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Seva in the spirit of Yajna

Youth for Seva's philosophy is rooted in the traditional Bharateeya concepts of 'Runa' and 'Yajna'. Runa (The Debt) Whatever people achieve in their lives is not solely due to their individual efforts. Parents, teachers, friends and even many unknown others contribute to a person's well-being. When you drink a cup of water, think about how many people have worked to bring the water from a river to your home; not just people, but also natural elements like the trees, rivers, clouds, sun and so on. If we contemplate on this aspect, we will be overwhelmed with a sense of immense debt to our parents, teachers, fellow human beings, animals and other elements in nature like trees, rivers and mountains. 'Runa' is the Sanskrit word for 'debt'.

We are therefore obligated to pay back this debt whenever we are in a position to do so. We should do everything possible to serve our parents and teachers, find ways to give back to the society - fellow human beings, animals and nature. The word 'Yajna' literally means 'to worship' or 'to please'. In order to pay back our debts, it is an essential duty for every individual to perform 5 types of Yajna.

1) Pitru Yajna: It is an obligatory duty to keep our parents and ancestors happy. This can be done by taking care of our parents in their old age, giving them the joy of playing with their grandchildren, and making them feel proud by our own good deeds. Family has been playing a pivotal role in our country; we are less dependent on the government for welfare programs. Every individual must discharge this important duty and maintain the family system intact.

2) Rishi Yajna: One of the most important ways to pay back the teacher's debt is to carry forward the knowledge to the next generation. Teaching what we know to others without taking money is a great service. YFS volunteers are involved in this 'Rishi Yajna' when they teach children in slums, government schools and orphanages without any remuneration. Another means to perform Rishi Yajna is by enriching the existing knowledge pool by undertaking research.

3) Deva Yajna: Rivers, trees, mountains, sun, moon, anything that nourishes our lives is worshipped as 'Deva'(divine) in our country. The way to pay back their debt is to lead an ecofriendly life. What we call environmental activism today is 'Deva Yajna'. It is a conscious effort to change our lifestyle so that we don't harm the nature. For example: not using plastic and other The YFS logo non-biodegradable items, not destroying the fertility of the land for immediate high returns, not cutting down trees, not polluting rivers, enriching nature by planting more trees, etc.

4) Bhoota Yajna: Caring for and nurturing animals around us is 'Bhoota Yajna'. It is known today as animal rights activism. Being compassionate to animals can manifest in many ways - keeping grains and water for birds, feeding animals, milking a cow only after its calf has taken milk, etc.

5) Nara Yajna: Being compassionate towards other human beings, being sensitive to others, loving and caring for others is 'Nara Yajna'. This is what we usually refer to as service. Taking care of orphaned and destitute children, caring for the sick, and helping in any way when someone is in distress are examples of Nara Yajna. The logo of YFS, which depicts 'Yajna', conveys the above 5 ideas. It is centered around the idea of Individual Social Responsibility(ISR) and emphasizes on lifestyle that can create a sustainable developmental model. The attitude of giving in 'Yajna' Any act of giving with the spirit of Yajna will be devoid of ego. The spirit of Yajna is, "Whatever I have today truly belongs to society. I am only a trustee of it. I shall use whatever minimal is required for me and give the rest back to society."

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