Happy Diwali


15th September 2020

Dear Friends,

A very Happy Diwali to all of you.

Diwali is a day where we do a लक्ष्मी (wealth and prosperity) Poojan a चोपड़ा (books) Poojan.  We also perform Pooja for चित्रलेखिनी (pen), महाकाली (Ink) and Ganesh.  

My grandfather, our founder, Shri K. J. Somaiya was very much an entrepreneur.  For all those in business, Diwali is a big day.  It is a day when we begin our new financial year, and we seek blessings for a good year ahead.  It is a day where we make and also reaffirm our resolutions for the new year.

The resolution that he composed so many years ago is still very relevant today.  He wrote it in Gujarati, and I would like to share that with you:

શ્રી લક્ષ્મીનારાયણ પ્રભુની ક્રપા રહો.
May we be blessed by Lord Lakshmi-Narayan

સદૈવ સર્વ પ્રાણીમાત્ર પ્રત્યે સદ્ ભાવના સદ્પ્રેમ રહો.
May we always have good will (सद् भावना) and affection (सद् प्रेम) towards all living beings.

સદૈવ સન્માર્ગે દ્રવ્યસંપાદન કરવાની બુદ્ધી રહો.
Bless us so that we have the wisdom to pursue the path of prosperity only through the righteous path (सन्मार्ग).

સદૈવ દ્રવ્ય એજ સાર નથી એવી જાગૃતિ રહો.
Bless us so that we always have the understanding (जागृति)  that wealth is not the ultimate goal.

સદૈવ દ્રવ્યપ્રાપ્તિ પછી સમતોલતા રહો.
Bless us to that we do not lose our mental balance after achieving success (it must not go to our head!!)

સદૈવ જરૂરિયાતવાળાઓને ઉપયોગી થવામાં તત્પરતા રહો.
Bless us so that we are always eager to extend a helping hand to those in need (ज़रूरतमंद).

સદૈવ પ્રભુકાર્ય, સંસ્કૃતિના કાર્ય, સમાજના ઉત્કર્ષના કાર્યોમાં દ્રવ્ય અને શક્તિનો વિનિમય કરવાની બુદ્ધિ રહો.
Bless us so that we always use our wealth and strength to further the work of God (प्रभु कार्य), culture (संस्कृति) and society (समाज)

સદૈવ ભારત-વર્ષની તેમજ સમાજની સંસ્કાર વૃદ્ધિના પ્રયત્ન થતા રહો.
Bless us so that we work to enhance the cause of our country and values of society.

સદૈવ અસ્પૃશ્યતા હિન્દુસમાજ માંથી દૂર કરવા પ્રયત્ન થતા રહો.
સદૈવ હરિજનોને હિન્દુસમાજના મુખ્ય અંગ તરીકે અપનાવતા રહો.
Bless us so that we continuously strive to remove untouchability from our society.  
Bless us so that we strive to bring into the mainstream, in fact make most important (मुख्य) - those who have been excluded from our society. This remains relevant today, since when we speak of an inclusive society, we think we have done or said enough.  Here he has used two words - मुख्य & अपनाना - To make most important, and to adopt as one's own.  Both these words go far beyond making an inclusive society. 

સદૈવ વિરોધીઓ પ્રત્યે સહિષ્ણુતા અને સહાનુભૂતિ રહો.
Bless us so that we always have empathy towards those who oppose (विरोधी) us.  If we could cultivate this - we may find it easier to find solutions to our common and shared problems. 

Why is this important.  
Shri K. J. Somaiya was born very poor.  In a small town in Malunjar - in rural Maharashtra.  He struggled through tough times.  He lost his first wife to illness soon after marriage.  And he did not have money to bring his second wife home (my grandmother- Sakarbai) since he did not make enough to feed himself.  He did not have the resources to travel to Kutch even to see his first born (my father Shantilal) for many months.  He worked tirelessly.  Often to no avail.  But Providence smiled at him later and in 1939 he started a company - The Godavari Sugar Mills Limited and achieved great heights in this business.

It is in this context that the above resolution that he wrote is relevant.  In the early 1940s, he soon started a school next to the company in Kanhegaon and Kopargaon.  They are still functioning.  It was his commitment, his repayment of a debt the owed to society.  समाज ऋण.  He wanted to give back by providing education, healthcare and development.  And so he founded Somaiya Vidyavihar, Somaiya Ayurvihar and the Girivanvasi Pragati Mandal.  

This is the work we continue.  I run a business - Godavari Biorefineries  - And I appreciate what all entrepreneurs do.  But he made us aware of what our responsibility is.  In the way we run our business, and the way in which we use what we have achieved through it.   I am ever mindful of the resolution that he asked us to write.  

Let us all continue to strive to build a better world.

शुभ दीपावली 

समीर सोमैया 

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