The establishment of the first Ashram occurred in 1971 on the banks of the river Sabarmati in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. This main Ashram heads the various activities as well as the numerous subsidiaries run by the many organizations formed by Pujya Bapuji (endearingly called 'Bapu'). As of April 2000, there were over 111 Ashrams all over India and 1200 meditation centers operating throughout the world. The Yoga Vedanta Ashram in Matawan, NJ, USA is also rapidly growing. Each Ashram is a secular center that serves as a lighthouse with Pujya Bapuji’s enlightening presence and peace giving words serving as a beacon to all souls lost in the turbulent ocean of the world. There is also a special women’s Ashram in Ahmedabad. The philosophy here is that every woman is a goddess in human form, who needs to awaken her potential strength. The world needs women with great character to build a great future for the next generation. These wise, hardworking women residing in this 'Mahila-Ashram' (Women’s Center) devote their time to ‘Sadhna’ (spiritual practices) and 'Seva' (service to Ashram) under the guidance of the honorable mother Laxmidevi. One example of their seva is to prepare invaluable Ayurvedic medicines such as 'Sant Kripa Churna' (taken for a healthy mind and body) which the Ashrams distribute by the millions all over the world.
The aim of all Ashrams and Yoga Vedanta Samitis is to show the path of real peace and happiness to the masses. Their involvement in various activities are targeted towards the spiritual, moral, educational, and health related uplifting of the society. These organizations provide financial aid to the poverty-stricken as well as engage in many humanitarian relief efforts. All the Ashram and Samiti efforts are carefully scrutinized and diligently managed with Pujya Bapuji at the helm.
Meditation Intensives for Aspirants and Students (Shaktipata and Vidyhyarthi Shibirs)
'Shaktipata Shibirs' are organized in different Ashrams throughout the year. For a schedule, click here or inquire at any of the Ashrams. During these 'shibirs' or intensives, an aspirant gets the benefit of Pujya Bapuji's 'Satsangs' (spiritual discourses) and rare proximity. Pujya Bapuji bestows divine love through the Shaktipata (Transmittal of Divine Energy), enabling the aspirant to enter the mysterious world of Kundalini Yoga through meditation.
Aspirants gain knowledge on how to deal with obstacles that they may encounter on their Yogic Spiritual Journey. Pujya Bapuji conveys the highest spiritual truth in the simplest, easy to assimilate language. After attending these shibirs many people have experienced a change in their attitude towards life and have gained a new self-confidence, inner peace, equanimity and freedom from stress.
Pujya Bapuji asserts that the future of a society depends upon the younger generation. That is why, 'Vidhyarthi Shibirs' (Student Intensive Camps) are often held to instill moral, ethical and spiritual values in today's youth. Children learn yogic stretching and breathing exercises (Yogasanas and Pranayamas). Pujya Bapuji delivers very appealing and pertinent Satsangs on various topics such as health, hygiene, Vedic Philosophy and realizing ones own divine potential. Pujya Bapuji bestows upon students the 'Saraswatya Mantra', an acclaimed 'mantra' to enhance their mental efficiency, productivity, creativity and intellect.
Participating parents have widely welcomed these special intensives organized by the Ashram. Therefore, other parents are strongly encouraged to send their children to these camps at least once.
Temple for Spiritual Practices (Maun Mandir)
Some of the Ashrams have Maun Mandirs (a Temple for Silent Spiritual Practice) which provide serious aspirants an opportunity to stay in complete seclusion and peace for seven or more days. This facility is highly recommended for those aspirants who want to experience rapid spiritual progress. These Pyramid-shaped Maun Mandirs in the Ahmedabad, Indore and Agra Ashrams have rendered fantastic results in the seekers’ spiritual journey. Due to increasing demand, aspirants who wish to use this facility should register well in advance to avoid inconvenience. For further information please contact Ahmedabad or the nearest Ashram.
Charitable and Educational Activities
Bapuji's concern and compassion for the poor, needy and less fortunate, has found expression through numerous charitable and welfare activities which include the following: Ayurvedic Clinics (Nature Cure and Herbal Clinical Treatments):
Dhanvantari Arogya Kendra, Ahmedabad: Qualified and experienced doctors provide Ayurvedic treatment and medicines to patients in the main Ashrams. Patients are treated for common and chronic diseases like allergies, cancer, diabetes, rheumatism, heart ailments and any other malady. The medicines are manufactured at the production unit in the Surat Ashram. At this Ashram, the farming of the herbs for Ayurvedic medicines is also a part of its activities. Sai Lilashahji Upchar Kendra (clinic) Sai Lilashahji Aushadh Nirmana (pharmaceuticals):The Ashram’s Ayurvedic pharmacy manufactures high quality Ayurvedic medicines. Many herbal products like shampoo, tooth powder, hair tonics, massage oil and general health supplements are also produced. The doctors also recommend naturopathy treatment through Yoga-asana, Pranayamas and meditation.
