About The Nandalala Mission
Welcome to the Nandalala Mission! Nandalala Mission is a non-profit organization dedicated to nurturing children’s fullest potential through educational, cultural, physical, and service-oriented activities.
The Mission organizes events every year, targeting children and teens between 4 and 15 years old to give them avenues for self-expression, expose them to new and interesting educational experiences, and instill in them the importance of community service.
Nandalala Mission was founded in 1997 in Sunnyvale, California, by Sri Mathioli R. Saraswathy as a chapter of the Nandalala Seva Samithi in Chennai, India, a service-oriented organization with a long history of community service.
The Mission is involved in a number of social, community, educational, and religious activities through many centers in the U.S. (California, New Jersey, Florida — see below) and in India.
All Mission activities are organized and conducted entirely by volunteers. Sponsorship of Nandalala Mission activities are tax-deductible. 98.5% or more of your contributions go to fund program activities since we have very little or no administrative expenses.
Please contact us for more information.
The Nandalala Mission was founded in 1997 by Sri Mathioli R. Saraswathy in Sunnvale, California, with an initial focus on providing a nuturing environment for developing children’s fullest potential, and to instill in them the importance of service. The organization is entirely run by family volunteers.
During the first five nascent years, the Mission was involved in a number of children’s activities including visits to local museums, nature hikes, volunteering at local homeless shelters, talent shows and quiz competitions. For each of those years, the Nandalala Mission celebrated a theme-based anniversary – Education (1999), Health and Fitness (2000), Environment (2001), Peace (2002), and Service (2003).
With increased parental involvement in activities, the Mission expanded its focus to a larger scale: community volunteer services, providing meal services services at a number of local community shelters and soup kitchens. Children help out on these occasions, and come to understand the satisfaction of direct contribution to social services.
The Youth Concert series was started recently, inspired by the Nandalala Youth Music Group of New Jersey. It provides a home-concert environment for budding young artists, giving them a forum for them to display their talent in an encouraging environment. This program has been well received by the local community.
Nandalala Mission also reaches out to children on a broader international scale, especially those affected by ravaging conditions. The Mission raised funds in the year 2000 to support the Hurricane Mitch relief effort in Central America and the Orissa disaster in India. Additionally, the Mission on an ongoing basis, donates books to children’s libraries all around the world. Mint-condition children’s books were donated to libraries in Australia, Canada, East Timor (Indonesia), Holland, and India as well as to schools in USA.
The Nandalala Mission conducts a number of activities in northern California, mostly in Sunnyvale, Pleasanton, San Ramon and Fremont.
The southern California chapter of the Nandalala Mission was founded in 1999, and serves the communities in the greater Los Angeles area.
One of the distinguishing events that the volunteers of the southern California mission conduct every year is the beautiful Deepa Pooja, the Prayer of the Holy Lamps. It is an annual event conducted at twilight, and the prayer is performed by 108 families. The significance of this prayer is explained in the following words of Sri Akka:
LIGHT LEADS TOWARDS DIVINITY
One should first realize the divinity within oneself. Only then will one realize that such an essential sacred awareness exists in all living beings.
Relationship with another is Love. Feeling empathy for another’s suffering is Compassion. Love is expressed as Compassion. Illumination is the manifestation of the flame of a lamp, just as Compassion is the manifestation of the nature of Love.
Lighting a lamp is a divine art. The Flame of the lamp should resemble a pearl. When the lamp distributes light in this manner – beautiful to behold yet small and steady like a pearl, we will attain the full benefit of our prayers.
A lamp should not be considered as just providing Brightness. Since it dispels Darkness as well, lighting a lamp is akin to Social Service. A lamp is symbolic of the inner power of Energy (Shakthi). Its rays symbolize the many forms of energy in this world.
It is certain that the Thiruvilakku Pooja will shower benefits on Mankind.
The southern California chapter also organizes a number of other religious events in the local area.
Seva Samithi, Chennai
The Nandalala Seva Samithi organiztion was founded By Sri Mathioli R. Saraswathi, who is also credited with founding the Nandalala Children’s club. This organization with its headquarters in Chennai, India, has spread wide with branches in Bangalore, Pune, Delhi and Trivandrum in India and also across the oceans with its branches in California, and New Jersey in the United States.
The main objective of this organization is to inculcate in the minds of both young and old, the need to develop Godliness and love towards other fellow beings. In this task, Sri Akka or Amma, as she is also otherwise known, has left no stone unturned in driving home her objective for the benefit of humanity at large. The Samithi undertakes social causes under its banner in the fields of education and health.
