In the initial days of renunciation, during my tour of India, I saw social institutions of the whole nation from quite close. I saw orphanages and also some dedicated people managing them. They used to serve the children with a lofty sense of service. During the day time they would accompany the children and by the dusk they would return to their homes. While in the night it was a time for other children to sit on the lap of mother or grandmother and listen fairy tales, these children would be isolated. Their life, in a way, tied in a well organised arrangement, would sleep with eyes bereft. On visits of bigwigs, these children would be made to stand in rows; clothes and fruits would be distributed. They all would spread their hands and accept them. These children were made to hail the donors with loud voice. This type of scene would hurt my heart. It would seem as if the donor wanted to exhibit his magnanimity and the ignorant child suffered a sting of helplessness. Why should they be made to stand in rows? Why should we make them to feel helpless by making them spread their hands ? Can'twe make them to sit on our lap with affection and offer them something? On seeing them I felt, whatever arrangements were given to them in the Ashram, without a clasp of love their lives were just dry.
I also saw some Nari Niketans (women'sorphanages). After demise of husband or due to being unsheltered by a drunkard husband, some sister can avail a shelter there; but it could never alleviate the pain of detachment from a smiling and joyful family. Worry of toiling throughout an unendingly long life would be clearly visible on her face.
While I saw the Old Age Homes, my heart shivered. In a country wherein lineage of obituary to ancestors is still alive, if parents have to live in some Old Age Home, then there can not be anything worse than this. On witnessing them yearning for their grandchildren, my heart cried out from its depth. I felt that my renunciation should not limit to the boundaries of Mutts and Temples; rather, I should do something for these have-nots. For them they were working on some arrangements, but they were not sufficient. They supported them somehow, but they were lacking in someway. It was felt extremely necessary to fill the void inside with love and affection. Pitiable situation of children, women and old mothers had shaken me inside. I thought, why couldn'tthese three classes of the society?living away from love and affection, be brought together; without naming that place Ashram but by knowing it as a home where all of them would be complementary to one-another. It meant, a child would get a lap of a loving mother, the lap of an alienated woman would be filled with playful screams of a child and the old mother would feel as if in heaven by having these all. From here itself that emerged the project?Vatsalya Gram. On divine inspiration of my Gurudev and great saint namely Swami Paramananda Giriji, foundation stone of Vatsalya Gram was laid.
With co-operation of some determined brothers and sisters, the Vatsalya movement emerged in a small home of New Delhi which ever went ahead, attaining several landmarks. The home became too small on account on joining of new children. The novel idea of Vatsalya movement had occupied its own place in the nation by then.
Emanated from the pious land of Vrindavan, the noble stream of Vatsalya went on replenishing India and spread all over the world. Due to boundless grace of the God that the soul gets a human incarnation and earns wealth and the one who is loved by the God spends his wealth for the cause of others. In fact, the whole universe is a playground for the great Father. Happiness and unhappiness, benefit and loss, life and death are all parts of life. Have-nots and haves are equally loved by Him. So soft is His heart that a rich man offers Him golden footwear and He lifts a poor man on to His lap to cross a thorny way by wearing that golden footwear. A single drop of tears of a poor is enough to shake the heart of the God. He makes several efforts to fill the void of his life somehow.
Vatsalya Gram At A Glance
Vatsalya Residential Campus?Gokulam
It is a place, well equipped to accommodate families. Every two-storey build has five rooms for one family. It contains three bed rooms, a drawing room, a kitchen, a dining room, a store, lavatories and an open lounge in the center. All rooms are well ventilated. In every family are four sisters and three brothers lead by a mother. With an aunt all children enjoy the lap of the grandmother and experience completeness of a family and learn initial lessons of life in a cultured environment. So far there are 16 such homes and in total 100 are planned out.
Samvid International School
A proper combination of ancient Indian values and modern concepts of education can enable India to secure its unique place in the world has been the idea behind establishment of the Samvid International School. Built as per the principles of Vastu Shashtra, it complies to the international standards. Large playground and activities thereupon fulfill the needs of growing children for attainment of physical development. Classification in to various standards and teachings by experienced teachers make the education more effective.
Prakriti (Nursery and KG)
Children are taught here in open classes on the lap of Mother Nature. Learning by scientific Montessori methods is the approach resorted to. Scientific games and puzzles provide pleasure.
Aakriti (Std-I TO IV)
The second phase of education essentially shapes the primary stage of life. It is aimed at creating the foundation by means of introducing a right combination of basics of physical and mental development under the guidance of experienced teachers.
Vatsalya Sports Academy
The objective is to enable India to shine out in the field of sports on international level and hence is arranged for systematic training of youth by trained instructors.
Swasti Medical Center
Keeping in view the medical requirements of the villages in the surrounding, an indoor hospital with 50 beds and a battery of expert doctors has been established. Well equipped and modern operation theatre, emergency services, ambulance, etc. are also available here. In several eye camps, hundreds of patients of cataract have been operated free of cost and free medical camps are also arranged. Efforts to reach out medical services to the interior villages through mobile dispensary service are also in the planning.
Vocational Training Center
In present time, earning potential of women has become the key to their independence. They also contribute to the development of nation thereby. Keeping this idea in the backdrop, vocational training is designed for the women of financially backward regions at ?Geeta Ratan Vocational Training Center?. Art, painting, bakery skills, candle manufacturing, food processing, etc. are taught here with an expectation that it would help them sort out their financial problems.
Meera Madhav Nilayam (Atithi Grah)
?Atithi Devo Bhav? is a great ancient tradition of India. The idea is to serve the visitors of Vatsalya Gram. In the same premises has been founded the foundation stone of Meera Madhav Temple.
In order to prepare clean and healthy food, a modern dining room Shree Annapurnalaya has been established.
Hostel and Staff Quarters
For accommodation of students belonging to various parts of India, a hostel in two parts and a staff quarters are planned out. The objective is to make the students feel of their own in a familiar atmosphere.
?Nanhi Duniya? for Amusement of Children
In addition to studies, students can feel pleased has been the objective behind the Nanhi Duniya. This place being rich with mountains, forests, caves, etc. helps them feel as if on lap of the nature.
National and Social Projects by Param Shakti Peeth
Param Shakti Peeth?Omkareshwar
Amongst the mountains of Vindhyachal, beside the town of Omkareshwar Jyotirlingam and on the shore of river Mother Narmada, a project full of piety is shaped in order to serve the poor and ignorant people in the surrounding. In every three month a huge medical camp is organised in which free treatment is offered to the patients and thousands have been benefited so far. An ideal gurukul for girls is envisaged here.
Rashtra Raksha Sutra Bandhan Yatra
A novel programme has been initiated by the daughters of Vatsalya Gram which has been applauded by the President of India. Every year a Yatra to the borders of India is arranged by the daughters which is known as Rashtra Raksha Sutra Bandhan Yatra. Representing all castes and creed, these daughters go to the last camps of the army to tie Raksha Sutra on the wrists of their brothers serving the nation. This program full of spirit of nationality provides new solidarity to the vigilant soldiers of India.
Considering seriousness of the situation, Param Shakti Peeth has initiated a nationwide movement against female foeticide. By means of Katha and lectures I have urged the people to awake. Wherever I go, I raise this issue before the mothers and sisters. I think, the nation is gradually appraised of this serious peril. I trust, by concerted efforts of all Indians we would surely be able to protect the unborn female children.
(The author is a highly respected Hindu spiritual leader and founder of Vatsalya Gram and can be contacted at [email protected])