We are all very fortunate to be here this pleasant morning. The yajna is coming to a point of culmination, and the most important aspect of this yajna is worshipping the kanya.
The concept of the kanya is not alien to Christianity. In fact, it is an intrinsic part of it. The Virgin Mary was a kanya. A kanya is one who becomes the channel of the Divine Mother. Just as a copper wire becomes the channel for electrical energy, in the same way the cosmic energy, the divine energy, the Mother, can be apprehended through a medium. And the medium is the kanya, the virgin.
In Shakti tantra, the ultimate reality is conceived of as Mother, and certainly the ultimate reality is the mother. The ultimate reality is the mother because progeny begins with the mother. Therefore, this morning we are here to witness this pooja. All of these kanyas are from Rikhia. We have kanyas, ex-kanyas, invited kanyas and senior kanyas. For the last twenty years, the kanya pooja has been going on here. Many of those kanyas have now left Rikhia. In the course of time, the children you see here now will also leave.
All these children are intrinsically related to the ashram. They only go back to their cottages or dwellings at night. The whole morning they are at the school which is next to the ashram. Thereafter, they are in the ashram. They only go home in the evening, at six or seven o’clock, and as soon as it is morning they go out. They are always with the ashram and in the ashram. So we will say they are ashram kanyas, and the ashram feels it, understands it and responds to it.
We have already constructed Annapoorna Kshetram to feed all the kanyas and batuks. It was donated and renovated by a public sector company of India, Bokaro Steel Plant, and it is now ready. In coming years the children will not need to ask their mother for food; the ashram will provide it. The ashram will provide because it is the duty of society to look after its children. It is the duty of society, not the duty of governments or NGOs (non-government organizations). It is the duty of the entire society, and I am society.
It is the duty of society to look after children up to the age of twelve, dwadash varshe bhavet Gauri. After twelve, the parents should look after them; after sixteen or eighteen, the husband should look after them; after fifty or sixty, their children should look after them. But up to the age of twelve it is the duty of society to look after their education, their health and everything else.
I arrived here on 23rd September 1989. Now it is 2009, so I have been in Rikhia for twenty years. Since then the ashram has been successful in looking after the children of Rikhia panchayat.