The Bala Mandir was designed to give practical expression to some of the eternal values and manly virtues presented by the great spiritual tradition of India as exemplified and taught by Swami Vivekananda. The directive principles of the Bala Mandir are:
- Development of a harmonious character based on all-round growth—physical, mental, moral, and spiritual.
- Recognition of the dignity of the individual and the spiritual unity and equality of all human beings.
- Realization of the fact that one’s true welfare and progress is inseparably linked to that of others, and that sharing and loving service must become an integral part of one’s life.
- Stress on the truth that we are the makers of our own destiny, and
- Individual and social well-being can be achieved only through steady and sustained effort.
The Bala Mandir classes at the Chennai Math are held on the same lines and with the same objectives as mentioned above. The children are admitted into three groups, Shuka, Vyasa and Parashara according to their ages. Shuka group has students studying in stds 3, and 4; Vyasa, from standards 5, 6 and 7; and Parashara from Stds 8, 9 and 10. The classes are held on Sundays from 9.00 am to 12.30 pm. Vedic chanting, Vishnu Sahasranama chanting, bhajans, yogasanas, drawing of divine pictures, narration of stories from the lives of Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Sarada Devi, Swami Vivekananda and great saints, spoken Sanskrit are some of the popular items taught by a number of volunteer teachers. 350 Students take part in these programmes. Summer camps, held every year from 1st to 30th May, draw a huge number of students. At the end of the camp, a cultural programme is put up by the children before a vast audience of parents and well-wishers.