Today, Lakshmi's House is a temple that houses Sri Aurobindo's relics. It is a field of action for the realization of our spiritual Ideal.
Hitherto, whenever Pradyot visited Calcutta he stayed in premier hotels. Now the Mother asked him to take up residence in the "Home of Grace" along with Arun Tagore. The "Home of Grace" is a very big edifice in Regent Park, belonging to one Lakshmi Devi Loyalka and called Lakshmi's House. She had offered the house to the Mother in memory of her dead husband.
Arun started a library and then in 1972 opened a Kindergarten school in order to spread the Mother's idea of education. The Mother named it 'Arun Nursery School'. There had previously been a 'Shakti Centre' for women opened by Lakshmi Devi. In 1975, Arun suddenly passed away. Just before his departure he had opened the Sri Aurobindo Institute of Culture and made Pradyot its Chairman. What began as a small venture, developed gradually into a big project under Pradyot's initiative and drive. Lakshmi House was truly Lakshmi's palace. A huge area and a large mansion to be maintained and kept in order needed a big monthly expenditure. Pradyot had to meet it.
On the other hand his creative genius saw for itself a vast scope which was not available in the Ashram. Difficulties and obstacles never daunted his spirit when he had undertaken some work. He relied on the Mother's help and on his confidence in himself. In 1977 Sri Aurobindo's relics were taken and placed in a beautiful setting in the "Home of Grace" by the Chief Justice of Calcutta, Sri Shankar Prasad Mitra. Besides the Nursery School, cultural training in music, singing, dancing, medical treatment, a printing press, lectures on the Mother and Sri Aurobindo were set going one after another. Recently, saris, gamchhas and napkins have been supplied to the Ashram from this establishment's own weaving machine. Pradyot's eye was constantly fixed on how to be of service to the Ashram. Most opportunely, he saw in Joya Mitra a lady of immense capabilities whom he adored like his own daughter, and put her in charge of the administration. Pradyot also built up a group of friends who were ready to do whatever he requested of them.
Those who have visited the Institute have showered praise on Pradyot for his creative ability in many directions and for the quiet atmosphere, the meticulous care in keeping the place spotlessly clean so that one could at once feel the presence of the Mother as in a temple. Of late Sanjukta Panigrahi, the premier Odissi dancer, started to train students in her art at Lakshmi's House. Uday Shankar, the famous dancer of Bengal, in his last days, had lost grace with the public and it seemed he was jobless. He had heard of Lakshmi's House and came there to seek for a place where he could hold his classes. Pradyot listened to his problems and promptly said, "You are welcome". Uday Shankar, overwhelmed, exclaimed, "I now believe that there is God!'. This story was narrated to me by Pradyot himself. A grave problem facing him was that the area in which the Institute was located was politically disturbed. Gradually it has been cleansed of bad influences and transformed into a respectable place, I have been told.
Since Pradyot had to be present on his birthday at Pondicherry, it was observed in Lakshmi's House on the previous day. The children of the physical culture section (Devasangha) and of the Arun Nursery School used to observe it with prayers, songs, dances, recitations and parade with their dear Dadu as their central figure. Oh, it was a day of rejoicings. In the evening the function ended with devotional songs or dance programmes by reputed artistes or Pradyot's readings from Savitri. Every year it repeated itself and brought joy, beauty and a fresh lease of life to its founder and to those who were a part and parcel of the organisation.
Lakshmi's House is a unique testimony to Pradyot's creative genius as regards its organisation and operation. There were two sides to it; one, a surprising efflorescence of his individuality in an hitherto unknown splendour; the second, giving the Lakshmi's House a touch of novelty among other centres by his glowing faith in the Mother's Grace aided by his untiring zeal.
Let us throw some light on the second aspect. The Mother proclaimed that Lakshmi's House will be the Home of Grace. There came a time when the situation turned very critical so much so that Lakshmi's House had to be either abandoned or kept up at the cost of a huge sum of money. Then was heard Pradyot's leonine voice:
In Pradyot's eye of vision, Lakshmi's House extending beyond its material bounds of wood, brick and stone, became the abode of the Divine Mother. It is for this reason that he was able to surmount innumerable difficulties and with a steady, calm spirit take up the heavy responsibility on his shoulder. A boy who called him Dadu felt at this time a lion-like power in him and there emitted from his thick eye-brows a tremendous courage. The Mother once gave Pradyot a card which bore on one side a line from Savitri. "Her single will opposed the cosmic rule", and on the other, written in her own hand, "Pradyot, is it this you wanted?". In this context that young boy recalled a message of the Mother, "Truth is a victory won after hard labour. To win it, we must be fearless warriors - warriors who fear nothing, let come foes or death, let people be for him or against him, let the body be or be not. An uninterrupted fight must go on till it ends in victory". Pradyot fulfilled that responsibility squarely until his last moment. His close circle of friends has perceived what tremendous pressure was brought to bear upon his frail body while discharging the burden of Lakshmi's House, but Pradyot, armoured with the Mother's might, went ahead undaunted, fighting all the way and caring the least about his health. On the one hand , he spent his last drop of energy in the service of the Mother's Home of Grace; on the other, he flung the doors of that temple wide open to all and sundry. Always a reticent person, he articulated these few words to the audience on the occasion of the Mother's centenary celebration.
The future alone will be the witness of his work starting with small footsteps, striding forward and becoming an extraordinarily active Institute. That was his dream. At least that it would be the Mother's Home of Grace, was his abiding faith. And it has become a realised fact. Today Pradyot's soul will be happy to see that his own life-work , Lakshmi's House, has transformed itself into the Mother's Home of Grace in every part of it. The Light that radiates from it is a part of the Mother's eternal Light.
