Vedanta camp for Japanese students

Swami  Cetanananda Saraswati ji from Japan held a  Vedanta camp for his students at the Jnanha Pravaha in Manjakkudi, Tamil Nadu. Swamiji belongs to the Arsha Vidya Sampradaya.

“ I have been teaching in Japan what I heard from Swami Dayananda ji, but it is only after my students came to this village (Manjakkudi, Pujya Swamiji’s birthplace) that they really understood what I taught,”  Swami Cetanananda Saraswati ji said.

Recounting the retreat and positive impact it created on the Japanese students who attended the same, Swami Cetanananda Saraswati ji said that the teachings of Pujya Swamiji continue to permeate the hearts of the people today.

On their part, the students were impressed with the kindness and hospitality extended by the villagers from Manjakkudi. The students had brought a small Vigraha of Krishna from Japan for which a daily abhishekam was done by the Pujari.

The principal of the Swami Dayananda Matric Higher Secondary School, Manjakkudi, Tamil Nadu, Smt. Padma Raghunathan invited the Japanese guests to school to have a cultural exchange dialogue with students from rural India.  “This was a great Prasada for the students and me as we got to see many beautiful virtues in children. After coming back home, some students were crying and told that they were touched by the hearts of children,” recalled Swami Cetanananda Saraswati ji.

Swami Cetanananda Saraswati ji said that during the Vedanta retreat; the Japanese students felt the grace of Swamiji everywhere and they brought back this grace to Japan. “The people of Manjakkudi welcomed us and gave us many things in many ways. Manjakkudi serves as an inspiring place. Most of my students know about Pujya Swamiji only through the Bhagavad Gita home study programme. Therefore, Manjakkudi has a special place in their hearts.”

Keeping alive tribal traditions

Laughter, fun and frolic and above all being in the lap of nature. Every year, students from across our Chatralayams go on outdoor trips. Such outings help them to bond with each in an informal environment.

In January, students from the Swami Dayananda AIM for Seva Chatralayam for Boys, Utnoor, Telangana were taken to the Keslapur fair. Nagoba Jatara is a tribal festival held in Keslapur village, Inderavelly Mandal Adilabad district, Telangana, India. It is the second biggest tribal carnival and is celebrated by the Mesaram clan of Gond tribes for 10 days. Tribal people from Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh belonging to the Mesaram clan offer prayers at this festival.

A month back, the boys from the Utnoor Chatralayam partook in a Vanabhojanam. Vanabhojanam is an annual ritualistic picnic undertaken during Karthigai month in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. It is a cultural festival that celebrates our plant diversity with people cooking food under trees (amla) , offering it to the Gods and then partaking in the prasad.

Culture validation is an important component of the value-based education system propagated by AIM for Seva across its 104 Chatralayams. Our founder, Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati advocated that education complemented with cultural outlook would bring in self confidence in an individual. A child who is taught to respect the richness of his or her roots would eventually grow to become a confident individual who would contribute towards the progress of the nation.


AIM for Seva partnered with Pratham Books and celebrated International Literacy Day on September 8 across our Chatralayams in Maharashtra. To make the event enjoyable for our older readers and younger ones, our students were given the option of choosing from two titles: ‘Gappu Can’t Dance’ (a Level 1 book written by Menaka Raman and illustrated by Krishna Chandan) and ‘The Weightlifting Princess’ (a Level 3 book written by Sowmya Rajendran and illustrated by Debasmita Dasgupta). It was a fun-filled session with our students from the Amboli and Rajgurunagar Chatralayams in Maharashtra having a gala time reading, narrating and enacting stories.

Last year, AIM for Seva partnered with Pratham Books, and our students from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana were introduced to ‘A Cloud of Trash’ (written by Karanjeet Kaur). The story is about a little girl called Cheekoo, who has a cloud of trash hanging over her head. This makes her very, very unhappy and, as we follow her story, we learn a little more about trash, and about keeping our surroundings clean. Our students across 16 hostels in both states read the story out aloud and enjoyed enacting it.