Keeping spiritual growth as the central goal, our beloved Gurudev Paramahamsa Hariharananda spent his entire life for the betterment of humanity. He lived by the maxim:
‘Feed the hungry, teach the students, nurse the sick, and give solace to the distressed.'
Throughout his life, Paramahamsa Hariharananda served many people, individually as well as collectively. While he stayed at Karar Ashram, in Puri, he opened a charitable homeopathic dispensary to treat students and socio-economically disadvantaged people. He took in many poor children and orphans, providing them with shelter at the Puri ashram and ensuring their education. When seeing the misery and distress of many poor, old, widowed women he helped establish an ashram for these women, with facilities for cottage industries that provided not only employment for them, but also a good, safe and healthy atmosphere where they could live a dignified life.
The aim of the Kriya Yoga International organizations is to render philanthropic services to distressed and vulnerable sections of society, to promote feelings of fraternity among people irrespective of caste, class, nationality, religion and gender, and to promote unity and integrity within society and the nation. Charity allows us to step up from a spirit of disparity and differences to the path of humanity with humility, which leads to the realm of divinity.
Hand in Hand, a non-profit charitable organization, was founded by a group of spiritually oriented people in 2000 in Vienna, Austria, to provide humanitarian aid in the state of Odisha after the devastation caused by the super cyclone in 1999, the drought and famine in 2000, and the severe magnitude of the flood in 2001. Hand in Hand’s concerns have since broadened to encompass school education, professional training, social service and healthcare in the poorest regions of India as well as medical check ups, child, youth and family welfare programs together with the provision of care for the aged, sick, and the physically challenged
The organization's active role in providing support for charitable causes led to the creation of a sister organization in the USA, Hand in Hand USA, in 2001. Hand in Hand (Europe and USA) continues to support these projects through generous donations and sponsorship of its projects such as the ""Sponsor a child"" initiative at Hariharananda Balashram.
The founders of Hand in Hand came from many walks of life, but shared a common bond with the love and joy found in meditation. They differed in race, nationality, religious persuasion, professional training, economic status, and age, but were commonly united in a desire to selflessly aid those who were less fortunate.
The goal of Hand in Hand is to provide financial support to other charitable organizations who carry out humanitarian aid projects focused on education, professional training, social service, and health care, as well as medical checkups, child, youth and family welfare programs, and care for the aged, sick, and disabled. Hand in Hand's first undertaking was to respond to the tremendous need for humanitarian aid in Odisha, India that was caused by the super cyclone in 1999, the drought and famine in 2000, and the catastrophic floods of 2001. Hand in Hand supported relief efforts carried out by Prajnana Mission in the wake of these disasters.
The tireless efforts of the many dedicated volunteers of organizations such as Prajnana Mission, combined with your generous support, enable us to selflessly serve the impoverished and the disadvantaged, hand in hand.
Paramahamsa Prajnanananda visited the cyclone-devastated areas of Odisha in 1999 and saw thousands of people with various diseases and lacking even the most basic medical care. In keeping with Paramahamsa Hariharananda's goal of serving the sick, many health centers were established in India, beginning in 1999, through the charitable arm of Prajnana Mission https://www.prajnanamission.org/. These centers offer free medical services and supplies to people in need in rural areas where there are no convenient medical facilities.
Centers were started in Balighai and Cuttack in 1999. A free homeopathy clinic was started in Bhisindipur in 2003, and health clinics were established in 2002 and 2003 in Panarhat and the fishing village of Penthakata, Puri. The health centers provide free medical, dental, and lab-pathology care, along with distribution of free medicines.
In addition to these health centers, the mobile medical and dental unit travels to remote rural areas of Odisha every year at regular intervals to provide health checkups, health camps, dental camps, health awareness camps, social awareness camps, and distribute free medicine.
The health centers provide services and medication for more than 60,000 people every year, with the numbers continuing to increase. Hand In Hand USA and Hand In Hand Europe provide funding for health care centers in Balighai, Jagatpur, Yukthashram, Panarhat and remote rural parts of Orissa and West Bengal, and their continued support helps make these centers possible.
Education can transform minds and lives. As such – again inspired by Paramahamsa Hariharanandaji's trailblazing work – the Kriya Yoga International Organizations work 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.
For example, Yukteshwar Vidyayatan was established after building the beautiful, secluded ashram Yuktashram for meditation and spiritual practice in the village of Bhisindipur, when 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.
In 1999, Odisha, an eastern coastal state of India, experienced the worst cyclone ever, which devastated the area. Thousands of people died, and many hamlets were washed away, leaving countless people homeless. This agricultural state's economy was shattered. According to UNICEF, more than 3.3 million children were affected and approximately 48,000 persons died. The aftermath of the devastation was felt years later, with many of the children orphaned and/or living in severe poverty and deprived of education.
In an effort to provide for the health and education of these children, Prajnana Mission, with the financial support of Hand in Hand, founded Hariharananda Balashram, a home and school for the poor and needy children of Odisha. 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 a solid foundation for the future to poor and underprivileged children irrespective of caste, religion, or gender. The Balashram is spread over twelve acres in the village of Pattamundai and has facilities to provide for the children's educational, physical, social, and emotional needs. There are science rooms, library, sports rooms, playgrounds, and much more to facilitate their all-round development. Every year forty nursery-level children are enrolled.
Our organisations work hard 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. These include:
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.
Hariharananda Memorial Library located at Gopinath College, in Balighai, near the famous Konark Sun Temple, is a study facility for the local students. In 2003, a single storey building was constructed, in honor of Paramahamsa Hariharananda, to house the college library. 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.
Our organisations also seek 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.
The international Kriya organizations are ready and able to provide relief and emergency supplies at the time of natural calamities or other emergency situations. Prajnana Mission assists the victims of disasters in India and surrounding areas with its utmost capacity. The organizations in the West provide support whenever possible.Cyclones
During the time of the 1999 cyclone in the state of Odisha, the ashrams in Jagatpur and Balighai provided medical care and medicine to almost 10,000 people as well as emergency supplies and food and shelter to the many homeless people. Financial support and essential supplies were received from Kriya organizations worldwide.Floods
To alleviate people's suffering and to provide shelter to those who lost their homes during the super cyclone in 1999, the drought and famine in 2000, and the severe flood in 2001, Prajnana Mission constructed twenty permanent houses in targeted areas of the Kendrapara district, Odisha. In the villages of Manikpatna and Tanupar the flooding caused severe damage. It was nearly impossible to reach these remote villages by car and so the construction material had to be brought by the traditional method of baskets loaded on the head. Twelve solid, reinforced concrete cement houses were constructed in Manikapatna to accommodate twelve families and eight houses were built in Tanupur for eight families.
Responding to the devastating floods in 2001, 2003 and 2008, Prajnana Mission extended its hand by supplying immediate flood relief material to the most affected areas and districts across of Odisha. Volunteers of Prajnana Mission, along with the full-hearted support of local people, were able to implement the relief operation in low lying flood-affected areas. The drastically devastated villages were first identified. Then, with cooperation from representative of local self government and experienced local heads, Prajnana Mission was able to serve the hungry and helpless people.Hurricanes
In the West, hurricane relief activities were organized in 2004 and 2017 in Florida, USA, and much needed supplies, food, water, and financial aid were provided to people who were greatly affected.Earthquakes and Tsunamis
In 2004, the massive earthquake in India and other Asian countries, followed by the tsunami in the Indian Ocean, devastated many of the coastal areas in India. In response to this catastrophic natural disaster, Prajnana Mission quickly mobilized to donate significant funds to support multiple relief initiatives