Nirmal Prem

Nirmal Prem yardThe founder of Sahaja Yoga, Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, has said that the caste system and inequality are currently the biggest problems in India. March 2003 saw the opening celebration of Nirmal Prem, a home for orphan children and destitute women in Noida, Uttar Praresh. This was the culmination of a long-term dream for Shri Mataji and also a way for her to demonstrate her compassion.

Nirmal Prem has a caring role but it also offers its residents the opportunity for education, for learning professional skills and for finding a balance through meditation. Currently, around 40 children and a couple of women live in Nirmal Prem, which is run by Gisela Matzer from Austria with local helpers. The children have a chance to attend a local English school. After a period of recuperation, the destitute women and widows receive training in sewing and computer skills and most of them have found jobs and manage on their own now.

Those who cannot help themselves

Nirmal Prem childrenIt is difficult for girls from poor families to marry in India because the custom dictates that the girl’s family must come up with a dowry. This is sometimes too much for families stuggling with everyday survival. This is why there are still more orphan girls than boys in India. Children are forced to beg, steal and sell, even themselves. It is hard for them to find food and shelter.

Abandoned women and widows face similar injustice in India. A husband is at liberty to throw his wife from the house for any reason at all. Relatives are also not obliged to look after these abandoned women who are often reduced to begging with their children. In her inauguration speech for Nirmal Prem, Shri Mataji said that she has cried many times over the cruel destiny of women in India. After all, a woman is the source of life and it is said that a country can enjoy greater respect if its female population is held in esteem. “Where the woman is held in esteem, God is present.”

Dream about helping

Gisela MatzerNirmal Prem in Noida, near Delhi is a large and handsome white house, a beacon of shining beauty in a barren landscape. Its aim is to give the best possible care in terms of material, emotional and spiritual welfare for its residents.

Nirmal Prem is also a dream come true for Gisela Matzer, a former actress from Austria. Having retired, she moved to India and was shocked by what she saw, both in a positive and negative way. “In India, I have seen the most beautiful and the most horrendous things taking place and I have been confronted both with enormous wealth and extreme poverty”, she says.

After discussing her dreams of establishing an orphanage with her spiritual leader Shri Mataji, she started the ball rolling. At the moment, Gisela lives and works in Nirmal Prem without receiving any payment and she has had the chance to see her dream come true: many traumatised children and women who may also have suffered from malnutrition, have become healthy and are doing well in life.

Balance through meditation

Nirmal Prem girlFor the orphan children and destitute women the chance to enjoy social equality and to learn new skills is something they have probably never experienced before. Even the very youngest children may have witnessed their parents dying as a result of ill-health or violence. Although the children have gone through hard times, the joy you can see in them now in Nirmal Prem is evident. “When there is basic security in the lives of these women and children, they can also find a real balance through Sahaja Yoga meditation”, says Gisela Matzer.

The work in Nirmal Prem has been able to continue thanks to private donations and financial help from Shri Mataji. Nirmal Prem is an important step in the right direction in terms of eliminating inequality in India – a country which is spiritually rich but socially chaotic.