Joya di  She built Her Mother's Home      

Joya Mitter dedicated all she was and all she had at the feet of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.


Her life's mission is best summed in the following lines given by The Mother:

Let beauty be your constant ideal.
The beauty of the soul
The beauty of sentiments
The beauty of thoughts
The beauty of the action
The beauty in the work
So that nothing comes out of your hands, which is not an expression of pure and harmonious beauty.

She came, she saw, and through consecrated work, she conquered all.

... The Mother's Force and Will found an effective instrument in Joya. After Arun Tagore's passing away, Pradyot put Joya in charge of Lakshmi's House. She came, she saw, and through consecrated work, she conquered all. I have been told how she worked tirelessly to build and establish The Future Foundation School, Galerie La Mère - an art gallery and 'Sri Aurobindo Parichay' Gallery... The Mother had written that Lakshmi's House will be 'the Home of Grace'. Joya fulfilled The Mother's wish through her consecrated work.

Joya will always be remembered for her creations at Lakshmi's House.

Nirodbaran

Joya works - she serves the Mother..

Dyuman bhai

A heroic spirit, an able administrator, a gifted poet and playwright, artist and a loving Mother to all at Lakshmi's House, a most effective and dedicated instrument of The Mother...

Sraddhalu Ranade

Beauty and love were her twin achievements,...she had the uncanny knack of attracting and manifesting the grace of The Mother, especially Her supramental aspect of MahaLakshmi..

Ananda Reddy






First 'Darshan' of The Mother

That unforgettable day in 1953 - my first 'Darshan' of The Mother.

We had reached Pondicherry on the last leg of a trip to South India. At that time I knew nothing of Mother-Sri Aurobindo or the Ashram. In those days, The Mother's permission was necessary to stay at the Ashram Guest Houses. As our visit was not planned, we had not made the request in advance.

After reaching Pondicherry, we had kept our luggage in a hotel in the Bazaar and gone to the Ashram in search of accommodation. That is when we learnt about writing a letter to The Mother seeking Her permission for the stay.

It appeared to me an amazing act of grace: The Mother accepted our request. And we found ourselves comfortably ensconced in the second floor of the house where Dilip Kumar Roy had stayed.

At dawn, my eyes drank in a vision: a being of light, a solar deity, a human form so slender and delicate as if made of light - I gazed at her mesmerized. It was Her. The Divine Mother. It mattered not if one knew nothing of Her - to have Her Darshan was All. But to see Her just once was not enough - the heart kept yearning for more. There was a constant restless, urge for the next Darshan. At eleven a.m. I saw Her again for a few brief moments at the Balcony Darshan. I followed The Mother around through the day from the Tennis Ground to the Playground, in an intoxicated state. My entire being was seized by a strange irresistible attraction. It was an indescribable experience to receive ground-nuts from Her own hands at the 'Playground Distribution'.

The Mother's burning gaze seemed to rend asunder my inner self and penetrate deep within. 'Au revoir' - a french phrase reached my ears (I did not understand it then). The days thus passed in blissful enchantment.

[Joya di used to recount that Mother's eyes were like burning coal, so powerful, that it was difficult to meet Her gaze. Joya di avoided the eyes, and lowered her gaze, but the more she did that, more the Mother lowered Hers too. When the two sets of eyes met, Mother said 'Au revoir'. Joyadi felt at that instant that She pulled out something from Joya di's heart, in a wrenching movement that was painful. Thereafter, it was yearning and bliss, in the knowledge that she had met the Divine on earth. - Ranjan Mitter]

The time for leaving now seemed close. Thursday was a 'Blessings Day' - I could not return from here without taking the Divine Mother's blessings. Life now seemed meaningful only if it revolved around Her.

I stood in the line for Blessings. Ma gave me a white flower - later I learnt the spiritual significance given by Her to the flower was 'Psychological Perfection'. The five petals represent five qualities necessary for Psychological Perfection: aspiration, devotion, faith, sincerity and surrender. A combined offering would bring integral fulfilment - thus She gave me fulfilment - She put me on the path to Integral Yoga.

