An ashram for learning culture

An ashram for learning  culture

Swami Vivekananda is not just the greatest Indian spiritual Guru who took to world the superiority of Indian Culture but he is looked upon as the greatest youth icon the world has ever witnessed.

With intellectual empowerment of youth being the biggest dream of Swami Vivekananda, the Ramakrishna Mission founded by him in honour of his Guru Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa has been doing the same and much more for all round development of the community as a whole and the youth in specific.

The Mission set its foot in Mangalore in 1951 and since then, the Ashram premises at Mangaladevi area in Mangalore has been home for thousands of young boys wanting to pursue education, till date.

The Balakashram is as old as the Ramakrishna Ashram in Mangalore because it was in 1951, a family of Saukar Ranga Pai handed over the entire Mission premises to the Ramakrishna Mission on the condition that an Ahsram for the economically backward boys would be run without fail. The promise has been kept up beautifully till date. 
Today, the Ashram has 68 boys who are pursuing their schooling at schools nearby but return home to Ashram to learn the meaning of life.

Speaking to City Herald, Chidambaranandaji of the Ramakrishna Math says that the boys are enrolled to the Ashram after 7th standard, strictly on basis of merit and economic background. Caste has no role to play in the admission, whatsoever. The only compulsion is that the candidates must necessarily hail from rural areas and they should have at least one guardian to enquire about their progress.

The day of the boys begins at 5 am, followed by a session of yoga for half an hour. They then proceed to attend ‘Mangalarati,’ Bhajans and chants at the prayer hall. This is followed by their routine premises maintenance work. After this, they are given time to complete bathing and study for an hour.

At 8.15 am, breakfast is served and by 9 am, the boys leave to school. Since the mid-day meals are given in the school, boys return to the Ashram only by 4 pm. After routine works in the premises, tea and snacks are served at 5 pm. They are then given time for relaxation by means of games and reading in the library. At 6.30 pm, the boys take part in the prayer, study till 8.45 pm. By 10 pm, they recline.

The main highlight of the Ashram is that the entire premises of the Math is maintained by the Ashram boys. The senior boys impart knowledge of gardening, plumbing, sound system and electrical work etc. The boys are even taught works in the kitchen.

Many of the alumni of the Ashram have carved a niche for themselves in various fields and even today they remember the place which made them what they are today. While some have donated computers to the Ashram, some from time to time have been extending helping hand in various projects of the Math.

“We are building a building with toilets and clothes drying area. The alumni have donated generously,” says Chidambaranandaji. Discipline is the way of life in the Ashram and the way the boys have kept their dormitory, stacked their clothes in space allotted to them, rolled up the mattress before leaving to school, talks volume on the kind of discipline that the boys have already imbibed in life.

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