The future of any nation, and of humanity as a whole, lies with the youth. Many a wise people have expounded on the incredible potential that lies with the young people. They are not only a storehouse of infectious energy, and perhaps it may even be a very superficial way of looking at what makes youth so special; but it is qualities like transparency, frankness, honesty, a spirit of adventure, and a burning idealism that makes youth such a special time in one’s life. It is the age where “sky is the limit” and one is most ready to give oneself to a purpose, a call that is able to captivate the young mind. Indeed, youth is the initial garden of one’s life, where the seeds of the most beautiful flowers or those of the most poisonous weed are sowed.
Youth also is one of the most fertile periods of one’s life. A young mind, intellect, heart is constantly athirst and seeking for ways to enlarge itself, to widen and deepen itself. Sri Aurobindo and the Mother placed much importance on the overall development of young people, and they saw that the future of humanity does not lie centuries away, but it is being created in the hearts of young men and women right now. Sri Aurobindo expressed his will thus:
Our call is to young India. It is the young who must be the builders of the new world,... all (those) who are free in mind and heart to accept a completer truth and labour for a greater ideal.
The Mother too has placed much stress on how important it is to remain young, not only for the pursuit of Yoga, but even to live a full life. She says:
We can say that youth is constant growth and perpetual progress-and the growth of capacities, possibilities, the field of action and range of consciousness, and progress in the working out of details.
Sri Aurobindo Ashram is an unusual ashram, and was even more so almost a century ago when it came into being, owing to the emphasis it places on not just spiritual growth, but on physical perfection, intellectual growth, and an increasing subtlety, beauty and finesse of emotions. Sri Aurobindo’s work of transformation makes it imperative and indispensible for those on his path to not shun any aspect of human existence but constantly strive and work towards its transformation into its higher form. With this living ideal, Sri Aurobindo Ashram - Delhi Branch from its early years itself felt a need to work with the youth. The Mother’s International School, counted among the most respectable schools in Delhi, was founded in 1956. This was followed by conception of Mira Nursery School for young children. Within the next few years of that, the Ashram had also started reaching out to young people spread all over India through its “National Integration Camps” with the objective of augmenting the truth of unity behind diversity that makes a beautiful country as India, and also to educate them about the grand vision of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother for India and the unity of human beings all over the world. In 1981, mirambika Free Progress School was started, which was devoted to understand and implement the vision of Integral Education as envisioned by the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. It is one of the very first schools in India to implement alternate pedagogy and has been an inspiration for many others to start experimenting with education which takes the child beyond the blackboard and the classroom. Matri Karuna Vidalaya was another baby of the Ashram, which strove to reach out to the economically underprivileged young children with more progressive ideas and practices of learning and education. However, due to certain Government policies, these forward-looking initiatives had to be discontinued.
In 1989, the Ashram turned towards those young people who, due to lack of
resources or other difficult familial and social reasons, were unable to
continue their studies further. Almost all of them belonged to poorer
socio-economic backgrounds. SAIVT (Sri Aurobindo Institute of Vocational
Training) was thus born.
Keeping in view our commitment to National Integration, we select
participants from all different states of the country. So at any given
time we have youth from 15 or more states thus ensuring National
Since the vocational training course is held on the Sri Aurobindo Ashram -
Delhi Branch premises, it has two distinct features. Firstly the trainees are
not segregated from the community at large on the campus and are able to
mingle into the crowds of the Ashram, the teacher trainees, the guests and
visitors from all over the country and abroad. This makes them an integral
and organic portion of the community. Automatically their living standard is
raised and even more important their standard of thinking and communicating
improves thus building a self-confidence which is of great help to them in
later lives. Secondly we give so much stress on an all-round development of
the individual body, mind, emotions and spirit and the emphasis is more on an
integrated growth of the personality rather than the goal of only improving
their vocational skills, the trainees are highly benefited from this attitude.
The six months' stay in the Ashram teaches them the merits of a simple,
hygienic and regulated life style, acting as a base for a morally upright
life. The contact with the wide variety of people in the Ashram develops
leadership qualities and widens their horizons of their knowledge and is also
extremely educative and beneficial. We strongly feel that after completion of
this six months training programme, the participants go back with attitude
and skills that enable them to function better as productive citizens.
strive to upgrade their value system and equate them with the rich cultural
heritage of our country to which they are abundantly exposed in the beautiful
and serene Sri Aurobindo Ashram Campus.
