Kriya Yoga Logo
75th Anniversary Celebration
of Gurudev's Arrival in Puri

Gurudev at Karar Ashram

Dear Divine Kriyavans,


This month we will continue to contemplate the life and teachings of Paramahamsa Hariharananda where we had finished in the month of March.

Previously, we shared ten lessons that Gurudev had learned in his spiritual training as the essence of all religions. Let us look again at these ten lessons, this time from the perspective of Compassionate Service.


During his time in Puri and throughout his life Paramahamsa Hariharanandaji exemplified Compassionate Service for all who were in need.  

This month we will contemplate and practice bringing more compassion
into our lives so that we can better serve God by serving others.

The Essence of All Religions - Ten Lessons   

By practicing Kriya Yoga, I found the essence of all religions is to become united with the source of life.

  1. God is one, but people worship in many ways.
  2. All paths lead to the same goal of love and peace.
  3. Breath is common to all living beings, and anyone can reach the state of calm through breath.
  4. Life is a gift of God. Live for self-development. Serve others.*
  5. Live a life of compassion and kindness.*
  6. Do not bring ego and emotion into your beautiful life and spoil it.
  7. Prayer and meditation bring peace.
  8. Be good and do good. Live a life of self-sacrifice.*
  9. Help all, and never hurt any.*
  10. Charity and selfless service will expand your heart and life.*

* Five of the observations Gurudev shared, about how to live our lives, relate to Compassionate Service.

Paramahamsa Hariharananda embodied compassion and dedicated his life to serving others; he once said to Baba Prajnanananda, "I have come to serve, not to be served. I have come to give, not to take."  



Excerpt from River of Compassion - His Mission in Life


"When a rose is blooming with a pure and spiritual smile, moving in the gentle breeze, radiating its heart-warming beauty and disseminating its sweet fragrance, is that the ego of the flower?" Paramahamsa Hariharananda asked the author this question a long time ago while the author gazed silently at him with love. The rose gives everything of itself selflessly. It gives nectar to the bees, beauty to human beings, fragrance to the air, and so forth. It is a life of complete sacrifice.


The life of Paramahamsa Hariharanandaji was a manifestation of service, love, humility, and compassion. He served his parents, his elders, the villagers, his teachers, his friends, the students, the needy, the distressed, the diseased, the poor and the aged, known and unknown. He often quoted the Sanskrit maxim:


deyo kshudhature annam deoy vidyarthino vidya

deyo rogature pathyam deyo bhitebhyo abhayam


"Feed the hungry, teach the students, nurse the sick and give solace to the distressed."  

During his time in Puri and throughout his life, Paramahamsa Hariharanandaji exemplified Compassionate Service for all who were in need.


Read more from River of Compassion about how Gurudev served the children, the poor, the sick, the distressed, the elderly, and strangers as well as his own gurus. Through his generosity he established schools and health centers that today continue to save and transform lives.
He tried to fulfill this maxim throughout his life, always seeking the opportunity to serve. He once said to the author, I have come to serve, not to be served. I have come to give, not to take." When he was a young boy, he was always generous to the poor and needy with his small savings. In his early teens, his father had entrusted him with maintaining the family accounts and the estate's income and expenditures, and without hesitation he helped the poor people in the village. He inherited this charitable attitude from his mother. In his twenties, when he was working and earning a good salary, he always fulfilled this mission to serve. At Karar Ashram, as a brahmachari without any source of income, his tender heart still found ways to serve the needy. He took in many poor and orphaned children, providing them shelter at the ashram, and educating them in his free time. He loved them like a mother, and disciplined them like a caring father. Many of them are now highly educated and well placed in society.

Excerpt from The Divine Quest
by Paramahamsa Hariharananda


What is charity?

Charity is a selfless motive, attitude, and effort to help others without expectation. Charity is an attitude towards life - God has given so much to me. It is not only for me, it is also for others. I will try to give as much as I can in my life to help others and make their lives better.


What is seva?

Charity and seva are not completely different, but they have one great difference. Charity is to help the sick, the needy, the student, the poor, to help people in times of distress, but seva is a broader concept that includes charity along with serving others with love. Seva is to serve with love. You can serve your parents, family members, teachers, neighbors, society, community, the country, and humanity. You can also serve animals, plants, and other lower beings. This service is the true nature of human beings, to manifest love, reduce the ego, and to develop humility and compassion. For seva, or service, you just need to change your attitude and you can begin in your home. You can serve your elders, your parents, family members, and so on. When you serve, serve with inner gratitude. Be grateful to God that he has given you the opportunity to serve. In India, many families cook more food than is needed because they always expect someone to come who they can feed. To feed the hungry, to feed the beggar, to feed the needy is considered a noble service.



