In India today there are thousands and thousands of impoverished children in the villages and cities. Some are orphaned. Some are partially orphaned. Some have parents who are simply not able to provide for themselves, let alone their children. Simple shelters with food, beds and babysitters are not sufficient. These children need not only to be fed and sheltered — they need to be educated and trained so they can be productive members of society. They need to be inculcated with values, ethics and spirituality which will make them torchbearers of Indian culture.
The Parmarth Gurukul provides nearly 200 young impoverished, disadvantaged boys with a basic academic education as well as intensive sanskrit and ancient Vedic texts. Their days are filled with yoga, meditation, Vedic chanting, reading of scriptures, mathematics, seva and special programs designed to infuse their lives with essential values and ethics. They are not only getting a full academic education, but they are also being trained to be cultural ambassadors, carrying with them—wherever they go—the deep values and culture of honesty, integrity, purity, piety, dedication and selflessness.
Their education includes the following essential components: (1) a full, standard academic education, (2) training in the ancient Vedic knowledge and traditions, (3) a moral and value-based education which is crucially needed in modern society.
From the first minute that the boys arrived, their identity was changed from “orphan” and “poor” to “Rishikumar.” With that slight, simple change of term, their entire identities have changed. Looks of hopelessness have become looks of great optimism and hope. Lightless eyes have become bright, shining eyes. Feelings of destitution and despair have become feelings of pride, of faith and of enthusiasm.