The Divine Shakti Foundation (DSF) is dedicated to providing for the holistic well-being of women, their children, orphaned and abandoned children, and all of Mother Earth.
DSF works directly in communities to identify needs and to design and implement programs that educate children and empower, uplift, and support women to be socially and financially self-sustaining, including in times of natural disasters. DSF provides education, opportunities and support for children, as well as raises awareness of the problems facing women and children through advocacy and mass communication. DSF is also engaged in programs to provide health care and especially access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, including menstrual hygiene.
Further, DSF supports and promotes cooperation and association among the people who are interested in these noble goals. We welcome all likeminded people who are interested in joining us in our work as we identify needs, design and implement programs addressing those needs, and raise awareness through education and outreach.
Specific programs to fulfill our mission include but are not limited to:
H.H. Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji’s motto in life is, “In the Service of God and humanity.” He left his home for the Himalayan jungles and forests at the tender age of 8 years, under the guidance of his spiritual master, in order to live a life devoted to God and in the service of humanity. Today, he is world renowned as a spiritual leader, visionary and divine guide.> READ MORE
Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji, Ph.D was raised in an American family in Hollywood, California and graduated from Stanford University. She was completing her Ph.D. when she left America in 1996 to come and live permanently at Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh, India. She has been living there ever since then, engaged in spiritual practice and dedicated service.> READ MORE
Ganga Nandini was born and raised in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor's in Molecular Cell Biology and Psychology. After graduation, she embarked on a journey to connect to her Indian roots and was called to the banks of Mother Ganga on a Save Ganga Yatra. Upon reaching Parmarth Niketan Ashram in 2010, she was deeply inspired by Pujya Swamiji and Pujya Sadhviji to live and serve permanently in Rishikesh, India. She has been living there since, engaged in service, spiritual practice, and yoga. She is deeply passionate about women's rights and empowerment issues and provides her guidance and support to numerous DSF service initiatives. She works to promote gender equality as well as provides her voice and energy to abate issues of child marriage, female foeticide and dowry.
Upasana Patra was born and brought up in Delhi, and always had a natural talent for combining art with education and community leadership. As a child she received high-profile training in classical dance and drama and completed her diploma in beauty management as best in her class. As a young professional she taught Hindi, Computer Basics and other subjects, while studying history (BA) and management (MBA) and conceptualizing community projects. With this rare spectrum of specializations, Mrs Upasana is the ideal person whom our more than 1250 children and 60 teachers look to for management and leadership. Having come to Rishikesh in 1999 and been welcomed into and tutored by Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Mrs Patra knows intimately about the concerns and needs of the students of the local centers. Mrs Patra is also in charge of syllabus, curriculum and counseling. Mrs Patra always likes to reach out and provide hands-on help for people in need, regardless of their background. She has experienced life closely and values authentic human relationships.
Mariya, a highly qualified professional, brings a diverse range of experiences and expertise to her role at Divine Shakti Foundation. She completed her M.A. in History from Jamia Millia Islamia University in New Delhi and holds an NDDY in Naturopathy and Yoga from Rajghat Delhi. Mariya has over 11 years of professional experience in the developmental sector before joining Divine Shakti Foundation. Having spent many years working with women in communities through upskilling programmes on in-demand skills such as tailoring, auto rickshaw driving, handiwork, papermaking, cloth printing, etc. Mariya has also worked with kids in the Tribal region of Tamia in Chindwara District of Madhya Pradesh for out-of-school and in-school community support for the kids. Mariya is passionate and effective at creating impact on the ground. Mariya has worked extensively in building Fair Trade organizations of women artisan communities in different regions of India, seeing significant outcomes for project beneficiaries. At Divine Shakti Foundation, Mariya is enthusiastic about building systems and processes that support the programs in the field of women’s empowerment and community engagement in the interest of promoting gender equality. She seeks to build synergies and empower operations at Divine Shakti Foundation so that it may reach and serve ever more people.
Sohini is a young development and conflict resolution/peacebuilding professional with 8 years of experience in the field of religion and peacebuilding. Sohini’s work over the years has taken her to build community and support the marginalized across India ranging from rural women from communities in North-East of India and also within communities in Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. Sohini is a KAICIID Fellows Programme alumnus and an alumnus of the Global Exchange on Religion in Society Programme funded by the European Union. Sohini has been fortunate to attend as a participant and stakeholder on several international events including World Bank Fragility Forum, Global Summit for Women, Round-tables and policy groups for G20 interfaith forum which have helped contribute to her world view. At Divine Shakti Foundation, Sohini is driven to contribute to the overall development of its programs and expansion of existing projects, strategize on resource mobilization and allocation and welcoming new partnerships. When not working, Sohini enjoys writing, reading, painting, going on long walks or volunteering to mentor other young professionals like herself.
Krishna Kumar comes from a landlord family in a remote village in Bihar, and from a young age he was passionate about his studies, taking the decision to pursue his education instead of taking up work managing the family’s agricultural land. First attaining his B.Com in Lucknow then gaining an MBA in Marketing and Finance in New Delhi, Krishna was on a trajectory to begin work in the corporate world, starting a job as an executive at Nielsen Org (a leading market research company). Soon it became apparent that his interest in education/teaching was not satisfied in this role. In 2019, a strong call for spiritual practice came and he left everything to follow the desire to do Vedanta and spirituality. While living in many ashrams and institutions, he attended the aarti of Parmarth Niketan in 2020. He was attracted to joining the ashram due to its focus on service and was very impressed with the educational programs run by Divine Shakti Foundation. It has been here that he has so enthusiastically been serving with full dedication for years, now responsible for managing and developing one of our education institutes.
Rohan was born and brought up in Melbourne, Australia having studied at the University of Melbourne gaining degrees in B.Com and B.Sci focussed on Environmental Science and Management. Following graduation he became the first Australian representative for the Government of Rwanda’s Development Board on a mission to empower Rwanda’s sustainable and inclusive development efforts. Rohan has also piloted projects on the ground in Indonesia and East Timor to address education inequality and access to IT infrastructure. Rohan has also worked as a top fashion model and television personality. Rohan left his life in Australia to follow a calling to deepen his connection to being of service, firstly through a year of intense sadhana. In the end of 2019 he was introduced to Parmarth Niketan as a place which embodied true spiritual service, addressing human needs holistically at the grand and ground scale. Since this time he has been delighted to have worked on several projects aimed at solving many needs including transforming mindsets on the environment and addressing gender equality.
A beautiful publication covering the numerous projects and initiatives undertaken under the vision and leadership of H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji and Pujya Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati.