Dear Divine Atman,
The recent second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic that swept across India in recent weeks resulted in an unprecedented humanitarian crisis that affected the family and friends of almost everyone in the country.
YSS/SRF President Reaches Out
Our revered President Sri Sri Swami Chidananda Giri reached out with a very touching and timely message of comfort, reassurance, and encouragement to all those in India and throughout the world who were facing unimaginable challenges caused by this calamity.
YSS Kendras and Mandalis Take the Initiative
Early during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, inspired and encouraged by Swami Chidanandaji, and feeling the pangs of suffering and needs of the people throughout the Indian subcontinent, YSS decided to extend relief, within its means, to as many people as possible across India. We quickly identified that the best way to accomplish this was by turning to our large spiritual family of devotees serving in our nationwide network of YSS kendras and mandalis. Through video conferences with the Managing Committees of our YSS centres, we were able to enlist the help of hundreds of devotee-volunteers who were more than willing to serve in this noble cause by generously giving their time, energy, and resources. These devotees, with the help of various NGOs and local authorities, successfully carried out most of YSS’s relief efforts.
Many devotees forsook the safety of their homes to supply food to the needy, medicines to the sick, and safety kits and life-saving equipment to hospitals and NGOs. We may never fully know the innumerable personal sacrifices these volunteers made in order to reach out with relief, and in many cases with hope, to thousands of needy people. In an unprecedented manner, within a short span of time, we were able to accomplish the full scope of our relief efforts at the peak of the COVID-19 crisis in India.
People All Over India Receive Help from YSS
From sadhus stranded in the high Himalayan mountains of the north, to tribal villagers in the far south of Kerala, and in most states in between, YSS was able to provide relief. We were able to provide desperately needed cooked food or dry rations to several thousand needy persons. Hospital beds, wheelchairs, PPE kits, quality facemasks, hand sanitizers, essential medicines and medicines for treating Covid infection, Pulse Oximeters, and thermometers were among the many items supplied to several small and large Covid treatment facilities operating in diverse cities across the country.
Oxygen Concentrators and BiPAP Ventilators Supplied
Some hospitals wanted to upgrade their wards into Covid treatment facilities. YSS was able to provide Oxygen Concentrators or BiPAP ventilator machines. In a hospital in Kerala, YSS helped to establish an oxygen delivery system in a ward so that it could treat Covid patients needing oxygen.
Seeing how life-saving oxygen concentrators can be, when no oxygen bed is available in hospitals, YSS decided to place one oxygen concentrator in most of our larger kendras and mandalis. Over 40 oxygen concentrators were distributed. An expert committee supplied detailed written and video instructions on the operation and maintenance of these concentrators, and trained the volunteers who maintain and issue the units.
YSS Devotees Offer a Helping Hand with Their Own Resources
Some YSS centres did not wait for us to approach them. They started relief activities on their own, funding them entirely from their resources. The YSS Tirupati Dhyana Kendra initiated an Oxygen Concentrator supply service, while the YSS Raipur Dhyana Kendra hired an ambulance service to transport sick patients to treatment centres. Many devotees spent from their life savings to provide whatever help they could to their infected neighbours and communities.
Covid Relief Work in Dwarahat and Surrounding Villages
A special mention is due for the relief work carried out in and around Dwarahat by YSS. We came to know that a local group of young volunteers was actively helping villagers to provide Covid pandemic relief. Enlisting their eager help, and with the selfless service offered by a YSS devotee from Mumbai who is a medical doctor, YSS was able to hold several Covid treatment camps in the villages around Dwarahat and near the Babaji’s Cave area. This service was gratefully received by the villagers and deeply appreciated by the local authorities as none of the other organizations had come forward to help them in their limited efforts to provide assistance and relief in that remote and isolated region.
YSS Donates Ambulance to Dwarahat Government Hospital
At the request of the Chief Medical Officer of Dwarahat Government Hospital, YSS donated a much-needed vehicle, a new, fully equipped ambulance. It proved to be of immense value in transporting seriously infected patients from Dwarahat to high level COVID-19 treatment centres in Almora and Haldwani. The District Magistrate of Almora sent a special letter thanking YSS for its generous gesture. The arrival of the ambulance was deeply appreciated by residents of Dwarahat, and was widely reported by all local newspapers and media channels.
Offers of Help Pour in from All over the World
As news of the gravity of the situation in India spread through the press and media, YSS began receiving phone calls and messages from Guruji’s YSS/SRF devotees from all over the globe. Offerings made included sympathetic, prayerful support and monetary contributions. We were deeply touched to see this outpouring of love from so many devotees, and realized that the great Gurus were sending their love and blessings to India through all these compassionate souls. Our deep gratitude goes out to each one of them.
One of the devotees coordinating the relief activities around Dwarahat remarked:
“It is inspiring to see the dedicated service of our volunteers and the [devotee] doctor in reaching out to the people in Dwarahat and the surrounding villages, where no one had ventured to visit. By providing consultation and medicines, and by educating the villagers to take necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the pandemic, our team has saved many precious lives.” — T. M., Dwarahat
Another devotee, a Government employee, assisting in the rehabilitation of tribals in a remote area of Kannur district in Kerala shared the following:
“In this area there is no public transportation facility, and residents have a meagre income from agriculture. As the pandemic struck, there was neither an adequate supply of food for those affected with Covid, nor sufficient medical supplies (masks, gloves, etc.) for those tending to them. Through the prompt help of YSS, we were able to supply ration and groceries to the families, an Oxygen Concentrator, and an adequate quantity of sanitary and medical supplies for protection. My heart overflows with joy to be a part of this noble endeavour.” — J. T. V., Kannur
We have received many touching notes and calls from the next of kin of the affected to whom we had offered financial assistance, and from several NGOs and hospitals which we supported by providing lifesaving medical equipment and drugs. Several print and electronic media outlets across the country published some of the charitable activities carried out by the Society.
Our deep appreciation and heartfelt thanks reach out to all volunteers who selflessly served and coordinated the relief efforts. To all of those who have generously contributed to this great humanitarian cause, no words can express and capture the good accomplished. Above all, we would like to express our appreciation and heartfelt gratitude to all around the world who have joined, and continue to join, the Worldwide Prayer Council and our daily Healing Prayer Sessions. Let us all continue praying together for those in need and sending them healing vibrations and loving thoughts of encouragement and strength.
Our Gurudeva Paramahansa Yoganandaji said, “I move by Spirit; there has been no thought of money, but of service to mankind; and because of that, the Lord has opened up all channels to support my existence and the existence of this work of Self-Realization Fellowship [Yogoda Satsanga Society of India].” As each one of us serve our brethren, through any means — spiritual or material — God and Gurus will guide us, inspire us, and Their love will flow through us to those in need.
May you remain in God’s enfolding presence and radiate His love and goodness to others.
In divine friendship,
Yogoda Satsanga Society of India