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Bharat Sevashram Sangha of North America
3490 Route 27, Kendall Park, NJ 08824
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SUNDAY
1. Satsang
2. Bengali & Hindi classes
3. Dance class
4. Yoga class
5. Bal Gokulam

MONDAY
1. Bhagawat Geeta class

TUESDAY
1. Tabla lesson

WEDNESDAY
1. Hindustani classical Vocal

THURSDAY
1. Guided Meditation

FRIDAY
1. Vedanta classes

SATURDAY
1. Yoga class
2. Vocal music & Harmonium
3. Rabindra Sangeet
4. Bhagawat Geeta
6. Special Bengali language
A Pilgrimage to India by By Swami Amarnathananda

Yugacharya Srimat Swami Pravanandaji Maharaj


Usually I go once a year to India to see our motherland and the rapid expansion projects of Bharat Sevashram Sangha all over the country. I go at the time of Maghi Purnima and Shiva Ratri festival. That is the only time I could meet my fellow brother monks where we can exchange our thoughts and experience. However, as soon as Shiva-Ratri festival is over I try to visit as many of our Ashrams as possible. This give me an opportunity to see the improvement of our country and also the rapid expansion work that our Ashram is doing. This is my visit in February 2004.

MUMBAI

This time I traveled by Air India flight which leave from Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey. This flight took me to Mumbai via Paris. Mumbai is a place where people can give you a meal one time, but accommodation is very difficult. It was not easy for Swami Prashantanandaji Maharaj to build an Ashram there. By his hard work, strong determination and by the blessing of Sri Sri Guru Maharaj he was able to build a beautiful Ashram. Mumbai is a densely populated city. It is the business capital of India. Mumbai is also the home of some of Indiaís best hospitals, educational institutions and art centers. Tata cancer hospital is one of them. Cancer patients come from all over India for treatment there. Sometimes they need to stay for many months in Mumbai with there family. Swami Prashantananda recognized the sufferings of these people and arrange accommodation for the cancer patients and their families at the Ashram campus. Now we have almost 50 rooms for that purpose, not only that, Swamiji made their food and traveling situation very easy. Meals are being prepared for them and he has bus and mobile vans that take them to and from the hospital. I was informed that now Swamiji arrange treatment for them right at the Ashram campus.

Apart from cancer patientís accommodation, there is also primary school, eye clinic, temple and general guess accommodation in the Ashram. I flew from Mumbai to kolkata by Jet Airways.

KOLKATA

Kolkata is the state capital of West Bengal and the Head quarter of Bharat Sevashram Sangha world-wide is also located there. I have been visiting Kolkata since 1976. Kolkata is a densely populated city with old tram, buses, man pulling rikshaws, hawkers, old buildings, new buildings, Eden garden, Kali Ghat, Howrah bridge, smoke etc. With all these, it makes it a city of joy. Kolkota is loved by everyone.
In Kolkata, Ballygunge is the home of Bharat Sevashram Sangha. Swami Pranavanandaji Maharaj himself bought this property and built the Head quarter of the Sangha there. He spent many of his glorious days there and introduced many kinds of activities in the organization. His austerities, his sacrifice for mankind, his love for the suffering one and his divine presence made that place a pilgrim center for all of us. In Kolkata, you will find the monastery, Sri Guru Temple, "Pranav" monthly magazine office, publications office, Shiva mandir and the presence of our revered president, Vice president, General secretary and lots of other senior monks. This building is located at 211 Rashbehari Avenue. Again at 219 Rashbehari Avenue we have a cultural hall, students hostel, International guest house, Hindu Milan mandir central office, Gymnasium, hospitals which included outdoor clinic, Pathology, X-ray room, Mobile medical unit etc. Also we have yoga clinic and scriptural study center, meditation room and arrangement of spiritual counseling.

Hundreds of people visit our Kolkata Head office daily for many reasons.

Joka, our 500 Bed Future Hospital Compound :

After Shiva-Ratri Festival, I began my journey out of Kolkata Head office. First I went to see the land, which was acquire to build a 500-bed hospital for the general public. It is located at a place call Joka, which is only 20/30 minutes away from the main Kolkata city. I could see the land is being leveled, compound wall is under construction. Work is going on to finish up the outdoor portion as early as possible. I was astonished and proud to see that huge compound with lots of coconut and mango trees. The Swamiji in charge is Swami Brahmatmananda who himself is a physician. He took me everywhere and explain to me all the future plans. It is mentioned here that one devotee from New York donated $300,000.00 to help with this project. Surely we all will join hand in due time to help with that project.

