Service is the best way; serve others and do your Sadhana alongside. Both have to be combined.-Sri M
Seva, an act of selfless service without expectations of return or reward, of the downtrodden, poor, and the have-nots is a cornerstone of sadhana or the spiritual journey.
Sri M had launched the Satsang Seva Mission (SSM) during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 to assuage the hunger of the displaced, deprived, and dispossessed migrant workers and daily wagers across different cities in India through the provision of cooked meals and dry rations.
Since then annadaanam seva has become an integral part of the SSM with the provision of daily, weekly, monthly meals and dry rations to children in orphanages; the differently-abled; senior citizens in old age homes; the homeless in shelters; and daily wagers and pavement dwellers in urban neighborhoods.
Team SSM Bengaluru has been associated with Vallabh Niketan Ashram,a safe haven for senior citizens and young boys hailing from single-parent families, since the past six years. Monthly dry rations ensure that the nutritional needs of the elders and the growing youngsters are met on a daily basis. Besides, the Sunday special breakfast brings much cheer to the residents and the team members as they partake of a wholesome meal and hone their skills in Spoken English.
Monthly dry rations have also been provided for the care and well-being of the young girls at Namma Mane since the past six years.
For about six months in 2022, the team members walked through the corridors of the Out-Patient Department (OPD) at the St. John’s Hospital every Saturday and lovingly handed meal boxes packed with a filling lunch to the caregivers of patients as they attended to their loved ones.
Subsequently, since November 2022, the team members have continued to serve a nutritious lunch every Sunday afternoon to the daily wagers and pavement dwellers living in Lakshmipura in the Gavipuram neighborhood of South Bengaluru.
The weekly langar sevaoffered at the sacred precincts of the Malad Gurudwara for over eleven months since October 2021 brought much succor to the sangat of pavement dwellers and migrant workers every Saturday afternoon as they partook of a filling meal lovingly served to them by members of Team SSM Mumbai.
The team members have since been associated with a community of pavement dwellers and daily wagers in the vicinity of the Sai Baba Temple in Chembur. Every Sunday afternoon, meal trays filled with a complete meal are offered to 100 members of this vibrant community, most of whom are women and children.The promise of a fresh meal appeals most to the women who often subsist on leftovers after the family has eaten. No festival or celebration is complete without the extended family of SSM team members actively participating in it and spending time with their dear friends from this community.
Monthly dry rations are offered at Angel’s Nest Orphanage, Marol to support the nutritional requirements of the young girls sheltered here. They also receive sustained counseling and academic support.
Festivals and special occasions usher in joyous celebratory meals and fun-filled activities for the youngsters residing in the Labour Camp in the Hiranandani Estate, Thane.
Team SSM Pune ensures that the specially-abled children at ANIKET Seva Bhavi Sanstha are given nutritious meals prepared from the monthly dry rations. Festive occasions are marked with enthusiasm and unbridled joy as the children learn to explore the world around them with fun-filled yoga sessions and dances set to lilting tunes.
At Chennai’s Love Care Centre which shelters differently-abled children and adults, the monthly dry rations ensure that these precious residents receive hearty meals every day. Moreover, the residents eagerly await festive occasions filled with the sheer joy of sharing traditional dishes with each other and the members of Team SSM Chennai.
The elders at Eera Nenjam Old Age Home look forward to meeting their dear friends from Team SSM Coimbatore each time the monthly dry rations are offered. Bearing in mind their specific needs, health drinks and nutritional supplements are made available to the seniors along with their regular supply of prescription and non-prescription medicines.
Team SSM Delhi-NCR organizes frequent annadaanam seva at the Yamuna Pushta Shelter or Shramik Nivas which offers refuge to the citymakers of the nation’s capital – migrant workers and the homeless who toil endlessly to make homes for the ‘haves’ and yet don’t possess even a tiny hovel of their own. Over 1500 people are seated under cool, pink canopies and served a full course meal in small batches until all have partaken not just of the food that sustains their physical bodies but also of the reverence, love, and concern of the team members and volunteers that sustain their souls.
At Chandigarh, monthly dry rations are offered to sustain the convalescence of patients who have suffered severe spinal injuries at the Chandigarh Spinal Rehab Centre. Requiring long periods of hospitalization and constant care from their caregivers, these patients and their caregivers receive timely meals prepared in the in-house kitchen with the dry rations contributed by Team SSM Chandigarh and other donors.
The Annadaanam Kolkata initiative was launched towards the end of 2022 to reach out to the hungry denizens of the City of Joy. A monthly annadaanam seva is offered to pavement dwellers, the less privileged, and migrant workers in the densely populated neighborhoods of the Kalighat Kali Temple and the Nimtala Ghat near the Bholenath Dham temple. As a steady stream of devotees make their way to these sacred spots, members of Team SSM Kolkata lovingly serve a one-pot meal of hot, piping khichadi in leaf bowls to assuage the hunger of all who ask for this nutritious meal sourced from the kitchens of ISKCON.
The hungry wayfarers at Howrah Railway Station and the caregivers of patients at the Chittaranjan Hospitals have also found much succor during the annadaanam seva offered at these crucial urban spots.
A distress call made during the second wave of the pandemic seeking help with the dry rations in 2020 first drew the members of Team SSM Hyderabad to the Mathruabhaya Foundation, an orphanage for young boys and girls in Medipally, North-East Hyderabad. Since then the team members offer monthly dry rations at this safe haven and celebrate local festivals with the dynamic youngsters sheltered here.
Attenders of patients at various government hospitals such as the Niloufer Hospital for Women and Basavatarakam Indo-American Cancer Hospital have also been supported through meal packets as they wait endlessly outside the hospital premises for their loved ones to recover.
A seasonal sevaof offering refreshing buttermilk to quench the thirst of passersby in various locations in the city has also helped to provide much relief from the scorching heat of summer.
The daily wagers and migrant workers at Mathura-Vrindavan have received cups of tea at the crack of dawn and light meals every evening to sustain them through a long day of hard labor.
Annadaanam seva is thus intertwined with other forms of seva such as provision of clothes, essential items, educational material, medicines, counseling, and academic support. The undying support of donors, volunteers, and team members has ensured that they march on unfazed as they join hands and weave ever-widening bonds of love and fraternity that nourish and sustain their less privileged brethren on the path to personal and spiritual growth.
To support the weekly and monthly annadaanam sevas across the nation, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.