Rikhiapeeth is situated in a tiny, remote and rural village of Rikhia panchayat, twelve kilometres from the renowned temple town of Deoghar, also known as Baba Baidyanath Dham, in the state of Jharkhand. Undoubtedly the strong spiritual presence of the rishis, enlightened sages, at Rikhia in the past has percolated down to the present day as the place is pure, serene and radiates peace. Its location abounds in divine vibrations as it is the taipo bhumi, place of intense spiritual practices and austerities of Swami Satyananda where he performed the Panchagni Vidya, the five fires worship, and other long and arduous Vedic sadhanas or spiritual practices.
Rikhia is eternally blessed, as for twenty years it was the abode and taipo bhumi of the realised sage and visionary Swami Satyananda who embodied the wisdom, tapasya, austerity, and enlightened understanding of the ancient rishis, and great seers. Paramahansa Satyananda revived the glory of the divine heritage of ancient times by bringing the teachings into a modern context through the medium of Rikhiapeeth, which has developed into a dynamic spiritual epicentre where the cardinal teachings of Swami Sivananda “Serve, Love and Give” are practised and lived.
‘Peeth’ means seat of higher learning, thus Rikhiapeeth, in keeping with the word ‘rishi’ from which Rikhia is derived, aims to disseminate the ancient spiritual knowledge as propagated by the Vedic lineage of rishis in the Vedas, Upanishads and Puranas, as well as impart modern skills to all regardless of caste, creed, nationality, religion and gender. The higher learning imparted at Rikhiapeeth is not merely intellectual knowledge, rather the imbibing of tools for evolution in the day to day life, thus enabling each and everyone to realise their true potentials.
Those who are fortunate to visit Rikhiapeeth today would not be able to imagine the dire state of poverty and deprivation that Swami Satyananda found Rikhia panchayat in when he first arrived on the 23rd of September 1989. The signs of prosperity, vitality and most importantly the optimism that these villagers now express is a miraculous transformation that has occurred in a relatively short span of time.
When Swami Satyananda arrived, it was not with the idea of opening an ashram or yoga centre. He came here to live in seclusion. Of course, he remained in seclusion practising his sadhana until the last day of his life, but his vision, inspiration and love for the underprivileged and impoverished manifested in an unparalleled way at Rikhiapeeth.
In 1991, Swami Satyananda received a divine mandate that changed the destiny of Rikhia forever, “Take care of your neighbours as I have taken care of you.” This command awakened his profound empathy for the plight of his neighbours, and from that moment the mission of Paramahansa Satyananda took an entirely different turn at Rikhia. There was no teaching of yoga and meditation as he had established in Munger. Instead, he inspired people to live a life of service following the highest ideals of Atma bhava, feeling and experiencing yourself in others, as outlined in Vedanta.
Swami Satyananda said, “Service is the greatest purifier of karmas and without internal purity spiritual life is meaningless. It is through service that spiritual evolution gains momentum and the inner journey towards the highest knowledge begins.”
The transformation of Rikhia has occurred as a sadhana, spiritual practice, not as a charity. What we see today are the fruits of the intense tapasya, austerities, performed by Paramahansa Satyananda throughout his life and the fulfilment of a divine mandate, which has been exalted here in Rikhiapeeth.
Rikhiapeeth has developed into a vibrant spiritual epicentre abundant in peace, plenty and prosperity. Aspirants, seekers, devotees, householders and sannyasins come from all parts of the world to live and work together for the benefit of others by following the high ideals of Seva, selfless service, sadhana, spiritual practice, swadhyaya, self-study, and Satsang, association with truth. It is a place of inspiration and joy for the thousands of natives who live in the hundreds of villages that surround Rikhiapeeth, as well as for millions of spiritual aspirants and devotees who come to imbibe the spiritual vibrations that abound in this sacred place.
On 25th of November 2006 during the auspicious occasion of the Rajasooya Yajna, which was performed by Sri Swamiji at Rikhia for twelve years, Paramahansa Satyananda officially declared that Rikhia ashram would be known as Rikhiapeeth and announced Swami Satyasangananda as its Peethadhishwari, spiritual acharya. He also gave Rikhiapeeth the mantra of peace, plenty and prosperity, ‘Aim Hreem Klim’ and established the sacred Sri Yantra and mandala of Tripura Sundari as the adhishtatri Devi of Rikhiapeeth.
Swami Satyasangananda has the responsibility to carry on the tradition that was established by her Guru Swami Satyananda. He gave her the Sankalpa or resolve, to ensure that the three fundamental teachings of Swami Sivananda, ‘Serve, Love, Give’ are practised and lived in Rikhiapeeth. Swami Satyasangananda has lived in Rikhiapeeth for over 20 years. She lived closely with Swami Satyananda from the first day he arrived until the final moments when he attained Mahasamadhi, fulfilling the vision that he held for Rikhia. Since the inception, she has been instrumental in creating and developing his Tapobhumi, place of intense spiritual practices and austerities.