Miscellaneous Articles - Let us Reach Out, Promote Hope and Turn Giving into Living

Let us Reach Out, Promote Hope and Turn Giving into Living









10.30 A.M.


1st July, 1999



Let us Reach Out, Promote Hope and Turn Giving into Living

Let us Reach Out, Promote Hope and Turn Giving into Living


This is an occasion for greetings and congratulations. Greetings to all the members of the Inner Wheel who are gathered here; congratulations to the distinguished leaders and to the chairperson who has been elected for the District.

What is most inspiring is the underlying objective to which Inner Wheel is dedicated, namely, to promote true friendship, to encourage the ideals of personal service and to foster international understanding. And the theme of today on which we are dwelling with special emphasis, ‒ namely, to reach out, to promote hope, and to turn giving into living, — gives us a promise of a fruitful programme of thought and action.

There is a way of looking at things, particularly in the context of the worst things that are happening around us, according to which to give a message of hope is to strive to hope against hope. On the other hand, there is another way of looking at things, particularly in the context of the best things that are happening around us, according to which there is no difficulty which is not an opportunity, and there is no obstacle that is not meant to be overcome. I believe that the Inner Wheel is designed to promote this positive view, which I consider to be the fruit of mature and deliberate attitude of voluntary optimism.

And we can be sure that when women like you have come forward with commitment and dedication, hope will flourish and world will continue to realise those goals which can bring humanity nearer to its fulfilment.


Let us not minimise the problems that confront us and let us underline that we are living in super-normal times, and each one of us who wants to reach out is required to make a super-normal effort.

What is the sting of the problems of today?

Science and technology have made the world global, but the human consciousness has not become global; the organisational structures have become vast, but they are too vast for the blundering human ego and its limited ethical capabilities; humanity is driven towards a state of slavery of machinery that imposes upon it uniformity which, in turn, strangulates organic growth.

Let us Reach Out, Promote Hope and Turn Giving into Living

Let us Reach Out, Promote Hope and Turn Giving into Living

Population is increasing at an exponential rate. It took thousands of years to reach the first billion in early 19th century; it took only 100 additional years to reach the second billion; and it took only 30 more years to reach the third billion, and it took only fourteen years to reach the fourth billion. We are now approximating the 6th billion. But the size of the earth remains constant; resources are limited; serious environmental problems have arisen and, coupled with bombs and armaments, they have the potentiality of ruining the earth irreparably.

Humanity has, indeed, advanced and promoted ideals of social existence where the demands of liberty, equality and fraternity can be harmonised. But the human engineering employed in actualising these ideals has failed to knock the right door, which alone, when opened, can provide the required alchemy.

It has failed to knock the door of spiritual resources, and instead it has been busy going round and round erecting structures that are bound to fail, ‒ the structures of Machine, Domination and Division.

Social institutions are breaking down, which adversely affect stability of families and interrelationships among members of families. Instruments and gadgets are multiplying so as to facilitate demands of comfort and appetites for pleasures.

Forces of Unreason are clashing with the light of the Reason.

Gravitational pulls of the lower nature are fighting against aspirations to rise higher, and this battle is so grim that drug addiction and diseases like AIDS are spreading fast all over the world.

Leaders of religions claim to possess the secrets of peace and harmony, but religions collide among themselves and show fissures of division and gulfs of distances that prevent the promise of the needed help.

Work ethos in our country is at a very low level. The unemployed struggle to get employment, but when employed, they cease to apply themselves meaningfully to their work.

Leaders in various fields, who should be able to provide the right leadership, manifest in a disturbing manner their self-centredness and lack of concern for others. Society is in a state of great malady.

The sting of the problem is the growing force of the gravitational pull of the lower impulses so as to weaken the forces of reason, goodwill and light of the spirit.

The kernel of the solution is the increase of the forces that can overcome the pulls of the lower nature and lift us on to the path of transformation by the illumining power of our spiritual and higher resources.

We need, therefore, people who can reach out. We need people who can keep hope alive, we need people who can turn giving into living.

Let us Reach Out, Promote Hope and Turn Giving into Living

Let us Reach Out, Promote Hope and Turn Giving into Living


Reaching out is the first step; but even that step needs to be prepared by a good deal of thought and vision. In order to reach out, we need to have a message; we need to be in a position to provide right counsel and right inspiration.

One of the areas where we can reach out is related to dominant minorities who monopolise the lion's share of power and profit. The right counsel that can be given to these dominant minorities is that this is the hour to abdicate their domination and to impart their knowledge, their experience and their skills to all the other who have so far remained dormant and oppressed but who have now become awakened and are ready to climb to higher levels of thought and skills.

May I suggest that we need to reach out even to religious leaders. They need to be counselled that they can inspire people only if they can bridge the gulf between what is being professed and what is being practised. Similarly, when we reach out to political leaders, they need to be counselled that the present mistrust with which they are being viewed can be overcome only if they cease to live for themselves or for their families and demonstrate that people's welfare is their central concern. Again, the businessmen need to be counselled that the wealth that they produce is to be utilised to create better and more qualified manpower and they can utilise their material prosperity for shaping the humane and harmonious civilisation. You will certainly reach out to husbands and wives who need to be counselled that their personal relationships can be durable and harmonious only if they overcome pride and prejudice, impatience and insistence on rigid opinions and personal preferences. As parents, they need to be counselled that children are not their possessions but their sovereigns, and that they should be in the centre of their care and concern. They need to be told that circumstances of life are to be so designed that they can serve as informal means of their children's education, of their growth and development. Parents have to be ready to sacrifice their own pleasures and comforts so that highest interests of children are served under every circumstance. Professionals and experts, teachers and preachers, artists and artisans are to be counselled that it is by sharpening their abilities and their tools and by imparting their expertise to others that they can fulfil themselves and increase excellence among all members of society.

