SRI AUROBINDO YOGA MANDIR – (Kathmandu Center)
Established in 1994, the origins of our institution trace back to Ramchandra Das, who dedicated 12 years to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Puducherry. Following a transformative journey from the Nepal-India border to his village, Das was inspired by the pressing material needs of his community. Commencing with the care of his sister’s children, the initial endeavors involved milking cows and crafting incense to meet financial obligations. Through a single cow in the beginning days, the once acidic clay soil was gradually transformed into the fertile land that defines our establishment today.
The profound reverence for cows in relation to agriculture forms the cornerstone of the Ashram’s foundation, emphasizing sustainable farming practices. The inaugural classes were conducted outdoors, within the mud house that served as the Ashram’s first home. These sessions covered conventional subjects such as mathematics, sciences, English, and humanities, complemented by instruction in Nepali dance, Sanskrit, and Hindu dharma (teachings). Rooted in the broader context of Integral Yoga, Aurobindo’s dictum, “All Life is Yoga,” resonates deeply within the educational ethos of the Ashram. Here, education transcends the confines of the classroom to encompass all aspects of life, be it agricultural work, animal husbandry, culinary activities, or beyond.
Vedananda Pandey presently holds the position of Principal at the Sri Matri Aurobindo Vidyalaya (School) in the Kathmandu Ashram. The institution has achieved commendable results on Nepal’s standardized class 10 exit exams, and its distinctive feature lies in providing students with the invaluable opportunity to learn from their elder peers. The majority of the teaching staff has roots in the Ashram, with Veda himself being an early Ashram student since the age of 6 in 1996. From its modest beginnings with 12 students in an improvised mud hut classroom, the school has evolved into a three-story structure serving 150 students from classes 1 to 10 in the Kathmandu Ashram alone.
At the heart of the school’s philosophy is a commitment to democratic education, fostering a mutual exchange of learning between students and teachers. The classroom is regarded as just one facet of the extensive learning environments available. Students with interests in medicine actively contribute to the Ashram’s ayurvedic hospital, those inclined towards engineering participate in irrigation projects and workshops, while those passionate about fashion contribute to the sewing studio. This holistic approach ensures that education extends beyond theoretical knowledge, encompassing practical experiences and community engagement.