A spiritual ideal has always been the characteristic idea and aspiration of India. But the progress of time and the need of humanity demand a new orientation and another form of that ideal.....
India can no longer fulfil herself on lines that are too narrow for the great steps she has to take in the future.......
The West has made the growth of the intellectual, emotional and material being of man its ideal but it has left aside the greater possibilities of spiritual existence.....
The East has the secret of that spiritual change, but it has too long turned its eyes away from the earth. The time has now come to heal the division and to unite life and spirit.....
Our first object shall be to declare this ideal, insist on the spiritual change as the first necessity and group together all who accept it and are ready to strive sincerely to fulfil it: our second shall be to build up not only an individual but a communal life on this principle.
Its scope, too, will be at once individual and communal, regional and national, and eventually a work not only for the nation but for the whole human people. The immediate object of this action will be a new creation, a spiritual education and culture, an enlarged social spirit founded not on division but on unity, on the perfect growth and freedom of the individual, but also on his unity with others and his dedication to a larger self in the people and in humanity, and the beginning of an endeavour towards the solution of the economic problem founded not on any Western model but on the communal principle native to India.
Our call is to young India. It is the young who must be the builders of the new world, - not those who accept the competitive individualism, the capitalism or the materialistic communism of the West as India's future ideal, nor those who are enslaved to old religious formulas and cannot believe in the acceptance and transformation of life by the spirit, but all who are free in mind and heart to accept a completer truth and labour for a greater ideal. They must be men who will dedicate themselves not to the past or the present but to the future. They will need to consecrate their lives to an exceeding of their lower self, to the realisation of God in themselves and in all human beings and to a whole-minded and indefatigable labour for the nation and for humanity. This ideal can be as yet only a little seed and the life that embodies it a small nucleus, but it is our fixed hope that the seed will grow into a great tree and the nucleus be the heart of an ever extending formation. It is with a confident trust in the spirit that inspires us that we take our place among the standard-bearers of the new humanity that is struggling to be born amidst the chaos of a world in dissolution and of the future India, the greater India of the rebirth that is to rejuvenate the mighty outworn body of the ancient Mother.
From Krishnalal's correspondence with The Mother and Sri Aurobindo
Krishnalal: Mother, Yesterday I saw a design as shown on the side. The colours in it were in a jumble so I do not remember them. What does it signify?
|29th July 1960||Smt. Lakshmi Devi Loyalka offers the property at 3, Regent Park, Calcutta to
in memory of her deceased husband.
|Feb 1968||The Mother says: "We shall call it Lakshmi's House and it will be The home of Grace"|
|3rd Feb 1968||"Grihapravesh" - a simple house-warming ceremony at Lakshmi's
Shri Arun Tagore takes up residence here as "caretaker".
Shri Pradyot Kr. Bhattacharya starts staying here on his visits to Calcutta.
|14th Nov 1968||
"Shakti Centre" starts with The Mother's Blessings: Smt Asha
Rajgharia is the Secretary, |
Smt Maya Mitra is the music teacher and Smt Rekha Sen is in charge of embroidery etc
|4th Sep 1972||
Arun Nursery School is started with The Mother's Blessing: |
Smt Bharati Dutta is the Head-mistress,
Number of children is 3
|July 1975||Sri Aurobindo Institute of Culture is registered as a Society under West Bengal Societies Act,1961|
|17th July 1975||Shri Arun Tagore returns to The Mother's feet|
|Winter of 1975-76||Annual Exhibition is started|
|Feb 1976||"Devasangha" is started|
|1977||Arun Flower Nursery is started|
|24th Jun 1977||Sri Aurobindo's sacred relics are installed|
|22nd Nov 1978||West Bengal Government recognizes Sri Aurobindo Institute of Culture as a charitable institution.|
|1979||"Health & Healing" Unit is started|
|early 1980s||Sri Aurobindo's statue is installed in Meditation Room|
|1981||The expanded school (later named TFFS) is started with Joya Mitter as Principal|
|31st Aug 1984||The name "The Future Foundation School" is approved by the Trust.|
|22nd Nov 1984||Shri Pradyot Kr. Bhattacharya returns to The Mother's feet|
|02nd Aug 1986||
Provisional affiliation for Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE - Year
course is received from Council of Indian School Certificate Examinations
|Jan 1988||Dyuman Bhai visits the Lakshmi's House|
|3rd Jan 1988||Dyuman Bhai inaugurates "Hall of Light"|
|8th Oct 1990||
Provisional affiliation for Indian School Certificate (ISC - Year
course is received from Council of Indian School Certificate Examinations
|March 1991||First batch of ICSE (Class X) students from F.F.S.|
|March 1993||First batch of ISC (Class XII) students from F.F.S.|
|6th Jan 1993||Foundation stone of the school's new building is laid by Dr Karan Singh|
|7th Jan 1995||Galerie La Mere is started|
|9th Aug 1996||Sri Aurobindo Research Centre is started|
|15th Aug 1997||"Sri Aurobindo Parichay" gallery is started|
|21st Feb 1998||The Mother's statue is installed in the Meditation room|
|1st Aug 1998||"Sanskriti" Museum is started|
|15th Aug 1998||"Smaraniya Bichar Sanghra" at Alipore Court|
|24th July 1999||Smt Joya Mitter returns to The Mother's feet|
|1999||Shri Ranjan Mitter takes up the post of Prinicipal of the school|
|2nd June 2000||Affiliation for ISC and ICSE courses is confirmed by CISCE|
|2002||Humanities stream for ISC course is started with the permission of CISCE|
|15th August 2004||Sri Aurobindo's statue is installed in Darshan Room|
All extracts and quotations from the written works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and the Photographs of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo are copyright Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Pondicherry -605002 India.
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