Spirituality should be the basis of life. It is the first thing that children should be exposed to. Spirituality is the practice that teaches you how to think about the unthinkable. God is unthinkable. Spirituality is thinking and talking about somebody who is unthinkable. Children must be exposed to spiritual life first, especially in India.
India is a land of information technology. Not modern information technology, but information about Him. For millions of years India has given that information to the whole world about somebody whom nobody has seen. We are the masters of IT and the body is the factory, the body is the computer, the body is the machine. All the information is here within. Kabirdas has said,
There are seven seas within this water pot (body), some are sweet, some are salty. In this body there are nine hundred thousand jewels, some are emeralds, some diamonds, some pearls. O avadhoota! There is blinding darkness within this pot. The creator is sitting within.
The creator of the universe is within you. India gave this information to the world millions of years ago in the Vedas, and it is this technology that the future world will think about. When the end of modern IT comes, the knowledge of the Vedas will emerge. People will ask: Who is God? Where is He? Why is He? Or is He? You will want to understand who God is, where God is, is God original?
In the Rig Veda, the most ancient book of the Indian civilization, a rishi asks the question in the Nasadiya Sukta: “Is He or is He not? If He is, does He know that He is?” Nobody has seen the Paramatma, the Supreme Self. The seers and sages did have a vision and they told the world about it. Those seers and sages resided in India. They performed yajnas on the banks of the river Saraswati. The Vedas were compiled and created by them.
To begin with, teach the vidya or knowledge of the paramatma to children. Teaching children about God will be beneficial for them, otherwise they will go astray. This is a great dream we have, but how can we manage it? Because we are sannyasins, nothing belongs to us. We do not own property, or have relationships, family, bank balances, a wife or children. We do not have attachments. But sometimes, somewhere, we are with people and we have certain feelings for them. When a flower grows, it wafts a fragrance and people like it. Wherever a sannyasin lives he has to waft the fragrance of knowledge. That is what we thought about doing here and it has been working.
All our ashram children understand everything I have said. They are twelve and thirteen years old and have been trained here. They are all children of the ashram, and the ashram has a dream for them which is gradually coming to fulfillment. But they are not yet fully our children. Parents should be able to feed their children, take good care of them and look after their health, which the ashram is not able to do. I am not giving you a hint. No, Swami Satyananda never gives hints. I do not need your assistance. Destiny is my assistance. I have a destiny.
By next year we will be feeding all the children daily at Annapoorna Khestram. You will find all four thousand children of Rikhia and also others from outside having chow mein for lunch. Annapoorna Khestram is being constructed by Bokaro Steel Plant, a renowned Indian company. The land and property has been donated and it will be ready in a year’s time. The ashram will be honoured to give prasad to the body of Devi.
Sri Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita (15:14), Aham vaishvaanaro bhootvaa praaninaam dehamaahsritah praanaapaanasamaayukta pachaamyannam chaturvidam – “Having become the fire of life, as Vaishwanara, I (atma) reside in the body of all living beings, and united with prana and apana, it is I who digest and assimilate the four kinds of food.” Together they digest the food you eat, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When you feed somebody, you feed God. Don’t have charitable instincts, have motherly instincts. I am not giving charity, I am feeding little children. They are my children, so how can I be charitable towards them? Are you charitable to your children? No. I am feeding them because God is in them, in the form of Vaishwanara. It is Sri Krishna who is telling you this, not Swami Satyananda.
We have done a lot of experiments with food here, because we have a big ashram where a lot of people eat every day. Idli and dosa are supposed to be the best of all foods. Steamed food is good for heart patients and suits everybody’s digestion. If you feed children idli and coconut chutney, they will not need roti and dal. Besides idli and chutney, we have experimented with other healthy foods for the children, such as sambhar, which includes many types of vegetables and dal, all the proteins and minerals. Sambhar contains tamarind, which has a cooling effect. Tamarind trees are found in hot climates. We have many in the ashram and there are a large number in South India. Tamarind is beneficial in hot, dry climates as it provides moisture.
These children will be the Indians of the future, in fifteen years when we will be no more. The dirty stuff will have gone and the new stuff will come. Anywhere, in any part of the world, this stuff should first be exposed to spiritual life. The children of Rikhia are exposed to spiritual life and through them their parents are also exposed to spiritual life. Their parents cannot come to the ashram because they are very poor. They go to cities like Deoghar, Asansol, Vardhavan and Kolkata to do all kinds of jobs, such as pulling rickshaws. They cannot come here, so it is through the children that the spiritual message is reaching them.