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Give What You Can: Dharnaveer

I have heard the word peanuts used to describe a small amount of something, a trifling sum of money, or an insignificant person. Peanuts in this story will have the opposite meaning. I recently met an Indian man named Dharnaveer, and by all standards, he has experienced the harshness of life. He lived in a slum in the city of Haridwar with his wife and four children. His wife was dying in a violently painful way. Dharnaveer's children would endure the screaming and suffering of their mother, while he was forced to work grueling long days as a laborer. My guru Nani Ma, one of the founders of Ganga Prem Hospice, met Dharnaveer's family and promised his wife that she would look after her family when she passed. The work of Ganga Prem Hospice goes beyond supporting the terminally ill during their final days. Nani Ma pulled this man out of the slum, gave him a job as a gardener at the hospice, and put his kids in school. Shortly before we arrived in India, one of Dharnaveer's little girls named Monika, began having seizures from a parasite in her brain. Nani Ma was able to get her medical assistance and now she is better, but the school became too fearful to let her continue her education. Nani Ma fought to get her reinstated and the principle recently approved Monika to start attending school at a later date. We led yoga sessions for the Ganga Prem Hospice staff. After one of the classes ended, Dharnaveer came up to me and started speaking in Hindi, for which I did not understand a word. He gestured for me to follow him out into a beautiful field as the sun was setting. Dharnaveer dug into the earth and pulled out a few peanuts to place into my palm. He placed his hands at his heart and said Namaste. I can't tell you how much this moment and this gift meant to me. What I can say is that I have been touched very deeply by this experience. Life is not small or insignificant, especially when you do small acts with great love. Dharnaveer's life has changed greatly because of the Ganga Prem Hospice and Nani Ma. I have changed greatly because of a handful of peanuts.

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