Universal Mother



"Regard wealth simply as a power to be won back for the Mother
and placed at her service"   Sri Aurobindo

Charity   -   Philanthropy   -   Altruism   -   Benevolence   -   Humanitarian Activity

Mountain Scene
Story of Three "Jewels" Given by a Noble Son
Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar of India was the epitome of compassion. He along with his aged mother lived in a village near Calcutta. They lived in such abject poverty that they had hardly anything for food other than gruel. As Vidyasagar had sincerity and earnestness, he used to study even under street lights. One with sincerity can accomplish any task. Vidyasagar passed the law examination and obtained a good job. Neither happiness nor sorrow is permanent. One follows the other with the passage of time. Likewise, Vidyasagar's days of poverty were over as he was drawing a handsome salary.

One day, he told his mother that he wanted to buy some good Saris (Indian dresses) and jewels for her as he was earning sufficient money. He asked his mother to express her wish. The mother said that she did not need anything at that time and would express her wish at the appropriate time. Being an obedient son, he would never force his mother on any matter. As months passed by, his salary increased substantially. On a particular Sunday, he sat by his mother's side and said, "Mother, I have a lot of money with me, I pray you express your wish at least now". The mother said, "Son, I want three jewels. As there is no school in our village, the children are forced to walk long distances to attend school. The parents are concerned about their safety and spend anxious moments till they return from school in the evening. So, please construct a small school in our village. This is the first 'jewel' I desire from you". Accordingly, Vidyasagar got a school constructed in his village. After some time, his mother expressed her second wish. She said, "Our villagers are suffering from lack of medical facilities. When the children are afflicted with any disease, the mothers have to carry them to the town for treatment. So, I want you to construct a small hospital in our village. This is the second 'jewel' I expect from you." Vidyasagar built a hospital too. As days rolled by, Vidyasagar's name and fame spread far and wide. People were all praise for his social activities. After some time, his mother expressed her third wish. She said, "Son! The water in all the wells in our village has been reduced to a trickle. The villagers are suffering due to lack of drinking water. So, I want you to make arrangements for water supply in our village."

As per his mother's wish, Vidyasagar provided drinking water to the villagers. His mother was overjoyed. She blessed her son saying, "I wish every mother had a noble son like you who dedicates his life to the welfare of the society."

From a Discourse by Sathya Sai Baba in Sai Ramesh Hall, May 6, 2000.
June 2000 Issue of Sanathana Sarathi.

"Whatever talent a person has should be dedicated to the rest of humanity — indeed to all living beings. Therein lies fulfillment. All men are kin. They are of the same likeness, the same build, molded out of the same material, with the same divine essence in each. Service to man will help your divinity to blossom, for it will gladden your heart and make you feel that life has been worth while. Service to man is service to God, for He is in every man, and every living being, in every stone and stump. Offer your talents at the feet of God. Let every act be a flower, free from the creeping worms of envy and egoism and full of the fragrance of love and sacrifice."

Sathya Sai Baba
Flower Scene

Cosmic Harmony Featured Charities

Cosmic Harmony showcases three charities which receive donations from the sale of the Cosmic Harmony
album. As individuals, we can lift humanity to a new level of abundant living and make the world
a garden for all to enjoy by our combined efforts on behalf of others. Each person has
many ways of helping which include the giving of a person's time, talent and energy
for any worthwhile activity that benefits others. For those with a scarcity
of time but a surplus of money there are, at the end of this page, links
to other charitable organizations and to several sites which evaluate
and recommend the most effective charitable organizations.

Shamdasani Foundation
Inspired by the life and teachings of Sai Baba, Saint of Shirdi, the Shamdasani Foundation was formed in 1968 to serve the aged, blind, and destitute of rural India who otherwise had no support and no one to look to for help. With faith, the foundation members began each project, knowing the needed funds would somehow materialize. They have now completed a rural hospital, another for cancer patients, a third for the care of leprosy victims. They have also completed a care center for blind babies, a home for destitute girls, a school to teach the deaf and mute, and most recently, a home for the care of elderly homeless women. Because of the very low program overhead and the favorable exchange rate (approx. 30 rupees per U.S. dollar), donations are especially effective.

The Shamdasani Foundation, PO Box 16678 Bandra; Bombay 50, India
Shamdasani Foundation Web Site
Shirdi Sai Baba Cancer Hospital

"When we demand the rights and freedoms we so cherish we should also be aware of our responsibilities.
If we accept that others have an equal right to peace and happiness as ourselves
do we not have a responsibility to help those in need?"

Dalai Lama

Swan Scene
Story told by Albert Schweitzer

"A friend in Hanover owned a small cafe. He would daily throw out crumbs for sparrows in the neighborhood. He noticed that one sparrow was injured, so it had difficulty getting about. But he was interested to discover that the other sparrows, apparently by mutual agreement, would leave the crumbs which lay nearest to their crippled comrade, so that he could get his share, undisturbed."
"Whereas Jesus expected the Kingdom of God to come at the end of the world, we must endeavor, under the influence of the spirit of His ethical religion, to make the Kingdom of God a reality in this world by works of love."

