Tutorial Centre V/S Spiritual Centre
by Vaman Acharya
After retirement from the Bank service, Vasu devoted his maximum time for reading news papers. His method of reading is unique. First, he will go through all the headings from page one to last page. Then he will read the entire important news. While turning the pages, his attention was diverted to a story given in the box on page number nine meant for regional news. ‘Friends Became Foe’ was the heading. Vasu suddenly remembered his own similar experience.
What happens if tutorial centre and spiritual centre functioning side by side develop strained relationship?
Pragati Tutorial Centre and Kalika Spiritual Centre function side by side. In the beginning, they had no problems. Both opened in the same year in their own building. These buildings are located in the residential area. Nagesh,a businessman, is managing Pragati Tutorial centre and Balakrishna, a retired bank official, is head of the Kalika Spiritual Centre. On some special occasions like Devi Puja, and annual days of saints, the spiritual centre is busy right from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. On these special days, spiritual centre uses loud speaker right from morning to late in the night. Serving of prasadam in the afternoon also creates disturbance to nearby residents. Nagesh was unable to teach his students properly due to disturbance. Misunderstandings started between them. By nature, Nagesh is a short tempered person. Balakrishna is sober by nature. They have been friends for the last so many years. The adjacent open sites were purchased by them at the same time. After the construction of their buildings, they moved there for peaceful living. Nagesh was a teacher earlier and later became a business man. With the rich experience of about 20 years of teaching, he opened a tutorial centre.
Balakrishna was born and brought up in an orthodox Brahmin family. He served in the bank for 35 years. After retirement, he converted his house as a meditation centre by taking up the first floor with a big hall (300 can be seated at a time), elevated platform where Goddess Kalika Mata is installed and the rest rooms for the devotees. Most of the residents of the locality encouraged Balakrishna for the development of spiritual centre. He had invited Nagesh several times to meet for finding out a better solution. But Nagesh refused to meet Balakrishna. This kind of attitude from both sides went on for a long time. Both were firm on their stand. On one side, there are students and another side there is a group of devotees. Both have not taken firm steps to come out of the situation.
If the misunderstandings were sorted out initially, the worst situation would not have come. The attitude of hating each other continued and the relationship strained beyond the limit.
Vasu,living just behind their houses, observed the developments. He is maintaining friendship with both of them. Though Vasu was aware of the dispute between them, he was unable to take mediator’s role unless both agreed to entrust the job.
Daily about 50 students’ visited to tutorial centre and about 25 to 30 devotees visited the spiritual centre. On special days the number of devotees would be more. Students who prepare for Board examinations and competitive examinations suffer a lot due to the neighbor’s disturbance. This was adversely affected to the tutorial centre. The immediate result was fall in the strength of the students. Normally, the spiritual centre is busy in the evening (except on special occasions) with bhajan and mangalaruti.
The devotees are coming from nearby places. Vasu is a regular visitor to the spiritual centre. Nagesh and Balakrishna were earlier friends and now became enemies. The fight between them was a regular feature, and the students and devotees are silent spectators, unable to get concentration on studies and devotion on God, respectively.
“Creating cordial atmosphere in the present situation is the need of the hour,” said Balakrishna to one of the devotees.
“Every problem has a solution, provided both the parties exhibit patience and free mind. Confrontation will further complicate the problem,” replied the devotee.
“Would you be able to work out a formula, under which both can live happily?” asked Balakrishna eagerly.
“Yes! Where there is a will there is a way,” said the devotee, and requested for one week’s time.
The spiritual activities normally start early in the morning for some time and again in the evening (except on special occasions). The Tutorial classes commence in the day time and also in the evening. The devotee took the initiative and prepared the steps to find amicable solution. Fix the mutually agreed timings in consultation. Let the devotees and the students develop friendship. Heads of both the institutions must cooperate with each other. The students may come to the temple before commencing the class. The devotees may go to tutorial centre during the recess time and enquire about the progress of the studies. Chalk out the common programmes for the mutual benefit. Students and devotees must take lead to improve the relationship between Balakrishna and Nagesh. Create such a situation, where both are inseparable. It should be an example to others.
The devotee, who found the solution, was retired justice of High Court. ***