Sunday, January 24, 2010

Social Service: At the Bhaktivedanta Ashram.

It was always our constant endeavor to make the Gita relevant to modern life. This not only requires interpretation of the Gita as per today's age, but implementing it.

It turns out that a few people have put into practice parts of philosophies related to the Gita and other Hindu scriptures into practice. One such set of people have stood true to Rishi Kindamb's philosophy of the debts of life. Having attained literacy (equivalent of 'truth' in the hyperlinked post), these people are returning it to the society just as advised by Rishi Kindamb. While our certainty of aiding them remains doubtful, the least we can do is to catalog the list of societies/institutions that are linked to public service and welfare (without any expectations of conversions of course) so that we can do our bit in spreading awareness about them among people who are suitably placed in helping them.

In every branch of the Bhaktivedanta Ashram we give special focus to organizing programs for needy children living around our Ashrams. The programs contain a variety of activities, including school lessons, spiritual classes on the Bhagavad Gita, bhajans and kirtans, art classes, games and recreational activities. At the end of each program the children are fed a healthy and nutritious meal of prasadam (sanctified food offered to God).

Our first children's programs were begun in Orissa at our headquarters, where we had started an informal school for poor children from nearby areas around our Ashram. In a very short period of time around 150 children were attending this program each day. Many of these children would previously spend their time begging, rummaging through garbage piles, and doing other such activities. One by one we met with these children and spoke to them about the importance of their life and convinced them to change their lifestyle by taking interest in learning and spiritual activities.
Read more from the hyperlinked photograph.

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