DIAMOND HARBOR

We have a beautiful Ashram near to the Dimond Harbor railway station. Apart from the temple, monastery, charitable dispensary, accommodation for guests, we also have a big Higher Secondary school there. The High school is very popular and its annual results are outstanding. I observed adults and children continuously entering the Ashram. The local Swamiji mentioned to me that at the time of main festival, almost 20,000 people attend.

BLOCK # 8

Devotees that go to Ganga Sagar can stay there for a night. This Ashram is situated just at the bank of the Ganges. It is actually at the ferry ghat which will take you at the other side of the Island pilgrim center of Ganga Sagar. Vegetable garden, flower garden etc. made this Ashram very beautiful.

GANGA SAGAR

Myself and one of my brother monk took a ferry and cross the Holy river Ganges and dock at the island of Ganga Sagar. From there we took a taxi and went to our big and famous Ganga Sagar Ashram. Just imagine Bharat Sevashram Sangha is the biggest Ashram at Sagar-dwip. By the very hard work of Swami Hanseswaranandaji Maharaj it was possible to build such a huge and beautiful Ashram. We have hundreds of rooms for pilgrims who go to visit Kapil Muni Ashram at Ganga-Sagar. Apart from that we have a beautiful temple, charitable dispensary, monastery, free students hostel, primary school and other facilities. Ganga Sagar Ashram is a masterpiece of Bharat Sevashram Sangha.

MAHISHADAL

We traveled to Mahisadal by road. Mahisadal "Raj-bari", Mahisadal Raj College and Chariot festival of Mahishadal is very famous to all. Swami Muktanandaji Maharaj one of the direct disciple of Swami Pranavanandaji Maharaj build this Ashram. Coconut trees, flower garden, mango grove made this Ashram look like Tapovan. This Ashram also has a charitable dispensary, hostel for boys, temple, monastery and lots of other things. Mahisadal Ashram produced many monks of the Sangha. It is one of the most peaceful places on earth.

HOREKHALI

Only an hour away from Mahisadal Ashram we have another Ashram at Horekhali. This Ashram is famous for itís student hostel. Almost 200 poor boys stay there free of charge. The Ashram provides their food, accommodations, school fees and cloths.
Haldia seaport is not very far from the Ashram. There is a rapid change in that area. Our local Swamiji has a very kind nature.

BARAJORI-GHATSHILA

We came back to Kolkata and left the next day for Barajori-Ghatshila by Ispat express. Swami Shivarupananda the architect of this Ashram was with us. Barajori Ashram and tribal welfare center is around 4 k.m. away from Ghatshila railway station. It is in Jharkhand state. While I was traveling by our Ashram jeep, I recognized the dusty road, Jungle and poverty. Thoughts came to my mind, why Swamiji came in this jungle to build an Ashram? Once I reached the Ashram campus, I was amazed to see what he had done there, it seem that he have build another Vatican city in the jungle. It is a huge compound with 150 acres of land. It has residential school for boys and separate residential school for girls. All are tribal children. All together almost 600 people take three meals daily at the Ashram. These schools and boarding are also free of charge. Childrenís food, clothes, teachers salary, accommodation etc. all are provided by the Ashram. Apart from these two schools, there are 17 Primary schools run by the Barajori Ashram in the deep jungle of Jharkhand. I myself went and visited some of these schools.
There are also vegetable garden, 10 bed hospitals, monastery, guesthouse, handlooms and many other kinds of activities are done by our Barajori Ashram. Thanks to Swami Shivarupananda for his vigorous efforts and his dedicated service.

MIDNAPORE

In Midnapur district of West Bengal we have many Ashrams. I have already mentioned about the Ashram in Mahishadal and Horekhali. We also have Ashram in Midnapur town, Kharagpur and two Ashrams at Jhargram. All Ashrams are doing lots of humanitarian services. They are helping people spiritually, running schools, and standing by the people at the time of need. But I want to tell you something about the Jhargram Pukuria Ashram. This is one of the oldest Ashram of the Sangha.

