Throughout her life and work, Shri Mataji devoted much time and energy to promoting the arts. She saw them as one of the principle means of expressing and nourishing world cultures. In particular, she wanted to preserve the rich, ancient artistic traditions of her native India, and actively encouraged their propagation around the world.
In 2003 Shri Mataji, with the help of her brother (affectionately known as Babamama), established a centre for the arts in Maharashtra, India. Students come from around the world to learn Indian classical music, dance and painting in this tranquil rural setting. Shri Mataji personally guided the architectural design of the PK Salve Arts Academy, as well as that of other buildings built for humanitarian purposes including the Vishwa Nirmala Prem Centre for Destitute Women and Orphan Children in Delhi.
She recognized the importance of handmade goods, and in the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi she consistently supported the cottage industries vital to the economic and cultural life of India.
Over the years, Shri Mataji patronized some of the most renowned exponents of classical Indian music and dance, inviting them to perform at concerts and programs. Many of those who performed in her presence have described it as a transformative moment in their artistic development. They found her strong creative energy increased their own creativity and performance skill.
|Actually to be materialistic, in the real sense, is that we understand the value of matter. And the value of matter is aesthetics: artistic things, real artistic things. And beyond that, the value of matter is that you can give love to others.|
Shri Mataji's fostering of the arts included strong support for the theatre. She encouraged a group of talented theatre performers to collaborate as the Theatre of Eternal Values. Formed in Ghent, Belgium in 1993, the ensemble still tours internationally, performing works by playwrights who inspire self-awareness and spirituality in their audiences.
The Theatre of Eternal Values also works with schools, universities, companies and the community to provide hands-on expertise in educational and artistic projects such as the Culture of the Spirit Festival and the International Nirmal Arts Academy, which in 2013 will be entering its seventh year in Piemonte, Italy.
According to the ancient yoga tradition of India, the human being encompasses seven essential qualities. The second of these is the principle of creativity, without which the potential for self-realization or self-awareness is extremely limited, if not impossible. For this reason, Shri Mataji sought to awaken the creative powers of individuals and communities in all of the countries she visited.
|Such is the motivating power of an artist. They are the loveliest flowers of the creation, the sweetest dreams of the Creator, and the dearest parts of the human society. Perhaps they do not know how they are loved, worshiped and followed by their spectators...|
|excerpt from a Souvenir distributed in India in 1961|