Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama
by Rabindra Sahu
March being a busy time at the ashram, we were expecting a large number of people on campus, including many groups. As the news of worldwide pandemic started pouring in from all corners of the world, our visiting sadhakas during March were worried about their loved ones and about their safe return to their homes. We were forced to cancel all future registrations as their safety and wellbeing became our top-most priority.
The Indian Government had wisely and unexpectedly announced a nationwide lockdown on all forms of travel from March 22, 2020, and we rushed to rebook travel arrangements for the sadhakas on campus.
During this time, as people from all nationalities realized that both domestic and international flights were being cancelled on short notices, most had to rebook flights multiple times and our Mandala Office turned into a makeshift travel advisory office.
As March 22 approached us, most of the sadhakas were able to leave for home safely; however many were asked by their governments to self-isolate for 14 days and were happy to continue their practices in the quietness of their loving homes.
For those of the sadhakas who were still on campus on March 22 due to unavailability of flights, a great opportunity was awaiting. As a complete national lockdown was announced soon after, we came together for exploring our readiness and to support the daily operations of the ashram without our regular staff members.
All the ashram residents and guests with great enthusiasm and selflessness divided work amongst themselves. It was a beautiful time as the ashram functioned more in line with an ancient gurukulam. We all cleaned the campus, maintained our beautiful garden, and cooked food together.
With the ever-changing global scenario, we also went through a difficult phase in terms of accepting those changes, thereby changing ourselves accordingly. This provided an opportunity for self-reflection and self-examination; examining our fear, the fear of uncertainty, the fear of the unknown.
Everywhere we have seen how people have lost jobs and have had to seek shelter from governments and charitable organizations. In India and Rishikesh too, the daily wage earners suffered a loss of income, and hence the ability to provide for their families. At this time, we decided to support them and provided bags of groceries to the daily wage workers, poor and underprivileged. Each of these kits contain enough rice, Indian lentils (dal), wheat flour, salt, sugar cooking oil, various spices and soap for each family. The average cost per bag is around INR 1,000. We would like to think that they also received a silent blessing from the Himalayan Masters with the food. Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG) has already distributed 586 food kits across Rishikesh and another 1000 kits to the local Government for further distribution with a total budget of around INR 1,500,000/$20,000.
If you would also like to contribute in this effort, you may make a pledge to support any number of families or in terms of how much grocery you would want to contribute. Kindly contact SRSG at firstname.lastname@example.org with a CC to Rabindra Sahu at email@example.com for more information.
At the feet of the Himalayan Sages,
Rabindra Sahu serves as General Manager of Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG).