As Chairperson and Managing Trustee of AIM for Seva and Swami Dayananda Educational Trust (SDET), Ms. Sheela Balaji has directed her efforts towards grassroots level societal transformation through education.
An ardent student of Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati, she is committed to carrying forward the vision of Pujya Swamiji. Ms. Balaji has worked to create opportunities for rural communities to learn, find employment and adopt sustainable living practices. She has been instrumental in AIM for Seva’s efforts in setting up 136 projects across India. Ms. Balaji has also helped to successfully revive and cultivate over 130 heritage rice varieties through Spirit of the Earth.
Ms. Sheela Balaji received the ‘Nari Shakti Puraskar 2017’, from the Ministry of Women & Child Development for her contribution to the field of education, community development and sustainable living that has touched more than 20 million lives pan-India. This award is the highest civilian honour and is presented to empowered and iconic women in cognizance of their exceptional leadership skills and exemplary achievements
Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati was a profound thinker, philosopher, spiritual teacher and one of the greatest masters of Vedanta. He was born on August 15, 1930, in Manjakkudi, a small village on the banks of River Kaveri in Tiruvarur district, Tamil Nadu.
As a world renowned spiritual teacher, Swami Dayananda Saraswati’s influence on the world stage has been enormous. Posthumously awarded the Padma Bhushan, he was the founder of AIM for Seva, Swami Dayananda Educational Trust, Arsha Vidya Research & Publication Trust and Arsha Vidya Gurukulams in India and USA.
Though deeply rooted in the richness of Indian tradition, Swami Dayananda Saraswati was contemporary in his thinking and approach to the issues of the day. His impeccable logic, brilliant analysis, erudition, precise use of language, and humour made him a renowned and sought after teacher of Advaita Vedanta. His discourses taught the most profound truths in simple language, leaving the audience spellbound.
Swami Dayananda Saraswati did not confine himself just to Vedanta. His benevolence and empathy extended to all civilisations, and all cultural forms that helped bring positive change in the lives of thousands of people. He strove to preserve, nurture and appreciate the diversity of human culture.
One of his founding principles with respect to AIM for Seva was that the youth of our nation should receive value education and cultural validation. Swamiji advocated that education complemented with cultural outlook would bring in self esteem and confidence in an individual. Only someone who is taught to respect the richness of his or her roots could grow to become a self confident individual. It is self confidence and self esteem that impel a person to contribute towards and participate in the prosperity of his or her nation.