The Mother and Sri Aurobindo
"Nobody can say,
“there is no hope for me”,
because the Divine Grace is there."
In the year 1975, Chachaji’s attention was directed towards providing wholesome learning experiences to toddlers. The school started with a handful of children from the neighbouring village and a few teachers handpicked by Chachaji.
Mira Nursery aimed at imparting pre-school education to children from the ages of three to five years. At this tender age a very low pupil–teacher ratio is essential. All activities of the children were closely and lovingly supervised by dedicated Ashramites and voluntary workers. The centre was well equipped with modern educational apparatus and training in language and numbers was imparted on scientific lines. Nursery rhymes, dance, dramatics, storytelling, art and craft through activities like painting, paper folding, paper pasting, mosaic work and clay modelling were taught.
The children’s park provided free play activities and was filled with swings, slides, jungle gym, rotating platforms, horizontal and vertical ladders and other apparatus for the free movement and healthy growth of the child. The school also had a mini-zoo where children could feed the rabbits and pigeons, play with the monkeys and admire the colourful birds, thus bringing them into close contact with nature.
Prominent among the people who contributed significantly towards making the dream a reality were Ms Swani, Ms Padma Murthy and Ms Shukla Haldar. Due to changes in government policies on education, Mira Nursery was absorbed into The Mother’s International School in 2007.
The love of the Mother filters through all shallow barriers erected by mankind. Matri Karuna Vidyalaya was brought into being by Tara di in an inaugural ceremony on the 5 April 1999. The School was to cater to the economically weaker sections of the society by introducing them to the joy of learning in a happy and rich environment. Ms Atma Prakash Baveja worked with great spirit and rigour and was personally involved in the outreaching programme with support from Ms Kamlesh Mahindra who is an amazing storyteller, writer and dramatist. The dynamic persons, Ms Baveja and Ms Mahindra, have left no stone unturned in generating funds and resources for the institute and has enriched the atmosphere greatly by her presence. Later the school came a long way under the expert and loving guidance of Ms Mohini Anand. She has contributed significantly towards its growth. The school was eventually closed in 2010 when government policies changed and did not support the vision of such a school as Matri Karuna Vidyalaya.
A humble printing press, started with the Blessings of The Mother and Her message: "Matri Press — at the service of the Truth" continued to serve the cause for which it was started. All the Hindi and English printing required by the Ashram and the institutions run under the aegis of the Ashram was done in the Matri Press. No commercial work was taken up. The two monthly magazines of the Ashram, The Call Beyond in English and Sri Arvind Karmadhara in Hindi, were both printed here. Classes in composing, printing and binding were held for the students of the Mother’s International School under the Socially Useful Productive Work scheme. The Matri Press had to close down due to the change of technology.
Matri departmental store established and run by the Sri Aurobindo Education Society under the auspices of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram - Delhi Branch. The store was not a business venture in any sense of the term. It was run by Sadhakas living in the Ashram, volunteers and dedicated social workers in the Gita spirit of work without expectation of fruit or reward. The purpose was to give young people and commerce students a practical programme in planning and organization, salesmanship, layout and display, merchandizing, inventory control, book keeping and auditing. Products from the Ashram kitchen, bakery and other departments, as well as the daily requirements of the Campus people were available in the store so that they could save much needed time for their work and their Sadhana, serving the Ashram. In 2015, when mirambika Free Progress School shifted to the first floor of the building where Matri Store was running, it had to be closed down as per government rules and policy.
In response to the needs of several parents, the Chhatralaya (student’s hostel) was inaugurated in 1962. It was meant for students studying in the Mother’s International School, both boys and girls, irrespective of caste and creed, and was lovingly supervised by the Ashramites and devotees of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo. There were several dormitories and efforts were made only to keep a small number of students under each warden so that, as far as possible, the child could get individual care, attention and love. There were separate arrangements for boys and girls. A wholesome, nutritious vegetarian diet was provided to the children. The services of a resident doctor were always available. The Chhatralaya basically "aimed at providing to the students conditions and opportunities under which they could grow freely and boldly towards the goal of preparing the future humanity to manifest upon earth a Divine consciousness and life, the consciousness that is all-comprehensive and life which manifests freedom, unity and harmony of existence!" Thus the basic approach of our education is based on the idea that life is purposeful and that one of the most important objects of education is to lead the students to discover the aim of life in general and the specific role that he or she has to play in life. The attempt, therefore, was to take the student as a soul and give a thorough training to all faculties. There was a carefully planned programme of physical education for hostellers consisting of athletics, games, gymnastics, keep-fit programme, posture training, scouting and N.C.C. training. Participation in physical education was compulsory. Competitions and tournaments were organized and spread over the whole year to keep up and develop the interest. In the evening, hostellers were supervised by school teachers and Ashramites. There was provision for special coaching for some students. The spiritual atmosphere of Sri Aurobindo Ashram provided the child with a new life-power. The Shrine of Sri Aurobindo, a Symbol of The Master’s Presence, spontaneously and naturally invited the pursuit of this discovery and awakened and stimulated in the being an aspiration to cultivate and express the divine value of Truth and Love. Children had the opportunity of participating in the daily Satsang where collective meditation, devotional music, reading from The Mother and Sri Aurobindo, discourses and lectures by Sadhakas were held regularly. Due to expansion of the school, the hostel was close down