Sri Swami Satyananda Saraswati
In 1998, Sri Swamiji also inspired Sivananda Math to undertake an education project. Thus scholarships were given to deserving students of Rikhia panchayat with special emphasis on the education of girls. English classes were also started at the ashram. By 2001, nearly all eligible children aged between 6-12 years of Rikhia Panchayat had been adopted into the ever-expanding family of Sri Swami Satyananda Saraswati. In 2003, computer training was started. The girls, called kanyas, were also taught chanting of Sanskrit stotras. The boys, batuks, were simultaneously introduced to Gayatri mantra, Bhagavad Gita, surya namaskara, and rituals of havan and worship.
Today these little children confidently conduct all the ceremonies and rituals at Rikhiapeeth before thousands of devotees who come to participate in these events. In 2004, Sivananda Ashram was formed with the main thrust of looking after the elderly and infirm, including widows. It has also undertaken a project to provide one wholesome meal a day to the children and elderly of Rikhia panchayat.
Thus, in a short span of time, a silent revolution has taken place in Rikhia. It was all made possible by a sannyasin who came to this place to live in solitude. Sri Swamiji says, “After coming to Rikhia my cataracted vision was corrected. I have lived a spiritual life for more than sixty years. I have practised every form of yoga, but ultimately I found that when I began to think about others, God began to think about me. On my guru’s instructions, I lit the flame of yoga in Munger and the light of seva in Rikhia. This is the requirement of humanity today.”
In 2007, Sri Swamiji announced the formation of Rikhiapeeth. He said, “The Rikhia ashram will now be known as Rikhiapeeth. Peeth means ‘seat’, an apt term for Rikhia as the instructions given to me by Sri Swami Sivananda have culminated and fructified here. Rikhia is an ashram in the original sense of the word because here a lifestyle is lived. Swami Satyasangananda is the Peethadhishwari of Rikhiapeeth and has been given the sankalpa that the three cardinal teachings of Sri Swami Sivananda, serve, love and give, will be practised and lived here. This is the future vision of Rikhiapeeth.”
In 2009, after participating in and giving darshan during Sat Chandi Mahayajna and Yoga Poornima where Sri Swamiji inspired everyone to lead the righteous life and bid final farewell to the thousands who had gathered to participate in these events, he entered into Mahasamadhi on the midnight of 5th December and merged into Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati, our Sadguru.