Blagovest Belchev (born in 1960) is a different Bulgarian benefactor. He is a successful businessman and at the same time he is the founder and director of the “Diamond Tree” Association whose purpose is providing assistance for people who are blind, deaf-mute, people with disabilities, children without parental care and lonely elderly people. At the same time the Association publishes books and organizes seminars on spiritual topics. This is what makes Blagovest different – he has found the roots of charity in the spiritual development of the man through the ancient knowledge of the Vedas. He is resolved to help as many people as possible to live in harmony with the divine laws.
Blagovest Belchev became a national celebrity in 2013 when he organized a rather intriguing volunteer initiative in Sofia. Near one of the largest park of the Bulgarian capital there was a care home for blind people, whose habitants could hear the birds singing in the park, but could never venture there due to no one being there to accompany them. At that time Blagovest was leading yoga classes for them once a week, as a volunteer. When he learned of their woe he decided to invite volunteers who would make their dream come true. The interest for the cause proved tremendous and all big medias reported on the initiative. And through the aid of hundreds of volunteers the initiate continues even today. Furthermore, Blagovest and his associates are organizing a number of charity initiatives such as regular visits to care homes for the elderly and children without parental care, visits to the theatre with blind people and children without parents, discussions, yoga- and meditation sessions for blind people, donations for children with disabilities or without parents, the elderly, the blind…
Blagovest himself has a long history in charity, volunteering and philanthropy. He admits that some 20 years ago he was a common man, focused on the material world. His divorce with his first wife became the reason for a deep-reaching catharsis and inspired his quest for the meaning of life, his purpose as a person, how to be happy and helpful to the others.
„The wise books say that everyone who seeks, finds and that to everyone who knocks, the door shall be opened. So my quest achieved success, which I measure in my reaching an understanding where I could find true knowledge. Few people understand that there are two kinds of knowledge. One knowledge is academic, which, in its majority is harmful, and the so called authoritative knowledge, which was relevant 5 thousand years ago, is relevant today and shall remain relevant 5 thousand years from now. And my focus became the striving for such knowledge, understanding the meaning and purpose of the life we have been given. My quest led me to the most ancient knowledge – the Vedic knowledge that was first written down more than 5 thousand years ago. The Buddhism came a great length of time after, and then came the Christianity, and then the Islam. All these religions have those 10 Commandments and they all come down to one and the same things – do not steal, do not lie, do not kill. There, this is it. Because the foundation is one for all.“
THE 10 BASIC VIRTUES FOR HAPPINESS:
1. Protection of life and care for the others
2. Respecting the other’s property and generosity
3. Respecting the relations of others and sexual purity
4. Speaking true and being honest
5. Unifying speech and making people come together
6. Speaking respectfully and politeness
7. Meaningful speech for the welfare of others
8. Being happy for the success of others
9. Compassion and empathy for others
10. Maintaining an adequate view of life
HOW TO DO GOOD?
Blagovest has thoroughly thought over and realized what charity meant according the Vedic knowledge and takes great care in his actions. Sometimes what we think is charity can result in harming both the person we are helping, as well as our own selves.
“My greatest purpose is to practice the supreme form of charity – to share the Vedic knowledge with those who need to understand something helpful and true. To popularize the simple rules how to live simply, helpfully, without bringing harm to oneself or any other living creature, to be happy and to complete our purpose, which we have been given along with our human bodies.“
“All men want to change the world. They all seek to change it for the better. Few know how to achieve it. How? From within! All men want to change the world from the outside. No, it doesn’t work. The only way possible is by personal example. By showing others that this really works as it was written in the wise books, that by becoming a good example for our children, our close ones, our friends we are changing the world. Because if we advance, all around us, slowly or swiftly, advance too. If we degrade, those around us degrade. This is the only option possible and we can do it all from the inside.“
WHAT IS SOLIDARITY?
According to Blagovest the most important thing is to live in solidarity every day, to help each other, to share the knowledge and so to avoid crises and disasters.
“Very few people, less than 1 % of them show solidarity. And that happens when a catharsis occurs, some catastrophe. Only then. Why do we need a catastrophe to show solidarity? That is the question. So I do not think of that word, because I know that if people come to live in the right way, which would be one pleasing to God, then the catastrophe shall be averted. You surely understand that behind every catastrophe hides a plethora of reasons? But the main two are ignorance and nonperformance. So why do we need to become united during cataclysms, when we can unite in knowledge, in coming together for noble causes so that we can popularize the idea that there should be no suffering, no cataclysms, and yet we can remain solidary?“
The website of the Diamond Tree Association
bTV: Volunteers gifting a walk in the park the blind
TV7: Blagovest helps others dream again
TemaNews: Contagious Goodness
Interview, text: Bistra Ivanova
Artwork: Vera Kiss