Ashram of Rikhia in India

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The ashram of Rikhia (India), named Rikhiapeeth, is the " tapobhumi " of Paramahamsa Satyananda Saraswati. He lived there for 20 years doing tapasya or asceticism. During this period, he gave the impulse of a real spiritual quest devoid of selfishness and inspired by an universal and timeless vision to all those who came to meet him.
Swami Satyananda experienced His Maha Samadhi in Rikhiapeeth on the 5th of December 2009 at midnight.
This ashram is now well-known all over the world and it follows Swami Sivananda's motto :

Serve - Love - Give.

The necessity of ashram

The aim of going to an ashram for some periods of time is to enhance the understanding of the basic principles underlying karma yoga, the yoga of action. This path allows us to let the benefits of yoga take place in our lives and to slowly break the mental shell which confines our inner being.
Karma yoga is advised by all the yoga scriptures but it is generally misunderstood or ignored while hatha yoga, raja yoga or kundalini yoga are given more importance. These forms of yoga practices are invaluable tools but they need to be complemented by karma yoga for changing our attitude to daily life.
" Actually, karma yoga can be practiced anywhere at any time. It is not necessary to live in an ashram to practice it. But few understand the basic principle behind it and the necessity of it being performed with the correct attitude. In the ashram you learn how to practise karma yoga and this is very important. Otherwise, you may spend your whole life working for yourself and increasing your suffering, rather than working for others and ending your suffering along with theirs. " (Sree Swami Satyananda)

Organisation of Rikhiapeeth ashram

The ashram Sivanandashram is located in Rikhia, near Deoghar in the State of Jharkhand. The access is easy by train from Calcutta (around 4 hours) or from Delhi (around 16 heures).
This ashram is not only a place to learn yoga or meditation but rather it offers an opportunity to "live yoga". The organisation emphasizes "seva" ( selfless service), which is the accomplishment of karma yoga. Throughout the year, life in Rikhia is also the opportunity to participate in intense bhakti yoga celebrations which associate "poojas" and "havan" (fire ceremony) with repetition of sounds (mantras, bhajans and kirtans) and offerings or bhet (distribution of prasad, gifts). In this way everyone can absorb the powerful vibrations of the place at a very deep level and the continuing presence of Sree Swami Satyananda who remains an invisible guide in daily life.

Swami Satyasangananda, inspiring force of Rikhia Peeth Ashram

Although the resident sannyasins are now in charge of the details of management, Swami Satyasangananda (Swami Satsangi) unremittently inspires the course of events and life. She was appointed as Pithadhiswari of Rikhia Peeth. Her presence acts as a connection with Sree Swami Satyananda, ensuring the continuity of this wonderful spiritual place and a guidance in ashram life.
After experiencing a series of inner awakenings, Swami Satsangi met her Guru, Sree Swami Satyananda. She stayed in a very close connection with him in Munger as well as during his numerous trips abroad. Then she settled near him in Rikhia where she established Sivananda Math mission for the deprived population living in the surrounding area. She is an expert in scriptures and practical applications of Yogic and Tantric sciences. Her personality and life is a concrete living example of yogic principles. She has written books on various topics and her satsangs reflect the deep insight she has developed into yogic and spiritual subjects. Sree Swami Satyananda asked Swami Satsangi to travel abroad in order to spread the yogic spiritual science, replacing Swami Niranjanananda who is based permanently in Munger. She now divides her time between the work in Rikhiapeeth and trips in India and all over the world. She continually looks after kanyas and bhatuks the children from Rikhia and nearby villages (see the description below), and leads the huge ceremonies taking place in Rikhia.

Kanyas and Bhatuks, children of Rikhiapeeth

How can we describe what is happening to the children living around Rikhia... we really have to witness this miracle to believe it ! These children come from very deprived backgrounds and they usually do not have access to education, comfort, spirituality... Sree Swami Satyananda totally changed their destiny. Though he is no longer alive, he is the light of their life. They are inspired by him and they very quickly become perfect channels for their protector's energy. These girls (kanyas) and these boys (bhatuks) learn English and computer science in the ashram. Their role in the ceremonies like Maha Chandi Yagna and Yoga Poornima is amazing. They are everywhere and adults obey them for everything ! They sing mantras, bhajans and kirtans (spiritual songs) for hours and hours without getting tired and they are able to learn Classical Indian dansing within a very short period. These children give food or prasad (gifts) with natural grace and inspiration, they perfectly assume the task of bodyguard as well as of pandit, performing the complex procedures of poojas and havan.
The blog of Rikhiapeeth ashram : http://www.rikhiapeeth.in