Prayer takes you halfway to God,
Penance to the door of His supreme abode,
and Charity procures you admission.
Swami Sivananda Saraswati
Swami Sivananda's life and charitable works are the inspiration behind the silent revolution that has steadily been taking shape in Rikhia since Paramahamsaji's arrival there on September 23rd 1988.
Sivananda Math, the charitable institution which was founded by Paramahamsaji himself at Munger in 1986, during the Centenary Celebrations, as a mark of devotion to Swami Sivananda, his Guru, has now extended its activities of providing relief to the poor of Rikhia, and also of providing you with the divine opportunity of extending yourself outwards to the poor and needy. It invites you to share in this magnanimous act of giving, for the ability to give to those in distress is one of the greatest gifts we can possess, and in return gives us inner peace and joy.
Work is now in full swing in Rikhia. Houses are being made and handed over to the poor, free of cost. Medical aid is being provided free of charge, for which a small and simple outdoor dispensary has come up. Dr Swami Aparnananda Saraswati, MB, BS, from Orissa was deputed to look after this noble work and over two hundred patients are attended to daily. Mr N. C. Hira from Bombay has undertaken the entire cost of treatment for two T.B. patients. Cases which cannot be handled due to inadequate facilities are referred to Calcutta, Bhagalpur, Munger, and expenses are met by Sivananda Math.
In addition to this, free clothing is distributed daily. Blankets, sleeping bags, quilts, woollens, jumpers, T-shirts, shirts, trousers, saris, dhotis, lungis, towels, baby clothes, woollen caps, mufflers, shoes and socks are given to those people who have not even a spare set of clothes to put on while they wash what they have been wearing. Rags are all they have, and even in the most bitter winter they have to manage with that.
So, when you huddle into your blankets on cold winter nights, or when you change into a fresh set of clothes in the hot summer months, spare a thought for those who are less fortunate than you. This is a great opportunity for those of you who have in abundance to send clothing for the above-mentioned who have nothing.
You may send new and also used clothing according to your means, but please do not send torn and tattered garments. Send only that which you yourself would be proud to wear, or else you will be no different than Nachiketa's father who used to give only his sick and worn-out cows in offering. If you do not know the story then ask any sannyasin, or else read the Kathopanishad.