It rent my heart to leave Pondicherry and come away. I felt as if I had only brought my material frame and the rest was left back there, at the Divine Mother's feet. Since my childhood I had heard of heaven - now I had seen with my own eyes the Divine's kingdom on earth.

Joya di

Pradyot da

In the early sixties, she met a senior Sadhak of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry - Shri Pradyot Kumar Bhattacharya . Through him, she renewed her contacts with the Ashram and developed an inner resolve to serve The Mother.

We too are sannyasins except that we do not wear gerua (ochre robes)

Joya di

Sri Aurobindo Institute of Culture

Lakshmi's House - The Home of Grace

In 1971-72, Joya di was in the middle of the Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Celebrations in Calcutta and various districts of West Bengal. In 1976, Pradyot da asked her to look after the development of Sri Aurobindo Institute of Culture at Regent Park, Calcutta.


Enshrining of Relics at Lakshmi's House

24.Jun.1977

Relics arrive at Calcutta Airport

22.Jun.1977, late evening


Amal Sircar carrying the Relics,

Joya Mitter with the tray,

Salila Ghosh and Rathin Mitter behind them.

Relics after overnight stay at Madhyamgram

23.Jun.1977, morning


Pradyot Kr. Bhattacharya carrying the Relics,

Joya Mitter behind him.

Enshrining of Relics at Lakshmi's House

24.Jun.1977, evening


Chief Justice Shankar Prasad Mitra,
Joya Mitter partially visible behind him

Arun Nursery School

Joyadi's predecessor at the Institute, Shri Arun Tagore had just established a small nursery school called Arun Nursery School in the Institute premises, in 1972, with four students. From this grew, in later years, The Future Foundation School, which has come to be regarded as a premier school in South Kolkata.

The Future Foundation School

Foundation stone of TFFS new building being laid by Dr Karan Singh - Joya di, Shyamal da, Rathin da and others

In 1979, Joya di took over and the number of students then was twenty. Years of sincere, single-minded and hard work bore positive results. The school grew in size and stature. As the number of students increased, the need for a proper accommodation was felt. A true lover of nature, Joya di would do nothing that would spoil the idyllic, sylvan surroundings. She modelled the school in the style of the "Gurukul" of ancient times. Thatched huts amidst bamboo groves with uneven slabs of stepping stones to reach the classrooms was the outcome of her ethnic look. Every year a new cottage was added to accommodate the growing number of students.

From 1984, Joya di was running from pillar to post to secure a No-Objection Certificate from the West Bengal Government which was difficult to obtain. She was also trying to get the school affiliated to the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination, New Delhi. A provisional affiliation was obtained for ICSE (Class X) in 1986 and for ISC (Class XII) in 1990. First batch of ICSE and ISC students appeared in 1991 and 1993 respectively.

The Mother's Salute

Joya di with School teachers (1997)

As Founder Principal of the School, Mrs. Mitter had a unique style of functioning. She firmly believed that example is better than precept. Her tastefully decorated office was open to all.

Teachers were free to discuss the minutest details with her. Her charisma and magnetic personality have been the basis of an informal principal-teacher, teacher-student relationship. According to the teachers, Joya di did not interfere in the classroom activities of the teachers but through this attitude she imparted a greater sense of responsibility among all teachers. Students and teachers realized, thanks to their beloved Principal, that work is joy and a job can be turned into a mission if head and heart work in unision. She has shown that the job of a teacher is to to make the student of today a noble citizen of tomorrow.

Joya di leading a song

She had never learnt to say "no" to a challenge. Joya di had a keen aesthetic sense and never left any work half-done. She not only took personal interest in all the activities of the school but was capable of motivating everyone around her and was instrumental in bringing out the best in them.

Nirod da, Joya di, TFFS students and teachers in Pondicherry

In Joya di's life, there was a pervading sense of beauty and she tried to instill in every student the appreciation thereof. Her energy level was boundless and she was never short of innovative ideas. In a decade and a half of her association with the school she infected students and teachers alike with an enthusiasm that was hard to resist. Joya di took the classroom beyond the desks and black-boards to nature, tradition and culture.

