A free spirited Puneite, animal lover, Buddhism follower. This encapsulates Mojdeh Farashahi in a nutshell. Having spent a considerable part of her life in a Corporate job, Farashahi was greatly influenced by Buddhist teachings, and so she now is on the path of dedicating her life to making the city a safer place for animals through her NGO Bodhisattva. Which is more than what most of us attempt or think of doing. In a chat with Radhika Sharma, Farashahi gives us a peak into the Buddhist teachings that have changed the course of her life, and of course her pet project.
The drive to be a catalyst for animal welfare
“I am an Iranian born and brought up in Pune city. I love animals; we had many pets growing up. I turned vegetarian 5 yrs ago because I couldn’t tolerate the fact that another being had to die for my food and nutrition. We all desire happiness and wish to avoid suffering. The smallest of creatures have a life force just like yours and mine. Animals help me be the best version of me. They teach me how to love and be in the present! Although my past involves me being a makeup artist/stylist for 10 years and even a stint in PR, right now I am driven by the passion to be a catalyst for change in animal welfare.”
The real revolution is the evolution of the human consciousness
The genesis of Bodhisattva
“The great gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy. Through Buddhism I discovered the Bodhisattva way of life. I had always dreamed of such a platform where it was possible to change someone’s reality and reduce their suffering. Initially it all started with volunteering at various Human Welfare and Animal welfare NGOs. Funds were raised by asking for help and also working independently to reach out to the homeless animals on our streets. It’s a dream come true that I have my own organisation Bodhisattva!
Bodhisattva NGO organizes and associates with street dogs & cats vaccination drives, pet adoption camps, fund raisers/auctions, a blanket drive for the homeless and free medical services for the needy through tie-ups with various leading doctors in the city.”
We are meant to co-exist.
“Earth belongs to all sentient beings and not just humans! For decades we have used animals, exploited them, and loved them even for our benefit and gain.We have seen countless incidents of human and animal interaction which greatly affect personal and professional lives. They play various roles of a friend, companion, benefactor, protector, comforter. Animals are being used in counselling and therapy for humans especially children- they help us heal. ”
The world is changed by our example not our opinions
The Buddhist influence in her life.
“The real revolution is the evolution of the human consciousness. Buddhism can be applied in our daily life and activities. At work it helps me be more compassionate and non-judgmental towards people who inflict pain and are cruel to the animals. Buddhism believes there is a Buddha within us all waiting to be awakened! May all of us be motivated to be better, do better, be of service to others and help reduce their suffering.”
One needs to set and example for people to follow
“The world is changed by our example not our opinions. To encourage people to get into social work we need to set examples in the community for them to follow. Bodhisattva is trying to build a huge database of volunteers in the city. Although social impact & social service is not an everyday priority, we must encourage it through awareness and increased community service. We hope to achieve the same by engaging with the various professionals in our beloved city to would slowly and steadily, make Pune a better and safer place for our happy animals!”