Christmas 2022 

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Visit to the Ananaya Niketanam School, Udupi

March 14 - 15, 2022

An unforgettable journey with many unexpected surprises.

Day 1: The welcome


When we flew to India at the end of February, we were warmly invited by our Ananya Niketanam school to come and visit them. Our flight left Bengaluru in the morning and 1 hour later we arrived in Mangalore on the west coast of India. There we were warmly welcomed by the Sekretär der Schule Madhusudan Nayak mit Rosen begrüßt, woraufhin wir nach ca. 2 Stunden Autofahrt zu unserem Hotel in Kundapura gebracht wurden. Nach einem herzhaften Essen und etwas Ruhe fuhr uns Madhusudan Nayak zum Ananya Haus direkt am Meer, wo die Lehrer und Mitarbeiter wohnen. Alle Schüler und Mitarbeiter warteten auf uns und begrüßten uns feierlich auf rotem Teppich, mit selbstkomponierten Liedern und auch auf ganz traditionell indische Art. Der Schulleiter Mahendra Hedge begrüßte uns sehr herzlich. Die Herzlichkeit und Liebe von allen Seiten war eine überwältigende Erfahrung für uns, womit wir überhaupt nicht gerechnet hatten.

After some refreshments and a welcome talk,, wurden wir dann mitgenommen, um das Land anzuschauen, das für den Bau des Campusgebäudes erworben worden war. Es ist ein sehr großes wunderschönes Gelände, das vom Strand aus ins Landesinnere geht. (see construction plan)

The story about this property is extremely exciting: there are a lot of snakes there. The land belonged to a family who wanted to sell it, but every time a buyer was found, the family was warned in a dream by the snakes that the sale would bring great misfortune upon the family. In India, it is believed that the snakes own the earth and you need their permission if you want to sell land or build something on it.

Thus, the snakes prophesied that this beautiful terrain was intended only for someone who would build something on it, thereby selflessly serving humanity and society. Only to such a person could the land be sold. The family respected the message of the snakes and built a snake temple on the site. Since then, the snakes are worshipped there and asked for advice.

Then, when the foundation of the school sought this land, the snakes gave their consent and confirmed that it was exactly for this purpose. So it came to the purchase of this land.

We visited this snake temple. To show our reverence and respect, we went around it three times - together with the head of the school, who told us this story. You could really feel that a very special power was working here.

Evening Prayers - After going back to Ananya House, we spent time interacting with some staff and teachers, and as it is customary in India, we were served delicious snacks that were lovingly prepared. This love and care touched our hearts one more time. 

Then we went to the beach for evening prayer. It is an incredibly beautiful white sandy beach, far and wide no one to be seen, no tourists, no hotels, only sand, sea, some rocks, many palm trees and in the distance some fishing boats. Our students, who were already sitting quite disciplined in orderly rows in the sand waiting for us, were singing Vedic chants followed by bhajans. We took our seats behind the students. As the sun slowly set, we were immersed in an absolutely divine atmosphere. It was an almost unearthly experience. How fortunate are the students who are allowed to meditate and chant regularly on the beach at sunset, with their eyes fixed on the sun, and immersed in this sacred atmosphere. No classroom in the world can match that.

Cultural program - After that, a cultural program was organized in the palm garden in front of the beach. After lighting a big bonfire, the students performed a series of cultural dances. All the activities, whether it was the traditional dances or the songs, the Sanskrit speeches, the imitation of animals, were es war sehr abwechslungsreich und wunderschön gestaltet. Selbst die Fischer der Umgebung kamen und führten einen traditionellen Fischertanz auf. Es war eine festliche, heitere Atmosphäre, die unsere Herzen tief berührt hat.

Dinner - We were then invited by the principal Mahendra Hegde and the staff to an enchanting candlelight dinner at the Palmengarten. First, we were given a lovingly designed printed menu card with the 22 courses that awaited us. This put a surprised smile on all our faces. The special attention and love with which the delicious food was served to us by the teachers shall remain an unforgettable experience.  After dinner, we were filled with joy and gratitude and were then driven back to our hotel by Madhusudan, who is affectionately called the "master organizer" by everyone on campus. The laughter and joy of the students who had also enjoyed the festival was contagious. Everything was perfectly organized and ran smoothly. We have never experienced such a loving welcome, it was like a dream.

