainees are starving and suffering from malnutrition yet those big Dadas have no qualms about eating like royalty in front of those trainees. These Dadas have the responsibility to care for their trainees – physically, mentally & spiritually – but they are shirking that responsibility. They are heartless.

 

The unfortunate scene is that the resident and guest avadhutas are eating like kings and have no sympathy for plight of our trainees. This is not the way to build up a brilliant AM society – nor is this the example we should project to the greater humanity.

 

Tragically the misery does not end here. The problems in TC are not limited to the physical sphere, i.e. soiled clothes and malnutrition. The problems run deeper than that. In the next letter more will be told.

 

Namaskar.

 

 

Note 1: EXCERPT FROM “THE GOLDEN LOTUS OF THE BLUE SEA”

 

Baba’s stories always carry a poignant meaning. His below story is quite meaningful to the above discussion.

 

The demon asked to the prince-

 

“You have suffered a great deal in my kingdom during these few days. I heartily wish that you should taste the delicious food of my kingdom tomorrow. I hope you realize that this country is famous for its fine foods.”

 

“The prince said, ‘Is it so?'”

 

“The demon answered, ‘Yes, you know little about the pleasures of eating good food in this kingdom.'”

 

‘Do you know what our daily menu is? We eat golden cakes fried in clarified butter, Pearl water mixed with coconut kernel, spiced Parble curry with salmon fish made of platinum and in the morning we brush our teeth with diamond powder.’

 

Baba furthermore writes very critically. And here the teaching of AM Ideology is embedded within the story.

 

“The prince asked, ‘Is there such an arrangement for everyone here?'”

 

“The demon said, ‘This arrangement is for us only–that is, for those who are learned, intellectual, rich, highborn and aristocratic. Those with whom you associate due to your ignorance–those poor, mean and illiterate people–where would they get such things? They neither know how to cook nor eat. They eat stale rice and scorched eggfruit and they brush their teeth with ash.”

 

In a planned way, the demon arranged thousands of varieties of foods from far places, in the royal feast to please the prince and enhance his (the demon’s) prestige. And the prince came to the demons palace on special invitation to attend the feast. Upon his arrival he saw the huge array of foods. The prince tasted some of them reluctantly.

 

Continuing this idea, Baba says:

 

“The prince began to taste a little of each item; but his stomach was full after tasting only some of these dishes. Thinking that over-eating was bad for his health and moreover, that as he was supposed to leave early the next morning, eating too much at night would not be good, he quickly finished his meal and got up from the table.”

 

Baba gives some further, great ideological teaching in this children’s story.

 

After finishing his food, while all around it was dark, at that time one idea came in the mind of the prince. And he thought that ‘I should go and see how the cooks are getting treated.’ The prince thought-

 

“‘Let me see those cooks, servants and pages who prepared such delicious dishes and served them so elegantly’, he thought. While passing by the servants’ quarters, he suddenly reached the place where the kitchen staff were eating together after the day’s hard labour. They were quite exhausted. Those who had cooked so wonderfully and served so carefully were eating only stale rice, scorched eggfruit and the sour sauce of some leaves, perhaps tamarind.”

 

So in the above paragraph, Baba described fully that serious disparity or injustice, exploitation is a regular phenomenon in the life of servants. What way they got treated. When the prince came to know all these things, he was feeling deep repentance for having eaten any food at the demon king’s feast.

 

Baba further continues,

 

“The prince returned to his cottage with a heavy heart. So many thoughts were running in his brain. He was thinking that he had made a great mistake to eat and drink such delicious food and drink cooked and served by those poor people. The beautiful eyes of the prince were deprived of sleep that night.”

 

So Baba further continues the story, that in disturbed state of mind by seeing the pitiful condition of the poor people, the prince’s heart was feeling uneasy, restless. And the prince took a vow to free the humanity.

 

The story follows like this below,

 

“He [the prince] was thinking continuously, “If I cannot free humanity from such meanness, what is the

use of my education, my intellect? My coming to this earth as a human being bears no value.”

 

 

* * *

 

 

This is the end of the excerpt from “The Golden Lotus of the Blue Sea”.

 

In this entire section of the above story, first of all Baba has given the teaching that:

 

(A) The demon king was enjoying alone and bragging about his high status. That time the prince wanted to know whether the common people get to eat the food which the demon is eating, or not.

 

(B) In the demon king’s feast, reluctantly the prince tasted very little of some of the items/recipes.

 

(C) When the prince came to know that the common people or cooks are not getting the same type of food, then the prince felt extremely repentant for tasting some of the dishes of the “royal feast”.

 

(D) Feeling quite sad with a heavy heart, the prince took a vow to free the humanity from the exploitation of blood-sucking demons who do not provide the very food to the common public. Rather such demons enjoy tasty dishes off of the back & sweat of the labour of have-nots and others whom they (the demons) exploit.

 

 

Note 2: OTHER REPORTS ABOUT WT TRAINING CENTRE

 

http://am-global-01.blogspot.com/2007/05/gtc-eye-witness-report.html

 

http://am-global-01.blogspot.com/2007/03/training-centre-is-also-responsible.html

 

 

PRABHAT SAMGIITA

 

“Jyoti-ujjval pra’n’occhal tumi priyo…” (P.S. 2229)

 

Purport:

 

Baba, O’ Parama Purusa, You are the Divine Controller of this vast

universe. You are the brilliant effulgence– full of vitality & saturated

& with the love. Baba, You are my dearmost. By Your own glory You are glorified.

O’ Parama Purusa You are ever-adorable.

Baba, I do not have the strength to catch hold of You. With my little

strength and with whatever means I have, I try to catch You– but it is

impossible for me. Instead I remain engrossed in my own self– unit “I”.

This ‘unit I’ is preventing me from coming close to You. Baba, please

transform my ‘I-feeling’, make it Yours.

Baba, with my own strength I will not be able to get You. With the

thread of the spider’s net I will not be able to bind You and hold You.

Because of this, please by Your causeless grace, allow Yourself to get

held. This is my only request to You. Please keep this open for Your

consideration.

Baba, in my mind & in my heart, I have deep longing for You– to have

You close. Please grant me this by Your causeless grace. Baba please

come in my shravan, manan, niddidhyasan, & dhyana and make me Yours…

 

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