A tribal community called "Lodha" lives in this area. They are very poor people, because of such poverty they sometimes commit crimes. Bharat Sevashram Sangha runs two schools there for them. Not only that, we have free hostel facilities for boys. There are charitable dispensaries and Ashram also creates lots of jobs for the Lodha people. The Ashram is really doing a marvelous job for these neglected people.

BANKURA
We traveled from Midnapur city to Bankura by train. It was very nice to see the train running through the green field, vegetable garden and villages and cities like Bishnupur etc. Bankura Ashram was founded by Pujjapada Sreemat Swami Arupanandaji Maharaj, a direct disciple of Acharya Swami Pranavanandaji Maharaj. I myself started my monastic life there. Many sweet memories came to my mind. I remembered those days when I was very young and didnít know anything about monk life. Swami Arupanandaji very patiently thought me everything. He showed me how to do Guru Seva, cooking, art of yoga, meditation, puja, how to behave in public, study of scriptures and gardening. Bankura ashram is a beauty to that city. It consists of temple, students hostel, library, guesthouse, charitable dispensary, monastic training center, overall it is a heavenly environment for the devotees. Bankura Ashram does lots of philanthropic activities in this poor district of West Bengal.

JAMSHEDPUR

Jamshedpur Ashram became a symbol of vigor, courage, sacrifice, dedication and pride for all. If I write properly about the multifarious activities of this Ashram, it will be a huge book. At the main Ashram campus on 30 acres of land there are three big schools, high school for boys and high school for girls, English medium co-ed high school and primary schools. There are hostels for poor tribal boys. It is a wonderful view to see around 400 tribal boys growing up in the Ashram environment. There is guests house, monks quarters, a very big beautiful temple, gymnasium, vegetable and flower garden, mango trees, kathahar trees, eye clinic and many more facilities are there.
Outside of the main Ashram campus there are hundreds kinds of activities done by the Jamshedpur Ashram. Leprosy hospitals, general hospitals, schools, hostels, handlooms, building homes for the homeless people, eye clinic, mobile medical clinics, eye operation camp, feeding the poor, helping people monetarily and lots of other works. I would like to mention here that seven days is not enough to see the various services that are done by this Ashram. As I see our Swamiji created many jobs for the local people, I even saw Swamiji giving money and clothes to a very poor man for his daughter marriage. I think it run six to seven hospitals for leprosy patients and general people. The whole Singbhum and Santhal Pargana district is covered by Jamshedpur Ashram.
Thanks to Swami Jnanatmanandaji Maharaj and his group of wonderful monks for their vigor and sacrifice.

RANCHI

Ranchi is the capital of newly created Jharkhand state. Our Ashram is also new there. A property was donated by a doctor family which used to be an old age home. The local Swamiji opened a student hostel for tribal boys. Around 17 to 18 boys stay there. Swamiji is trying his best to make that Ashram beautiful. It is the beginning stage, a time of struggle for money, communication, food and mental tension. I am sure that this young, vibrant and wise Swamiji will do very good there. People will be very much benefited by him.

VAIDYANATH-DHAM

It is a very popular pilgrim place for Hindus. Vaidyanath Shiva Temple is the main attraction there. This temple city brings thousands of people there everyday. Baba Vaidyanath Shiva mandir is one of the dwadash jyotir-lingam we have in India. It is very auspicious, very famous and a very popular temple there.
Apart from that, Vaidyanath dham is the home of "Satsang" head quarter founded by Sri Sri Anukul Tahkur. Also there is Balananda Brahmachari Ashram where Sri Sri Mohanananda Brahmachari Maharaj spent many of his years practicing spirituality. Recently after the maha samadhi of Mohananandaji Maharaj, a Mohan mandir is also being built. There is also a huge and beautiful Ramakrishna mission Ashram there.
Bharat Sevashram Sangha didnít have any Ashram there. Very recently we got a beautiful property just in front of the Mohan mandir. Seven bighas of land and a nice home was donated to us by a devotee. I was very pleased to see this nice piece of land. Lots of projects can be done there. This place needs lots of help from us. Anybody who go to Vaidyanath dham please go and visit our new Ashram and help in whatever way you could to make this Ashram beautiful.

Swami Bhutesanananda a young and dynamic monk is working very hard to make this palce a place of peace.

