A Strategic program to address two of the most pressing problems of India : Hunger & Education. The Government of India has made education for children in the age group of 6 to 14 years compulsory, but poverty prevents the underprivileged from getting full value of their educational experience.
Hunger obstructs education as children are forced to leave schools and take up menial jobs. Lack of education curtails opportunities for development and leads to the vicious cycle of poverty and hunger. Education empowers a child to explore his potentials and earn a decent living and live a respectable life in our society.
Radhanath Swami under ISKCON FOOD RELIEF FOUNDATION, has resolved to liberate the underprivileged from this vicious cycle by feeding the poor with sanctified and nutritious food.
Govardhan Ecovillage is situated on 50 acres of pristine farmland in the Wada district of Maharashtra. Although its rustic charm and sylvan ambience belie the fact, it is only a two-and-a-half hour drive north of Mumbai, South Asia's economic powerhouse. The addition to the community of the Lady Northcote Hindu Orphanage in 2002 brought the total number of residents to 100 (130 including our bovine friends).
Govardhan Farm aims to demonstrate the principles of self-sufficiency and localized economy to the world. In consultation with organic farming experts, all inputs and outputs are natural, and only indigenous varieties of grain are grown. Instead of chemical fertilizers, we employ cow dung and natural compost. Cow urine and neem oil serve as organic pesticides and bulls are favoured over machinery for ploughing.
This century old orphanage saw a spiritual revival in 1987 when Radhanath Swami was requested by its trustees to inspire its vision of teaching spiritual values to its childrens in the modern times. Radhanath Swami helped expand the services to cater to underprivileged children from the entire state of Maharashtra.
To provide children with more natural and spacious surroundings, the orphanage was shifted from Mumbai to a fifty acre farm with roomy and airy dormitories, classrooms, a large playground and a garden.
Although modern medicine is making tremendous advancement in disease management, there are many cases that reach a state of incurability. Death is inevitable but arrives slowly, accompanied by severe pain, discomfort and emotional crisis both to the patient and the family. Globally, hospice is a facility for such end stage patients who do not need active medical intervention for cure.
Vrindavana Institute of Palliative Care is hospice center that offers terminally ill patients comfort and highest possible quality of life in the serene environment of the Hindu holy town of Vrindavan. Pain and physical discomforts are managed by modern medicines, while the patient and the relatives are offered emotional support by counseling and prayers. There is special and personalized care at the time of dying.
Under the divine guidance of His Holiness Radhanath Swami, Bhaktivedanta Hospital runs the annual free cataract surgery camp, the Barsana Eye Camp, in Barsana, Mathura District. The camp aims to serve the people residing in Barsana and the surrounding 120 villages. Due to their extreme poverty and lack of medical facilities, the villagers often lead a life of blindness, caused by cataract.
The Bhaktivedanta Hospital has opened a permanent Vision Centre at Barsana. Featuring an operation theatre and OPD, it aims to treat 3800 patients annually
All the required equipment, medicine, lenses, and microscopes are transported from Mumbai to Barsana. Volunteers combine efforts to build a fully-equipped, sterile operation theatre for two weeks. Children and other patients requiring specialized care beyond the scope of the camp facilities are sent to Bhaktivedanta Hospital in Mumbai, operated on, then sent back to Barsana, free of charge.
"Our true nature only can be realized when our desires and actions are in harmony with our nature..."
Journey Home Book - An Autobiography of An American Swami
-By Radhanath Swami
"Mystic Yogis, and an epic quest through spiritual India"Within this extraordinary memoir, Radhanath Swami weaves a colorful tapestry of adventure, mysticism, and love. Readers follow Richard Slavin from the suburbs of Chicago to the caves of Himalayas as he transforms from young seeker to renowned spiritual guide. The Journey Home is an intimate account of the steps to self awareness and also the penetrating glimse into the hearts of mystic traditions and the challenges that all souls must face on the road to inner harmony and a union with the Divine.
Through near death encounters, apprenticeships with advanced yogis, and years of travel along the pilgrim's path, radhanath swami eventally reaches the inner sanctum of india's mystic culture and finds the love he has been seeking. It the a tale told with rare candor, immersing the reader in a journey that is at once engaging, humorous and heartwarming.