Shakti Centre

Besides the school, Joyadi carefully nurtured Shakti Centre, a cultural school for women. From the likes of Uday Shankar down to Sanjukta Panigrahi, Madhuri Mukherjee to Roma Mondal, Maya Mitra to Kalyani Roy etc., the Institute boasts of a wide array of cultural talents among its teachers.

Cultural Hub

Felicitation of Ustad Amjad Ali Khan
Ustad Amjad Ali Khan in the Hall of Light

There were once-in-a-lifetime cultural concerts at regular intervals and acclaimed artists like Pt. Birju Maharaj, Pt. Jasraj, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Pt. Ravi Shankar, Pt. Hari Prasad Chaurasia and many more cultural luminaries considered Sri Aurobindo Institute of Culture their second home.

Ustad Ali Akbar Khan
Ustad Ali Akbar Khan

'Health & Healing' - Medical Unit

Joyadi set up a medical consultation unit "Health & Healing", with the support and participation of many eminent doctors of Kolkata, within the ambit of Sri Aurobindo Institute of Culture. Concerned with the upliftment of women, she also set up production-cum-training units in incense, spices, handloom etc at a separate centre in Boral.

Sri Aurobindo's Footprints in Calcutta

In 1990, "Sri Aurobindo and Calcutta Memorial Committee" was formed to identify places in Calcutta where Sri Aurobindo had stayed at or worked from.

Smt. Joya Mitter then undertook the arduous task of unearthing these places - some no longer existed, whilst the ones that did were inaccessible or out of bounds. Nothing could however stop Joya di.

Finally, Commemorative Plaques were unveiled at the identified sites as a consummation of Joya di's long and laborious endeavour.

Commemoration of the following 7 sites took place on 15.Aug.1990

B 12, Wellington Square

C 2/1, Creek Row

D 191/1 Bowbazar Street

E 164 & 166 Bowbazar Street

F 19/3, Chhaku Khansama Lane

G 23, Scott Lane

I 32, Muraripukur Road

Commemoration of the following 3 sites took place on 02.May.1990

J 48, Grey Street

M 6, College Square

O 4, Shyampukur Lane

Galerie La Mère

On 7.January.1995, Joyadi founded Galerie La Mère, an art-gallery. It was named after The Mother and opened in homage to the Divine Artist. The tastefully done up art gallery aspires to be a place where art transcends the commercial and becomes a way of life. The best of artists like K.G. Subramanyam, Paritosh Sen, Ramananda Bandyopadhyay, Jogen Chowdhury, Uma Siddhanta, Niranjan Pradhan, Wasim Kapur, to name a few, have exhibited their work in this gallery.

'Sri Aurobindo Parichay' Gallery

Alipore Court mockup

On 15.August.1997, Joya di started 'Sri Aurobindo Parichay' Gallery. The Gallery presents a son-et-lumiere exposition on Sri Aurobindo's life, with particular reference to the Indian Freedom Movement in the first decade of the 20th century.

Sri Aurobindo Memorial Court Room

Museum of Memorable Case Records at Alipore Sessions Court

Sri Aurobindo's Memorial Court Room - Pilgrimage Site

Sri Aurobindo's Memorial Court Room - Pilgrimage Site

Joyadi's last great contribution was in aiding the unearthing of sensitive material and documents pertaining to the famous Alipore Bomb Trial of 1908-09. On 15.August.1998, 'Sri Aurobindo Memorial Room' was set up as part of the Museum of Memorable Case Records to present and preserve the material for all posterity.

Beauty and love were her twin achievements..

... when I first visited Lakshmi's House. A warm and loving smile greeted me. The eyes sparkled with devotion and the whole being seemed to be an offering to Her. Joyadi stood under the porch, wrapped in joy!

She took me around the house, telling me the story of Lakshmi's House, of the rooms, of the special occult symbol on the ceiling, of the cute cottages that were classrooms.. All things were beautiful, imbued with a sacredness that is born of dedication. All things were artistic, displaying the touch of her artistic grace. All object were well-placed and well-decorated, testifying to a deep passion for expressing MahaLakshmi's harmony and beauty.

