You may or may not know that as an independent non-profit organization Pariyatti relies on a combination of sales revenue and donations to offer our free and low-cost products and resources. We value every donation and the following anecdote is just one example of how we work together to let no dāna go to waste.
In mid-November 2016 we received a letter from a participant of our 2014 pilgrimage. Enclosed were 8000 rupees, in Rs500 and Rs1000 notes. The kind donor, from Oakland, California, wrote she had found the pilgrimage such a valuable experience that she hoped to return to India one day. She had kept the bills “to make the first few days easier to manage”.
In early November Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi however, announced the demonetization of Rs500 and Rs1000 currency notes - an act that made 86% of the cash in circulation in his country no longer valid. People only had until December 30 to deposit the notes in their bank accounts. Since the donor had no travel plans before then, she hoped we might be able to get the bills to India before the end of the year.
With no time to waste we asked around. It turned out an Old Student of Vipassana, residing in Dallas, Texas, as well as Igatpuri, India, was traveling there on December 23rd. With the Christmas postal rush, our only option was FedEx guarantee. The Old Student carried the notes past two customs and delivered them to our Executive Director in Igatpuri. Deposited before the cutoff the donation was earmarked for our pilgrimage scholarship fund.