The Children

Our pupils also attend regular school. Their parents send them to school in order to secure their future and so they will eventually have a good job. When Maa Chetan Jyoti’s school was first founded, the children’s parents had the same objective in mind when sending them to Mata Ji’s academy: they hoped that the Swami would secure them a successful future.

The children started attending the music school, following Shivananda’s teachings, attending and accompanying Maa Chetan’s beautiful kirtans (devotional chanting). Then the small school started receiving the visits of great musicians, and the children themselves began to visit various ashrams and to give concerts. Thus, over time, they became exposed to the world of music – and their own heritage of traditional Hindustan classical music – to which the majority of modest Indian children actually have no access to whatsoever. The school opened their young minds to the world of music in an Art form – as opposed to “cheap”, popular Bollywood music to which most Indian youngsters have only access to and therefore (understandably!) are only interested in these days. Gradually the children came to discover the richness of traditional Indian music and to think that it is important as well. Maa Chetan’s music school gave the children new dreams and new ambitions…

Today about 30 children are learning Indian classical music in C.J. Maa Music School, ranging from 5 up to around 25 years of age. In order to teach so many pupils alone, Shivananda has been teaching his most experienced students to teach younger ones. Shivananda no longer consider those as his “pupils”: Over the years, some of them have become genuine teaching assistants to him, without whom – Shivananda says – he could not run the school.