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Sivananda Ashram

PROBLEMS OF SPIRITUAL ORGANISATIONS

Spiritual organisations with high aims and objects should be started only by Mahatmas who are absolutely free, perfect and unselfish. If religious institutions are started by selfish people, they become fighting centres and a menace to society and bring ruin to those who are associated with the workers. In the long run, through ill-managed Institutions and Ashrams, people lose faith in God and religion and condemn all Mahatmas as pseudo Yogis. Sometimes selfish persons start spiritual institutions as business undertakings. They misguide the people.

Even an Ashram started by a self-realised person, with high aims and objects in the early stages may get polluted later on by mercenary motives. The founders must have extraordinary capacity to serve mankind. Then and then alone can real service be done at all times. When there is lack of interest and Sraddha in householders, it becomes difficult to carry on systematic work. Above all, it is extremely difficult to get workers with ability and devotion. These days aspirants do not appreciate much the value of selfless service. Many of the Ashrams suffer for lack of able workers.

THE ASHRAM GREW BY ITSELF

I never thought of starting an Ashram. When the great rush of students and devotees came to me for spiritual guidance, with a view to render help to them and to make them useful to the world, I created some fields of activities for their evolution and for public good, encouraged them much in their studies and their Sadhana, and arranged necessary comforts and conveniences for their boarding and lodging, using the donations I received from some admirers for my personal use. Thus, in course of time, I found around me a huge Ashram and an Ideal Institution with congenial environment-a big Spiritual Colony-SHIVANANDA NAGAR.

I did not work with big plans or schemes. I did not approach any great person or Maharajah for getting money. The world appreciated the service done here on right lines. A little help came from the divine source and I carefully utilised every cent of it for bringing maximum spiritual good to the world. Several new palatial buildings crop up every year and yet there is lack of accommodation for the inmates and the stream of visitors. At every stage, there was splendid development of work. On many occasions devotees pressed me to undertake propaganda tours for collecting money. That was impossible for me. I take delight in giving and serving all. In 1940, grand arrangements were made for an extensive tour in the Punjab. I sent a telegram at once and cancelled the programme. The telegraphic message conveys the attitude with which I manage the affairs of the Ashram:

"I do not care if the Divine Life Society flourishes or not. If it is the Grace of the Lord and if we carry on our Sadhana and service with the right attitude, Bhava and Sraddha, help is bound to come from Divine Source. Let me do as much as possible by remaining in my own small Kutir on the banks of the Ganga. When the honey is there, the bees will come by themselves. Shun ruthlessly the desire for money."

In a short period the work grew. Regular classes are now conducted on Yoga, Bhakti, Vedanta and Health. Today over 300 students live by my side with all comforts and conveniences, tread the path of Yoga, and serve the world in a variety of ways. Glory to the Lord. Blessed are the aspirants. Students of different cults and faiths come from various countries and stay with me for weeks and months. Devotees from all parts of India come to the Ashram frequently and join the collective Sadhana and Satsanga.


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