To fulfill all these objectives we have a well-structured everyday
schedule that helps them to bring discipline, focus and channelize their energies
Day starts with shramdaan (community service) within the Ashram premises itself, and includes varied tasks from sweeping the floors to dusting, tending to the gardens, and sometimes even minor construction work as and when needed.
Shramdan – Dignity of Labour
Shramdan is given a lot of importance as it helps to promote a spirit of
selfless cooperative team work and at the same time it creates awareness
about the dignity of labour. A fixed time for Shramdan promotes regularity
and discipline. Since the Ashram residents and the teacher trainees also
participate in the Shramdan, it becomes more productive and meaningful.
This is followed by a healthy breakfast when the whole Ashram community sits together and eats. After freshening up, they all go to their assigned departments. Here are a few of them:
Handmade Paper Unit
The Ashram runs a small handmade paper unit which utilizes waste-paper and
natural substances to produce high quality paper in many varieties such as writing pads, fancy stationary,
greeting cards, dairies, carry bags, pen stands and other decorative items. The products can be purchased
from SABDA. In-house office stationary and bookbinding is also done
which takes care of the needs of the Ashram and
Kitchen, bakery and food processing
Vocational trainees are taught baking wholesome bread, cakes and biscuits.
They also learn to make salted snacks and pickle. During fruit season
they learn to make jam, squashes and chutneys.
Knowledge of different types of libraries, classification of books,
cataloging, shelving, stock taking, data entry of books is taught.
From basic embroidery and basic stitching they learn to make simple
salwar-suit, blouse, churidar, frocks, baba-suits and designer bags.
They also learn to measure, cut and use different kinds of clothes.
At the end of the training programe a small exhibition is organized
where they display their products.
This is a course which teaches them basic electric knowledge.
They understand different types of wires, fuses, repairing tubelights,
coolers, bulbs, fans and other domestic appliances.
They explore and learn the use of different types of tools, repairing
old furniture and weaving chairs. The use
of polish and paint to extend the life of each article is also taught.
It is a one year, pre-nursing course where they learn to attend to patients, basic patient-care, visit hospitals
They have regular classes on anatomy, physiology and general medicine. Since the Ashram follows an Integral Health approach, a basic introduction to homeopathy, ayurveda, physiotherapy, dental hygiene, eye-health, and community health are also given.
After a sumptuous lunch, they have their basic computer and English classes, which is followed by a light tiffin, after which they go for sports.
Basic Computer Training
During their six-month stay at the Ashram, trainees attend a mandatory program for an hour everyday, where they are taught the basics of computers.
This gives them a lot of self-confidence and prepares them for a future which is getting increasingly technology driven. Their course content covers: Introduction to
computer, do’s and don’ts in computers & MS-Office 97 package.
Through such classes, their skill in using the language is
enhanced significantly. Trainees gain confidence in the language. This
enables them to communicate
with each other in English. Over a period of time, their language
skills are more firmed up and they learn to use the language correctly
We have an elaborate programme that includes different sports
and several physical activities for youngsters.
Sportsmanship, team spirit and co-ordination
are promoted through games like basketball, football,
volleyball, badminton etc. Facilities for all these activities are available in the
campus. Trainees enjoy themselves thoroughly and look forward to this hour
of the day.
Trainees improve their power
of concentration through daily meditation exercises that take place during
the evenings. Self-observation is encouraged. This way trainees learn about
their strengths and weaknesses, fears and hopes. Introspection and self
observation are stressed upon constantly. This exercise inculcates
in them sincerity, discipline, courage and hard work which ultimately improves
their quality of life and helps them to become better leaders and better
Musical lessons are given once a week. Devotional and patriotic songs are taught to the trainees.
Through such sessions, the students hone their skills and also develop a better understanding of the history and heritage of the country.
Workshops are conducted on character building,
writing, arts, self-defense, health,
hygiene, food and nutrition and other aspects to further their development.
Awareness through body
Trainees put up a cultural show on 15th August
(Sri Aurobindo's birthday and Independence Day) and 21st February (The Mother's birthday).