He wandered throughout India in search of God, as indicated by Mahathma Gandhi, he found God in poor dwelling in rural India.
He CAME to serve the poor in the backward locality of Malladihalli.
He SAW the God in there people of rural India.
He CONQUERED the hearts of the people and poverty and built temple for God and it is
Till 1943, Sri B.Raghavendra Rao who later became Raghavendra Swamiji was wandering through the coastal and rural areas of middle Karnataka, conducting a number of camps of 41 days for the youth to impart training in yoga and in values of life. In January 1943 during his philanthropic journey he came over to Malladihalli and conducted the training camp here.
He had just wound up the camp, there was an outbreak of cholera in the village. He, who had learnt Ayurveda from renowned Ayurveda Pundit, Laxman Baba of Karachi, now in Pakistan, plunged into service of victims of cholera. He visited each house in the village and treated the victims of cholera. He visited each house in the village and treated the victims of cholera. He did not just advise the people on the right way of living but he himself took to act. He threw away the stale food in the kitchens and convinced the people to eat fresh hot food only. He saved hundreds of lives and conquered the hearts of the people. It is no wonder the people of the village prostrated before him and begged him to stay permanently there and to bless them. Under such affectionate persuasion, being kind and benevolent, he could not but decide to stay permanently there.
With the small charity of the village people, he established an humble Ashrama by name Anthasevashrama on the day of Mahashivaratri in 1943. In the beginning he was addressed as “Vyayama Mestru” that is teacher of Physical Exercises. People gradually felt that this name was too small to address him and they started to call him ‘Swamiji’. Yes! This man of devotion was rightly called so. He was an unique swamiji. He did not wear saffron robe. He wore a half sleeved slag and a half nicker made of khadhi cloth. Suryanarayana Rao, A teacher in local Govt Primary School, was immensely impressed by the personality of Sri Raghavendra Swamiji joined him as his disciple. He was renamed by his guru as Surudasji. The duo then started to build the great Anathasevashrama with the help of the begging bowl of Sri Raghavendra Swamiji. His begging bowl really worked as “ Akshaya Patra”.
In 1950 Rashtriya Vividhoddesha Proudha Shala (National Multipurpose Higher Secondary School) was started with the purpose of educating the poor backward people of the area. Along with it, student’s hostels for boys and girls were started. The hostels have been providing accommodation and boarding to the poor students from all over Karnataka. The students in these hostels are given free education in yoga and Values of life. Swamiji used to offer parental care to these students and nursed them to grow as the most useful citizen of the nation.
In 1958 Swamiji established a Teachers Training Institute which bears the name Sarva Seva Bodhaka Shikshanalaya (Shikshakara Tharabethi Kendra). It is not just a training centre for the teachers but they also learn about the service of the society. Through it Swamiji wanted to create an youth force to revive the society by imparting Gandhian values.
It was then followed by the founding up of Pre University College with Arts, Commerce and Science Compbinations, in 1969.
It was further followed by setting up of Silver Jubilee College of Physical Education and Centenary College of Physical Education.
Later in 1998-99 Sri Raghavendra Gurukula Vidya Peetha Primary School and in 2004 Sri Raghavendra Industrial Training Center, Sri Raghavendra College of Education and Sri Raghavendra Ayurveda Medical College and Hospital (All these after the nirvana of Sri Raghavendra Swamiji) were established.
Now Ananthasevashrama Campus has spread over an area of 80 acres of land, and accomadates all these academic bodies and hostels. It has become a prime educational center situated in the rural area for the poor and humble people of Karnataka.
Besides the campus at Malladihalli, three high schools in the rural areas, at Dummi of Hollalkere Taluk, Chitradurga District, at Devanahalli of Channagiri Taluk, Davangere District and at Shettihalli of Shikaripura Taluk, Shimoga District, are working under the Ashrama. They are also serving the people with the ideals of Sri Raghavendra Swamiji.
In Addition to these there are Sri Raghavendra Gurukula Vidyapeetha Independent Science College and Sameera D.Ed College at Mysore in Kuvempu Nagar Campus.
SRI RAGHAVENDRA SWAMIJI’S CONTRIBUTION TO YOGA, AYURVEDA, DRAMATICS AND LITERATURE
Sri Raghavendra Swamiji was trained in yoga and physical exercises by Prof. Rajaratna Manik Rai of Baroda, and he had a B.P.E Degree. It is obvious that he took to impart yoga Education to the youth as the first and foremost important activity of Anathasevashrama. He started Pathanjala Mula Yoga Tarabeti Shibira (Yoga Training Camp) in the Year 1953. Since then the camps are held every year regularly. So far 55 such camps are held in ashrama and thousands of people from all over Karnataka are trained and initiated in Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Prathyahara, Dharana, Dyana and Samadhi.
Besides these special camps, Swamiji laid firm foundation for regular Yoga activities in Anathasevashrama. Every day in the early morning hours the students in ashrama pray ‘ Maruthi’ and perform ‘Suryanamaskara, ‘ Gurunamaskara’ and some essential yoga postures.
Considering his work in the popularizing Yoga among the community of modern Karnataka Government of Karnataka invited him to head the committee to design syllabus of Yoga training in Primary and Secondary levels of Education. And he was honored as “Honorary Director of Yoga Training”. He formulated the Yoga Syllabus at these levels.