She had also the refined side of administration. With firmness tempered with sweetness, Joyadi got her things done by people who seemed to wait on her love-bespoken lips! People enjoyed working with her and for her, not out of fear but because they admired her selflessness.

Beauty and love were her twin achievements,...she had the uncanny knack of attracting and manifesting the grace of The Mother, especially Her supramental aspect of MahaLakshmi..

Amongst the very few who have dedicated their life and manifested the intoxicating sweetness of the Divine, Joyadi is surely one of the avant-garde...

- Ananda Reddy

A Life-Sketch

Joya di, her father - Shri Baidynath Ghosh and her mother - Smt. Niharkana Ghosh

Joya di and her elder brother, Aloke

Joya Mitter nee Ghosh was born on 2nd February 1936 in Shyampukur, in North Kolkata. Her father was Shri Baidynath Ghosh and her mother Smt. Niharkana Ghosh. She had an elder brother Aloke. She belonged to an orthodox family where religion was a way of life and not mere ritual. Thus, from her very childhood, she developed a deep affinity towards the Divine. Her favourite deity was Lord Krishna.

She attended Duff School and took her graduation from Bethune College in Botany. In the latter part of her life, she also did her Post Graduation in English and took a degree in Education.

Her Family-Life

Joya di, Rathin da and their son, Ranjan

She was married to Shri Rathindra Kumar Mitter, a civil engineer, on August 5, 1954, at the age of 18. Ranjan, their only child, was born a few years later.

She firmly believed that bringing up a child was an art and she groomed her son accordingly. She was a dedicated daughter-in-law, wife and mother.

Self-culture

As a child, she learnt dancing, specially Rabindrik and also singing. After marriage, she pursued her interest in painting, and took courses in Indian Painting and Fine Arts at Govt. Art College. She also completed her training in music and won a Gold Medal from Gitabitan. Adept at the sitar and the piano, she was fond of flowers and took a diploma from Wafu-Kai School of Ikebana. Apart from her artistic bent she excelled in cooking and specialised in Indian, Chinese and Continental cookery.

Joya di and Ikebana - Japanese art of flower-arrangement

In Baruani, Bihar, her husband's workplace, she started a dancing school for local children and staged Rabindranath Tagore's "Dakghar" and other plays successfully. Later on, she duplicated this experiment at her thatched country house in Madhyamgram. She had an inborn feel for architecture and this manifested itself there. She was very fond of gardening and agriculture , and grew many types of roses in her garden in Barauni as also vegetables, paddy etc.

Joya di was effusive, caring, vigorous and possessed of an untiring zeal and dedication. She was a perfectionist to the core. Her life's mission is best summed up in the following lines of The Mother:

Let beauty be your constant ideal.
The beauty of the soul
The beauty of sentiments
The beauty of thoughts
The beauty of the action
The beauty in the work
So that nothing comes out of your hands, which is not an expression of pure and harmonious beauty.

Joyadi passed away on 24th July 1999. It was her first and last illness that lasted for a brief ten months. She never stopped working, she never altered her routine and she never stopped dreaming. Her spirit will always continue to inspire.


Birthday Celebrations

Joya di's 81st Birthday

2.Feb.2017:

Artistic Tributes

Sitar Recital by Alif Laila

Vocal Recital by Mitali Banerjee Bhowmik

Celebrations in TFFS

Inter School Art Competition

Tribute by students - Rangoli and Flower-arrangement


Vocal Recital by Mitali Banerjee Bhowmik

2.Feb.2017: Tribute to Joya di on her 81st Birth Anniversary

Tarun Das on Tabla and Anirban Chakrabarty on Harmonium


Sitar Recital by Alif Laila

2.Feb.2017: Tribute to Joya di on her 81st Birth Anniversary

Sudhir Gharai on Tabla


Joya di's 80th Birthday

2.Feb.2016:

Artistic Tributes

Kathak Recital by Smt Saswati Sen

Jugalbandi between Shinjini Kulkarni (Kathak) and Anubrata Chattopadhyay (Tabla)

Celebrations in TFFS

Inter School Art Competition

Special Assembly to remember Joya di

Tribute by students - Rangoli and Flower-arrangement


Kathak Recital by Smt Saswati Sen

2.Feb.2016: Tribute to Joya di on her 80th Birth Anniversary

The highlight was a brief tabla performance by Pandit Birju Maharaj, who also sang a song he had composed earlier and an emotional performance by Smt Saswati Sen to a song sung by Joya di.


