An Office Lesson – Story of an Encounter with Sri Kumar
7 November is the birthday of Dr. K. Parvathi Kumar. He was born in Vijayavada (India) in 1945. So in India, they celebrate his 70th birthday, while in the Western way of counting, it is his 69th birthday.
This day has been named the Day of Good Will in his honour, for he has offered his life totally to the service to his fellow beings. If you like to read something about his life, you find some stories in the book “Master K.P.K. – An Expression of Synthesis“.
Below, I would like to share with you an occasion which has left a profound mark in my life.
January 2002, I went for the second time to one of the international group livings organised by Master Kumar in Visakhapatnam. For me, it was during a time of deep transformations: I just was in the process of liquidating the psychosocial counseling centre for refugees which I had managed during more than 7 years. I had to dismiss the entire team and didn’t know if I also would soon be dismissed. For the time being I was working as a scientific collaborator and, with a small percentage, coordinating web publications. It was the time of Pluto transiting my sun….
The title of the seminar was “Meditation – A Way of Life”. One morning, Sri Kumar invited me to come with him to his office. I was very much thrilled. He drove the car himself. It was strange for me seeing him so “down to earth” – I knew him more as the brilliant lecturer at seminars.
At his office Soudamani, where he worked as a chartered accountant, he presented me to his team and went with me to all the office rooms. He explained what the individual staff members were doing and also showed me a little shrine in front of the building where they daily did a small puja before starting to work. And there was a beautiful Ficus Religiosa which was regularly decorated and worshipped.
Then we went into his office room and he invited me to ask. I asked him some questions about the beginning of his WTT presidency and of another difficult situation of the WTT he had gone through, and he very openly explained to me the backgrounds which I didn’t know before.
He spoke about the principles which guided him in his office work – that he never charged anything for the accountancy work he did – some persons, for whom he had done a lot of work just said “thank you” and gave nothing, others, whom he had just given some small counsel, had given a lot. Without expecting anything, he accepted what came in. He also told me how his father had chosen this job for him – he had other ideas but accepted his father’s advice and thus became a chartered accountant. And he told me how the three offices he was directing had developed – one in Visakhapatnam, one in Hyderabad and one in Chennai – with over 60 collaborators at that time – and how he was also committed in the formation of young accountants. And he described how he integrates his professional activities with his wife and family and the increasing demands from the work of the WTT.
I was profoundly impressed. With a meticulous, loving attention he cared for the many different dimensions of his life, without neglegting anything. I felt, this is really a role-model for me – integrating all the different planes. I think, over 2 hours had passed, when he drove me back to the Retreat Centre.
Four months later, I got a new job at the headquarters of Swiss Red Cross, where I became the head of the newly created Web Office and where I served for over 11 years. And in the same month, at the May Call Day seminar in Wengen, Switzerland, he called Sabine and me into the Executive Board of WTT-Global. I got plenty of occasions to learn integrating the different planes of life and points of view, and I felt a continuous support from his side.