The first thing that strikes me about this school is the name. What indeed would leave the Buddha Smiling? It would be the relinquishment of ignorance and suffering it would be compassion and wisdom….and succinctly, it is all the characteristics that define the philosophy of the Buddha Smile School and its founder Rajan whose instinct knowing and love made all these things manifest for others.
I met Rajan and Sukhdev 2 year ago after a small crisis in my own life. Through my dear friend Mattia I was introduced to the family, and hardly knew them, yet, I was instantly treated like one of them, they took me into their home into their life and into their hearts. I remember Sukhdev telling me never to say thank you as it was an insult, thank you is for strangers….family needs no thank you. I recall endless stories of struggle and that the couple endured in order to be together, in order to live their dreams, and in order to help others. There’s is a marvellous tale of the potential to be generous and the ability to change the lives of others.
Sometimes when I tell the story of their lives I feel like I’m exaggerating because there is such inherent beauty in it that it sounds to good to be true and yet it is all fact.
Risking a love marriage in a part of India that still extols arranged marriage Rajan was disowned by her family and friends. Alone in the world left only only with her precious Sukhdev she never looked back and stood in the shadows of her own sorrow, but rather rejoiced in her great love and dedicated her time and energy to helping others, rather than worrying for herself. A teacher by training Rajan once a resident of the booming Calcutta upper middle class came to one of the poorest regions in the country known as Uttar Pradesh in a town called Sarnath. There she began teaching the poorest of the local children for free. What started as a simple act of generosity soon burgeoned into a life long project. Through word of mouth…something that moves faster then the speed of light in the beggar towns of India, Rajan teachings became heralded throughout the village. Shortly thereafter she was teaching children on her front lawn……and letter moved into a small flat where she began an official free school for untouchable children, while Sukhdev opened a small local restaurant to support the family.
As time has passed the school became more then a place of simple education for a few children and transformed into a house of learning for over 100 hundred needy students. A place were paucity turned into opportunity and starvation satisfied by the school’s healthy meals metamorphosed into a thirst for knowledge that Rajan continued to nurture. In living amongst Rajan and her school for over two months, I can honestly say she is the closest thing I know to a living saint. She is humble, kind, and full of life. She gives as though she has an endless receptacle of energy and yet accepts hardly anything in return. I remember how completely she would insist I buy her nothing not even simple commodities like shampoo and soup if I used them, the only thing she would readily receive would be joy. She simply gives and gives and loves.
I am sure the Buddha is smiling at her and upon her hundreds of children. I am honoured to know Rajan and her family.