RAIPUR

From Vaidyanathdham I travel all the way to Raipur, the capital of newly created chhatisgarh state. Bharat Sevashram Sangha runs a beautiful English medium school there. It is a unique piece of property. Local Swamiji is trying very hard to develop and improve this place. We need lots of help there also.
Apart from schools we also have a Milan mandir where our temple and monkís quarter is situated.
From Raipur I went to visit Mana camp. Probably you might remember that at the time of the division of Bengal in 1947 lakhs of people became refugees. Government of India brought thousands of them there in that dandaka forest. Bharat Sevashram Sangha used to distribute relief materials for a long time. The Sangha has a small Milan mandir and are still working among the people there. If I was not there I would have never knew what pain people went through and how they were thrown away from there own home. I will request all of you, please go and see how they are suffering.

JABALPUR

My next stop was at Jabalpur of M.P state of India. The local swamiji was very enthusiastic, he is doing wonderful work there. We have a temple, computer-training center, yoga school, tribal welfare project and mobile medical unit. We also have farmland away from the city, which produces wheat and vegetables. These are used for Ashram inhabitants. We celebrated Vasanti puja there.
From Jabalpur we visited Amar Kantak, one of the most popular pilgrim centers in India. Amar Kantak is the birthplace of Narmada and Son River.

BHUPAL

From Jabalpur we traveled to Bhupal, the state capital of Madhya Pradesh state. Swami Arpitanandaji built a beautiful Ashram there. Swamiji is a very hard working monk and his vision for the future made that place very active. At this Ashram we have Hatha-yoga center and most mentionable is our acupuncture clinic. Every morning almost 30-40 people come for this treatment. Bhupal Ashram also has a monastery and a beautiful Sir Guru Temple.

UJJAIN-KUMBH-MELA

Relief work:
Ujjain Mahakaleswar Shiva mandir is also one of the dwadash Jyotir lingam of Lord Shiva. It is besides the bank of the Shipra River. This year Kumbha Mela was close by. I was desperate to go and take a holy dip in the Shipra River to wash away all my sins.
Bharat Sevashram Sangha does massive relief work at Kumbh Mela. We arrange accommodation for pilgrims, medical clinic, helping people to take holy dip at sacred river, helping people to find their lost oneís, Sadhu sammelan, distributing drinking water and satsang. Our camp is one of the most attractions at any Kumbh Mela. I was very fortunate to be there with my other brother monks and take part in serving the moksha seekers.Delhi

I reached Delhi via Bhupal by train. Train journey in India is very pleasant to me, also it is safe. Delhi is the political capital of modern India. A booming city, it is busy with millions of people. In my monastic life, I myself spend almost fifteen years in Delhi.
Bharat Sevashram Sangha has a beautiful Ashram in South Delhi area. Temple of Sri Sri Guru Maharaj, Lord Rama, Devi Seeta & Laxman, temple of Lord Krishna, Shiva & Durga are all there. There are also beautiful rooms for guests, computer training center, students hostel, medical clinic, Dental clinic, mobile medical unit, religious bookstall etc. are there. Several Prime Ministers of India and many dignitaries have visited this Ashram. As I have heard from local Swamiji in-charge, that plan is going on to purchase a piece of land at Noida area and they will build a modern residential school there.

Conclusion:
With sadness in my heart, it was time for me to leave mother India, my brother monks, Ashrams and the wonderful people. Two of my brother monks came with me to Indira Gandhi International Airport to see me off. There were tears in their eyes and it was also a very emotional time for me. Air India did not hesitate to take me into the deep sky and drop me in a land which I do not belongs to.

I was happy to see the progress of our country and the rapid expansion work that Bharat Sevashram Sangha is doing for the needy people in India.
 AN APPEAL 
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AN APPEAL

Dear Devotees, members and well wishers,

The Bharat Sevashram Sangha was originally founded by Acharya Swami Pranavanandaji Maharaj in the year of 1917. The organization is presently celebrating one hundred years of its foundation.

On this Joyous occasion, the Sangha has taken multifarious social welfare projects throughout India and its foreign branches. We need huge amounts of funds to complete many public benefited projects.

Please mail your Tax Deductable donation to us and we will send your valuable contribution to the right place.

All donations are tax deductible.
Sincerely,
Swami Amarnathananda
Member, Central Governing body, Kolkata, India.
Monk-In-Charge,
Bharat Sevashram Sangha,
3490 Route 27, Kendall Park,
New Jersey 08824, USA.
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