Paramahamsaji once said, "I have one message for all of you: You should develop the attitude to serve others with love, joy, and compassion." Let us contemplate the meaning of charity and service.  


A charitable attitude is an opportunity for spiritual growth; it helps to create compassion for those that we serve.  


Read from The Divine Quest as Gurudev explains how we are all part of the same family, the same world, and the same one God who has created this beautiful manifestation. As we grow spiritually we can't help but to feel empathy for those who are suffering and to act with compassion to help them.





In The Bhagavad Gita in the Light of Kriya Yoga, Gurudev talks about charity, "Helping needy people is an important virtue. A river flows for others. A tree gives fruit, flowers, shelter, and even its whole body for others. Self-sacrifice is charity, but charity must be free from ego. To give food to the poor, medicine to people afflicted with disease, money to poor students for their education, courage to the heartbroken, and above all, money, time, and energy for noble and spiritual work, is charity. Charity purifies bad deeds. Charity broadens the mind. It is the true ornament of the hand. A charitable person's hand is always higher than the receiver's hand. Giving a spiritual education to others is the best form of charity."

Daily Reflections - The Art of Giving


The more we give, the more we will receive. The more we give the sweeter we will be.

A river gives and gives, and its water is sweet.  

The ocean only receives and takes, and its water is salty.

If we only take and take, we will be as salty as the ocean.

Love flows from one person to another, just like water overflows after the pot is full.

Do not think in terms of what we have given, and what we have received.

Love does not calculate. Love only knows how to give.

Excerpt from Transformation of the Heart, the Path of Saint Francis


Living for Others - The Gateway to Divinity

Saint Francis always tried to motivate his brothers to live their lives for others. Together they took care of the sick, fed the hungry, and prayed with, and for, the infirm. How kind and compassionate he was! Let us take a moment to reflect on our own lives and look at the many ways we can serve others. The opportunities to serve are always before us, and since we have the ability to serve, all we really need is a change of attitude. Changing our outlook will change our hearts, and this will be the catalyst that brings about a great transformation in our lives.


...Learn to adopt the attitude that everyone in this world belongs to one family; a family does not just consist of a father, a mother, and a few brothers and sisters. Because God has made you a member of this world family, take the time to consider how you can serve and help your brothers and sister. The only thing you need is an open heart and a little effort.


...This life presents us with great opportunity, so let us pray to God and the masters to give us the courage and strength we need to transform our hearts....Let your own prayer be:


"O God, give me that strength and courage to move forward. I will love You and I will serve You all my life. I will love all and I will serve all with love and bring that loving attitude into myself. O God, change my heart and change my mind. Remove all my selfishness and give me more kindness and compassion."

We are blessed with many examples of self-less service: Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Saint Francis, Gurudev, and many more. In Transformation of the Heart, Baba Prajnananandaji also talks of a need to open our hearts and adopt the attitude that we are all part of the same family, and to transform our lives into instruments of kindness and compassion.

We only need to open our eyes and our hearts to see the endless opportunities that exist to serve others.

Read further in Transformation of the Heart as Baba Prajnananandaji describes the myriad of opportunities available to us in our everyday lives and the need to serve with humility.

Paramahamsa Hariharanandaji says, "Compassion (kindness) is an important virtue that everyone should cultivate. In spite of many mistakes, God forgives. God provides us with endless opportunities to rectify our faults. God is ever compassionate. Be compassionate and kind to others. With meditation and love for God, your heart becomes extremely soft and pure, and you will desire to help people in many ways."

There is a beautiful story in Pebbles from the Pond about sacrifice and the need to compassionately serve others without bringing ego into our lives. It involves a mongoose that ventured from sacrifice to sacrifice in search for the rare selfless act of giving.

This month of April is associated with spring in the northern hemisphere and autumn in the southern hemisphere; it is a time of change. Let us transform our lives to include more acts of compassion and let each be free from ego.
24757 SW 167th Ave, Homestead, FL  33031-1364  305.247.1960