Dr. Ariyaratne Visits Wednesdays
Posted by Nipun Mehta on Oct 26, 2007
Before CharityFocus formally started, my parents have been running Wednesdays every week. In some sense, it is the ultimate mom-and-pop shop, the original Karma Kitchen, the face of CharityFocus, the invisible support for so many projects, a pure embodiment of our guiding principles. Although there's never been any publicity around it, thousands of people have been attracted to that humble Silicon Valley "family room", in small gatherings of 20-120 at a time.
It's a birthplace of many silent revolutions. You can't sell anything in the space, you can't raise any money or promote any agendas, you can't get paid for anything you offer. And yet some of the most incredible alive people on the planet have walked in through those doors. It's hard to say what attracts them, but something definitely does. :)
One such man was Dr. Ariyaratne, who spoke last Wednesday.To call Dr. Ariyaratne a living legend would be an understatement. For the last sixty -- sixty! -- years, he has dedicated himself to the upliftment of millions of Sri Lankans. They work in 15,000 villages with the slogan, "We build the road, the road builds us." Based on a spiritual foundation, he has recorded some of the largest recorded collective meditations -- 850K people -- in human history! He has practically received every major award possible. And when you ask him what motivates to serve, he humbly says, "To find myself. Who am I?"
At the end of his talk last Wednesday, the Executive Director of Dr. Ari's Sarvodaya movement whispers to me, "I've heard him speak hundreds of times. And he's never been like this. I've overwhelmed with joy."
As an expression of gratitude, all attendees were to do an act of kindness in their community and gift the written story of their experience to Dr. Ariyaratne. It was beautiful.
Coming into the evening, he was extremely sick. When I met him at Google the next morning, though, Dr. Ari kindly turns to me and says, "You [guys] healed me last night."
And surely, he healed us.