Mobile Ayurvedic Dispensary
It provides medical services to underprivileged people living in remote villages and interior tribal areas in India.
Tribal Welfare Program: The Ashram regularly organizes tribal upliftment programs for nomadic Indians also known as Advasi living in remote areas. They are given meals, groceries, clothes, and financial aid in the form of cash. Also, they are provided with medical treatment via the mobile Ayurvedic dispensaries. Pujya Bapuji personally visits tribal areas to help them understand their rich cultural and spiritual heritage. Hundreds of Ashram volunteers assist in the distribution of meals and other necessities. Pujya Bapuji educates them in their own dialect - sometimes by chanting a kirtan and other times through Satsangs which benefit them profoundly. Several tribal welfare programs are ongoing in the states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Orissa in India.
Relief Work for Natural Disasters: Relief work is conducted by the Ashram at times of flood, famine, epidemics or any other calamity. Ashram’s free housing scheme provides shelter for the underprivileged and homeless in various part of India. In 1999, the ashram carried out relief work in cyclone-hit Orissa under Pujya Bapuji’s supervision. It had 80 relief camps in the places where the impact of the cyclone was highest. R K Jain, former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association who has launched the each-one-feed-one movement, spoke highly of that relief activity, noting, "Pujya Bapuji's ashram saved several lives. The team reached the worst hit interiors and in many places it was the first to come to the rescue of the dying." In 1977, the ashram built houses at the village of Tevar in Jabalpur for the destitute who had lost everything in the earthquake. Be it poverty-ridden and flood-hit Bihar, earthquake-hit Maharashtra, Gujarat, the list of places where relief work carries on, is long.
Spiritually Advanced Disciples Impart Morality and Health Living: Some of Pujya Bapuji's select spiritually advanced disciples give spiritual discourses in many villages, cities and countries worldwide. Some travel to rural areas teaching the basics of health and hygiene along with building a moral and spiritual base within the people. They educate students on how to increase their mental capacity through Yogic practices, such as Asana, Pranayamas, meditation and other techniques. Regular Satsang Program: The local sadhaks (spiritual aspirants) group organizes various weekly/monthly satsang (spiritual discourses) programs, kirtan sessions and student camps in India and foreign countries like USA, Canada and European nations. You may contact the Yoga Vedanta Samiti near you for more information. Subsidized Stationery:
Note books with inspirational messages are provided at a reduced rate so that basic school supplies are provided to less fortunate students.
Addiction Free Drive: Very effective drives are arranged, where thousands of people vouch to quit their addiction to alcohol, tobacco/smoking, Gutka (nicotine mix), drugs and even coffee/tea!
Youth Development Seminars are conducted. Home for the Elderly: Recently, Pujya Bapuji laid the foundation stone of a Nursing Home for the elderly (Vruddha Ashram). Here, the elderly can receive the love, respect and food/shelter they deserve.
Audio/Video Cassettes and CDs
Ayurvedic Clinics and Mobile Hospitals- Nature Cure and Herbal Clinical Treatments.
Mobile Ayurvedic Dispensary: It provides medical services to poor people living in remote villages and interior tribal areas in India.
Qualified and experienced doctors provide Ayurvedic treatment and medicines to patients in the main Ashrams. Patients are treated for common and chronic diseases like allergies, cancer, diabetes, rheumatism, heart ailments and any other malady. The medicines are manufactured at the production unit in the Surat Ashram. At this Ashram, the farming of the herbs for Ayurvedic medicines is also a part of its activities. Sai Lilashahji Upchar Kendra (clinic) Sai Lilashahji Aushadh Nirmana (pharmaceuticals):
The Ashram’s Ayurvedic pharmacy manufactures high quality Ayurvedic medicines. Many herbal products like shampoo, tooth powder, hair tonics, massage oil and general health supplements are also produced. The doctors also recommend naturopathy treatment through Yoga-asana, Pranayamas and meditation.
The medicines are manufactured at the production unit in the Ashram. Farming of the herbs for Ayurvedic medicines is also a part of Ashram activities. Ayurvedic pharmacy under the Ashram manufactures high quality Ayurvedic medicines. Many herbal products like shampoo, tooth powder, hair tonics, massage oil and general health supplements are also manufactured.
