Faculty and students of the Maharishi Vidya Mandir in Almora with a representative of the Global Mother Divine Organization delegation. The principal, Dr Mrs S Bhatnagar, is in the 2nd row, the 2nd from left.
More faculty and students of the Maharishi Vidya Mandir in Almora with other members of the Global Mother Divine Organization delegation.
The Maharishi Vidya Mandir school in Almora.
Members of the Mother Divine delegation at Maharishi Vidya Mandir, Almora.
Faculty and students of the Maharishi Vidya Mandir in Almora give their presentation to the Global Mother Divine Organization delegation on the verandah of the school.
Faculty members in the courtyard of the Maharishi Vidya Mandir, Haldwani.
Students from the Maharishi Vidya Mandir, Almora.
Faculty of the Maharishi Vidya Mandir, Almora.
11 August 2008
After two days of winding around steep, narrow mountain roads in the foothills of the Himalayas, we couldn't help but wonder where on earth we were going. We had started from Delhi and drove to Nainital and then on to the town of Almora. Arriving in Almora after dark, we were not prepared for what awaited us when we awoke the next morning. Looking out of our hotel window, we were greeted by the glorious towering snow capped peaks of the Himalayas—a vision of eternal silence—shining in the morning sun, as the city of Almora bustled around us.
We did our Transcendental Meditation and Transcendental Meditation Sidhi Programme and prepared for our visit to the Maharishi Vidya Mandir in Almora. Presently there are 143 Maharishi Vidya Mandirs (schools) in India that teach Maharishi Consciousness-Based Education. Dr Girish Chandra Varma, the National Director-India of the Global Country of World Peace, has established these schools under the direct guidance of Maharishi.
Maharishi Vidya Mandir is the largest chain of privately owned public schools in India, covering 16 states in 118 cities throughout India, with over 100,000 students in 143 branches, teaching Consciousness-Based Education. The number of students in each school varies from around 500 to 1000 students. Grades are from kindergarten through 12. The Maharishi Vidya Mandir in Almora has around 500 students.
We were relieved to find that the principal of the Almora school, along with one of the faculty members, had come to greet us at our hotel because they guided us as we drove up through the steep, winding streets to the school which stands almost at the top of the highest hilltop in this lofty city.
As soon as we entered the grounds however, any feeling of unfamiliarity with our surroundings melted. We felt as if we had come home. Maharishi's name on the building and its design according to Maharishi Vastu Vidya signified it as a Maharishi Vidya Mandir (school). Maharishi's large picture in the lobby assured us that we were in Maharishi's home of knowledge—even here in this remote corner of India.
The faculty who gathered to greet us looked very bright. They were obviously curious about the Mother Divine ladies from America and Australia who had come to visit their school. A faculty member tilaked us (put a mark on the forehead) and served us chai and sweets as we visited for a few minutes. I noted that many trophies lined the shelves of the principal's office next to a large picture of the Holy Tradition of Vedic Masters. It seemed they belonged together. The Holy Tradition is the source of the Vedic Knowledge that has been restored in its pure form by Maharishi and brilliantly applied to the curriculum of all the Maharishi Vidya Mandir schools throughout India. The success of this consciousness-based Vedic approach to education was evident in the trophies for academic excellence won by the students at this Maharishi Vidya Mandir.
It was a beautiful sunny morning and we soon assembled with the faculty and some students outside on the veranda of the school where they entertained us with songs, Vedic recitations that they chant each day, as well as some welcoming speeches. While listening to their presentations, I was struck by the remoteness of this school, yet its complete familiarity—it breathed Maharishi consciousness. Here we were in a distant city at 6000 feet above sea level looking out at the Himalayan peaks, and yet in the air of this school Maharishi's presence felt so vital and real.
How fortunate are these students I thought. Without a doubt, they also feel their good fortune. We were shown some of the essays that each student had written about Maharishi's Agnisamscara celebration in Allahabad that had taken place only a few weeks earlier. These momentous events had obviously touched the students deeply, and they tenderly expressed their love, respect, and gratitude for their dear Guruji, Maharishi. Not surprisingly, this same feeling of respect and love for Maharishi pervaded each of the Maharishi Vidya Mandirs we had the privilege to visit in India.
At the school in Almora, the faculty members invited us to tour the classrooms in which the students had displayed their academic work. Their exhibit was a Knowledge Fair that celebrated the knowledge they had gained during the year. What a Knowledge Fair! Utilizing materials they had skillfully made themselves (no department stores nearby), they had presented their lessons with remarkable creativity, neatness, and precision of expression. Each colourful display put forth a salient principle the student had studied during the year.
The students presented principles from a wide range of subjects including botany, math, computer science, environmental science, and biology. Our faculty guides were quick to inform us that the displays were the original work of the students and involved no faculty input. The creativity and clarity of their young, developing minds were obvious—they truly owned the knowledge they were learning. It reminded me of my high school state-wide science fairs where only the best from each school were chosen to participate. Interestingly, here at the Maharishi Vidya Mandir the display was from the students of just one school and all of their work was first class!
The Knowledge Fair was a compliment to the students. It spoke highly of the principal and faculty, and it was a wonderful credit to Dr Varma, who as Chairman of the Maharishi Vidya Mandirs in India, oversees each of the 160 schools. However, above all, it was a beautiful tribute to Maharishi who has so superbly and lovingly designed the Consciousness-Based Education that is utilized in these schools—an education that attends first to the development of consciousness of each student, and then to their specific lessons and how they learn their lessons. Maharishi designed their education for enlightenment.
To achieve education for enlightenment, all students, faculty, and administrators begin and end each school day with the group practice of the Transcendental Meditation and Transcendental Meditation Sidhi Programme. Effortlessly experiencing Transcendental Consciousness—the field of Total Knowledge—and learning how to function from this field of total Natural Law during their practice is the basis of their education. Through this practice, they gain the experience of Atma, their inner unbounded Self, the field of Total Knowledge. Then, as they study each discipline, their teachers skillfully relate the principles of the discipline to Atma. In this way, knowledge of the Self is gained through experience and understanding. The students are discovering the home of all knowledge within themselves.
Each Maharishi Vidya Mandir has a resident Transcendental Meditation Teacher and a resident Transcendental Meditation Sidhi Administrator who guide the students and faculty in their daily group practice. We were told that soon the students will be learning Yogic Flying. This prospect was a delight for all, as Yogic Flying will complete the offering these students make each day to their community. Everyday, students perform community service of the highest quality—through their group practice of Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation and the Transcendental Meditation Sidhi programme, they are bringing progress and harmony to their city, invincibility to India, and peace to the world.
Dr Varma is planning to create at least 1000 such schools throughout India. On the basis of the excellent reputation already earned by these existing schools, we know that his goal will be achieved quickly.
As members of the Global Mother Divine Organization, we are inspired to create universities for ladies in India—Maharishi Universities of Enlightenment—so that the precious young ladies graduating from the Maharishi Vidya Mandirs will have the opportunity to continue to enjoy Maharishi Consciousness-Based Education as members of the Mother Divine Programme or under the direction of the Global Mother Divine Organization.
For students of these universities, higher education will be for the highest knowledge—living Total Knowledge. In this theme, university education will consist of learning and applying the most advanced Maharishi Vedic Technologies of Consciousness to enable each student to rise easily and quickly to live Unity Consciousness in daily life and to develop the practical ability to fulfil her every aspiration. Our universities will enlighten the mothers of India in every generation, and in this way, perpetuate Heaven on Earth for all generations to come.
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