Albert Schweitzer

"An Almighty Power has linked us all together. Whenever
you help others, you are helping yourself."

Paramahansa Yogananda

Shamdasani Foundation
The vision of American Water Relief is for all people everywhere to have access to clean, safe water systems. Thousands of villagers wait years for someone to help them, technically and financially in their water systems. American Water Relief helps those with the greatest need by funding the poorest villages in Central and south America whose people are willing to support the program through their own funds and labor. In this way, donations are stretched to the maximum.

American Water Relief; 1129 8th Street; Ambridge, PA 15003
American Water Relief Web Site
Water Projects in Central and South America

"One who aims only at his own individual peace and happiness adopts the lower path (Hinayana),
but he who devotes the merits of his love and compassion to the cause
of others belongs to the higher path (Mahayana)."

Milarepa of Tibet

Swan Scene
Story told by Mother Teresa

"When once a chairman of a multinational company came to see me, to offer me a property in Bombay, he first asked: ‘Mother, how do you manage your budget?" I asked him who had sent him here. He replied: ‘I felt an urge inside me.’ I said: other people like you come to see me and say the same. It was clear God sent you, Mr. A, as He sends Mr. X, Mrs. Y, Miss Z, and they provide the material means we need for our work. The grace of God is what moved you. You are my budget. God sees to our needs, as Jesus promised.

I accepted the property he gave and named it Asha Dan (Gift of Hope)."
"Like Jesus we belong to the world living not for ourselves but for others."

Mother Teresa

"Man should joyfully serve the world with the conviction that all service is His service.
Work done in such a spirit helps to purify the mind and heart."

Anandamayi Ma

Shamdasani Foundation
The Seva Foundation has worked for twenty years assisting poor and needy in various parts of the world. Seva organized volunteer teams of opthalmologists to perform cataract surgery in India and to devise model programs that have since been widely duplicated. Sight restoration projects utilizing the latest technology are ongoing in India, Nepal, Tibet and other asian countries. Seva works to prevent human rights violations and assist refugees in Central America. On reservations in North America, Seva is working to reduce the heavy toll of diabetes among Native American tribes.

Seva Foundation; 1786 Fifth Street; Berkeley, CA 94710
Seva Foundation Web Site
Seva Eyesight, Diabetes, and Refugee Aid Programs

"All wealth belongs to the Divine
and those who hold it are trustees, not possessors"

Sri Aurobindo

Support the Sivananda Ashram and Service Center in India
Help out with the with the maintainance of their orphans and seniors

Sivananda Web Site

Service Activities Not Involving Money

"By doing unselfish work, one gains love for God;
and gradually, through His grace one attains Him."


Examples of Personal Service Based Activities
Blood Donation Tutoring of Students
Assistance to Elderly Feeding of the Poor
Hospital Visitations Agency Volunteerism
Neighborhood Cleanup Working with Youths
Service to Handicapped Helping at Soup Kitchens

"Whatever work is going on in the world is, in reality, the work of God.
If one understands this, one can perform any work as an offering.
To cooperate selflessly in God's work is real yajna (sacrifice)."

Swami Muktananda

Story - Supreme Value of Offering Service

Millions come to kashi as religious pilgrims. It is said that those who see kashi will not be born again (i.e. attain the permanent spiritual state). One day at Kailasa (Mt. Kailas), Parvathi (Universal Mother) asked God Shiva (Universal Father), "Lord, I have heard it said that all those who visit kashi, where there is a celebrated shrine for your worship, will attain Kailasa and stay on there in your presence (by tradition, Shiva resides at Mt. Kailas). Millions are coming to kashi, but is this place big enough to accommodate all of them?". Shiva replied, "All the millions who visit kashi can not come to Kailasa; I shall design a play and make clear to you who among the millions of religious pilgrims can come here. You, too, have a role to enact. Do as I direct you."

The beautiful mother Parvathi became an old hag of 80 and Shiva a rickety old man of 90. The old woman had the old man on her lap, right at the main entrance of the famous Shiva shrine at Visweswara, and she implored in piteous tones of the pilgrims who passed by on their way to the temple, "My husband is terribly thirsty. He is about to die of thirst. I cannot leave him and go to the Ganges to bring him water. Will any of you pour a little water down his throat and save his life?"

The pilgrims were coming up from the bathing ghats after their ceremonial bath in the holy river, their clothes still wet and clinging to their bodies. Some of them lamented that their peace was disturbed by the sight of this pathetic couple. "We have come to be in the presence of the Lord, and look what meets our eyes." Some there were who flatly ignored her cries and lifted their noses in the air. Some said, "Wait. Let us finish the worship inside the temple and then we shall bring the Ganges water for you." No one offered to bring the needed help to the aged patient.

