Educational Activities

The Gift of Knowledge

Paramahamsa Hariharananda was involved in many philanthropic activities in Puri and other places in India. In collaboration with others, he established educational institutions and spiritual centers. He was the guiding force for the foundation of Chaturdham Veda Pathashala, a school for the study of Sanskrit and scriptures. The aim is to establish educational institutions to help eradicate illiteracy within society, to inculcate a spirit of fearlessness and dedication among men and women, and to train and inspire them to work for the moral and spiritual upliftment of others.

Advancing a Legacy of Love and Service

Yukteshwar Vidyayatan - After building the beautiful, secluded ashram Yuktashram for meditation and spiritual practice in the village of Bhisindipur, Paramahamsa Hariharananda recognized the need for a school for the impoverished children who otherwise had to walk miles to attend the nearest one. In 1973, he arranged for the construction of the school and paid the teachers’ salary for more than ten years, until the government officially recognized the school and began to pay the teachers. The school has four classes from grades five to eight and more than 160 children are enrolled each year. Throughout the years, hundreds of children have been educated, and their lives have been enriched, as a result of this work of love. More than thirty years later, in honor of Paramahamsa Hariharananda’s centenary year and to continue his message of love and service, one of the charitable projects was to renovate the existing school building.

Hariharananda Balashram, Pattamundai, Orissa

Balashram is an English medium school, and provides classes in Hindi, Oriya, and Sanskrit languages, technical studies, life-skills training and scriptural teachings. The educational curriculum is in accordance with Central Board Secondary Education (CBSE) standards. Its mission is to provide basic education to poor and underprivileged children irrespective of caste, religion, or gender. Every year forty nursery-level children are enrolled. Read more about Hariharananda Balashram.

Building India's Tomorrow

TheYouth Orientation Program (YOP) is a regular feature at the Balighai ashram. Today’s young generation is increasingly losing direction and traditional values are suffering as a result of an increasingly materialistic culture. The YOP, held on 5 occasions since its inception in 2002, is successfully striving to inculcate healthy living and right conduct in the minds of the next generation. College students, aged between 18 and 21 years, are invited for a one-week free stay at the ashram to participate in the programs. The programs are divided into three areas - Discovery of the Body, Discovery of the Mind, and Discovery of the Soul.

Besides yoga and meditation, monks and speakers from various sections provide inspiring discourses on how to lead a successful life and attain all-round development in life. In its first 3 years, a total of 387 students attended the YOP, with an overall ratio of 65% male students to 35% female students, at a total cost of US$4,000 [Rs180,365]. The YOP began with 55 students in 2003. By 2005, 147 attended and the male-female ratio had almost equalized. Due to its increasing popularity among college principals and students, YOP is expected to continue with 2 trainings every year at an estimated annual budget of US$2,500 [Rs, 110,000].

YOP Program sponsored by Prajnana Mission

Year Program No of students Female students Male students Cost per program in US$
2003/2004 1 55  9  46  693 [Rs 31,175]
  2 27  -  27  466 [Rs 20,965]
2004/2005 3 54  28  26  638 [Rs 28,730]
2005/2006 4 104  33  71 1011 [Rs 45,480]
  5 147 67  80 1200 [Rs 54,015]
Total 5 387 137 250 4008 [Rs 180,365]

 

International Brahmachari Training Course

Towards a Global Population of Universal Citizens

"I believe all religions pursue the same goal of cultivating human goodness and bringing happiness to all human beings. Though their means may appear different, the end is the same."
—Paramahamsa Prajnanananda

This is the central theme of the International Brahmachari Training Course in which people of diverse nationalities, races, religions, and gender are selected from across the globe to participate in the course that prepares them to live a wholesome and integrated life through the practice of discipline, meditation, and moderation. The residential courses to date have been either three or six months long and without any fees. The course offers scriptural classes, meditation, prayer, chanting, discourses, and service. This course is beneficial for people of all faiths, as it offers an opportunity to live a conscious life and resist and transform the increasing challenges of violence of modern society through love and tolerance. Read more about Residential Brahmachari Training Course

Scholarship / Financial Aid to Students in Need

Many poor and physically disabled students are given financial aid to help them continue their studies in schools and colleges. Prajnana Mission gives educational grants to blind and disabled children. Poor and disabled students are given free educational kits and rations. Their academic progress is tested and evaluated periodically. In 2004, educational books and kits were distributed to the students in Yuktashram Vidyayetan at Bhisindipur and other schools. Many of the poor students received financial assistance for their education.

Spreading Knowledge Through Libraries

One objective is to establish libraries and/or undertake publication of books, journals and other periodicals that help in widening the mental, intellectual and spiritual horizon of the readers.

Establishing Libraries: Prajnana Mission has undertaken the responsibility to ensure that students and others thirsting for knowledge can continue their education through having adequate resources of materials available to them. To this end, a number of libraries have been established in honor of Paramahamsa Hariharananda. Some of the library projects were financed in collaboration with Hand in Hand. Five libraries have been constructed and their shelves were stocked with books by the Mission. Books were also provided to other existing libraries.