The Samithi has built a Temple and Cultural center in Chennai. The deities installed are Lord Ganesha, the remover of all obstacles and Lord Krishna with his inseparable flute and cow. The basement below the temple is the Cultural Center of the organization where all the devotees assemble to chant Vishnu Sahasra Namam every Thursday evening
The Samithi conducts General Knowledge tests every year in the schools and prizes are awarded. Blood donation camps and Free Eye camps are held in the city and in rural areas. The spectacles for the deserving is given away free of cost.
On its anniversary day every year, poor feeding is undertaken in which all members of the organization volunteer their services.
Very poor, but bright students are identified given help in terms of books.
The Bangalore chapter in association with NIIT has opened a computer center and gives training free of cost to 2 students every year.
In the cultural center classes are held to teach Vedam.
Every week dance classes are held to coach budding youngsters.
The Samithi also conducts special poojas in the temple premises every month and a speaker gives a discourse on the importance of the pooja. Such speakers are honored on the anniversary day of the Samithi.
A unique feature that adds sanctity to the place is “Charan Paad” of the Nandalala which is to be installed so that children can perform pooja themselves without any fear or inhibition. A library, a museum essentially for children form a part of the ambitious program.
NANDALALA YOUTH MUSIC GROUP OF NJ, an affiliate of NANDALALA MISSION, CA was founded by Ms. R. Saraswathy, popularly known as Akka, on 11th September, 1998.
The aim of the Nandalala Youth Music Group is to provide opportunities every month to one or two musically inclined youths to sing/render devotional songs on a particular deity with correct shruthi, thalam to the accompaniments of instrumental music for half an hour in front of interested parents.
The participating children will be introduced and the main artist will talk about the deity (chosen for the concert) for 10 minutes and begin the concert. The Nandalala Youth Music Group concert will be presided by a musically knowledgeable person who will talk about the participating youth and talk about the participants performance at the concert. Each of the participating children will be presented with a certificate from NANDALALA YOUTH MUSIC GROUP OF NJ for participation along with $20 cash from the host. This music event is to take place at a member’s house who is not the parent of the participating youths. The participating youths, when visiting Madras, will be offered an opportunity to render music at the Krishna Temple located at 117 Dr Ranga Road, Mylapore, Chennai, India. Following the certificate presentation, we encourage other interested children present at the concert, to render short songs.
Please visit the New Jersey Nandalala Youth Music Group website for upcoming and past events.
A report from London, UK, from one of our directors, Anu Sundaresan, who participated in the Nandalala Mission inaugral event during a Bharathanatyam Dance Recital. This is her account of the evening.
Founder of the Nandalala Family of Organizations, Pujyasri Mathioli Saraswathy’s message was read on this occasion:
Love is God. Blessings for the programme of Thirukkural Bharatham, performed by Pathmarajah sisters in London, sponsored by Nandalala Seva Samithy Trust, for the benefit of the deprived children in the east and north of Sri Lanka. Also wishing success of all endeavours of Visions by the younger generation in Europe and the rest of the world. May such humanitarian activities be perpetuated by all our able youngsters with the spirit of love and service. With Blessings” — Sri Mathioli Saraswathy
On Saturday, June 3rd, there was a fantastic Bharatha Natyam benefit performance, Thirukkural Bharatham, at the University of London (sponsored by Nandalala Seva Samithi and Visions, a Sri Lankan organization targeting youth), and with this performance, the Nandalala-London chapter has been officially inaugurated!
The performance started around 6pm, and finished around 11:00pm and included wonderful performances by the Dhananjayans, gurus in the art form who have taught countless young dancers, as well as three of their proteges who are part of our Nandalala LA family, the Pathmarajah sisters.
Thirukkural is a masterpiece in Tamil literature and so it was a pleasure to watch creative choreography and dance on stage accompanied by verses from Thirukkural (this is the 10th dance performance of Thirukurral given by the Pathmarajah sisters…they have presented in Chennai, Toronto, LA among other cities).
Thanks to the efforts of Mr. Yoganathan and a team of dedicated volunteers in London and Dr. Pathmarajah and his family, the concert was OVERSOLD…more than 1000 tickets were already sold well in advance of the night of the performance. So, the hall was packed to say the least…
We provided a 10 minute overview of Nandalala Seva Samithi, with a focus on our activities in US/outside India, and read a brief message provided by Pujyasri Akka for the function. It was very well received, and sparked a lot of interest in our organization. Visions also talked about their youth leadership and training programs held in Sri Lanka.
It was exciting to be part of such an event….and now, Nandalala-London is one more chapter in our growing worldwide family. Professional videographer/photographers snapped a lot of pics, so we look forward to getting them soon…
– Anu Sundaresan