Many people ask why I chose to name my little organization what it is and for those of you that don’t know, it’s after my father. I just had the most brilliant conversation with my father, Zeki Zeren.
A neighbor approached his grandfather, in Turkey and asked him, “Why don’t you go on Hajj?”
To which my great-grandfather replied with, “First of all you’re not the right person to be telling me this, and why should I?”
Neighbor said, “Because it’s what your supposed to do.”
My great-grandfather told my father do not go searching for God in the wrong places, all you need to do is help people and that’s where heaven is. Heaven is helping people. So grounding to know heaven is in each of us, presently.
I grappled for a long time wether I was going to keep the name or “brand” myself to fit societal demands, but it just didn’t fit me. I knew the instant I started officially teaching at the age of 15 that this was a feeling in my body and mind too gratifying to deny.
I watched my mother my whole life diligently care for the sick as a nurse and now she cares for severely disabled children. Children who have no hope to a “normal” life, they depend on machines. She brushes and braids their hair, takes pictures of them with such pride and often tells me, “look how cute she looks today!” When I know 90% of the world would have a hard time even looking at that child.
According to Om Swami, the Sanskrit word for blood is passion, raja.
This work is in my blood and has been for generations. Help people and you’ll find heaven. I don’t care about a brand, this is me. And that’s my father…