Amid the current brouhaha over demonetisation, this ashram has been setting a white example in the fight against black money for nearly two decades. All donations are accepted by cheque only at this ashram.
Indeed, black money is a strict no-no at the Aum Wahe Guru Rishi Ashram that is situated in Indirapuram in the National Capital Region.
In fact, it’s probably the only ashram in the country where the donor has to furnish a written declaration to the effect that the amount being donated does not involve any black money.
This practice started at the ashram about 20 years ago on the directives of spiritual leader Sant Shri Harbans Sahib Jee popularly known as ‘Sadguru’, who established the ashram.
For the last 30 years, the ashram has been setting up mega food distribution camps every year at the annual Magh Mela of Allahabad and other mega religious congregations like Ardh Kumbh held every six years and Kumbh Mela organised every 12 years on the banks of Sangam here.
“We don’t accept any donation or charity for running Annakshetra in the mela area. Also, we don’t accept black money at our ashram. Every donor has to give a written undertaking that the money has been earned in a legal manner. Further, it is said that evil thoughts start emerging in your mind if you eat food donated by persons that have earned the money through wrongful means or have evaded taxes,” explains Sant Shri Harbans Sahib while talking to Hindustan Times over the phone from Delhi.
This rule applies even to school and college students. If they want to contribute small amounts like Rs 500-2000 to the social activities of the ashram from pocket money, they have to submit a declaration that the money was donated from pocket money received from their parents, said a close disciple of Sant Shri Harbans Sahib, who requested anonymity.
“In fact, as you enter our ashram you will find a board clearly stating these rules, which also includes a strict ban on cash donation. If any person is willing to accept these rules, he’s allowed in the premises. Our guru formed these rules about 18-20 years back,” he adds.
According to him, they also display this board at the Annakshetras they set up in Magh, Kumbh, Ardh Kumbh Melas.
The volunteers serving in the Annakshetras of this ashram are often internationally renowned artistes or senior bureaucrats, doctors, engineers or chartered accountants.
No donations either in cash or kind are accepted for the free food distribution camps or ‘Annakshetras’ every year at Magh Mela in Prayag.
This initiative of sadguru is funded entirely from the Guru Dakshina (offering) he receives from his disciples through cheques.
AKHARA PARISHAD JOINS CAMPAIGN
Taking a cue from this ashram, the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad has also joined the campaign against black money.
The parishad is the top-most body of seers belonging to all 13 recognised monastic orders of the country.
Swami Narendra Giriji, president of the Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad, said they would launch a drive to check disciples who were making donations to temples and ashrams with unaccounted for money.