Network of Love
The Big Umbrella has had the privilege to spend 3 amazing months with the founder of this organization filming all the amazing projects they are involved in. On the 10th year anniversary of its pilot project, the ARK OF LOVE, Yogi Sarveshwarananda Giri had this to say. "We are a network of small organizations working together to serve communities by creating empowering projects such as schools, vocational centers, homes for orphans and volunteer services. The Network of Love serves in Latin America and in the Indian Himalayas.
The Network of love was born on February 26, 2001 at 9:30 p.m. in São Paulo, Brazil. For years I had been deeply saddened to see the terrible plight of the street children everywhere in the world. Meeting with our group of Kriya Yoga students in São Paulo that night, I shared with them the idea of starting some kind of a shelter for these poor kids, where they could take refuge from the storms of the street life, learn about their spiritual resources, and come out divinely transformed—as in the metaphor of Noah’s Ark in the Bible, where the whole creation took refuge and came out purified, renewed. And so the name emerged, very naturally—the “ARK OF LOVE.”
Four basic observations prompted the idea for the Ark of Love:
1. Need of a Vision
Poor and abandoned children need to develop a spiritual vision of themselves. Merely providing food, clothing, a roof over their head, medical services, and a basic education allows them to survive; but these humanitarian measures rarely enable the children to permanently and profoundly change their life, and these growing children often carry their helplessness and frustration into their later years. To change children’s destiny, we must guide them to broaden their mind to their unlimited possibilities as a soul, and help them realize their mission here on earth.
As César, an ex-homeless child from our group in São Paulo put it, “many of my friends died even after receiving [humanitarian] assistance, because those [traditional] institutions did not pay attention to the dreams that each one of us poor kids had.”
2. Creating a Partnership
As long as we treat poor children as helpless, bad, or dependent creatures, we are enslaving them in their condition. A healthier attitude is to treat each child as a co-creator, a partner in the education process, and a potential teacher. Our role as adults is simply to be loving guides in the background, not omniscient directors of all their activities. Through our love, patience, creativity, and unconditional support, gradually the children will develop their own self-corrective course. And they will pass it on to other children.
3.Teaching Love First!
There will never be peace in our heart, in our communities, and in the world until we teach children to appreciate and love all religions. Most religious institutions which are supposed to impart this spiritual education only provide a seriously one-sided, if not outright fanatical, vision of religion which has inevitably led to the spread of intolerance, abuse, and unending conflicts. As Jonathan Swift once said, “We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.” Let us now try to teach all-encompassing love, for a change!
4. Being Playful
Spirituality or life values can never be taught effectively to children through lectures or moral lessons. It needs to be fun, exciting, and creative. No one remembers sermons, but a story, a game, a song, or a vision says with us for ever.
This is why it is important to use wisdom tales, sacred chants, religious festivals, sacred dances, religious plays, teaching games, sacred arts, metaphors, meditation, etc. as the main vehicle for moral and spiritual lessons.
For more information please contact www.reddelamor.orgwww.reddelamor.org