1. He used to think of the minutest of details
Paratpar Guru (Dr.) Athavale said, “Instead of completing the construction of all rooms simultaneously, only rooms on one side should be constructed first. These rooms can be used initially. Seekers would be able to enjoy the scenery from the windows”. Thus, I realised that He thinks only of seekers even in the minutest of details.
2. He imprinted the importance of cleanliness by
asking seekers to keep the surroundings of Ashram clean
At the construction site, a lot of garbage (such as pieces of paper, plastic, card board) used to lie around scattered. As a result, the surroundings appeared dirty. He would ask us to collect the garbage around the area and put it in the bins. He would say, “Distressing vibrations emit from the garbage, which reduces the productivity of the seekers, adversely affects their seva and reduces their output”. I could comprehend the reason for this and imbibe the importance of cleanliness.
3. Just as God carries out every task perfectly,
Paratpar Guru (Dr.) Athavale’s acts are perfect
He would always say that the work – a door frame, locks, painting, tiles in the bathrooms etc. should be perfectly fitted. He would say, “We should not compromise in the essential work. If the seva is not performed perfectly, the premises will not look good, meaning, positive vibrations will not emit from it”. Just as God makes the number of petals of each flower from a tree and their colour identical, this taught me that He does every thing to perfection.
4. He took every care to ensure that all facilities are available
to seekers staying in rooms and they do not face any inconvenience
While the construction of living quarters for seekers was in progress, He suggested some aspects as given ahead –
A. Arrangements be made in the bathroom for drying wet clothes and towels by fixing 3 cotton ropes.
B. A rod be provided in the steel cupboards for hangers on which clothes could be hung. This taught me how Paratpar Guru (Dr.) Athavale takes every care to ensure all facilities are available to seekers and they do not face any inconvenience.
5. He asked us to put stoppers for windows in rooms
When we enter a room and open a window, we do not put the stopper in place. This can result in the window panes breaking if the window gets shut abruptly due to a gust. Hence, He suggested that we put stoppers on windows as soon as we open the windows. This shows His attribute of alertness everyone must imbibe.
6. Learning thriftiness from Paratpar Guru (Dr.) Athavale
A. To ensure that sleep of seekers is not disturbed when a door is closed, He asked us to put a ‘Do not open door’ sign instead of fixing a costly stopper : The door to His room used to make noise while being closed due to the magnetic stopper fixed to it. This would disturb His sleep. I thought of putting a different type of stopper on the top of door. He said, “The new stopper will cost too much. Instead, let us put a sign on the door – ‘Paratpar Guru (Dr.) Athavale is resting’.
B. He suggested laying a metalled road instead of a tar road around the Ashram as the later would be very costly : Making a tar road around the Ashram would have been very costly. When He learnt of this, He suggested that a metalled road will do. (The road was tarred after a few years.)
7. He suggested storing empty cement bags in
good condition so that these could be sold as scrap later
The labourers used to throw empty cement bags all over the place. As a result, these used to get spoilt. When He saw these in one of His morning visits to the site, He asked us to collect and store these in good condition so that these could be sold in scrap later; each empty bag could fetch Rs. 1. Thus, I learnt the attribute of thriftiness from Him.
8. When He noticed things scattered, He remarked,
“Seekers should feel that the Ashram is their home”
When He visited the construction site one morning, He noticed wooden planks, door frames, cement bags etc. lying scattered. He remarked, “Seekers should feel that the Ashram is their home. Only then they will take care of every object and behave in a manner that ‘What-ever you see is your duty’.
9. He paid attention to the minutest of details
Some wooden material (such as doors, frames, windows etc.) were stored in a balcony. This material could have been damaged due to dew in the winters. None of us realised this aspect. When He noticed the material in one of His morning visits to the site, He pointed out the mistake to me and asked me to cover the material to avoid damaging it. I learnt how Paratpar Guru (Dr.) Athavale pays attention to the minutest of details.
10. He made a seeker
(who was responsible for the construction) aware of his mistakes;
thus, the ego of seeker reduced and helped him surrender unto Him
While the construction of the rooms was in progress, many mistakes came to notice. When these were told to Paratpar Guru (Dr.) Athavale, He made me accept the responsibility for these as the seeker responsible for the construction. This would reduce my ego, and I could learn how it is necessary for me to ensure that every seva is done to perfection.
11. He taught many finer points in construction
When I was in the construction seva, Paratpar Guru (Dr.) Athavale taught me many finer points in the field. Some examples are given ahead.
A. A steel rod to hang towels has to be provided 6 inches below the uppermost tiles on the wall in the bathroom.
B. The skirting tiles should be fixed only after polishing of floor tiles is done, else the polishing stone may cause scratches on skirting tiles.
C. While fixing tiles in the bathroom and toilet, ensure that vertical and horizontal lines on tiles match.
D. In the bathroom, the water tap should be fixed at the cross (+) of 4 tiles.
12. He apologised to a seeker for keeping him
waiting outside His room for a long time
Once, I went to meet Paratpar Guru (Dr.) Athavale in His room. When I opened the door, I found Him talking to another seeker. He saw me; I waited outside the room. I waited for 10 minutes as His discussion with the seeker prolonged a bit. I entered His room after the discussion. He immediately apologised for making me wait. I could perceive how less His ego was. I learnt that however small an individual may be, he deserves to be given importance.
O’ Paratpar Guru (Dr.) Athavale ! You only have made efforts to mould me by teaching me various aspects of spiritual practice through the construction seva. For this, I offer my gratitude unto Your Holy feet. I pray unto You that may Your grace be bestowed on all seekers.