Swami Vivekananda says ‘I should see God in the specially privileged weaker sections of the society and it is for my salvation that I worship them. They are for our salvation, so that we may serve the Lord, coming in the shape of the distressed, lunatic, and differently-abled. Bold are my words and it is the greatest privilege in our lives that we are allowed to serve God in all these shapes’.
With this inspiring view of Swami Vivekananda, a holy service is being offered in Sudar Illam that houses more than 70 mentally challenged special children (DIVYANG). The Illam was started by N. Dakshinamurthy in the year 2011 and is located in Thirucherai village near Kumbakonam, Tanjore district, Tamil Nadu.
The service was not an easy journey for N. Dakshinamurthy (aged 40) who was born as a younger son to his parents Nataraj, (a carpenter by profession) and Shanthi living at Thirucherai. He developed his spirit of serving society from school days onwards. With such aspiration, he aimed for a productive career, and clearing the civil service exam became his choice for which he left to Chennai.
Amidst his busy preparation, an incident transformed his view about service. He was deeply annoyed and perturbed by seeing some abusing a mentally challenged differently-abled person by words and deeds. Then a series of questions arose in his mind: Who can serve such less privileged sections of the society by accepting and taking care of them by meaningful means? What kind of service can give oneself to have a life of purpose?. What is the meaning of service? Can we see the manifestation of Lord Shiva in these people and do the service to them as pooja? Such a series of thoughts instilled the spirit in him to dedicate his life for full-time service towards these special children. He threw off his professional aspirations and left to hometown to start a school by accommodating four mentally challenged DIVYANG.
Subsequently, he started “Sudar Illam” in the year 2011 in spite of a crippling financial crisis as there were no donors to support the cause. Hence, he has used the materials from his home as well as and sold items for generating money for this cause. His family members also supported him with their little earnings and belongings. As he was unmarried, his parents urged him to give up the illam and to take up a job for leading a family life. As he was determined to
spend his life for this service, he left home, found a tile house on a rental basis, and continued his services with more number of children and persons. Lots of challenges awaited him to run the illam smoothly. People living nearby the illam started complaining, giving troubles, and instructed him to vacate the house. So, he changed the illam to a new place and there he also faced similar problems.
Then, he shifted the illam to a rental building near to Saranathan Temple of Thirucherai and he has been continuing the services since . Presently, the illam housed 70 mentally challenged differently abled persons including some having other challenges such as cerebral palsy and they are aged between 8 to 44. 80% of them have high degree of challenge/affliction and they are not even able to express their urge to attend nature calls or to go to the bathroom.
N. Dakshinamurthy gets up early in the morning around 4 AM, brushes and bathes everyone. He serves everyone to wear cloth, put rudraksham, apply vibhuti and sandal paste on their foreheads and take them to prayer morning and evening. After prayer, breakfast will be served to them. He also teaches them and trains them to do some physical exercises in the morning. To maintain as well as sustain the illam and its services, he started a school through a contract mode. Later, the school owner terminated the contract and owned the school resulting in loss of income. This made the illam in a financially vulnerable state; further, the financial state worsened during the ongoing COVID-19 (corona) pandemic as donors are very few to support regular services. With loans from the bank as well as possible financial assistance from a few of his relatives, he is continuing his services in this illam.
N. Dhakshinamurthy humbly expressed the need to continue and sustain the service and requested the possible support of magnanimous and kind-hearted people by means of providing us the donation to facilitate the opening of fixed deposit to sustain services, utensils, clothes either old or new, medicine, etc. This will support the illam to serve more number of persons besides sustaining the ongoing services. The trust is humbly welcoming kind-hearted people to visit the illam and requesting generous people to support the benevolent charity cause with their possible support. The trust and its special children are immensely thankful to all for the wish to support them and the children are expecting your affection.
Utilization Of Funds
There are 71 inmates in the age group of 8 to 44. The total expenses per month is around Rs 2.3 lakhs including monthly rent Rs 10000, electricity charges ( around 3000 ), salary for 5 staff and 2 cooks, food and medical expenses. The necessary requirements are Generator, CCTV, Audio system, Ceiling fans, Water drums, Hot boxes, Steel shelf, Refrigerator, and some kitchen utensils.
Mr. Dakshnamoorthy told that it
will be very useful if a shed of size 100 feet × 40 feet will be constructed in the backyard. Also, he is trying to lease a nursery and primary school functioning neareŕ to the home. ( This is another school, not the old one already managed by him ).