When we give, do we give with our whole heart? The whole of us should
be involved. Whatever we do should be 100% performed with happiness, with love. Whether it is in a marriage, with our children,
with our job; 50% from our side and the other person 50%? No, 100%. When we feed our children, clothe them, put shoes on their
feet, educate them – are we being charitable to them? No, they are our children. So also when we feed those who are
hungry, clothe those who have no clothing, educate those who require an education, provide medication for those who need this.
God is within each one of us, it is for this reason that they and us are being fed.
Sri Krishna in the Bhagvad
gita (15:14) says, Aham vaishvaanaro bhootvaa praaninaam dehamaahsritah praanaapaanasamaayukta pachaamyannam chaturvidam –
“Having become the fire of life, as Vaishwanara, I (atma) reside in the body of all living beings, and united
with prana and apana, it is I who digest and assimilate the four kinds of food.”
When we feed some one, we
feed God. In giving the attitude should be of a mother, not charity. Just as our mother when she fed us did not do so as a
In Rikhia, Bihar School of Yoga Ashram 4000 children from the villages around the ashram are fed
lunch in Annapoorna Khestram. This act is performed as giving Prasad to the body of Devi.
The children in the
villages surrounding the Bihar School of Yoga Ashram in Rikhiapeeth had nothing 20 years ago. When I saw the children then
it was a shock to see children who apart from being so thin, barely clothed, no foot wear, dirty & bedraggled, destitute
(it is bitterly cold in winter) had no light in their eyes! Children always have light in their eyes, even beggar children,
are always able to smile and laugh. But not these children, they had given up – downcast head and shoulders, no hope.
They would have nothing to eat for three days! How do we feel if we skip one meal, or if just one meal is late?
Swami Satyananda, through Swami Satsyasangananda set out to rectify this. Not through charity, as charity on its own does
nothing for a person’s self esteem and self-respect. Charity does not allow a person to stand on one’s own two
The children when they came to the ashram for anna daan were taught kirtan, mantras, stotras, English, computer,
yoga. They were seen as vessels of Devi – kanyas and batuks.
The school in Rikhia village did not have very
good teachers or were there at the school infrequently because the children hardly attended and did not do well in school
when they did attend.
However, this soon changed. The Central government sent teachers to the school in Rikhia
as the students started to fare extremely well. Where as formerly most children dropped out of school around the age of 11,
they now started to graduate from high school and some even continued to colleges and trade schools. The local children who
come to the Ashram today are bright, energetic, have their heads and shoulders up and look you straight in the eye and, YES!
they have a shining light in their eyes.
Their parents are given rickshaws – cycle or auto, so that they
have a means to earn a living; sewing machines to earn a living through sewing and mending; taught weaving and pottery; taught
brick making and laying to build homes; taught to till and sow seeds for grain and vegetables, given ploughs and tractors,
tube wells; given live stock to pull the ploughs, for milk and eggs; and numerous other items by which they gain employment
through learning a skill, trade, craft and maintain self esteem and self respect, not just by charity.
and the elderly are not generally cared for in these villages and are left destitute and out casts, so a way to prevent this
is by teaching the elderly and widows Ramcharitmanas at the Ashram and they go there daily to chant. They are paid a pension
to do so. Thus maintaining their dignity and independence.
Swami Satyananda Saraswati created social reform with
what was done and is being done for the children, adults, widows, Seniors of the villages surrounding the Bihar School of
Yoga Ashram in Rikhia. He gave to his neighbors what God had given to him. Hope, opportunity, respect, a chance, love, kindness,
was given as a way to serve God - Seva.
For ultimately what we do in life returns to us.
From the satsang on Spiritual Life, by Swami Satyananda Saraswati, Bihar School
of Yoga Ashram, Rikhia, Jharkhand, India, in the YOGA magazine, Year 9, Issue 11, December 2010, published by Sivananda Math,
Ganga Darshan, Munger, Bihar, India, ©.
www.yogavision.net www.rikhiapeeth.net www.biharyoga.net www.yogamag.net
Article by a sevak, Sannyasin Navvaratri, Satyananda Yoga Center, Austin, Texas, ©.
(512) 266 7753.