Felicitation of Pandit Birju Maharaj

2.Feb.2016: Joya di's 80th Birth Anniversary

The text of the felicitation document was recited in three languages - English, Hindi & Bengali.


Kathak Recital by Smt Shinjini Kulkarni

2.Feb.2016: Tribute to Joya di on her 80th Birth Anniversary

A Jugalbandi between Shinjini Kulkarni (Kathak) and Anubrata Chattopadhyay (Tabla)


Joya di's 79th Birthday

2.Feb.2015:

Musical tributes

Flute Recital by Pandit Ronu Mazumdar

Tabla Jugalbandi by Pandit Anindo Chatterjee & Shri Anubrata Chatterjee

Sarod Recital by Shri Soumik Dutta

Celebrations in TFFS

Inter School Art Competition with Shri Hiran Mitra as Guest of Honour

Special Assembly to remember Joya di

Tribute by students - Rangoli and Flower-arrangement


Flute Recital by Pandit Ronu Majumdar

2.Feb.2015: Musical Tribute to Joya di on her 79th Birth Anniversary

Flute recital by Pandit Ronu Majumdar accompanied by Pandit Anindo Chatterjee on the tabla


Sarod Recital by Soumik Datta

2.Feb.2015: Tribute to Joya di on her 79th Birth Anniversary

Sarod recital by Soumik Datta accompanied by Shri Anubrata Chatterjee on the tabla


Pandit Anindo Chatterjee and Anubrata Chatterjee on the Tabla

2.Feb.2015: Tribute to Joya di on her 79th Birth Anniversary

Tabla Jugalbandi by Pandit Anindo Chatterjee and Shri Anubrata Chatterjee.


Joya di's 78th Birthday

2.Feb.2014:

A musical tribute by Pandit Srikumar Chatterjee

Pandit Srikumar Chatterjee's mesmerizing musical tribute to Joya di, punctuated by touching anecdotes and reminiscences. An aural treat. A moving experience!

Remembering Joya di

Shri Supriti Mukhopadhyay's recital of Joya di's poem

Shri Jajati Bhattacharya's touching tribute

Pandit Srikumar Chatterjee's touching anecdotes and reminiscences

Celebrations in TFFS

Special Assembly - Rangoli tribute - Inter-school Painting and flower-arrangement competition - Cultural program


Songs by Pandit Srikumar Chatterjee

2.Feb.2014: Tribute to Joya di on her 78th Birth Anniversary

Pandit Srikumar Chatterjee's mesmerizing musical tribute to Joya di, punctuated by touching anecdotes and reminiscences.


Joya di's Birthday

2.Feb.2013:

Musical tribute to Joya di

Devotional songs by Smt. Swagatalakshmi Dasgupta

Sitar Recital by Smt. Kalyani Roy

Celebrations in TFFS

  • Special Assembly to remember Joya di
  • Rangoli tribute
  • Inter-school Painting and Flower-arrangement competition
  • Cultural program by TFFS students

Devotional songs by Smt. Swagatalakshmi Dasgupta

2.Feb.2013: Tribute to Joya di on her 77th Birth Anniversary


Sitar Recital by Smt. Kalyani Roy

2.Feb.2013: Tribute to Joya di on her 77th Birth Anniversary


Joya di's Birthday

2.Feb.2012:

Celebrations in TFFS

  • Special Assembly to remember Joya di
  • Rangoli tribute
  • Painting competition
  • Flower-arrangement display
  • Cultural program by TFFS students

Joya di's Birthday

2.Feb.2011:

Musical tribute to Joya di

  • Offering of Vocal recital by Smt Kaushiki Chakrabarty Desikan
  • Offering of Sitar recital by Ustad Shahid Parvez, accompanied by Pandit Anindo Chatterjee on Tabla

Celebrations in TFFS

  • Special Assembly to remember Joya di
  • Rangoli tribute
  • Inter-house Painting competition
  • Inter-school Painting competition
  • Flower-arrangement display

