The Legacy of a Great Man

When I was still a girl, still innocent and unaware of the wicked ways of the world I used to sit at nights and listen to my grandmother sing hymns in Sanskrit and Hindi. Then, like now, I used to let the words seep into me, into my soul and calm my heart. I used to marvel at the great epics like the Ramayana. I knew nothing but happiness, I knew nothing about life’s pains and it was much easier for me to believe that there really never was a time  when you or I did not exist.

Today I sat examining these memories and a man fluttered across my mind. He’s been in my memories for as long as I can remember and will remain there as a constant source of hope. His name is Kampta Prashad but I lovingly called him Aja and many other’s just knew him simply as “Pandit”. Aja is no longer in this material world but his words, his actions and his legacy still live on.

More than everything else, I remember his voice. I remember that voice singing and chanting and preaching golden words. I remember that voice telling me once upon a time to be patient and I remember it saying not to lose hope even when all else seems hopeless. I used to sit and watch him perform Sunday morning prayers at the Hope Village Vishnu Mandir and I wished for a day when I would be able to do the same.

But the thing is, back then it never once crossed my mind that he would not be here forever. I used to think that life goes on and on and on without ever stopping. I used to think that I would always be able to hear that voice sing and chant and bring my soul some amount of peace. Years later when I attended his funeral I was already aware of just how short life is and that time is not a variable which should be treated lightly.

I watched as his family mourned and in my soul I mourned as well. I mourned for the great man who was now lost to our lifetime. I’ve had some time to think this over though and I realised that I was really very wrong about that particular thing. Aja is not lost to us. In fact, he has left a legacy which will not be forgotten for generations. He has helped to instill values in me which I will pass on to my children and he has inspired and shaped the lives of countless others.

Few men are so lucky to leave such a legacy behind and few people are so lucky to benefit from the great wisdom of such men. Aja is no more here physically but if I can then I shall immortalise him by way of the pen. But the thing is though the legacy of this great man has already been given endless life in the values that I and countless others shall pass on for generations to come.

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