Let us Reach Out, Promote Hope and Turn Giving into Living

Let us Reach Out, Promote Hope and Turn Giving into Living


Let us now come to the task of keeping hope alive. This task requires on our part engagement in activities of caring and sharing. Large sympathy, universality, charity and kindness, − these qualities have to be cultivated if we are to impart hope and warmth and enthusiasm to those who are weary and depressed. We ourselves need to have the faith that even though there may be darkness while walking in a tunnel, light awaits us at the end of the tunnel.

There are solid bases for keeping hope alive. Firstly, we have to realise that history tells us that humanity has the habit of survival, and that it has inexhaustible or even miraculous resources in its depths which can be brought forth in answer to the most difficult dangers or perils. Secondly, although we have at present a grim confrontation with the worst possibilities, there are also on the other hand, the best possibilities. At no time in the history was the message of international understanding put forth by the whole of humanity as the most desirable programme of action as it is today; at no stage in the history was the turn towards human unity as effective as it is today; at no stage of history have people spoken of total abolition of war as forcefully as today; and at no stage earlier was humanity as awakened and as gripped with the sense of necessity of ethical and spiritual transformation as today. It can, therefore, be said more confidently that not only shall we survive but also arrive at the gates of the bright future for all peoples of the world. We should, therefore, not fear to aspire and advocate the nourishment of hope in our hearts and in the hearts of our neighbours, − and who is not our neighbour in our present global village?

Our message of hope should be a message for positive action.

Let us discourage the attitudes of shrinkage, suffering or escape. Let us encourage the spirit of heroism, joy and victory.

Let us act and build bridges of understanding and fortresses and defences of peace and harmony. Let us realise and share with others the wisdom that circumstances are first to be endured and then combated so that newer and better circumstances are created. We can, let us affirm, shape our own destiny in the image of the light and glory of our inmost spirit.

There are many fields in which we can spread out to share and care and promote hope.

Let us Reach Out, Promote Hope and Turn Giving into Living

Let us Reach Out, Promote Hope and Turn Giving into Living

There are children who need to be cared for; there are children destitute and forlorn, who need to be rescued and brought into the field of meaningful learning. There are adolescents, whose capacities for dreaming have to be awakened, and whose habits and life styles have to be inspired by lessons of self-discipline and rigorous exercises of the heart, head and hand; drug addiction has to be prevented and newer healthy messages of the art and science of life are to be brought within the chambers of their thought and imagination.

Youths have to be understood and their wings of freedom and adventure have to be provided with the air and atmosphere of ever-ascending heights of boundless skies; their needs for work and their expanding abilities and skills have to be provided with meaningful responses in terms of opportunities, rewards and recognition.

Men and women in their partnership at various levels of life and work and in their responsibilities to their children have to be aided so that obstacles, − trivial, small or big, ‒ do not cause blockade in the paths of mutuality, progress and happiness; people in the midway of their lives have to be furnished with fresh ideas to update their knowledge and experience, to assimilate what they have learnt and to plunge again into greater responsibilities with new vigour and freshness.

The sick and the disabled need to be tended, healed and rehabilitated; lessons of physical fitness and mental care need to be brought to their homes and they have to be inspired to develop habits of physical exercise, healthy diet and fitness; the aged need not only sympathy but proper vocation and occupation; homes for the aged have to be multiplied with meaningful environment and facilities appropriate to their creative abilities, leisure and inner development.

Let us Reach Out, Promote Hope and Turn Giving into Living

Let us Reach Out, Promote Hope and Turn Giving into Living


Activities of caring and sharing have to ripen into the very breath and mode of our living. We have to realise that the entire world is ruled by a law of mutual giving; when we arrest the act of giving, — whether by coveting or by possessing, — we are actually assaulting the very principle of living. The self and the non-self, — each gets entangled in a tug of war, when each refuses to offer and sacrifice. Life is fire which is fuelled by constant acts of sacrifice, and miraculously, the fire of life is also the water of immortality. Self-giving is the secret of resurrection.

Let us, therefore, turn giving into living. In any case, there is no other way. When we think that we can live without giving, we think erroneously; awakened and truly illumined, we shall find that in the spontaneity of life we do not need either to take or to give, — there is simply a self-propelling course of giving which sustains itself, and our task is to allow it to happen without any obstacle arising from our narrow boundaries. Giving is living, and living then becomes limitless and universal.

Through what activities shall we express the gospel of living by giving? Let us suggest some of those activities in which we can get engaged in a constant process of self-giving.

Among the greatest and urgent concerns of humanity, the task of environmental protection should rank very high. Public awareness of environmental problems needs to be heightened; programmes of plantation of trees and of afforestation need to be multiplied vastly; development of eco-regions should be taken up in every district; non-conventional resources of energy should be harnessed in wider and wider areas.

Village reconstruction should aim at infra-structural development, with increasing emphasis on organic farming, cottage industries, multiple educational facilities, empowerment of weaker sections of society and strengthening facilities for marketing, co-operatives, and organisation of events relating to exhibitions, sharing of knowledge and sports. Programmes of urban development also need to be urgently attended with emphasis on population control, development of parks and creation of educational environment conducive to the development of learning society.

Integral development of groups of villages, districts and regions, empowerment of women and development of global consciousness among people, particularly among the growing generation − these and allied areas provide fruitful programmes of action.

As we begin to engage ourselves in one or the other of these areas, many others will come before our view, and we shall find that there is no dearth of avenues in which we can prove that we can turn giving into living.


In the end, may I express my gratefulness to you all for inviting me to be a part of your programme. I consider this to be a privilege and hope to be with you again and again.

Let us Reach Out, Promote Hope and Turn Giving into Living

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