Once Vinobaji had gone to Phandarpur in Maharashtra. While seated on a pedestal outside the temple of Vithalnathji he was engaged in discussion with some of the people on religious and social issues. The discussion centered on that one should not shirk from doing one’s duty; everything in nature is engaged in some action; the divine cycle of action was always on; He was stressing on the importance of doing some action and never should stand back from doing good deeds. Everyone should always be prepared and eager to contribute to divine actions voluntarily and spontaneously.
A woman clad in saffron robes came up to that meeting point and said to Vinobaji, “You look like a saint but not wearing the robes of a saint. By observing your conduct, actions and courteous attitudes I feel that you have risen above the normal level of sainthood. You are still seen as participating in normal daily household routines and worldly activities.”
Vinobaji asked her, “How and why have you come here?” She said, “I have come here to express my grief and disappointment and shed many tears before the God.” Vinobaji said that how much peace and solace did you get after shedding so many tears. She said, ”I wanted to say exactly the same thing.” She recounted her thoughts of God by saying, “I have been sitting in front of Your statue, sung so many songs, and shed so many tears. When will You take care of me and when will my voice reach You, and, when You will hold my hand? There is so much of pain, complications and distortions in the world. I am also suffering from those pains. When will You relieve me of those pains? When will You be kind to me?” “It is only this that I have come here to say to God,” she said
Vinobaji said, “In that case you should not shed tears here. You should rather express your love to Him. He has another face in the world. There are numerous people in this world who are suffering from pains, difficulties and abnormalities. By looking at them and their plight the day your tears will roll down from your eyes that will be the day when your God will shower His blessings on you.
He will then say, “You have shed tears so far for yourself but today you have shed tears for Me. You have now cried for Me, not for yourself. It is the same way the parents cannot see their children shedding tears. I also cannot bear the sight of your shedding tears.” God will not be able to bear the sight of your tears. He will bless you and send His compassion to you. Be courageous. This way you will be able to accomplish great tasks in the world. Go in the midst of the society. Lift those who are sunk in the darkness of ignorance; Help those rise who are suffering from ailments and weakness; Help those who are the victims of oppression and harassment, fill those with some action who are sitting idle without doing anything and who have become fatalists. Encourage them all.”
She said, “But I am a hermit.” Vinobaji said, “You too feed your body. God has given you the body. By doing some deeds with your own hands and body, get rid of all your bondages and find your way. Earn the love of God. Get into the middle of the society, serve people with your body and hands. Keep on reciting the name of God and serve humanity on one hand and on the other get into meditation and devotion to God. Develop a synthesis of the two. Stand up. Be firm and kind. Let there be continuous recitation within you and service from outside. Develop a combination of the two.”
The lady went away and engaged herself in the service to humanity. After some time she came back and said, “I have been sitting as a hermit for so long but nothing had worked. Now that I was engaged in the service to the community there has emerged a plenty of peace and satisfaction within me.” Vinobaji asked, “Now please tell me your name.” This lady was a German and her name was Liousen.
Folding her hand she sat in front of Vinobaji and said, “Now that my life has changed, please change my name as well.” Vinobaji gave her the name of Hemaben. Everyone knows her. She worked selflessly in the slums of Bombay. She moved around in the nearby localities and villages and offered social services. She preached knowledge among the people, turned them towards religion and became an element to raise the level of their soul.
She spent her time on mitigating the pains and miseries of the people and spent her time in improving their health and well-being. There was a lot of caste-based problem [untouchability] that time in the society. She put her heart and soul in bringing equality among people. In the last part of her life she said, “Now I feel that I have not only learnt how to live but also have taught people how to live and harness love for God. The peace of mind that I have got now was never ever before with me.”
In the same way our deeds should become good deeds and let there be no inaction in life. Learn to live to love God.