As the second priority Swamiji took up Ayurveda to treat poor people of rural area who are suffering from various chronic ailments. He was versatile Ayurveda Pandith and his expertise in Nadis and preparation of Herbal Medicines is exemplary. He was specialized in the treatment of Asthama and respiratory ailments, skin deseses including soriyasis, infertility etc. He built a huge hospital complex which now shelters Sri Raghavendra Ayurveda Medical College and Hospital and a Pharmacy unit.
The Hospital has separate male and female wards with 50 beds each and a Panchakarma ward. The Pharmacy unit manufactures a number of formula on the basis of traditional knowledge of Ayurveda documented by Sri Raghavendra Swamiji.
Considering his yeomen service in the field of Ayurveda medicine Karnataka government honored him with the title of “Abhinava Dhanwanthari” for six times.
After the demise of Sri Raghavendra Swamiji and Sri Surudasji, Anathasevashrama got the holy leadership of Sri Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru, the holy pontiff of Sri Murugharajendra Brihanmut of Chitradurga as the president of the Anathasevashrama Trust. Sri Sharanaru is also an unique swamiji who is blending social reform and spiritual development of the individuals. The well being of the whole society on the basis of social ethics and compassion is the special route devised by Sri Sharanaru. This route is the same as that of Sri Raghavendra Swamiji.
MEGA ACTIVITIES OF ANATHASEVASHRAMA
“Guru Vandhane”: Sri Sri Raghavendra Swamiji has done a lot for the liberation of the people of this part of country from ignorance and poverty more than any Guru has done. Hence the people have accepted him as the real Guru and submit their respect on 21st and 22nd of every September in the form of Guru Vandana Programme.
“Kannada Rajyotsava”: It is celebrated with enthusiasm, devotion and zeal. A grand, special procession consisting of folk art performances and tableaus in the morning hours is being organized on 21stof every November. The celebration is not limited to pageantry but also seminars on language and literature are organized. Eminent thinkers, Writers and Activists take part in these seminars.
“Thirukanurinalli Ranga Dasoha” (Drama Festival) Sri Raghavendra Swamiji had great interest in theatre activities. He considered drama as the best medium to educate masses. He wrote several dramas and directed and acted in many of them, hence we have selected theatre activity as his “Samaranotsava”. A five-day drama festival is organized from 9th to 13th Jan of every year. This activity is known as “Thirukanurinalli Ranga Dasoha”.
Eminent experts in dramatics are invited to Malladihalli to give training in dramatics to the students of Ashrama. These students enact plays during the festival. More than 10000 of people of the neighboring villages are the audience of the festival.
Since its inspection in 1943, a lot of developmental construction activities have continuingly been taken up. Swamiji was of the opinion that no educational institutions should be started without the necessary infrastructure. Hence he built buildings to provide base for educational institutions is being maintained even after Sri Raghavendraswamiji. Building facilities for PU College, Sri Raghavendra College of Education Sri Raghavendra Industrial Training Centre, Sri Raghavendra Gurukula Vidyapeetha Primary School, National Multipurpose Higher Secondary School, Sri Raghavendra Ayurvedic Medical College and Sarva Seva Bodhaka Shikshanalaya D.Ed College are upgraded or constructed newly and are in the process of construction.
Water supply and sanitary system are supplemented and brought near to the required level. Accommodation capacities of the hostels have been increased and new hostels are being constructed. Facilities at the hostels have been upgraded. Teacher’s quarters are being repaired and there is a need to construct new quarters.
Further Anathasevashrama has taken up a prime and mega construction project i.e., a fitting monument for the memory of Sri Sri Raghavendra Swamiji and Sri Sri Surudasji Swamiji. The project is called “Samadhi Swamiji. The project is called “Samadhi Mandir-Dhyana Mandira, Athithi Griha Complex”. A beautiful and the most useful construction project is visualized by the devotees and employees of Anathasevashrama. We are earnestly aspiring to realize the project as early as possible.
THE EXISTANCE OF ANATHASEVASHRAMA AND CHARITY
Swamiji came here empty handed with a begging bowl in his hand (Jolige). He achieved the miracle through this begging bowl, that too, withing a span of 65 years. He built vast and spacious buildings and dedicated them to the service of people. The very existence of ashrama is the realization of the dream of swamiji for the welfare of mankind and in response to this dream by the philanthropic people in the form of charity.
Ever since the time of swamiji, the charity received from the philanthropic people has been meticulously used. Every pie is accounted for, and the feeling and emotion behind the charity is thoroughly respected.
The realization of all the dreams of Swamiji is not possible however. Without the help of Philanthropic people. Therefore Ashrama anticipates the charity from the m for the following project and purposes.
- Poor student’s welfare fund-this fund is meant to support the educational aspirations of poor and orphan students of Ashrama.
- The fund to enhance theatrical and cultural activities among the students of Ashrama.This fund is used to manage the “ Thirukanurinalli Ranga Dasoha”
- Developmental fund-This is to create infrastructal facilities like construction of hostels school buildings road and to provide sanitary water supply services.
Presently we are making an appeal to the alumni and devotees of Ashrama and philanthropic people to donate generously to build the most fitting monument of Sri Raghavendra Swamiji and Sri Surudasji.