Mt Kailas, Spiritual Center of the World

Just then a robber who was hurrying into the temple to pick a few pockets, heard the plaintive voice of the old woman and halted near them. He asked her, "Mother, what is the matter?" She replied, "Son, we came to this place to be in the presence of Lord Visweswara of kashi, but my husband has fainted out of sheer exhaustion. He might survive if some one will bring a little Ganges water and pour it down his throat. I cannot leave him here and go for water. Please help me and earn the merit." The robber was moved into compassion. He had a little Ganges water in the hollow gourd he had with him. He knelt down near the dying person on the lap of the old woman, but the woman stopped him saying, "The moment the Ganges water wets his throat, my husband may die; he is in the last stages of living. Therefore speak a word of truth and then pour the water. The robber could not understand what she meant, so she explained, "Speak within his hearing some good deed that you have done in your life, and then pour the water in his mouth." That created a problem for the robber. He was at his wit's end. He could not quite comply. He said, "Mother, I have, in truth, not done any good deed so far. This present act, the offering of water to this thirsty man, is the very first good deed I am responsible for." And saying this, he placed the gourd at the lips of the old man and gave him a mouthful.

Just at that moment the couple disappeared, and in their place stood Shiva and his wife Parvathi in all their celestial glory, blessing the robber. God Shiva said, "Son, life is to be dedicated for the service of others and not devoted to the exclusive interests of oneself. So however many wicked deeds you might have done so far, for your selfless offering of Ganges water with truth on your tongue, we bless you with this vision. Remember there is no morality higher than truth; there is no prayer more fruitful than service"

Links to Recommended Charitable Organizations

Deer Scene
Other Commendable Charitable Organizations
  • Doctors Without Borders
    World's largest independent international medical relief agency aiding victims of armed conflict, epidemics, and natural and man-made disasters. Annually, more than 2,000 volunteers representing 45 nationalities work in over 80 countries to provide primary health care, perform surgery, vaccinate children, rehabilitate hospitals, operate emergency nutrition and sanitation programs, and train local medical staff.

  • Oxfam America
    Oxfam America supports the self-help efforts of poor and marginalized people—landless peasants, indigenous peoples, women, refugees, and survivors of war and natural disasters—striving to better their lives. Also provides emergency aid when disaster strikes, assisting refugees and survivors of natural disasters.

  • TechnoServe
    Technoserve helps to stimulate the rural economies of developing countries by working with hard-working men and women; assisting them in establishing profitable businesses using local raw materials and workers and in developing markets for their goods. By developing the local economy, jobs and incomes increase and the people are given hope and better lives.

  • International Rescue Committee
    A highly efficient, low-overhead operation - more than 91 percent of IRC's budget goes directly to refugee programs. Often, the IRC is among the first international aid agencies to arrive on the scene of a crisis. The IRC's first priority is to provide critical medical services, food and shelter as well as public health and sanitation assistance essential to saving lives. Once a crisis is stabilized, the IRC helps refugees to cope with life in exile through training, education and income-generating and self reliance projects.

"The practice of compassion is not idealistic, but the most effective way to pursue the best
interests of others as well as our own. The more we become interdependent
the more it is in our own interest to ensure the well-being of others."

Dalai Lama

Links to Relief Coordination and Oversight Organizations

Waterfall Scene
Links to Charitable Oversight Organizations
  • American Institute of Philanthropy - Top Rated Charities
    AIP is a Charity watchdog service whose purpose is to help donors make informed giving decisions. This is their List of Top Rated Charities by category (i.e. Charities in which more than 75% of donations go to programs themselves rather than overhead expenses)

  • Interaction Organization Members
    InterAction is the U.S.A's largest coalition of relief, development and refugee agencies. This is a list of their 160+ member organizations.

  • Disaster Relief Organization
    Presents highlights on critical situations around the globe. Provides information on contributing to relief efforts.

  • Disaster Relief Organization Links
    Many links to disaster relief organizations operating around the globe.

  • GuideStar
    GuideStar is a database of more than 620,000 nonprofit organizations in the United States. Searchable by Name, State, Type, area.

  • National Charities Information Bureau
    Sets standards for philanthropic organizations. Issues printed Reports on the 400 agencies that meet those guidelines. The intent is to guide donors to make informed decisions and to raise the standards of performance among charitable organizations.

"to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater
sense of universal responsibility. Each of us must learn to work
not just for one self, one's own family or one's
nation, but for the benefit of all humankind.
Universal responsibility is the best
foundation for world peace."

Dalai Lama

"Love God.

Love the world as the vesture of God."

Sathya Sai Baba

Cosmic Harmony - Cosmic Sky

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