Sitar recital by Ustad Shahid Parvez

2.Feb.2011: Musical Tribute to Joya di on her 75th Birth Anniversary

Sitar recital by Ustad Shahid Parvez, accompanied by Pandit Anindo Chatterjee on Tabla


Vocal recital by Smt Kaushiki Chakrabarty Desikan

2.Feb.2011: Musical Tribute to Joya di on her 75th Birth Anniversary

Vocal recital by Smt Kaushiki Chakrabarty Desikan accompanied by Shri Anubrato Chatterjee among others


Joya di's Birthday

2.Feb.2009:

Musical tribute to Joya di

  • Offering of Songs by Haimanti Shukla

Celebrations in TFFS

  • Flower-arrangement display

Joya di's Birthday

2.Feb.2008:

Homage to Joya di

  • Invocation to Sri Aurobindo (liked by Joya di)
  • Shri Supriti Mukhopadhyay's reading of the original Bengali version of 'Karakahini'
  • Inspiration from Joya di: A talk by Shri Sraddhalu Ranade

Celebrations in TFFS

  • Flower-arrangement display
  • Offering of a song by Prerona

'Karakahini' : Shruti-Natok (Book-reading)

2.Feb.2008: Tribute to Joya di on her 72nd Birth Anniversary

Shri Supriti Mukhopadhyay's evocative reading of the original Bengali version of 'Karakahini' - Sri Aurobindo's account of his life as an under-trial prisoner.


Joya di's Birthday

2.Feb.2007:

Homage to Joya di

Offering of Sitar Recital by Pandit Krishna Mohan Bhatt, Pandit Anindo Chatterjee on Tabla

Celebrations in TFFS

  • Flower-arrangement display
  • Special Assembly

Sitar recital by Pandit Krishna Mohan Bhatt

2.Feb.2007: Musical Tribute to Joya di on her 71st Birth Anniversary

Sitar Recital by Pandit Krishna Mohan Bhatt, Pandit Anindo Chatterjee on Tabla


Joya di's Birthday

2.Feb.2006:

Homage to Joya di

  • Offering of songs by Shri Arun Bhaduri
  • An art exhibition by Shri Ramananda
  • Dr. Arun Ghosh released a book - "Pradyot-da" - on Shri Pradyot Kumar Bhattacharya

Celebrations in TFFS

  • Flower-arrangement display
  • Special assembly

Ramananda 2006

2.Feb.2006: Art Exhibition at Galerie La Mère

Tribute to Joya di

2.Feb.2006: Tribute to Joya di on her 70th Birth Anniversary

A solo exhibition of paintings and drawings at Galerie La Mere by Shri Ramananda Bandyopadhyay


Videos

Sri Aurobindo's Gayatri Mantra

Joya di's heartfelt chanting of the Mantra and a prayer

This is played everyday during Meditation around the Shrine at Lakshmi's House

She built her Mother's home

A documentary-film on Joya di's life and works.

Songs by Joya di

... A lady sang two Rabindra Sangeet songs. When she sang 'Jibane jato pujo holo na shara', tears rolled down my cheeks. I had never heard anyone singing Rabindra Sangeet with such feeling and purity - thus bringing out the significance of the lyrics... - Amal Sircar

Invocation to Sri Aurobindo

One of Joya di's favourites

An invocation - Sampati Saptakam - chanted by Sraddhalu Ranade

Rare video footage of Joya di

Remembering Joya di

Reminiscences by Sraddhalu Ranade

2.Feb.2008

Remembering Joya di

Shri Supriti Mukhopadhyay recites Joya di's poem,
Shri Jajati Bhattacharya's tribute 'For ever love, O beautiful slave of God..' 00:28:20
Reminiscences by Pandit Srikumar Chatterjee 00:46:42

2.Feb.2014

Remembering Joya di

Reminiscences by Ranjan Mitter and Pandit Anindo Chatterjee

2.Feb.2016




Photo-Albums

 


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.
All other Rights and Content Reserved - Copyright © Sri Aurobindo Institute of Culture (SAIoC).