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  COUNSELING
 
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  ARTICLE  
     
  Mother Teresa  
  Magnet of love  
   
  LOOK at this young man wearing a white pyjama and a dark glass. He is known to the world as a quick-tempered, obstinate and self-centred person. But here he is a thorough gentleman.

When he is here, he gives affection and care like a mother gives them to her child. When we compare his modesty with his status, we would simply be amazed. How can he devote so much attention to a seemingly insignificant thing? He could have sent one of his cronies to find out what was happening. Yet, he himself comes, driving his green-coloured jeep to personally attend to the minutest details!

His name is Sanjay Gandhi. This was in the early 1970s. He was personally supervising the construction of a small "ashram" in the Majnu Ka Tilla area in Delhi. Today not many know that it was Sanjay's supervision and sweat that helped fulfill Mother Teresa's desire of having an "ashram" in Delhi.

Now, let's turn to the Mother's 'ashram' at Kalighat in Kolkata. See who is playing with and pampering the small children Mother picked up from the streets of Kolkata affectionately calling them 'my son', 'my daughter'.

We will be surprised if we hear the names of those selfless volunteers who are nursing the sick and the wounded destitute and who feed with their hands the old and the bed-ridden. They are the Naxalites, who are the enemies of the Central and State governments. Here, the very men who are symbols of gruesome cruelty become as gentle as a lamb!

Indira Gandhi is the prime minister who legalised abortion in the country. But Mother Teresa is an opponent of abortion. She strongly fought against it and even canvassed against it. She continuously fought for the right of the baby in the womb to live.

There are many incidents to show how Indira Gandhi dealt with her opponents. It was during that time that writer Khuswant Singh, who was attracted by the selfless services of Mother, wrote to Indira Gandi recommending that she be given a free Railway pass.

See how Indira Gandhi responded to her 'enemy'! Instead of a Railway pass, she was given a free air pass!

Bapsi Nariman, wife of prominent lawyer Fali S Nariman and social activist, remembers:
When he came to know about the granting of a free air pass to Mother, Air-India Chairman JRD Tata intervened and granted her a free First Class air pass for all her international journeys!

Mother Teresa was the shining star of goodness. Through her interactions, she could transform even those whom society had branded as the "worst criminals". She had that innate ability to bring out the compassion and affection hidden in their hearts. The arrogant Sanjay Gandhi, the obstinate Indira Gandhi and the stone-hearted Naxalites sowed the seeds of goodness in the fields of Mother's service. And those seeds turned into bountiful harvests.

One of the followers of Mother desired that her Sisters of Charity open a centre for HIV-AIDS patients. They informed the Planning Commission of their desire. Members of the commission opined that it would be better to open the centre in Assam and for this Chief Minister Hiteshwar Saikia should take up the matter with the Planning Commission for financial aid.

But when Mother's follower visited the Chief Minister to convey this, the Assam Government gave the person a cheque for Rs. 1 crore.

Those days, Rs 1 crore was a very big amount. It was with this cheque that the Mother's follower met Mother and expressed the desire that she open a centre for HIV patients. Mother's response was: "My daughter, I never accept financial aid from a government. That will lead to complications later".

However, Mother responded to their loving and persistent requests and agreed to accept Saikia's gift. This was not an exceptional case. Mother's heart always melted before the love of others.

Congress Leader and former chief minister Sidharth Shanker Ray and his political opponent Jyoti Basu both loved Mother. The Naxlites, whom both of them kept away, also loved Mother. They were also in Mother's heart.

This can be said in another way too. During the period Mother Teresa was active in West Bengal, the Naxalite activities were rare. Now that she is not there, Naxalite attacks have become frequent.

Mother had the amazing ability to talk to the king and the beggar in the same vein. Usha Uthup remembers that even those who experienced tension and conflicts felt happiness and peace when they visited Mother and conversed with her.

Many world leaders treated it as their sacred duty to visit her. Many great people like Princess Diana, Prince Charles, Bill Clinton etc had stepped into her "ashram" through the narrow lanes to see Mother. Eminent personalities from different fields and different ages who were captivated by her love like Pope John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, Indira Gandhi, Jyoti Basu etc are no more.

To know the magnitude of the love she spread around the world, we have to see the dignitaries who attended her funeral. Without any difference of West or East, religion or caste, world leaders and their representatives flowed in to the Missionaries of Charity headquarters to pay their homage. If Mother's funeral had not clashed with that of Princess Diana, the presence of world leaders would have been even more.

Many years have passed since Mother passed away. What was the secret of the magical power of Mother's personality? How is it that different types of people like kings, revolutionists, rebels, world leaders, Congressmen, Communists, who are all of different colours and creeds, were uniformly attracted to Mother? There is no one answer. But one thing is for certain. She never evaluated anyone, nor put a price to anyone. She accepted everyone as they were. (Courtesy: Malayala Manorama)
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Translated by Elizebath Philip from the original in Malayalam that appeared in the Sunday supplement of the Malayala Manorama dated August 22, 2010
 
  By  Kallol Bhattacharjee  
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