Satsang and Shibirs (Meditation Intensives)
Satsang Programs are regularly organized in various cities and towns of India where Pujya Bapuji gives spiritual discourses to enlighten the minds of house-holders as well as Sanyasis. Some of Pujya Bapuji's spiritually advanced disciples are trained to give spiritual discourses in several villages, cities and countries worldwide.
These discourses are interspersed with bhajan (chanting), kirtan (hymns), stories based on scriptures like Srimad Bhagvad Geeta, Bhagvat, Upanishads, instances taken from day to day life, Vedanta explained in simple words, tips on natural healthy living, Yogasana and other jewels of wisdom.
Thousands of Spiritual Aspirants taking advantage of a Dhyan Yog Shibir (Meditation Intensive)
'Shaktipata Shibirs' and Satsang Programs are organized in different places throughout the year. During these 'shibirs' or intensives, the aspirants get the benefit of Pujya Bapuji's 'Satsangs' (spiritual discourses). Pujya Bapuji bestows divine love through the Shaktipata (Transmission of Divine Energy), enabling the sadhak (aspirant) to enter the mysterious world of Kundalini Yoga through meditation. The aspirants are also taught how to deal with the obstacles that they may encounter on the path of Spiritual Journey. Pujya Bapuji conveys the highest spiritual truth in the simplest language, using easy to assimilate words.
Special Programs for Youth and Students
Bapuji firmly asserts that the future of a society depends upon the younger generation. That is why, 'Vidhyarthi Shibirs' (Student Intensive Camps) are held every year to inculcate moral, ethical and spiritual values in the youth. Children are also taught Yog-Asana, Pranayamas and discourses are given regarding various topics such as health, hygiene, Vedic culture etc. Bapuji bestows upon the students 'Saraswatya Mantra', an acclaimed 'mantra' to enhance their mental efficiency, productivity, creativity and intellect.
The aim of Vidyarthi Tejasvi Taleem Shibir (Student Intensive Camps) conducted under the guidance of Pujya Bapuji:
1) Personal Development: To build a brilliant and intelligent foundation of students by awakening their dormant strength. Helping in their all round physical-mental-intellectual development with the help of Yogasana, Pranayam, meditation and the wonderful psychological techniques discovered by saints and great personalities.
2) Societal Development: To prepare the students for serving their society, country and the world by generating bravery and enthusiasm in them. Teaching children to respect their parents and making them understand their responsibilities. To build a happier society by saving the students from blindly imitating the west. Helping students develop self-control, moral character, good behavior and freedom from addictions.
3) National Development: To make their mental and spiritual determination strong so that they realize the importance of Indian Culture and make India a Vishwa-Guru (Master of the World) again. To protect the invaluable virtues of youth and make them more alert, persevering, temperamental and patriotic.
Satsang For Prisoners
Shibirs and Satsang programs are also organized in several prisons in India. Bapuji's compassionate & divine words inspire the prisoners to transform prison into a place of worship.
After attending these shibirs many people have experienced a change in their attitude towards life & have gained a new self-confidence, inner peace, equanimity & freedom from stress.
The women prisoners of Raipur (M.P.) and Pune (Maharashtra) being shown Video Satsang of Bapuji & spiritual books being distributed to them for their spiritual & moral upliftment by Ashram Sadhaks
Anti-Addiction Drive "Thanks to Ashram's anti-addiction campaigns, thousands are free from chronic addiction."
Anti-Addiction drives are arranged in various places in India by the Ashram, where thousands of people vouch to quit addiction of alcohol, smoking, Gutka (nicotine mix), drugs and even coffee and tea.
Spreading Universal Brotherhood
Pujya Bapuji preaches the existence of One Supreme Conscious in every human being - Be Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh or anyone else. Pujya Bapuji's spiritual discourses are interspersed with inspirational quotations & stories from all religions. Pujya Bapuji's phenomenal popularity cuts across the barriers of class, caste, religion and all geographical boundaries.
Many foreigners have also joined the Ashram. Morris and Ursula of Switzerland left everything behind in pursuit of the truth. Morris says, "Bapu is not a saint of Hindus only. Pujya Bapuji is a saint of the entire world." Ursula echoes similar sentiments. "I was not happy with my materialistic way of life. I wanted a more meaningful life. I found what was missing in my life when I saw this great saint. After meeting Guruji, I have been able to understand the Bible better. For me, Swamiji (Pujya Bapuji) is the living Christ."
At a programme in Ajmer, Bapuji was felicitated by the khidmatgar of the world famous dargah of the Sufi saint, Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti.
Pujya Bapuji is revered as the living Guru Nanak by thousands of Sikh followers. Pujya Bapuji is a Lok Sant or the saint of the masses.