Photo gallery 1

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Day 2: Campus visit

The next morning Madhusudan came and after a very good Indian breakfast at the hotel drove us to the campus, which was a few kilometers away. The school is still a temporary one at the moment, until the actual school buildings are built. It is a large, well laid out Kalyan Mantapa (a wedding hall provided free of charge by the temple administration) and we were again welcomed, lovingly and respectfully with roses, by the chairman and teachers. The students had been waiting for us quietly and disciplined in the assembly hall. Seeing their sweet faces, we felt their love and expectant anticipation.

The program - Before the program began, we were taken to the Sita Rama Temple next door to pay our respects. Here, too, we circumambulated the holy of holies three times.  Mahendra Hegde then welcomed us to the assembly hall. The program started again with Vedic chanting followed by some bhajans.  We had the opportunity to listen to some lectures by the students and also the teachers and we were very impressed. One student even spoke in Sanskrit. Here it was noticeable that the students are educated based on the Vedic tradition. We both also got the opportunity to speak to the students and teachers. We were able to express our gratitude for being here and being a part of their lives. We also expressed what a fortunate position the students are in because they are receiving such a values-based education from exemplary teachers.  This will help them find the right path later in their lives. We then showed them our website and explained it to them.

Later, we were shown some video presentations about the annual sports festival and student activities. The engaging videos, carefully put together by the staff, gave us deeper insights into the tremendous efforts made by the staff to ensure that our students receive holistic learning, both academically and spiritually.  There, it became clear to us that each student values the joy of play over the spirit of competition.

We received additional gifts from the chairman Mahendra Hedge. Later we were also allowed to distribute our brought gifts to all the students and staff. We had had great joy the day before wrapping all the gifts in gold wrapping paper as a small token of our love towards the students and teachers.  We also received a traditional gift from the manager of the Kalyana Mantapa and learned how the community around the Mantapa does everything they can to help the school. At the end we were allowed to see the school with the different rooms and also talk to the children.

The interactions of the students - With great pride, the students showed us their dormitories, classrooms, library, science equipment, sports equipment and other facilities, They told us that they got delicious food. Several students proudly showed us their self-painted artwork. The living areas were clean and well organized by the students themselves. We were very impressed by the simplicity and creative solutions in the school. The children warmly invited us to come back.  With filled hearts, we then sadly had to say goodbye to our students and teachers and headed back to Ananya House for lunch.

Meeting with the chairman - After a delicious lunch with Mahendra Hedge and a small group of teachers at Ananya House, we had a discussion about the future development and needs of the school.

After a fond farewell to everyone, Madhusudan drove us back to our hotel. After checking out, we visited 2 beautiful old temples nearby and then headed to Udupi, towards the airport. In Udupi we drove to a famous Krishna temple, which is a big pilgrimage site, and then we headed to the airport to fly back to Bengaluru at night.

Essence - Here we would like to summarize the essence of the whole trip:  

We were given a special place.  Everything we experienced here - all the encounters, all the talks, all the programs - was completely permeated with love. We were simply carried by love. It is this coming together of people, in this spirit of love, that makes us feel like family.

The students made a healthy and happy, cheerful impression on us.  They are pure loving souls and very talented.  The teachers are great role models and fully engaged.

When you imagine that these children come from the poorest backgrounds and now have this wonderful opportunity to break these chains of poverty by getting an excellent education, it just fills us with deep gratitude in our hearts.

It has also become clear to us what an important role this holistic educational concept of the school and the partner schools plays in supporting the transformation process of society. This project can be joined and actively supported by every person who feels involved. These schools are like the blueprint of a new holistic education concept for the whole world.

Change in the world can only come about through this kind of holistic education, where students not only follow their own interests, but develop the natural ability to serve society as a whole.

Photo gallery 2

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