It was December 26, 2004 when a 9-Richterscale earthquake hit the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The disaster smothered South and South-East Asia heavily. While the earthquake affected Indonesia predominantly, the tsunami caused by the tremors brought upon chaos and destruction mostly on Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The Indian government quickly mobilized its Disaster Response Team, including the Indian Defense forces. Under Operation Madad (help), Indian Coast Guard and the Indian Navy sent 20 helicopters, seven aircrafts, and 32 naval ships. However, it were the spiritual and humanitarian groups like The Art of Living and Dera Sacha Sauda who brought the bulk of relief.
The essence of philanthropy compounded with spirituality made them do it. They did not thump religious books unlike a lot of Western ‘humanitarian’ groups. For these spiritual organizations, it has always been about lending a helping hand.
Directed by their leader Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, Dera Sacha Sauda sent a big team to distribute food, rations, and healthcare services. The volunteers of Dera Sacha Sauda, popularly known as Shah Satnam Ji Green S Welfare Force, also taught 10 and 12 class students for their approaching board exams. The volunteers stayed on the island to help with the relief for 55 days.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living Foundation aided Tamil Nadu in a similar fashionwith tons of relief supplies and drinkable water.
Why do they do it? One of the main reasons is compassion. Around 99% of the spiritual paths count compassion as a virtue every follower should have. There are philanthropists who claim they see god in everyone, and helping man and animal is a way to serve god, this explanation is what most of the spiritual camps like the Brahma Kumaris, The Art of Living, and Dera Sacha Sauda follow.
Of course, there are irregularities in this circle as well. Some take up humanitarianism for materialistic gains. They collect donations to help the needy and take a piece of the collection for personal gains. Some do it out of fear of God.
Whatever may be the reason, the world benefits from such spiritual and benevolent groups? To keep the efficiency of these non-governmental organizations, the common man needs to be tad skeptical. Instead of donating money, you can donate clothes, foods, medicine, and important equipment the disaster-hit people would need.
Irrespective of what their belief is, people can easily assist disaster response teams through these spiritual organizations. Atheists are proof that empathy is indifferent to what you believe.
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