Hariharananda Library at Prajnana Mission headquarters in Jagatpur was established in 1996 and offers a voluminous book collection of over 5,500 books covering a wide range of subject areas such as Philosophy, Psychology, History, Literature and Social Science and includes rare and special books on scriptures and related topics. Books were collected and donated over the past 25 years by the monks in residence.

Prajnana Library at M.N. High School in Pattamundai, Orissa, was established in 1999. With financial support from Hand in Hand, the Library was purposely built and provides the necessary books and other materials to advance the learning of the students. The library houses over 400 books – over a third of these are textbooks. Used by over 670 students, Prajnana library has proven to be a significant resource at the school. The project cost in total was US$8,889 [Rs 4 lakhs] and all maintenance costs continue to be met by the Mission.

Hariharananda Memorial Library located at Gopinath College, in Balighai, near the famous Konark Sun Temple, is a study facility for the local students. Previously the college had limited resources and could not offer further facilities for the students to sit and study. In 2003, a single storey building was constructed, in honor of Paramahamsa Hariharananda, to house the college library complete with desks and chairs. The library provides a quiet place where students can dedicate themselves to their studies, an opportunity seldom available at home. Books have also been donated and the library houses over 2000 books, including some textbooks. The college has 192 students studying Arts and Sciences at an intermediate level and over 150 students use the library on a daily basis. The project cost was financed by Prajnana Mission and was financed by Prajnana Mission in collaboration with Hand in Hand. Shriyukteshwar Library at Hariharananda Gurukulam in Balighai was constructed in 2004 and carries a wide selection of scriptural teachings in Sanskrit, English, Hindi, Bengali and Oriya languages. The library is fully equipped with up-to-date audio and video facilities and 25 people can sit and study in the library at any one time.

Donation of Books: To help advance the learning of students, donations of books to high school and college libraries is being carried out regularly. From January to March, 2006, through the relentless effort of Ms. Debbie Pennington in USA, Prajnana Mission donated 70 boxes of reference books from various subjects to the libraries that will benefit the most, namely Ravenshaw College in Cuttack; Prajnana Library at M.N. High School, in Pattamundai (400 books); Public Library of Patitapabana High School, in Ambery in the district of Jagatsinghpur (1000 books); Hariharananda Memorial Library at G.B. College, in Balighai (279); Tulasi Mahavidyalaya Library, in Kendrapara (103 books); Library of UN College of Science and Technology, in Adaspur, Cuttack (346 books); and many other institutions.

Donation of Physics and Mathematics books: Dr. Sudhir Sen, a world-renowned physicist based in the USA, donated all his valuable physics and mathematics books to Prajnana Mission. His desire was that these reference books be donated to one of the premier educational institutions of Orissa. Prajnana Mission decided to donate these books to the library at Ravenshaw College, Cuttack. On the 4th of February the 21 packages of books were brought to the main Kanika Library of Ravenshaw College. The College’s Principal, Vice Principal, librarian, staff members from the physics department, and others were present for this rare and noble contribution to fostering knowledge in the field of science.

Education in the Community

The aim is to organize cultural activities, conferences and public meetings to impart practical lessons on Kriya Yoga and scriptures for the mental and moral benefit of people in general.

Monks and brahmacharis visit schools and colleges giving discourses on value-based education, teaching meditation, the significance of meditation and prayer, and so forth.

Conferences

At the World Parliament of Religions Conference in 1999 in Cape Town, South Africa, two lectures were conducted by Paramahamsa Prajnanananda, "Alleviation of Poverty: A Spiritual Outlook" and "Yoga: The Hope of the Future."

In 2001, Paramahamsa Prajnanananda inaugurated the national conference sponsored by the University Grant Commission, India, with his lecture entitled "Sanskrit, a value-based education, and its relevance in present society."

"A Celebration of Love and Peace": During the centenary year (2006 to 2007) of Paramahamsa Hariharananda, more than 108 celebrations, which included conferences on world peace and other humanitarian concerns, interfaith forums, discourses on a variety of spiritual topics, were held worldwide in his honor.

  • In Frankfurt Germany, there was the "International Peace Congress 2006: Spiritual Approaches Today for more Peace and Tolerance."
  • In the USA, the Kriya Yoga Institute organized two conferences on creating peace in our lives and in the world. The World Peace in Miami, Florida, "Peace is our Birthright: Creating a Unified Vision for World Peace" and the conference "Living Together in Community - Living Together in The World" were held to help promote peace and inter-cultural understanding through a non-political forum where recognized leaders in a variety of traditions could expound on their views to the challenge of creating a better world.
  • In Holland, an inter-faith forum, entitled "God is One, Religions are Many," an expression often said by Paramahamsa Hariharananda, with spiritual leaders from various religions.